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"Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show."
(Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)

2005, Jun 03; 19:36 ::: Segregation

The Rex Theatre for Colored People, Leland, Mississippi, USA, June 1937
image sourced here.

see also: racism - 1937 - USA

2005, Jun 03; 18:04 ::: Superpowers in history

image sourced here.

Although the term superpower is a recent one, the word has been retrospectively applied to previous military powers. The oldest superpower on the planet, and one which maintained this at various points in history, were the civilizations in Mesopotamia, with their unrivaled wealth, antiquity and cultural domination of Asia and beyond. The Roman Empire covered most of Europe, North Africa & Asia Minor. Imperial China once had the world's largest navy, a record not broken until early 19th century. The Mongol Empire spanned from southeast Asia to Eastern Europe. In 16th and 17th centuries the Ottoman Empire stretched from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Persian Gulf and challenged the nations of Europe in its advances along its southeastern border. At its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the British Empire covered a quarter of the Earth's land area and comprised a third of its population. It was said "The sun never sets on the British Empire." During its Siglo de Oro, Spain had possession of Italy, Germany, The Netherlands and many colonies in the Americas. After gaining independence from Spain the Dutch Empire had territories all over the globe. At various times during its history France had the largest military in the world, with colonies in western Africa, North and South America and southeast Asia. Not as clearly in this category are nations that gained unquestioned hegemony over a large neighborhood at a time before global travel was a reality. Nations such as ancient Egypt, the Aztec Empire, the Persian Empire, and the short lived Greek/Macedonian empire under Alexander the Great could in one sense be considered early superpowers, at least for a time when an understanding of what is meant by "the world" was much smaller than it is today. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superpower#Superpowers_in_history [May 2005]

2005, Jun 03; 17:48 ::: 20th century cultural imperialism

Cultural imperialism in the twentieth century was primarily connected with the United States and with the Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent with other countries that exert strong influence on neighboring nations. Most countries outside the US feel that the high degree of cultural export through business and popular culture--popular and academic books, films, music, and television--threatens their unique ways of life or moral values where such cultural exports are popular. Some countries, including France, have policies that actively oppose Americanisation. Some American cultural producers such as Reader's Digest have responded to or altogether avoided such resistance by adapting their content (or the surface of it) to local audiences.

China has, in various periods over the 20th century, pursued repressive policies towards the indigenous cultures and religions of Tibet and Xinjiang, and has encouraged Han Chinese immigration into those regions, for example, through the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. This has been widely viewed as cultural imperialism by exile and dissident groups abroad and their supporters. The nationwide promotion of a standardized Chinese language has also sparked debate, both in Mainland China and Taiwan, about whether this constitutes a form of cultural imperialism over regional dialects.

Representatives of al-Qaida stated that their attacks on US interests were motivated in part by a reaction to perceived US cultural imperialism.

It should be noted that 'cultural imperialism' can refer to either the forced acculturation of a subject population, or to the voluntary embracing of a foreign culture by individuals who do so of their own free will. Since these are two very different referents, the validity of the term can been called into question. The term cultural imperialism is understood differently in particular discourses. E.g. as "media imperialism" or as "discourse of nationality" (Tomlinson, 1991).

Cultural influence can be seen by the "receiving" culture as either a threat to or an enrichment of its cultural identity. It seems therefore useful to distinguish between cultural imperialism as an (active or passive) attitude of superiority, and the position of a culture or group that seeks to complement its own cultural production, considered partly defective, with imported products or values.

The writer Edward Said, one of the founders of the field of post-colonial study, wrote extensively on the subject of cultural imperialism, and his work is considered by many to form an important cornerstone in this area of study. His work highlights the inaccuracies of many assumptions about cultures and societies and is largely informed by Michel Foucault's concepts of discourse and power.

