Monday, July 5, 2010

Hold Fast

Acute pressures from multiple spheres (personal, professional, intellectual, activist) are converge into one rapidly approaching zero point. I have only myself to rely on at this point: the time spent studying Badiou's distinction between heroism and courage in between endless listenings of metal anthems lionizing steadfast resolutness in the face of crisis has just been preparation for putting the analysis and critique on hold while I get down to business. Alright, then, here we go.

Oh, hi down there!

And since my iPod is brokified, which for me is akin to having my fellow athiest-in-a-foxhole abandon post at the first sign of a firefight, I've been subsisting on the same cultural effluvia as before, with the exception of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samouraï, Hithcock's Strangers on a Train, and Sophie Fienne/Slavoj Zizek's The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, none of which are portable, which is for the best when you really think about it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Run the Numbers

Likelihood that I will attempt to watch a movie after coming home mashed, alone: 25%

Likelihood that I will attempt to watch a movie after coming home mashed, with friends: 95%

Likelihood that I will make it through said movie in either scenario: less than 1%

Oh well. I guess you only really need to see the first 20 minutes of Suspiria to appreciate it anyway.

"I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them being murdered than an ugly girl or man. I certainly don't to justify myself to anyone about this. I don't care what anyone things or reads into it. I have often had journalists walk out of interviews when I say what I feel about this subject."
- Dario Argento

Daily bread: Andrew Potter and Joseph Heath - The Rebel Sell, Slavoj Zizek - First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Future of the Left - Curses and Travels With Myself and Another, Drudkh -Microcosmos, Twilight - Monument to Time End, Discordance Axis - Jouhou, Archers of Loaf -Icky Mettle, Dario Argento - Suspiria

Friday, June 18, 2010


I have two half-written polemics to be posted on this blog that I can’t motivate myself to finish, even though I feel strongly about the subject matter. The reason for my apprehension is as simple as it is jarring (at least it is for me): I simply don’t want to engage in a critical reflection today - I want something beautiful. I don’t want to give up my criticality, but I do want to reflect a bit on what it means.

I’m interested in locating the intersection of political, economic and cultural forces that drive social phenomena, investigating in particular how these forces are shaped by, and shape, space. In the tradition of my intellectual forebears, these sort of investigations involve a lot of critique. Critique and critical reflection often seem negative – this is wrong, that must be changed, and so on – but, in the grand tradition of Enlightenment thought (which, ironically, I am often critical of), critique is designed to be either transcendent of its subject or to elucidate possible transformations of its subjects in order to improve the subject’s condition. For the sake of example, if we critique a certain local government’s policy, the whole objective of pointing out its flaws is to sketch out ways that the local government’s policy could be improved. It’s no coincidence that the subtitle of Marx’s Capital is A Critique of Political Economy: Marx pointed out the failings, inconsistencies and contradictions of capital in order to create the groundwork for a more just and stable mode of social organization. Capital was meant to be ten volume set, with volumes towards the end of the set to be dedicated to finding the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Unfortunately for us all, Marx only really completed the first volume of Capital (volumes two and three were drafts edited and completed by Engels), and so we have been left to pick up the pieces from where the master left off, and figure out what a better, post-capitalist world might actually look like, and how it might function.

Adorno: good at figuring out what is wrong with art, popular culture and the relationship between people and capital, bad at seeing anything positive in anything, ever.

Our search begins with critique. We critique the undialectical straightjacket of modern science and its cloak of pseudo-objectivity, yet an alternative to the contemporary scientific method remains elusive. We critique the structural mechanics of capital, especially in its neoliberalized, free-market form, but alternative modes of economic organization lack the clarity and simplicity of capital exchange and monetary valuation, which David Harvey correctly points out are perhaps the only universally understood measuring stick for value. Critiques of the unjust and exploitative power relations that shape the world economy are as convincing and affecting as ever (in particular see Mike Davis’ Planet of Slums), and yet these power relations remain obdurate, for the simple reason that the world economy requires immiseration and poverty in order to discipline labour and establish fertile conditions for competitive locational advantage and Schumpeterian “creative destruction”. In sum: Marxian critiques of cultural, political and economic formations are often accurate in pointing out their failings, but what often seems missing is the transcendent end of critique, with a vision of a better world in mind.

