Will Mackin Reads “The Lost Troop”
1 hour ago
"When Doves Cry"Prince rolled through the Great White North last Tuesday and left behind a bucketful of purple pixie-dust...
"Nothing Compares 2 U"James Brown's legendary sax player, Maceo Parker, was along for the ride linking "Play That Funky Music" with "Alphabet Street" and "Delirious"....
“When I get up in the morning, my daily prayer is, grant me today my illusion, my daily illusion. Due to the fact that illusions are necessary, have become necessary for a life in a world completely devoid of a utopian conscience and utopian presentiment.” ~ Ernst BlochMy god, was there ever a more sickening bunch of neanderthals than the cretins moping around in Douglas Coupland's first novel, Generation X? At least I was too young to be sucked up into their demographic - apparently 1959-1965 is the window of inclusion. I never cottoned on to the slacker ennui aesthetic this novel embodies, and I'm pretty sure neither did Coupland. He went on to do much greater things, but unfortunately for him this cultural milestone will forever be hanging from his scrawny neck. I mean, what idiot travels to Palm Springs to find the meaning of life?
(Coupland, 1992)But what Coupland's Gen X'ers settle for is something far from any utopia:
We live small lives on the periphery; we are marginalized and there’s a great deal in which we choose not to participate. We wanted silence and we have that silence now…We had compulsions that made us confuse shopping with creativity, to take downers and assume that merely renting a video on a Saturday night was enough. But now that we live here in the desert, things are much, much better.”Their goals are modest, “small” even, and they avoid participating in “a great deal.” They also dislike noise and desire “silence." Sounds a bit like a cemetery to me. Nevertheless, they still hang on, even in Palm Springs, to the forces that caused them to leave in the first place. They lack the ability or desire to go all the way and imagine a real alternative outside of the natural flows of apathy or fear. Instead they succumb to a life of futurelessness, a dystopia where nostalgia is the only true respite.
“Something’s missing when instead of the possibility of radical difference, we find always and everywhere the same ideas of how we might proceed.” – Eric Cazdyn and Imre Szeman in After Globalization.What can be done in a world that's moving beyond our control? When systems take on a momentum of their own a sense of fatalism can overtake any gesture of collective will. Just look at what Stephen Harper has done in Canada's name at the Durban climate conference this week. Margaret Atwood’s 2003 novel, Oryx and Crake, is a warning and a harrowing portrait of the dystopia that awaits if we fail to harness a utopian conscience, if we fail to consider the “possibility of radical difference,” and succumb to the perception that forces remain beyond our control.
"He doesn’t know which is worse, a past he can’t regain or a present that will destroy him if he looks at it too clearly. Then there’s the future. Sheer vertigo."Jason Courtney)
“A new totalizing political art – if it is indeed possible at all – will have to hold to the truth of postmodernism, that is to say its fundamental object- the space of multinational capital - at the same time at which it achieves a breakthrough to some as yet unimaginable new mode of representing this last, in which we may again begin to grasp our positioning as individual and collective subjects and regain a capacity to act and struggle which is at present neutralized by our spatial as well as our social confusion."
"Schmaltz is an unprivate portrait of how private feeling is currently conceived, which social change can pitilessly revise."I'm not sure I'd agree that Schmaltz is exclusively "private feeling" - most art originates from a "private" space, essentially. Schmaltz differentiates itself through its fearless approach to sentimentality. Schmaltz replaces the notion of cool with genuine feeling. That it sometimes appears drippy or sappy is not only worth embracing because it offends Bourdieu's aristocracy, but because humans are sometimes naturally inclined this way. When it comes to the realm of feeling, Schmaltz exclaims, "No shame!"
"The single most important development in modern music is making a business out of it...you have reached a point where you can't just sit down and write because you know how to write and you love to write and eventually somebody will listen because they love to listen and maybe somebody will play it because they'll want to play it. That is gone." ~ Frank Zappa
"The culture industry not so much adapts to the reactions of its customers as it counterfeits them." ~ Theodor Adorno
"An emancipated community is a community of narrators and translators." ~ Jacques Rancière
Mr. O signing a personal dedication to YukoMichael Ondaatje "played" the Winspear Centre last night in Edmonton and brought the house down. He began with a brief tribute to Robert Kroetsch and then read for about 40 minutes from his new novel, The Cat's Table, including this gorgeous passage:
"I remember still how we moved in that canal, our visibility muted, and those sounds that were messages from shore, and the sleepers on deck missing this panorama of activity. We were on the railing bucking up and down. We could have fallen and lost our ship and begun another fate - as paupers or as princes. 'Uncle!' we shouted, if someone was close enough to distinguish our small figures. 'Hullo, Uncle!' And people would wave, fling us a grin. Everyone who saw us sliding by was an uncle that night. Someone threw us an orange. An orange from the desert!" (p. 129)The main character, Michael, is an 11-year-old boy aboard a steamship bound for England from Sri Lanka in the 1950s. The ship here has just entered the Suez Canal. Ondaatje said last night that he's not an "ideas man" - the closest he gets is something like an idea of "how to fit a horse into a house." In the passage above, he captures the exuberance of youth and the boundless possibilities that can electrify our surroundings. Those are the types of ideas worth committing a lifetime to.