Canada is also grappling with the ever-potent influence of the U.S. Aside from the fact that American businesses are purchasing Canadian industries and resources, the Canadian population is continuously exposed to the American media. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_imperialism#20th_century_cultural_imperialism [Jun 2005]

2005, Jun 03; 15:02 ::: Twelve-tone proletariat

After almost a century, serial twelve-tone composition has yet to catch on with the general music public, for all the enthusiasm with which some people have greeted it. Even so, twelve tone music was hailed as the wave, the only wave of the musical future. Crocker even put Anton Webern on a pedestal as the Omega Point of all Western Music. I think Anton Webern was a great composer, but to declare any one composer to be the Omega Point of music is bad theology (i.e., idolatry.) Theodor Adorno, the Marxist philosopher and musicologist, seems that have looked forward to the day when the Proletariat would march towards the Revolution singing the stirring tunes of Arnold Schoenberg. That did not happen and it probably won't. --http://andrewmarr.homestead.com/files/music/musicmystery.htm [May 2005]

see also: music - classic - 1900s

2005, Jun 03; 14:37 ::: Bouncer

A doorman or a bouncer is a term for a person who deals with disorderly people in a bar or pub.

It has been thought that the word, bouncer, originated from when the said disorderly person would be thrown out and bounce as he hit the ground. Another speculation is that the term originated from the person that stood guard on the bar door bouncing a coin someone gave him to enter the bar on some wood to test whether it was real or counterfeit.

Bouncers are only meant to restrain an individual, but they sometimes are more violent.

A doorman is the bouncer who works the main entrance to an establishment. This is a better paid and more prestigious position, especially since it is common to get gifts from those who want in.

Increasingly bouncers must be certified with training in crowd control and first aid. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doorman [May 2005]

Maitre d'Street
Rubell was the co-owner and self-anointed "maitre d'street" of the holy grail of nightclubs, Studio 54, the cathedral of dance where Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, Calvin Klein and Mick and Bianca Jagger regularly rubbed satin shoulders with wannabes from Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens as hundreds of unsuccessful nobodies jammed the pavements outside. In Studio 54 during the late 1970s, every night was New Year's Eve. "Towards midnight, people would get embarrassingly desperate if I wouldn't let them in," says Rubell. "I think I caused more than one nervous breakdown and more than a few broken romances." (Rubell used deliberately to split couples up, only allowing one of them in.) --Dylan Jones (Times, 1998/08/02)

see also: nightclub - discotheque - clubs

2005, Jun 03; 14:37 ::: Mob rule

(Redirected from Mob rule)

Ochlocracy (Greek: ??????????; Latin: ochlocratia) is government by mob or a disorganized mass of people. Ochlocracy is also a pejorative term for democracy and more specifically, majoritarianism. Additionally, it is a term in civics that implies that there is no formal authority whatsoever, not even a commonly-accepted view of anarchism, and so disputes are raised, contended and closed by brute force - might makes right, but only in a very local and temporary way, as another mob or another mood might just as easily sway a decision.

The term was first coined by Polybius. An ochlocrat is one who is an advocate or partisan of ochlocracy. It can also used as an adjective ochlocratic or ochlocratical.

Of course, whether or not the decisions enforced by a mob are good is another matter entirely. Different mobs have supported a wide variety of viewpoints throughout history, and most people would agree with at least some of them.

The threat of mob rule (not unlike the term tyranny of the majority) is often used as a rhetorical device by those who wish to see more power assigned to a certain ruling minority. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mob_rule [Jun 2005]

Ochlocracy: What some argue to be the end product of an unstable anarchic lawless system, a system known as "rule by organized crime". Such a system emerges when powerful gang-like organizations arrogate power and develop a semi-legitimate status.

see also: mass

2005, Jun 03; 14:01 ::: The Yakuza Movie Book : A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films (2003) - Mark Schilling

The Yakuza Movie Book : A Guide to Japanese Gangster Films (2003) - Mark Schilling [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From Publishers Weekly
Yakuza films, with their "endless variations on the theme of revenge," have influenced American directors from Francis Ford Coppola to Quentin Tarantino. These Japanese gangster genre pics are a "great guilty pleasure," says Japan Times film reviewer Schilling, and though they had their "Golden Age" in the 1960s and 1970s, they're now enjoying renewed popularity in the West. Schilling has compiled profiles of and interviews with directors and actors, along with 100 reviews of yakuza movies, to present what the publisher calls the first book in English devoted entirely to this genre. Schilling charts yakuza's development, explains the origin of Japanese gangs, the various styles and qualities of the films, and the ways in which fans-in Japan and elsewhere-have responded to these movies. Each film review lists the director and cast members and offers a plot summary and Schilling's own critique; 60 black-and-white photos complement the text. It's a comprehensive package, sure to be of value to fans of yakuza and other gangster movies. --Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