David Harvey wrote in Spaces of Hope something to the effect of “a ship that knows not where it sails can make no use of the wind”. I am a firm believer in this. What is the point of criticality if it isn’t driving us towards a better world? What is a better world – more personal gratification? Economic stability? Social justice? In effect, what is point of understanding all the failings of capital if there is no understanding of love, death, sex, religion, family, or communication? As the elder Marcuse succinctly put it, “not every problem someone has with his girlfriend is necessarily due to the capitalist mode of production”.

And so we come to beauty. I won’t take this time to try and figure out what it is, or how my conception of beauty is shaped (Pierre Bourdieu, you and I can have that conversation another time), but I am slowly coming to the realization that I need to take more time to appreciate it. There are significant hardships awaiting us if we don’t significantly change the architecture of our collective politico-economic sphere, but these changes are meaningless unless I/you/we understand what we are changing for. This is a deeply philosophical quandary, and not one that I can answer at the moment with any sense of depth or profundity, but I do know this: I am taking some time, possibly the rest of this summer, to try and understand how my ideals of beauty are formed, and experience this beauty in the fullest. This will probably involve making a lot of mistakes and doing things that I know on a rational level to be kind of foolish, but, you know, sometimes even I have to give myself a break.

Last night I attended a fundraiser for Comrad Sound, a small local arts/community development centre in danger of closing. The fundraiser was packed full of energetic, intelligent, enthusiastic people of a variety of demographics. It was beautiful.

Other beauties: David Cross – Bigger and Blackerer, Wolf Parade – Expo 86, Angels of Light – Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home and split with Akron/Family, Washed Out – Life of Leisure, Karl Polanyi – The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, Tom Waits – Bone Machine, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Kurt Vonnegut – Armageddon in Retrospect, Earth – Hex; Or, Printing in the Infernal Method, activism

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


My life has been strange lately; a weird combination of monastic retreat and jubilent extroversion, personal growth and personal loss, total eagerness and crushing ennui. As always, I've tried to keep myself busy in order to distract myself from the losses and solitude, but these things have a habit of catching up to me. Still, I think about the future a lot. It's almost all I think about: the ten million things I want to experience, achieve, and accomplish. It is both my opiate and my stimulant, a wellspring exuberance and a font of melancholy. (It's also potentially a source of all of this pseudo-romantic prose, but that's another matter altogether)

In my latest bout of - nausea? angst? melancholy? - I stumbled across a copy Walter Benjamin's On the Concept of History, which I had meant to read for a while and never really got around to. It's mystical and passionate, even if parts of it are totally opaque to me. His ninth thesis, however, has struck me, and I've included it below.

"A Klee drawing named "Angelus Novus" shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."
- Walter Benjamin

I think this passage reflects the overall pessimism of the Frankfurt School, and it's hard not to think of negative dialectics and an inescapably grim historical materialism while reading this passage, which are not things I am prepared to totally buy. I also think that sometimes it's hard not to imagine myself/ourselves as being similarly hurtled forward through time by a force so inexorable and violent that it precludespossibility of meaningful change, and you/I/we are left with nothing to do but fixate upon the ruins piling up at our feet at a mounting pace.

It is 12:20 pm, May 19th 2010. It feels like it's about to rain. I am waiting for a train bearing a friend who will be late for a meeting that might not happen. I am working at a job that has been a learning experience, but has been spiritually exhausting. It is a limited tenure, but I have found out that I may be able to extend my contract for another year. Maybe. I need the money. I am beating my wings against the fury of an incoming storm and I am not sure how it will turn out.

Stay tuned.

