BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW
CULTURAL CONTEXT & ITS CURRENT CONCOMITANTS
On the day that marks the seventy-first anniversary of the largely disingenuous initial United Nations attempt to put nuclear weapons under international control, a doomed effort inasmuch as the ‘Cold War’ and ‘containment’ were already the unshakeable plans of the United States, a lovely and completely unexpected item for scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens from Global Voices about a now elderly photographer and chronicler and businessman who lived and worked in Hiroshima in the early 1970’s, a quarter century after the incineration of that city and its civilians in the first nuclear war, who has just unearthed new materials in which he documented the hustle and bustle and imprint of that city on human culture, an effort that in a strange way fits in with a new Rolling Stone article about the sinister and horrifying ‘slender man’ phenomenon, an instantiation of social pathology that targets innocents at random for destruction because a ‘voice from beyond’ mandates it, the sum of which leads ineffably to announcements regarding our Southern ‘neighbor,’ first in Blacklisted News about Mexican protesters who have just temporarily seized the border crossing between Tijuana and Southern California, second in TeleSur about Mexican diplomats who are indicating that their withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement could conceivably predate U.S. abandonment of the protocols therein, both of which introduce a third piece from Signature Reads that presents seven books in which the Mexican border plays a prominent role, a trio that in turn sets up both a briefing from Activist Post about Congress’ just-introduced bill to withdraw the United States from the United Nations and a Recode bitthat gives an overview of a lengthier New Yorker analysis about the au courant popularity of so-called ‘Prepper’ mentality among the moneybags who rule Silicon Valley, the aggregate of all of which lays a winsome foundation for a second Rolling Stone assessment, in the event of a four-hour-long and far-too-short documentary of the Grateful Dead that focuses on the way that the free-spirited and improvisational and generous genius, Jerry Garcia, came to pieces in the throes of the commodified money machine that his magnificent creation inevitably became.
This Day in History
In a nod to acknowledging that some people suffer even the rarest sorts of medical disorders, today around the world marks Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day; among the denizens of Rome’s early empire, in a display of the innate savagery of the less than century old imperial protocols nineteen hundred and seventy six years ago, emperor Caligula’s most trusted watchers, the Praetorian Guard, viciously murdered the sadist whom they supposedly protected, placing his uncle Claudius on the throne instead; three hundred seven years ahead of this day’s dawning, meanwhile, in a congruent unfolding of imperial machinations, a Portuguese clergyman arrived from ‘investment’ by Catholicism in South Asia to oversee the Catholic Church’s ‘interests’ in Ethiopia; forty-six years onward, in 1670, the baby boy was born who would become the estimable poet and dramatist William Congreve; sixty-nine years later on the nose, in 1739, back in Catholic Portugal’s outposts of conquest in India, a Peshvar force and its legendary leader, Appa, drove Portuguese defenders from their fortress at Tarapur; just shy of two decades more in the direction of today’s unfolding, in 1758, a temporary development of the Seven Years War—in some ways a ‘first or second world war’—led to a conjoining of Prussian and Russian interests into a formal diplomatic and military arrangement; MORE HERE
A Thought for the Day
The complete certainty of persistent existential threat—from the vagaries of omnipresent disease and ubiquitous accident; from the at times unavoidable murderous interventions of war and other social violence; or, should one be so lucky, from the inevitable ravages and wastage of the wear and tear of aging and dissolution—makes the routine likelihood of sunny dispositions seem vanishingly small, the realm of either the uninformed or the idiotic, either the masochistic or the sainted, and yet the entreaty to look on the bright side must ever appear as among the most palpably pragmatic and utilitarian of invitations, if only because, however unstoppable is the ineluctability of the common doom that awaits each of us in our turn, we can hardly hope to make the best of whatever randomness and fate permit if we cannot keep ourselves from wallowing in the sense of curse and catastrophe that, no matter their occasional and final accuracy, are at best merely a part of the story of the state of grace that flows from every inhalation, every wide-eyed appreciation of sunset or dawn, every embrace of love and passion that might easily represent the fare of the day if only we can recognize it and shout, “hallelujah and amen!”