see also: Japanese cinema - crime

2005, Jun 03; 13:40 ::: Gangsta rap

Gangsta rap, also known as hardcore hip-hop, was the name given to the subgenre of hip hop which involves a lyrical focus on the lifestyle of street thugs and gangsters. Though hip hop's ghetto roots had always made violence and drug dealings common lyrical topics, they were rarely handled with anything more than a hard-edged variant of the perspective on inner-city problems seen in the socially conscious soul music of the 1970s; gangsta rap, however, completely focuses upon and in the vast majority of cases embraces the lifestyle of the drug dealers, thugs and criminals of the street. The term "Gangsta rap" is usually used to refer to the music describable as such coming from the West Coast or the South; East Coast hip hop artists and fans also use the "hardcore hip-hop" descriptor. The subgenre is notable for being by far the most commercially successful strand of hip hop and achieved considerable chart dominance during the later two-thirds of the 1990s, when many artists moved towards a more pop-friendly mainstream sound.

Controversy over subject matter
The subject matter inherent in gangsta rap has caused a great deal of controversy, with many observers criticizing the genre for the perceived messages it espouses, including homophobia, misogyny, racism and materialism. Gangsta rappers generally defend themselves by pointing out that they are describing the reality of inner-city ghetto life, and claim that when rapping they are simply playing a character. Given that the audience for gangsta rap has become predominately white, some commentators have even criticized it as analogous to minstrel shows and blackface performance, in which African-Americans or whites, made to look like black caricatures, acted in a stereotypically uncultured and ignorant manner for the entertainment of white audiences. Some performers, such as The Geto Boys, are even accused of being cartoonish and over-the-top (though many artists, particularly the Geto Boys, would be the first to freely admit this). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangsta_rap [Jun 2005]

Gangsters are members of a professional crime organization, such as a gang or a mafia group. Usually, members of the mafia or a like organization are referred to as a mobster while individual high-scale criminals who participate in mob-like activity or members of a small criminal enterprise are referred to as gangsters. There can be overlap, however, such as in the case of Dutch Schultz, who ran his own independent gang yet also worked as part of a coalition of Jewish mobsters aligned with the Italian mafia.

Gangsters typically run their operations as a pseudo-business in that they do offer some product or service, albeit an illegal one, for paying customers, rather than outright theft, although they engage in plenty of that as well. For example during the prohibition era, gangsters monopolized the alcohol trade, in the 1950s, they did the same to gambling, and today, they control the trade of narcotics.

Other classic gangster endeavours include prostitution and charging local businesses "protection money" as if the gang were a private security firm, when in fact the payments are made solely to protect the business from the gangsters themselves and sometimes from other gangs. This practice is known as indirect armed robbery or extortion. Additionally, they frequently take over or wield undue influence in labor unions.

Gangsters also are known for attempting to manipulate the outcome of civil institutions, such as court cases and political elections, through bribery and intimidation. When gangsters become particularly powerful, they may eventually develop reciprocal relationships with law enforcement they have managed to corrupt. In this situation the police are handsomely paid off, and in exchange, the police ignore the gangsters' illicit activities or may even assist them by directly taking part in crimes or by arresting competitors.

Today an Ebonics form of the word, "gangsta", has become associated with gangsta rap. This genre's lyrics are often based on living gang-related lifestyles, and can be portrayed in either a realistic, gritty way, or in a cartoonish way. Common street gangs now call themselves "gangsters" or "G", even though the term is more appropiately used with members of organized crime such as the mafia or the yakuza.