Substance: Arkhon Infaustus - Orthodoxyn, Watain - Sworn to the Dark and Casus Luciferi, Busta Rhymes - When Disaster Strikes, Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement of the Decline, Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter - The Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't be Jammed, Ernest Hemmingway - The Sun Also Rises, Japanther - Rock n' Roll Ice Cream, LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Last night in the apartment I've spent two years living in with Ana. These have been the two happiest/most productive years of my life. No time to think about that, for now - just have to finish a paper for a grad seminar in the next few hours (somehow), pack (somehow), and move tomorrow (somehow).

I have friends helping me move tomorrow. I decided I needed to buy some beer for my labourer friends, because beer is the universal unit of exchange for labour power. Digging through my stuff I found my old skate, put on some Suicidal Tendencies, and skated down the block to buy some beer, and somehow, against all odds, I reversed the ageing process by no less than four years.

Gateways: Suicidal Tendencies - S/T, Dissection - Storm of the Lights Bane, Liars - Sisterworld, Natural Snow Buildings - The Snowbringer Cult, Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury, Gang Starr - Daily Operation

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So Busy, So Bored

So many deadlines approaching, and yet, with all the work I have to do I somehow find myself doing this. I should be reading critical theory and writing about urban social movements, but instead I find myself raiding friends of friends via Facebook and lurking on various electronic nonplaces. Sure, it sounds glib, but I grew up in a suburb, and spent a lot of time playing video games, isolating myself, hanging out on message boards, reading alone. I'm used to the idea of
boredom, but somehow still haven't found a way to be bored without being self-destructive. Maybe a little bit more time in this room with no windows will help? Maybe not.

Yeah, whatever.

Marching to the beat of: Gang Starr - Daily Operation, A Grave With No Name - Mountain Debris, Jodi Dean - Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies, Failures - 1st LP, Atlas Sound - Logos, Lustmord - [O T H E R D U B], some black metal bullshit, disappointment

Monday, April 12, 2010

Get Sad

I just stumbled across this wonder. I've listened to And We Parted Ways on Mt Jade about 15 times in under and hour and a half (the other time was spent listening to the other two songs intermittently). I don't have any money, I can barely afford to eat, and I can't go to the University's year end student party on Friday because I have to work (so I can eat). I haven't been to that party since 2005. I am feeling old: not in that shitty, "my body is giving out on me" way, because let's face it, I'm only 24 (and even I need to give myself a break sometimes), but I feel like my youth has slipped away, and I've lost all my excuses to be reckless and carefree, although then again, maybe I was never that reckless and carefree? Maybe I've always been as scared as I am right now?

It's April 12th, 2010, and it's 10:00pm. I am sitting in a brightly lit computer lab with no windows doing something I hate, listening to sad music, thinking about last summer, my future, comic books, my brothers, how I'm too old to live but too young to die, and I swear on everything that I hold sacred that I can smell rain right now.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Polemics I: Politics

Ann Coulter spoke in Calgary a couple weeks ago. Ranting, raving, carrying on, clutching a few guillable suckers close to her wizened bosom and drawing a few (25 or so) guillable suckers outside of her talk to protest her supposed hate speech. So what did the people who listened to her speak and those who protested her speaking have in common?

By either showing up to hear what she had to say or by showing up to stand in solidarity against the tyranny of her loose-cannon, paranoid xenophobia, the effect is the same: either approach demonstrates a tacit acceptance that Coulter is presenting a valid political perspective. The real danger of people like Ann Coulter isn't that they will inform public policy, but rather that they degenerate and corrupt popular conceptions of politics, and in so doing, undermine the basis of democratic decision-making.

Let's be honest about what Ann Coulter represents: she is a vulgar product of the same commodity culture that has profited wildly from keeping the general citizenry uninformed about politics. She is no more a political theorist than I am a Vietnamese horticulturist. Coulter and her ilk are to politics what late-night TV ads are to science, consistently reaching for the lowest-common denominator, lowering the popular expectations to cheap, immediate entertainment with no lasting significance. These are Slap-Chop Politics.

