Amoeblog

Papua - King Kong, Keep the river on your right, world music, south pacific section

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 12, 2008 07:39pm | Post a Comment
In Papua, a Kapiraya chief announced Monday that he's launching a campaign to get compensation for environmental damage wrought by US mining company Freeport. The gold and copper-mining giant has polluted the coastline and streams around the Karpiraya's lands in the world's largest copper and gold mine, established in 1971. Due to the considerable pollution, the Kapiraya are faced with a water shortage.


Freeport is a joint venture co-owned by Indonesia and the U.S.A.'s Freeport McMoRan. They pay an estimated 1.8 billion dollars in taxes to the Indonesian government, which doesn't help the Papuans, whose land is occupied by Indonesian soldiers who suppress the indigenous population.

How did West Papua end up in the hands of the notoriously heavy-handed Indonesian government?

Since then, like many of the 100s of non-Javanese peoples of Indonesia, things have been crappy all over. During the seemingly unending rule of the murderous, military dictator Suharto, the best that can be said about the Indonesians' treatment of occupied Papua is that they didn't do much. In 2001, the Indonesian government passed a law granting a degree of autonomy to Papua, although they've failed to enact any of the law's requirements.


Papuans have lived in the land for at least 40,000 years. It's the second largest island in the world and was created when, at the end of the last ice age, the glaciers melted and flooded the Torres Strait. With nearly 1,000 languages spoken, it's the most linguistically diverse area on Earth.

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Joker's Wild, or Batman Degree Zero: The Dark Knight (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, August 10, 2008 10:36pm | Post a Comment
The Joker


There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing: every evening, as he leaves the factory, the wheel-barrow he rolls in front of him is carefully inspected. The guards can find nothing. It is always empty. Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing are the wheelbarrows themselves ... -- Slavoj Zizek, p. 1, Violence

I just happened to start reading Slavoj Zizek's new book, Violence, shortly after I saw Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and found both to serendipitously complement each other. Zizek begins his book with the little tale of theft quoted above, which he uses as a grounding metaphor in analyzing our approach to violence. Too often we're concerned with its subjective effects (who was hurt and by what, i.e., what's in the wheelbarrow), rather than its objective status (the symbolic order that gives form and definition to the violent act, i.e., the wheelbarrow itself). For example, an anti-semitic remark doesn't constitute hate speech -- isn't violent -- for a Nazi who exists in a context where "the Jew" is defined outside of humanity, and thus moral concern. It is the functioning symbolic order that allows everyday people to exist in a system perpetuating violence on others without seeing how their own normality is defined by what it violently excludes. This is what the Joker is getting at when he says to Harvey Dent:
 
Nobody panics when they expect people to get killed. Nobody panics when things go according to plan, even if the plans are horrifying. If I tell the press that tomorrow a gangbanger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will get blown up, nobody panics. But when I say one little old mayor will die, everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy, you upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I am an agent of chaos. And you know the thing about chaos, Harvey? It’s fair.
 
Sure, we (represented here as Gotham City residents) might see the gangbanger's death as violent, but always as subjective violence, an act by an individual on another individual, not as a sign that the cultural system itself is violent. The difference between the violence against a gangbanger and against the mayor is that only the latter is perceived to be a threat to the normal order of things, whereas the former is already written into the cultural bill as the price of doing business as usual. The Joker is an agent of chaos, because he's the embodiment of pure objective violence. That's why he assures Harvey that killing his girlfriend, Rachel (Bruce Wayne's love interest, as well), and leaving him horribly disfigured as Two-Face was "nothing personal." As such, the Joker's actions can only be read as chaotic, senseless, or just plain nuts. He doesn't put Gotham's citizens (including its criminals) through a series of terroristic spins on the prisoner's dilemma for personal gain, revenge or as the result of some childhood trauma -- he's an ascetic without a real history. Rather, his only goal and source of pleasure is in making his victims face up to the abstracted violent substructure around which their culture is configured. Sounding like Jack Nance and looking like he's spent time in A Clockwork Orange and Ichi the Killer with fashion tips from Malcolm McLaren, the Joker provides a scarred face to the invisible logic of capitalism, with cracking make-up and a forced smile. He's pure desire without an object, paradoxically making the impersonal personal and invisible visible. Regarding this invisible and "fundamental systemic violence of capitalism," Zizek writes:
 
[M]uch more uncanny than any direct pre-capitalist socio-ideological violence: this violence is no longer attributable to concrete individuals and their "evil" intentions, but is purely "objective," systemic, anonymous. [Some stuff about Lacan's Real versus reality that I will spare you.]  We can experience this gap [between the reality of people and what's being defined as reality by the logic of capitalism] in a palpable way when one visits a country where life is obviously in shambles. We see a lot of ecological decay and human misery. However, the economist's report that one reads afterwards informs us that the country's economic situation is "financially sound" -- reality doesn't matter, what matters is the situation of capital ... -- p. 12-3, ibid.