Famous individual gangsters include:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangster [Jun 2005]

see also: music - hip hop - 1990s - rap

2005, Jun 03; 11:07 ::: Film noir

Peter Lorre and John McGuire in Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Another influential — if less celebrated — example of early film noir is Stranger on the Third Floor (RKO, 1940). This film centers around a newspaper reporter who testifies as a witness in a murder trial in which an innocent man is found guilty. Immediately after the verdict is delivered — following a trial in which one of the jurors is caught snoring during crucial testimony — the reporter begins to doubt his own testimony and to wonder whether the convicted man might be a victim of circumstantial evidence and an over-zealous criminal justice system. When he later discovers that his next-door neighbor has been murdered, he realizes that he himself could be convicted of the second murder through circumstantial evidence. That night, he dreams that he is on trial for his life and that no one will believe in his innocence. But in the dream he recognizes the real killer (Peter Lorre), lurking in the back of the courtroom. --http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/noir/hb-all.html [Jun 2005]

The American hard-boiled detective film began to appear in the early 1940s, providing an alternative to the traditional murder mystery that had dominated detective films throughout the silent era and into the 1930s. These films represented an artistic effort to break the rules of the game laid down by countless movies about Sherlock Holmes and Philo Vance, and by the ongoing "Thin Man" series. Embracing the techniques and outlook of film noir, which the hard-boiled detective film would come to represent, the people who made these films set out to create on the motion picture screen a different kind of world, and to provide it with a darker, more cynical interpretation.

The makers of this new type of detective film seemed to recognize that if they were going to create a new cinematic view of the world, they also would have to create a completely new hero to exist in that world. Yet, they did not all create the same type of hero, nor did the film noir hero remain static during his entire run. Instead, the hard-boiled detective films of the 1940s supplied a surprisingly diverse set of heroes, each offering a variation on the common theme of crime and detection in the dark urban scene. --http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/noir/hb-all.html [Jun 2005]

see also: film noir - crime fiction - detective

2005, Jun 03; 10:07 ::: Ero-guro-nansensu (Spanish)

El ero-guru (también denominado en algunas ocasiones como ero-guro-nansensu, erótico, grotesco y sin sentido), una abreviación de los términos erotismo y grotesco, se hizo muy popular en los movimientos literarios y artísticos de la década de los 20 y 30 (ésto es durante el periodo Taisho y principios del periodo Showa). Quizás la figura más representativa de este movimiento sea Edogawa Rampo (1894-1965), un autor muy popular especializado en novelas de misterio y terror.

No obstante las raíces del ero-guru se pueden encontrar en los trabajos de los escritores y pintores del periodo Edo (1600-1867), como el artista Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) e incluso el gran maestro del ukiyo-e (pinturas del mundo flotante), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), especialmente su set de 5 grabados de la colección Hyaku monogatari (Cien historias), inquietantes pinturas de fantasmas y monstruos japoneses (yokai). Otros artistas a destacar son Ochiai Yoshiiku (1833-1904) y Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), ambos discípulos del maestro Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). Yotshitoshi es considerado como el último gran maestro del ukiyo-e y es el creador de la bizarra colección de 36 Nuevas Formas de Fantastmas (1889-1892). Estos artistas ilustraban historias aparecidas en periódicos (nishiki-e shimbun) con grabados donde se representaban sucesos diarios de una forma grotesca y ocasionalmente sangrienta para satisfacer el gusto del público mayoritario por historias de envidia, orgullo y lujuria. Aunque rivales en el arte del nishiki-e cuya breve popularidad sólo duró hasta finales de la década de los setenta del siglo XIX, ambos artistas colaboraron en una serie de 28 grabados provocadores y horrorosos titulados Eimei Nijuhasshuku, que se podría traducir como 28 versos plebeyos sobre figuras gloriosas. Las muza-e (pinturas atroces) de este Eimei hicieron todo un espectáculo de las figuras de los criminales más notorios del historia de Japón y quwse convirtieron en un prototipo para las futuras colaboraciones entre artistas y escritores para la publicación de noticias nishiki-e. Dado su cáracter sensacionalista el ero-guro es a veces considerado como un movimiento frívolo, efectista y superficial. No obstante y especialmente durante el periodo Taisho y principios del periodo Showa, tal movimiento tenía un carácter subversivo y antigubernamental en un periodo de creciente militarización y represión del gobierno japonés. Más recientemente se podría a incluir dentro de esta categoría al manga-ka Suehiro Maruo por trabajos como Midori, la Chica de las Camelias o Ultra-gash Inferno.

