Monthly Archives: July 2008

Hipsters – the end of Western Civilization? Not bloody likely…

Adbusters has as its cover story this polemic against all-things-currently-hip.  A quote:

“The American Apparel V-neck shirt, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and Parliament cigarettes are symbols and icons of working or revolutionary classes that have been appropriated by hipsterdom and drained of meaning. Ten years ago, a man wearing a plain V-neck tee and drinking a Pabst would never be accused of being a trend-follower. But in 2008, such things have become shameless clichés of a class of individuals that seek to escape their own wealth and privilege by immersing themselves in the aesthetic of the working class.”

Yawn.  Adbusters, it should be noted, has been floundering for these past few years, mostly because of the internet.  Ironic that a magazine whose ostensible motto, “Power to the people”, ought to see its own downfall brought about by the most democratizing technology of the modern era?  Nevermind the actual content of the article: One can easily see that Adbusters probably has a particularly large axe to grind with the current batch of fashionistas and political activists.  Generation X had to devote a certain small portion of its meager disposable income in order to buy vaguely-articulate critiques of modern consumer culture.  Now, it’s simply par for the course on the internet (what are you reading right now?  I’m not about to charge you.) Continue reading

10 things to Scratch off your Worry list-

Hilarious (and informative to boot!) article on one of my favorite blogs, TierneyLab (NYtimes-login may be required).  Tierney details ten things that the media will do its best to make you worry about, but that in reality are of little concern.

Tierney Writes:

10. Unmarked wormholes. Could your vacation be interrupted by a sudden plunge into a wormhole? From my limited analysis of space-time theory and the movie “Jumper,” I would have to say that the possibility cannot be eliminated. I would also concede that if the wormhole led to an alternate universe, there’s a good chance your luggage would be lost in transit.

But what about the Large Hadron Collider, John? I’m pretty fucking worried about my beach towel (and me) being swallowed up by some huge fucking black hole when I’m just about to get a decent suntan.  And the media sure doesn’t seem to want to report on that, do they?  Leave it to the Europeans.  Does anyone else find it ironic that the Europeans are responsible for scientific rationalism, yet with this experiment may be the reason for Humanity’s doom?  You might be able to tell that I’m actually hoping for the (actually quite unlikely) LHC to create some supermassive black hole that swallows us all up.  It’ll easier than dying of global warming hysteria, that’s for sure.

Titan has oil: Invade Titan.

Get ready, denizens of Titan.  Your oppressive space-dictator has been held to be in violation of various UN sanctions; Get ready for some liberation, you bastards.

Aerial Drones and the Future of American Warfare

William Saletan wrote an interesting (and unusually straightforward) piece on automated drones policing the skies of countries that find themselves on the receiving end of American imperialism.  I think this kind of commentary is merited, especially when most people try and spin new technological advances as bringing on the end of days or as the greatest thing to happen (though usually the former).

Saletan writes: Continue reading

Oh look! Ewan McGregor wants to show us all how pleasant Africa can be.

How saintly: Ewan McGregor and a friend took a motorycycle trip all the way down to South Africa from Scotland.  Apparently, Africa isn’t the land of heads on pikes and the seething, corrupted heart of mankind.  It’s a relatively pleasant place!  How quaint.

Sarcasm aside, Ewan should get off of his high horse (or in this case, motorycle) and realize that 1) his views are inherently biased by his perspective.  There deference, kindness, and hospitality he was shown in Africa certainly couldn’t have been on account of his travelling with a TV crew (and presumably lots of money), could it?

By fighting a bias that shouldn’t be there in the first place, McGregor is just feeding European paternalism by acknowledging it into existence.  Better to respect Africa’s sovereignty and let it speak for itself.

Nas – Untitled

After reading the A.V. Club’s interesting interview, I feel like a few words on his new album are in order, mostly because I’ve found it so compelling.  The album was initially entitled Nigger, but was predictably changed as the release date came around and the realities of trying to distribute a record with that name became a little more perceivable.

The album itself is great; the production is meaty and dense enough to make you actually pay attention when you’re listening–this is the measure of what a good Hip-Hop album is to me.  If you can use it for background music, it’s not worth listening to.  As a white person, it’s difficult to listen to; you find none of the convenient and easy-to-listen-to cultural criticism of such groups as Tribe.  In this album Nas is at his most vicious and direct: the time for beating around the bush has long gone, and Nas has chosen to point his finger at those who are party to the injustices perpetuated on African-Americans: white people.

Which is not to say that what you will find here is a bunch of irritating race baiting; Nas is at his poetical and artistic best: his words carry the force and fury that are absent from the uninspired albums that followed the epic Illmatic.

On John Edward’s Mistress…

I just wrote an item for Radar Online about John Edwards’ mistress and love-child.