Stocks wouldn't keep rising for a corporation that exploits third-world misery if that repressed misery took on a subjective quality for the investors. For capital to keep growing, said misery has to remain purely objective, an abstract cost that's been symbolically excluded out of our day-to-day concerns. The Joker is the same unbounded desire that drives capitalism. Without any object or goal to satisfy him, he exists outside of our rational system and can only be stopped with violence. He can't be beat, however, only beaten, because the solution to the problem he presents is the problem itself: repression of systemic violence. (Batman once tried to reason with him -- understand him -- in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke with miserable results.) At best, Gotham City can return to the status quo by forgetting him -- define him out existence as insane and lock him away in its local Id repository, Arkham Asylum. Or they could kill him, but Gotham's local hero of repression has only one rule: he doesn't kill.
 
The Batman

Remembering Isaac Hayes & Black Moses

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 10, 2008 09:43pm | Post a Comment
It’s not often that I get emotional over a musician’s death, but when I heard Isaac Hayes passed away I was saddened, like I'd lost a friend. In fact, his music was my friend in times when I needed it the most. If I was in love, Isaac encouraged me. If a girl left me, Isaac was there to console me. When I hated the world, Isaac was there to show that love conquers all. Basically, when the shit hit the fan, Isaac Hayes was a friend when no one else was.

Back in 1994, I was hired as a bass player to go on the road with a band. After each tour, someone in the crew or band got let go in the most absurd passive aggressive manner. It was never "thank you, but your services are no longer needed", it was just  a lot of bad vibes until you either quit or once the tour ended you were replaced without notice. It was nerve wracking to say the least. I figured they were going to fire me at any time. It was like being in the mob and waiting for a hit that would eventually come. On the last tour, I knew my time had come. We were in Europe and I was starting to get the bad vibes. I was getting the silent treatment from everyone on tour, including the star of the show. I felt ignored and was getting shut out of activities that a band and crew engage in on tour. Alone in my bunk on a bus, I found solace through music. My anger about my situation was alleviated by a rotation of The Stooges Funhouse, Black Flag’s Slip It In and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. But once I was done with my anger and the rotation of those CD’s, I felt that isolation deep inside. Those long drives over night from city to city can be some of the loneliest times, especially if you don’t feel like you have any friends around you. I missed my family, Los Angeles and Mexican food. I missed talking to people on a homie level. That’s where Isaac came in.

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R.I.P. ISAAC HAYES

Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2008 01:43pm | Post a Comment

Is
aac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician (and rapper before it was officially called "rap") whose “Theme From Shaft” earned him both Academy and Grammy awards, was found dead at his home earlier today. He was 65.

According to the Associated Press, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says a family member found Hayes unresponsive near a treadmill today. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis. The cause of death was not immediately known.
  
Like so many great American soul artists, Hayes started out singing in the church from a very young age. He taught himself how to play piano, organ, and saxophone and before launching his own career in Memphis at Stax-Volt (whose treatment would later cause him much stress), he worked behind the scenes at the label as a writer for others.  His work there included co-writing the big hit "Soul Man" for Sam and Dave. 1967 was the yearisaac hayes black moses Hayes began his solo career with the debut Presenting Isaac Hayes, followed two years later by the commercially successful landmark album Hot Buttered Soul

The albums kept coming, including The Isaac Hayes Movement and To Be Continued, but it was the 1971 release of the score to the movie Shaft that would push him to the top. The score also earned him an Academy Award (for Best Score) and a Grammy. He continued his creative streak that year with
the amazing Black Moses album. In 1973 he released Joy and the next year composed two soundtracks, Truck Turner (a film that he also starred in) and Tough Guys.

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Ganymede

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 10, 2008 01:23pm | Post a Comment
Ganymede

Ganymede is the largest satellite in our solar system and probably more interesting than the planet Mercury. It orbits the largest planet in the system, Jupiter. Imagine taking a gander into the sky and seeing that red storm swirling above you like the eye of Sauron! Luckily for citizens of Ganymede, you can't get shrooms there, because that would pretty much guarantee a scary time.



Jupiter (left) and Ganymede (right) (case'n you didn't know)

200km below Ganymede's icy surface, a salty subsurface ocean exists*. It is the only moon in the solar system to possess a magnetosphere. Its atmosphere is primarily composed of oxygen in various states.

 
           
The handsomest man alive since the handsomest man expired               The handsomest moon

It was named after the Gods' cupbearer in the Greek religion. The position of divine cupbearer had previously been filled by the goddess of youth, Hebe, who was replaced following the abduction and installation of Ganymede at Zeus' insistence. 

map turkey troad phrygia

Where it all went down- in what's now Turkey

Ganymede was a Trojan prince and the most handsome guy alive in his day. One day he was tending sheep whilst vacationing in Phyrgia. There he caught Zeus' pederastic eye and the god sent a giant eagle to abduct the guy and bring him to Olympus. In Olympia, he was well-liked except, perhaps not surprisingly, by Zeus' wife Hera. His greatest contribution to we mortals was inventing mead, the delicious alcoholic honey brew which made Grendel go cuckoo for cocoa puffs in distant
Götaland.

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