December 23, 2008

Advance Notice



[Note: edited 09-01-05 to reflect new start date — JL]

A bit of advance notice that my real-life self will be having a small art photo exhibition at Kefa Coffee (a really good local cafe / coffee shop) for a month starting sometime early February; details when I know 'em (including whether or not there'll be any sort of opening reception, something that currently seems unlikely given the lack of notice and the small size of Kefa…). Today, West Jingletown; tomorrow the world…

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December 20, 2008

JUNK

Upstairs in the Milano a skinny young junky with stereotyped glassy eyes, greasy hair, and tats down both arms twitches in the corner badly out of place bent over a weeks-old newspaper. After a while he starts trying to hit up the nearest tables for money for a bagel, people look the other way or move downstairs, he slowly makes his way my way until he's close enough that I can see the letters "J U N K" tattooed across the knuckles of his left hand in gothic script. Just before he gets to me he stumbles and knocks someone's glass onto the floor, looks around startled, and flees past me downstairs and out onto the street. Upstairs we start relaxing again. Outside, the vendors on Telegraph keep on setting up the stalls for the holiday bash. In Moe's there's a row of art books on urban graffiti; one of the covers has a photo of a 1980's New York subway train, the graffiti along its length looking like the tats on the junky's arms, right down to the gothic script of one of the tags.

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December 16, 2008

That Kennedy Thing (Again)

In a recent HuffPost article, the reliably loopy Michael Carmichael seems to want to claim the Obama Moment for aging Boomers:
"The image of a US Senate graced by two Kennedys both bearing the flame of JFK and conjuring the era of Camelot presents a potent concoction of political magic at a critical juncture in American history now seemingly on the threshold of a resurgence of progressive energy and the promise of positive change in the Obama Era."
Yeah, that's real change, that is.

I wish I could say that the idea of Caroline Kennedy being anointed Senator for New York mostly because she's, well, a Kennedy, surprises me, but it doesn't, of course. And I wish I could say that my initial impression that Carmichael's article was a wicked parody rather than a starry-eyed eulogy for a privileged upbringing and an easily-come-by constellation of useful contacts was right, but I don't think it was. That endless clueless sense of entitlement is probably the biggest legacy the American Boomers will leave the world (or, rather, the environmental, financial, political, and cultural collateral damage caused by that sense of entitlement will be the biggest legacies).

"America is transfixed. The world is transfixed. The Kennedy legend promises to open another chapter." Riiiiight

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December 10, 2008

Why, Indeed?

"If the development of print-as-commodity is the key to the generation of wholly new ideas of simultaneity, still, we are simply at the point where communities of the type 'horizontal-secular, transverse-time' become possible. Why, within that type, did the nation become so popular?" (from Benedict Anderson's "Imagined Communities").

It's a dirty job but someone's got to read it….

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December 04, 2008

IQ

There's a lot of talk of intelligence failures after the Mumbai attacks, but what would it take to have an intelligence success in this sort of thing? Massive surveillance, either centralised (the whole Panopticon thing) or distributed (networks of informers), or both, unfortunately. Yet those of us who rail on about intelligence failures are also often enough those of us who deplore the encroachment of government (and industry) on the private domain; that protective Big Brother looking over everyone's shoulders is more than just a riposte to that chip on our shoulders.

You can't have individual privacy, democracy, and safety from other individuals all in the same society; one or more has to give, at least to some extent….

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