BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW
ANOTHER CULTURAL LOSS, POSSIBLY TRAGIC, TO MARK 2016
From the often obstreperous but always incisive and insightful and evocative communicator at BobLefsetz.com, a ‘sourced,’ if anonymous, examination of the unexpected and quite plausibly suicidally tragic demise of George Michael on Christmas day, an essay that as usual proffers ideas and overviews for scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens about how culture, and in particular the music business, works in these times of crisis and hyper-commodification, in present passes of alienation and ennui and unvarnished profiteering by the powers that be, an accounting that readers can contrast and otherwise contextualize with Rolling Stone’s daily output, which focuses in large part on Michael’s life and times as well.
This Day in History
As a result of interest in African culture and roots, primarily in the United States, celebrants mark this date as the beginning of Kwanzaa festivities, which carry on through the new year; in the final phases of the Reconquista, under the aegis of Ferdinand and Isabella, five hundred twenty-seven years ago, Spanish forces won control of the Almeria from the Nasrid ruler of Granada, Muhammad XIII; a single year beyond twelve decades afterward, in 1610 more or less, royal Hungarian investigators first visited Countess Elizabeth Bathory with the intention of ending her murder and torture of local peasants and servants, a reining in of aristocratic sadism that in essence showed the brutality of this class-based system of rule; another hundred eighty years onward, in 1790, the besieged Louis XVI of France, another royal personage in dire straits, acceded to popular demand for the Civil Constitution of the Clergy; three hundred sixty-five days onward in space and time, in 1791, across the English Channel, the male infant bounced into our midst en route to a life as the mathematician and early theorist of computing, Charles Babbage; MORE HERE
A Thought for the Day
Perhaps the greatest paradox of capital’s history must remain the putative fierce commitment to productivity, on the one hand, in the overall context of creating such monumental waste, on the other hand, that the entire surface of nature’s facade now bears the visible brush of humanity’s taint—plastic, chemical, carbonized, irradiated, and so forth—while more and more and more, people themselves count as ‘surplus labor,’ ‘useless eaters,’ or other descriptors of shame and denigration, the resolution of which apparent irremediable set of contradictions might end up being the now vaunted ‘experiment’ of universal basic income, acceptable to many of the trust-funded set because their portfolios’ futures look so grim in the context of a decimated working class with no disposable income that these entitled denizens of empire and hegemony want to give away something to retain their control over everything else.
The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa. Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African “first fruit” celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. Kwanzaa, then, is:
- a time of ingathering of the people to reaffirm the bonds between them;
- a time of special reverence for the creator and creation in thanks and respect for the blessings, bountifulness and beauty of creation;
- a time for commemoration of the past in pursuit of its lessons and in honor of its models of human excellence, our ancestors;
- a time of recommitment to our highest cultural ideals in our ongoing effort to always bring forth the best of African cultural thought and practice; and
- a time for celebration of the Good, the good of life and of existence itself, the good of family, community and culture, the good of the awesome and the ordinary, in a word the good of the divine, natural and social.
peace OR concord OR harmony OR tolerance "common people" OR "ordinary people" OR "working class" proclivity OR tendency OR prototypical OR support contrast OR opposite "ruling classes" OR plutocracy OR finance OR elites warlike OR interventionist OR militaristic OR conquering OR imperialistic analysis OR deconstruction history OR origins radical OR marxist = 3,230,000 Links.
TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, & AWARENESS VIDEO
For scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens who ponder possibilities of peace versus the erstwhile certainties of self-destruction attendant on modern warfare, a profferal from the redoubtable Alexandra Bruce at Forbidden Knowledge TV, a nearly full hourlong presentation that British Broadcasting Corporation documentarians produced about the spontaneous armistice that took place on parts of the European frontlines at the end of the first few months of World War One, when only a few hundred thousand barbaric butcheries of the young had taken place in the bloodletting that bathed capital’s crisis in new possibilities for profit and plunder, the so-called Christmas Eve Armistice during which, after a night of caroling, primarily English regiments and German battalions met in ‘no-man’s-land’ on the 25th to exchange photos and mementos, commiserate that they didn’t want to kill each other, play soccer, and vow to find a way to extend amity and toleration in place of the murder and mayhem that Kaisers and Kings promulgated at the behest of bankers and other boosters of empire and conquest, in the event a fantasy-land promise inasmuch as the ‘leaders’ of military might soon enough made firing squads the response to any future instances of such ‘fraternization’ with the Saxons who were the Anglo-Saxons close cousins, altogether a mediated interlude of remonstrance and balm for war-weary humans, something that another brief interlude , from TeleSur, also provides, in this instance in relation to documenting both the plutocratic sources of Nuclear Armageddon’s backers and the regular people who have remained stalwart, if not strategic, in opposing such a bleak and ecocidal future for our kind.