Numero Uno—“Thanks to the staff and members of faculty and to President Prince, and to all of you graduates who chose me to be your speaker. I hope my message will be up to the occasion.
I am sure there were times in your years here at Hampshire when you doubted you would ever see this day. But you kept going, one step at a time, and here you are. Sometimes all you can do in life, in the harder moments, is to put one foot in front of the other. You will always come to some new victory, despite your darkest worries and despair.
We–all of us–sincerely congratulate you.
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TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, & AWARENESS VIDEO
Nearly Naked Links
From Sundays and Monday’s Files
Bourgeois Fantasy Labor Prescriptions – http://portside.org/2017-01-22/fantasy-land-labor-theorists-andy-stern%e2%80%99s-latest-contribution
Finance & Nukes – http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39180-trump-the-banks-and-the-bomb
The 2017 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference will be held from February 16 to February 18 on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe.
American journalists have until March 1, 2017, to apply for a professional exchange program in Germany. Successful applicants will spend August and September living, working and reporting for their home and host news organizations from across the Atlantic.
The Arthur F. Burns Fellowships is a competitive program open to U.S., Canadian and German journalists between the age of 21-40, who are employed by a newspaper, news magazine, broadcast station, news agency or who work freelance and/or online. Applicants must have demonstrated journalistic talent and a strong interest in North American-European affairs. German language proficiency is not required, but it is encouraged.
A Pacific Standard article that introduces readers to a wonderful literary and cultural initiative that gives a voice to those who are least hear and probably have the most to say about our society and lives: “Writers Group, as it’s known in the community, is a space for the homeless writers of downtown Boston (“homeless, transitional, or recently housed” is the rubric), and we meet every Tuesday morning at 9:30, in the basement of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont Street. Out of Writers Group comes The Pilgrim, a literary magazine that I’ve been editing for the last five years…. “What’s going though my head? Not a fucking thing.” That’s a typical flash. Here’s another one: “Today’s coffee at Writers Group does not just help you think — it helps you shit.””
An IJ Net look at some of the comebacks and renewed trends in journalism, from article length to email newsletters: “And then, out of nowhere, longreads made a sudden return, quickly becoming the most-read format on many platforms (for instance, on Medium the ideal reading length of a post is seven minutes — they capture the most attention).
Aside from this obvious example, there are other contemporary trends that are actually old trends experiencing a renaissance.”
A TeleSur look at Western media’s cultural offerings in perpetuating colonialism, genocide, and a future that’s dismal for future generations: “In all these theaters of confrontation and conflict, the psychological warfare role of news and information media is very clear and increasingly well documented….
Less publicized has been the role of universities and their academics in legitimizing the false premises of the West’s endless war on the majority of the world, especially in social sciences, economics and related disciplines. Given its identification with broken corporate consumer capitalism, mainstream economics as an academic discipline, for example, resembles theology more than ever.”
An L.A. Progressive analysis of warmongers and profiteers’ future prospects in Syria, now that their darling candidate did not make the cut, and now that they are forced to repackage it for this new administration: “A new coalition of US-based organisations is pushing for a more aggressive US intervention against the Assad regime. But both the war in Syria and politics in the United States have shifted dramatically against this objective.
When it was formed last July, the coalition hoped that a Hillary Clinton administration would pick up its proposals for a more forward stance in support of the anti-Assad armed groups. But with Donald Trump in office instead, the supporters of a US war in Syria now have little or no chance of selling the idea.“
A Spy Culture offering that further delves into the holy alliance between intelligence operatives and the entertainment industry: “Eric Johnston was the second head of the MPAA, a high level political operative and a friend of CIA director Allen Dulles. In this episode we take a look at his life and work, from his role instituting the Hollywood blacklist to his relationships with the FBI and CIA. From his meeting with high level businessmen after a trip to the Soviet Union and his liberalising of the production code and promotion of American films in foreign markets to his testimony at HUAC, this story encompasses much of the deep politics of Hollywood.”