The old opiate of the masses was the promise of heavenly reward for earthly misery, the new opiate of the masses is the promise of material success stacked up against the twin threats of the permissive "liberal media" and the phantasmagoric leviathan of big government. Along the way, terms like "liberal" and "conservative" are so freely and inaccurately applied that they lose their rich historical meaning and become empty signifiers, only to be defined through their shallow inclusion in base, petty invective. Liberalism, in the sense of the preservation of individual rights and liberties, and economic liberalism, or homo economicus' right to free markets, are undifferentiated, and we are all poorer (and more confused) for it. Indeed, contemporary politics are nothing if not confusing, and through their confusion, disempowering for anyone with a desire to alter the twin status quo of neoliberal capitalism and liberal democracy. Popular North American politics have conflated the neoconservative drive to preserve the Christian tradition and American exceptionalism with the neoliberal lust for free, unregulated markets, leaving an unprepared Left fighting uphill against an increasingly monolithic set of political assumptions, becoming more deeply entrenched over time through institutional configurations and social relations.

Plato's allegory of the cave is instructive here: we have mistaken the flickering shadows of network television sniping as valid political thought, losing sight of the interest groups funding these networks and busily undertaking Raymond William's "selective tradition", choosing which cultural symbols will be valued and lionized, and which will be ignored. These shadows obfuscate power relations by simplifying and degenerating political ontologies and discourses. If many people were to be shown that the spectrum of political thought extends far beyond the simple continuum of Liberalism <---------> Conservatism it might disrupt the prominent role that vested media interests play in shaping culture industries, aesthetic tastes, and political discourses. Of course, we have no-one to blame but ourselves for descending into the cave in the first place. Come outside, polities of the West: we have nothing to lose but the chains of ignorance and albatross of political degeneracy.

Indulgences: Sparkmarker - Products and Accessories, Method Man, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon - The Wu-Massacre, Barkmarket - L Ron, Mike Davis - Planet of Slums, Aerosols - 1st LP, Veins - S/T, Drive Like Jehu - Hand Over Fist/Bullet Train to Vegas, Poser Disposer - Waiting to Inhale

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Two and a half weeks until school is done. I can start playing music again. Three BMO songs finished, two of which involve scatological humour (my inner child needs a break sometimes too).The one is called "I'm Going to Need Another Autopsy, Scully", which is pretty self-explanatory, I think. Interview for two jobs today. Finish making brown stock this morning. Go see Until the Light Takes Us with pals tonight. Go to activist meeting beforehand to talk about risk assessment. Finish paper that was due yesterday. Look at potential new apartment tomorrow. Possible book review with program director/mentor next week. No time for complete thoughts or sentences, just straight ahead forward, one goddamn maniac fueled on caffeine and grindcore, skirting disaster and collapse, because I'll deal with those later thank you very much.

Hello Edward Burtynksy, could you stay away from the next 30 days of my life, please?

Essentials for spring living: Defeatist - The Sixth Extinction and Sharp Blade Sinks Deep Into Dull Minds, Human Remains - Where Were You When..., various Edward Burtynsky photos, Max Ernst's Europe After the Rain, Jeru the Damaja - The Sun Rises in the East, Dr. Octagon - Dr. Octagynocologist, Disfear - Misanthropic Generation, the way that the 2006 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot I opened last night slowly evolved, The X-Files: Season 2

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pattern Recognition

Back to the monastary. Another few weeks of sleepless nights and it's all gone. Let's see if I can come down clutching some more wisdom tightly to my breast, hmmmm? Time to defer to the master, I suppose:

"For we are like tree trunks in the snow. They appear to lie flat and with a small push one should be able to dislodge them. No, it can't be done, because they are firmly planted in the ground. But, look, even that only appears to be so."
- Kafka

Roots: Combatwoundedveteran - I Know a Girl Who Develops Crime Scene Photos, Discordance Axis - The Inalienable Dreamless, Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me, Josef K - Only Fun in Town/Sorry For Laughing, The Flying Luttenbachers - The Truth is a Fucking Lie, Greymachine - Disconnected

Monday, March 15, 2010

In which the author reaches for a higher plane of existence and grabs on to ... something.