Por su parte, Teruo Ishii es el mejor representante del ero-guro en el cine japonés. Algo que atestiguan largometrajes como los de la serie de ocho entregas [1968-1973] Tokugawa onna keibatsushi (Mujeres del periodo Tokugawa castigadas a muerte, aunque en occidente se han estrenado con tí‘ulos como Criminal Women [mujeres criminales], The Joys of Torture [los placeres de la tortura]) con una mezcla macabra de comedia, perversidad, sadismo y tortura (bondage) o la obra de culto Kyofu Kikei Ningen (1969, El terror de los hombres malformados, cuyo lanzamiento en video o DVD en Japón y su retransmisión en la televisión del país sigue siendo prohibido por su propia productora, Toei) y más recientemente Moju tai Issunboshi (2001, La bestia ciega contra pulgarcito), ambas basadas en cuentos de Edogawa Rampo, del cual Ishii es un gran admirador. A raíz de la celebración del centenario del autor en 1994 se ha visto un nuevo interés por adaptar algunos de sus trabajos para la gran pantalla. Algunos ejemplos han sido Yaneura no Sanposha (Akio Jissoji, 1993, adaptada anteriormente por Noboru Tanaka en 1976), Oshie to Tabi Suru Otoko (Toru Kawashima, El hombre que viaja con un grabado, 1992), Soseji (Shinya Tsukamoto, Gemelos, 1999). Para marzo del año que viene se espera el estreno de un nuevo filme basado en relatos del autor compuesto de cuatro cortos que lleva el título de Rampo Jigoku (El infierno de Rampo) . Los cortos estarán dirigidos por Suguru Takeuchi (Kasei no Unga, Los canales de marte), Akio Jissoji (Kagami Jigoku, El espejo infernal), Hisayasu Sato (Imomushi, La oruga) y Atsushi Kaneko (Mushi, Gusanos). --http://es.geocities.com/eiga9/glosario.html [Jun 2005]

see also: ero-guro - Teruo Ishii

2005, Jun 03; 09:21 ::: Psych-Out (1968) - Richard Rush

images from here.

Psych-Out (1968) - Richard Rush [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See also: LSD - 1968 - drug films - psychedelic

2005, Jun 02; 23:46 ::: More Psychedelic Jazz & Soul: from the Atlantic and Warner Vaults (2004) - Various Artists

More Psychedelic Jazz & Soul: from the Atlantic and Warner Vaults (2004) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Track Listings
1. Mortgage On My Soul (Wah-Wah) 2. Wiggle-Waggle 3. Baby I Love You 4. Lovely Is Today 5. Land Of 1,000 Dances 6. It Ain't What You Do (It's How You Do It!) 7. Live Right Now 8. Chica Boom 9. Hideaway 10. Hang 'Em Up 11. Brain Of Oskar Panizza

Album Description
Stretched out, trippy or simply out there, the common thread running through this second installment of 'Psychedelic Jazz & Soul' is exploration. All the selections here have a somewhat unusual quality about them, but are always...inspired. 'More Psychedelic Jazz & Soul' includes exhilarating, far out selections by the likes of Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, & Freddie Hubbard, Charles Lloyd, Yusef Lateef & Eddie Harris, as well as the rare & sought-after Brain Of Oskar Panizza by Michael Bundt, & Chica Boom by Jimmie & Vella Cameron. --via Amazon.com

See also: jazz - soul - psychedelic

2005, Jun 02; 23:32 ::: The Fourth Estate

The Fourth Estate, Il Quarto Stato (1901) - Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

The term "Fourth Estate" refers to the press, both in its explicit capacity of advocacy and in its implicit ability to frame political issues. The term goes back at least to Thomas Carlyle.

The term Fourth Estate has also (more infrequently) been used to refer specifically to the proletariat as against the three recognized estates of the French ancien régime.

Interestingly, an even earlier citation can be found for this use than for the one that now prevails: Henry Fielding, Covent Garden Journal (1752): "None of our political writers... take notice of any more than three estates, namely, Kings, Lords, and Commons... passing by in silence that very large and powerful body which form the fourth estate in this community... The Mob." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Estate [Jun 2005]

See also: 1901 - proletariat

2005, Jun 02; 23:30 ::: Third Estate

In France of the ancien régime and the age of the French Revolution, the term Third Estate (tiers état) indicated the generality of people which were not part of the clergy (the First Estate) nor of the nobility (the Second Estate). From these terms came the name of the medieval French national assembly: the Estates-General (Fr. Etats-Généraux), the analogue to the British Parliament but with no constitutional tradition of vested powers, nor with any permanency: the French monarchy remained absolute, and the estates general were convened only episiodically.