Nearly Naked Links
From Friday’s and Saturday’s Links
Ellison, Democracy, Tarheels, Dixie – http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/12/23/keith-ellison-says-he-ready-fight-democracy-north-carolina-and-across-america
Lenin: an Imperialism Review & Text – http://www.dsp.org.au/book/export/html/100
OSHA Cutbacks, Death on the Job – http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/19745/with_too_few_workplace_inspectors_osha_targets_worst_of_the_worst
On Wednesday, January 25th, medical and non-medical professionals in Houston are invited to join us for an evening presentation to learn more about how you can join Doctors Without Borders’ pool of dedicated aid workers. We’re currently recruiting for a variety of medical and non-medical positions. Due to our ongoing work in Arabic speaking countries (Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Jordan among others), we are actively recruiting Arabic speakers for all profiles.
Theatre of the Oppressed NYC will be growing quite a bit in 2017. We’re currently looking for a Deputy Director of Development and Finance: http://www.tonyc.nyc/jobs (application due Jan 4th) and a Community Engagement Intern: http://www.tonyc.nyc/internships (application due Jan 9th). Join a team that values social action, creative problem-solving, leadership development and a lively work environment.
A Hyperallergic glimpse at the work of a talented, insightful cartoonist whose powerful, honest, and personal contributions help bring a whole new level of understanding to current crises: “Published by Drawn & Quarterly, Rolling Blackouts is broken into seven sections, three of which are named for the cities to which Glidden travels: Van, Turkey; Sulaymaniyah, Iraq; and Damascus, Syria. The cartoonist embarks upon her journey — which is funded by a Kickstarter campaign — with two reporter friends, Sarah and Alex, who are among the co-founders of a Seattle-based journalism startup called The Globalist. The fourth member of their crew, Dan, is an American Iraq war veteran who grew up with Sarah. In Van, the group speaks with an Iranian refugee couple, Amin and Mina. In Sulaymaniyah, they talk to a host of internally displaced Kurds, as well as one, Sam Malkandi, who remarried and resettled in the US, only to wind up mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report and extradited back to Iraq. “
A Lit Hub post of great interest to all scrappy scribes, but especially to those for whom the prospect of constant revisions is either troublesome or delightful, insofar as providing practical instances as well as a theoretical framework from which to look at the task: “When I tell students the anecdote about Gardner, I emphasize his feeling that the result of this painstaking revision process is that for at least once in their lives, here on the page, they can achieve perfection or something close to that, if they are willing to revise and reenvision their work long enough. And then I say: Where else in life do we get the chance—the privilege and blessing—to lovingly, selflessly go over something again and again until it finally embodies exactly what we think and feel, our best expression, our vision at its clearest, and our best techne?”
A ‘Journalism is dead; long live journalism’ moment from Bill Moyers’ site, in regards to the media landscape today: “As has been pointed out over and over again in this space by our media critics Neal Gabler, Todd Gitlin and Alicia Shepard, “fake” news isn’t just the made-up kind you see on your Facebook feed (the new supermarket tabloid rack). Fake news is also “breaking news” purveyed by TV stations that then feed you a breathless headline about some VIP (or candidate) doing or saying something meaninglessly incremental. Fake news is talking heads instead of issues. Fake news is bothsideism. Fake news is all of those things real news outlets have begun to resort to in the absence of the resources and the will to cover the real thing.”
An OffGuardian piece that contextualizes, in an outside-monopoly-news way, the dangerous unfolding situation in Turkey: “This is the second of our twin articles offering different interpretations of the current political situation in Turkey and Syria. The first article, by Eric Zuesse, was published earlier today and can be found here. In mid-July, President Erdogan pointed his finger at the CIA, accusing US intelligence of having supported a failed coup directed against his government. Turkish officials pointed to a deterioration of US-Turkey relations following Washington’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gülen, the alleged architect of the failed coup. .”
A Conversation look at an idea that is still controversial, though gaining force amongst those who do not view a culling of teh population as the only cogent solution to today’s ills, without having to relinquish control: “Together with UK-level encouragement via discussion events from society organisation RSA and a policy paper from left-wing group Compass, this galvanised supporters to lobby Scottish councils to trial it locally as one way of improving poverty and inequality.
Fife is now launching a feasibility study early in 2017 which looks likely to follow other models and concentrate on a specific poorer area within the population of 365,000. Glasgow’s council, population nearly 600,000, has expressed its interest in the basic income’s potential for improving poverty levels in the city and Labour councillor Matt Kerr is to begin researching and designing a trial.”