And don't ask meThat's alright. Back in 1999, I attended another Ondaatje reading in Vancouver and brought along Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, which he signed, "To David," after giving me a look as though a were a flaming newt. Thanks for the memories, Mike!
about my interpretation of "Madame George."
That's a nine-minute song
a two hour story. ~ "Tin Roof"
We're in the money! - "Racehorse"The verdict is in: Wild Flag's debut is a corker, easily one of the best guitar albums of the year so far. Slathered together with dirty riffs and scuffed up rhythms, the gals from Sleater-Kinney, Helium & the Minders have concocted a glorious soundtrack for our fetid times.
"Could #OWS have scripted a more apt antagonist than this living, breathing personification of oligarchy: a Wall Street billionaire who so brazenly purchased his political office, engineered the overturning of a term-limits referendum and then spent more than $100 million of his personal fortune to stay in power, and now resides well above the law?"
1. 39/45 Star - awarded for service in an active theater of operations;Jack and his comrades fought for a way of life they believed was worth sacrificing for and in the process, modeled a form of valour that continues to inspire. There's nobility and grace in putting your life on the line for freedom and justice. It's the long view, the same that moves people of conscience to take a stand for the good of future generations.
2. Germany Star - awarded for active service in France or Germany;
3. Defense Medal - awarded to all Canadians serving overseas;
4. War Medal - awarded to all Canadians who served during the war;
5. Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp - awarded to all Canadians who volunteered for service during the war for at least eighteen months. The clasp was for service out of Canada. It was generally known as the AFM with the Piccadilly Clasp (Away From Mom);
6. CD Canada Decoration - warded for twelve years military service including Militia;
7. COTC Belgian Croix de Guerre; awarded for my contribution on the Leopold Canal and other parts of Belgium;
8. Order of Leopold 11 avec palm - awarded for other service in Belium and Europe."
"Demonstrating like this is as American as apple pie. We’ve been marching up and down and demonstrating throughout our history...This is something that our political leaders need to think about. It isn’t enough just to scream at our Occupy Wall Street demonstrators — we need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into how do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?"The right to dissent is inseparable from the values my uncle Jack and others fought and died for. When I speak out, attend an Occupy event or simply question authority, I'm forever grateful for their sacrifice.
"Would you care to stay till sunrise?Once in a while something leaps out from the shadows to bite you on the ass...if you're lucky. I live for those moments, those rare occurrences of fate and serendipity that produce a new discovery. Enter Dory Previn. Not really new - we already met years ago. My mum was a fan in the early 70s, along with Judy Garland and Helen "I Am Woman" Reddy...
It's completely your decision" ~ Dory Previn
I’ve seen him in the headlines, and on the evening news,
I saw him on the sidelines when stones were thrown at Jews,
And marching in Montgomery, pretending that he cared,
I saw him wink, as though some old conspiracy were shared
Last night I found obscenities scrawled across my wall,
I swear I can’t repeat the filthy words that I recall,
And then the most immoral, damned insulting thing of all,
As I read each line
"Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right"~ Ani DiFrancoA tool may come in all shapes and sizes, but no other one can compete when it's money. Payola has been taking over the democratic process in both Canada and the US for some time and corporations have been at the center of it all. Where the big money goes, so too do changes to the political environment that reflect the will of a corporate agenda. Free association? Free speech? A referendum in Greece? Only so far as they don't pose a threat to any benefactors. Government and corporate interests have merged at the expense of the public.
"Love is an action, never simply a feeling" ~ bell hooksThe occupy movements around the world are providing a real opportunity for reflection and collective action (even in China!). As Slavoj Zizek has said, a crisis in imminent, but we don't need to panic. As I observe my local manifestation here in Edmonton, the benefits of the process - just getting involved - are obvious. It's invigorating and even liberating to attend the rallies, hang out and actively participate in defining a new movement.
"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong" ~ Voltaire
"In a society that has abolished every kind of adventure the only adventure that remains is to abolish the society."Guy Debord and the Situationists brought game to the spectacle of street protests. It was performance waged with style and subversion that ultimately turned May 1968 into a touchstone for future generations. Did they result in any systemic change? No, but they did cause adjustments and shifts in the system that led to limited forms of progress. Even if this was just an illusion of progress they still raised awareness and opened new ground for future movements to effect change.