The Third Estate comprised all those who were not members of the aristocracy or the clergy, including peasants, working people and the bourgeoisie. In 1789, the Third Estate made up 98% of the population in France. Due in part to a limited franchise, the representatives of the Third Estate actually came from the wealthy upper bourgeoisie; sometimes the term's meaning has been restricted to the middle class, as opposed to the working class. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Estate [Jun 2005]

See also: bourgeosie - class - French revolution - proletariat

2005, Jun 02; 14:54 ::: The Revolution of Modern Art and the Modern Art of Revolution (1967)

THE JUVENILE delinquents — not the pop artists — are the true inheritors of Dada. Instinctively grasping their exclusion from the whole of social life, they have denounced its products, ridiculed, degraded and destroyed them.

A smashed telephone, a burnt car, a terrorised cripple are the living denial of the 'values' in the name of which life is eliminated. Delinquent violence is a spontaneous overthrow of the abstract and contemplative role imposed on everyone, but the delinquents' inability to grasp any possibility of really changing things once and for all forces them, like the Dadaists, to remain purely nihilistic.

They can neither understand nor find a coherent form for the direct participation in the reality they have discovered, for the intoxication and sense of purpose they feel, for the revolutionary values they embody. The Stockholm riots, the Hell's Angels, the riots of Mods and Rockers — all are the assertion of the desire to play in a situation where it is totally impossible.

All reveal quite clearly the relationship between pure destructivity and the desire to play: the destruction of the game can only be avenged by destruction. Destructivity is the only passionate use to which one can put everything that remains irremediably separated. It is the only game the nihilist can play; the bloodbath of the 120 Days of Sodom proletarianised along with the rest. --Timothy Clark, Christopher Gray, Donald Nicholson-Smith & Charles Radcliffe in The Revolution of Modern Art and the Modern Art of Revolution (1967) via http://www.notbored.org/english.html [Jun 2005]

Juvenile delinquency
Juvenile delinquency refers to antisocial or criminal acts performed by juveniles. It is an important social issue because juveniles are capable of committing serious crimes, but society must also recognize that responsibility for juvenile behavior goes beyond the juveniles themselves. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juvenile_delinquency [Jun 2005]

See also: juvenile delinquency - youth - crime - revolution - 1967 - anti - social - crime - modern art

2005, Jun 02; 14:54 ::: Masculism

Masculism is a body of social theory and political movement primarily based on the experiences of men. While generally providing a critique of social relations, many proponents of masculism also focus on analyzing gender inequality and the promotion of men's rights, interests, and issues. Masculism is commonly viewed as ideologically analogous to feminism.

History of masculism
The first kind of secular response to feminism came from Ernest Belfort Bax, a socialist theoretician in the height of socialism at the beginning of the 20th century, and an associate of Karl Marx. Bax wrote The Fraud of Feminism in 1913, which was in essence the first masculist text. However, the term masculism did not gain usage until the end of the 20th century and even today is sometimes misspelt "masculinism" or even confused with misogyny. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculinism [Jun 2005]

see also: gender - men - feminism

2005, Jun 02; 13:34 ::: The Revolution of Everyday Life (1967) - Raoul Vaneigem

One day, when Rousseau was travelling through a crowded village, he was insulted by a yokel whose spirit delighted the crowd. Rousseau, confused and discountenanced, couldn't think of a word in reply and was forced to take to his heels amidst the jeers of the crowd. By the time he had finally regained his composure and thought of a thousand possible retorts, any one of which would have silenced the joker once and for all, he was at two hours distance from the village.

The Revolution of Everyday Life (1967) - Raoul Vaneigem [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Finally, back in print again, the essential handbook for all of us still alienated by modern capitalism. Together with Debord, Vaneigem was the main theorist of situationist ideas. He has the added benefit of being eminently more readable! An incredible work, more potent now than ever. "We have a world of pleasures to win, and nothing to lose but boredom.......You want to fuck around with us? Not for long."

See also: Raoul Vaneigem - revolution - everyday life - 1967

2005, Jun 02; 13:34 ::: Media studies: derogatory attitudes

Media Studies is regularly the victim of derogatory jokes and attitudes. Ironically, then, it is the victim of the ideology and power relations it attempts to expose. Its relation to polytechnics, and subsequently the post-1992 New Universities, are also a target for ridicule.

The now annual moral panic in the UK every August when GCSE and A'level results are released normally focuses upon media studies as an example of the supposed dumbing down of education (Barker, 2001). It is often labelled as a Mickey Mouse degree.

The irony is that the discipline utilises many theorists and philosophers which many detractors might associate with "proper" (traditional) degrees. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_studies#Derogatory_attitudes [Jun 2005]

see also: mass media - media - media studies

2005, Jun 02; 11:24 ::: Culture industry

The culture industry is a term used to describe the nature of the social, economic and political structures that are proposed by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. The theory basically states that our culture not only mirrors our society but takes an important role in shaping it through the process of standardisation and commodification, creating objects rather than subjects.

His theories stand in stark contrast to much of Postmodernism, denying that modern commercial culture is as valid as that which preceded it, as it creates an atmosphere which serves to reinforce the status quo through creating false needs and a "fetish character" to culture rather than one which actually tries to question beliefs and ideologies.

The product of this culture industry is one that is designed to fill the leisure time of the audience. Adorno lambasts the notion of "free time" which he sees as the opposite of leisure, and the idea of hobbies being an affront to genuine interests.

Critics of the theory say that the products of mass culture would not be popular if people did not enjoy it, and that culture is self-determining in its administration. However, the concept heavily influenced intellectual discourse on popular culture and scholarly popular culture studies. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_industry [Jun 2005]

see also: culture industry

2005, Jun 02; 09:52 ::: Paula Rego

painting of the 1990s Dog Woman series by Paula Rego

"To be a dog woman is not necessarily to be downtrodden; that has very little to do with it. In these pictures every woman's a dog woman, not downtrodden, but powerful. To be bestial is good. It's physical. Eating, snarling, all activities to do with sensation are positive. To picture a woman as a dog is utterly believable." -- Paula Rego via http://library.thinkquest.org/17016/dog.htm [Jun 2005]

see also: Paula Rego

2005, Jun 02; 09:36 ::: Bourgeois and working class taste

Non-economic conceptions of class
In contrast to simple income--property hierarchies, and to structural class schemes like Weber's or Marx's, there are theories of class based on other distinctions, such as culture or educational attainment. At times, social class can be related to elitism, and those in the higher class are usually known as the "social elite".

For example, Bourdieu seems to have a notion of high and low classes comparable to that of Marxism, insofar as their conditions are defined by different habitus, which is in turn defined by different objectively classifiable conditions of existence. In fact, one of the principal distinction Bourdieu makes is a distinction between bourgeois taste and the working class taste. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class#Non-economic_conceptions_of_class [Jun 2005]

see also: class - taste - bourgeois - proletariat

2005, Jun 01; 00:00 ::: Animation

Thaumatrope (1825) - John Ayrton Paris

Phenakistoscope (1832) - Joseph Plateau
images sourced here.

see also: animation

2005, Jun 01; 22:28 ::: Black swans and inductive reasoning

There are seven species of swans in the world, all pure white except for the Australian Black Swan and the South American Black-necked Swan. The first European to see a Black Swan is believed to be the Dutch sailor Antonie Caen who described the species during his visit to the Shark Bay area in 1636. Later, the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh captured several birds on the Swan River, Western Australia in 1697, but many people in Europe did not believe him, as at that time it was believed that all swans were white. Three of the captured birds were taken to Batavia, where they lived for some time. However, the species wasn't reported again until the arrival of the 'First Fleet' in 1788. The Black Swan was first described scientifically by Dr. John Latham in 1790. --http://www.nzbirds.com/BlackSwan.html [Jun 2005]

No matter how many times 17th Century biologists observed white swans, and in how many different locations, there is no deductive path that can lead them to the conclusion that all swans are white. This is just as well, since, as it turned out, that conclusion would have been wrong. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science#Induction [Jun 2005]

see also: induction - reason

2005, Jun 01; 21:04 ::: Lucas Cranach (1472 - 1553)

self portrait (1550) - Lucas Cranach the Elder

Venus and Cupido

Venus und Amor (ca. 1530)
image sourced here.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 - October 16, 1553) was a German painter. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Cranach_the_Elder [Jun 2005]

see also: Lucas Cranach

2005, Jun 01; 15:48 ::: Underground Resistance

Tonight at Fuse-In, the Detroit techno music festival, I saw/heard the legendary Underground Resistance (performing under the name, one of their many pseudonyms, Galaxy 2 Galaxy). It was a great hour and a half (almost) of music, cool and yet bombarding the senses, with UR’s pounding rhythms and sheets of (often melodic) sound. But the set extended beyond basic Underground Resistance, as they showcased other affiliated performers (including Los Hermanos and Red Planet), and sometimes dancers, and played in a range of styles, including nods to Motown and Carlos Santana. All in all, the set was less SF/futuristic than it was multicultural/fusion: I mean a hard-edged multicultural, not the sappy corporate/liberal kind. A projection screen behind them showed/mixed images that ranged from kung fu film shots to Native American dances to stills of such figures as Frederick Douglass, Mother Teresa, and MLK/Malcolm. The set went by in a rush. At the end, Mike Banks (I presume it was) said to the crowd, “you’ve been schooled.” --Steven Shaviro, May 31st, 2005 via http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=417 [Jun 2005]

2005, Jun 01; 15:37 ::: Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze

Our discussion during my lecture, Spectacles of the Body, allowed us to consider the import of the cinema and its impact on epistemological and phenomenological discourse of the media and the body. Like television, cinema's emergence as a "technological wonder" and, for some, "revolution" has stirred a tremendous amount of critical discourse on the effects/affects of the movies. Laura Mulvey's key feminist tract, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"; raised the ideological stakes on representation of, in particular, the female body. It also brought into focus the masculinist workings of that ideology. For many years, Mulvey's essay stood as the paradigmatic polemic for feminist studies in the cinema. The use of pyschoanalysis as the methodological framework for the piece has been (from the article's inception) critiqued for its limited understanding of gender. One of the more recent critiques of both Mulvey and Freudian/Lacanian psychoanalysis in cinema studies has been through a turn to Gilles Deleuzes' theoretical propositions and work on the cinema. Rather than conceptualize the unconscious of the spectator as a fixed subject, Deleuze recommends a more rhizomatic or flexible model for discussing cinema. Steven Shaviro critiques the work of Mulvey while opening a Deleuzian model onto a study of the cinema. --Dr David Gerstner via http://www.otago.ac.nz/DeepSouth/spring2000/introductionfive.html [2000|Jun 2005]

Mulvey ranks the voyeuristic gaze as the more important of the two possible gazes and-within a psychoanalytical reading-ascribes this gaze as having a sadistic point of view. The threat of castration is neutralized by the subjugation and violation of the female body. This submission is then represented for the voyeuristic pleasures of the male viewer. Gaylyn Studlar's essay "Masochism and the Perverse Pleasures" of the Cinema complements Mulvey's argument: by drawing on a study by Gilles Deleuze, she emphasizes the fetishistic gaze as a genuine foundation of pleasurable looking. Deleuze argues that sadism and masochism, contrary to Freud's dialectical evaluation, are completely separate conditions and furthermore that the genesis of masochism temporally precedes sadism-at least within a psychoanalytical discourse which traces psychic disorders back into early childhood. Since fetishistic scopophilia renders the spectator in an inferior position, compared to the super-human status of the fetish, Studlar argues that fetishistic scopophilia pushes the spectator into a masochistic position. While Studlar rejects Mulvey's position and tries to formulate an alternative account, I want to argue that her argument is essentially complementary to Mulvey's: both arguments depend on the same basic matrix of gendered gazes, which is evaluated according to the same Freudian and Lacanian theories. The particular emphasis on voyeurism/ sadism on one hand and fetishism/masochism on the other hand must be understood as a purely academic exercise, bearing significance only within a clinical, psychoanalytic framework. Mulvey and Studlar can apply this model of the gendered gaze, but because they are working within an essentially gendered system, they cannot explore the various possibilities of the filmic gaze. --Robert Grimm via http://pages.emerson.edu/organizations/fas/latent_image/issues/1993-12/sado.htm [Jun 2005]

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