The sun is out. It's gorgeous, it feels like summer. I'm done classes in less than four weeks and I'm thinking about my future. I'm applying for jobs (or I would be if I wasn't writing this blog). I'm sitting down and focusing, and for me focusing isn't the blank screen or the nothingness of the Buddhists, but it's having all channels on at once and letting myself become overwhelmed in the glorious overload of information and sensory inputs. Let the images and messages make themselves clear, because thinking of everything is the same as thinking about nothing but nothing.

You can write about it in a formula if it helps. Isaac Asimov worked it out: that we exist, because we have to exist, because we cannot possibly exist, and it can be proved with math if you believe in that sort of thing. 0 ± 0 = 0, nothing equals nothing, which really means that everything equates to nothing, everything that is nothing. Ex nihilo nihil fit - out of nothing comes nothing - or creatio ex nihilo - out of nothing comes everything, all the same, because 0 ± 0 = -1 + 1 = ∞ ± ∞. Nothing can exist without everything, because nonexistence constitutes existence, and everything cannot "be" without nothing, therefore nothingness is not possible without something(ness), thus all there is is everything, converging at a point in the middle of the existential contrast, the droning God-loop equilibrium, the circle of life, Ouroborous circling hungrily in pursuit of his own tail, and so on.

Doesn't this make so much more sense than that horrible run-on sentence?

Back to the point at hand and the matter in question. What I'm doing, where I'm going, all of that. Point is, there's nothing in store for me, but there is everything for me. I've never had a chance, not even a small one, and the moment is lost like tears in rain (score one for Rutger Hauer's on the spot revelation, where he too probably saw into the void) before it even happened, but that's because even where it doesn't exist it will always exist, and energy is never lost or destroyed, but just transferred (thanks, laws of physics!), and so we're always stuck in that uncomfortable stage of becoming, becoming, becoming. Listen closely enough and you can hear Sisyphus cracking his head against the boulder as he lurches it up hill, as is his eternal task, and laughing - laughing! You would too. You should!

I never had a chance, you never had a chance, none of us ever did, but that's what makes us so fucking free, so stop what you're doing, right now, right in the middle of this sentence, and grab on to that heaving temporal wave before you drown in it.

Lifeboats in an ocean of time: Throbbing Gristle - DOA: The Third and Final Report, Groovie Ghoulies - Travels with my Amp, The Dictators - The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!, White Static Demon - Decayed, The Slits - Cut, Public Image Ltd. - Metal Box

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Compiling ammunition for Halloween a full 234 days in advance

Hate to get all 160 character on you, but this requires your immediate attention. Yaz meets The Gossip meets controller.controller*, with a descending riff that sounds like it could have been copped from South of Heaven's title track thrown in for good measure.

* Yes, I know that controller.controller's rhythm section makes up 2/3 of this band, but still.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Just remember....

... we're all in it together.

Tickling my id with: Final - Solaris, Send More Paramedics - A Feast for the Fallen and The Hallowed and the Heathen, Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works '85-'92 and Windowlicker, The Knife - Tomorrow, In a Year

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Smiling Back

I stayed up until 4:00am writing a mid-term (that I'm still not done), I'm hungry, and I just realized I don't own a pair of jeans that don't have big fucking holes in them. My apartment is a mess right now. I probably don't have to do some of the extra curricular research for the City that I wanted to this semester, and I recently had to pull out of a project that I'd been working on since September. My girlfriend of six year is moving to France in May, and then to Victoria when she returns. Things are hectic, things are changing.


Yesterday I held a speaker session with one of the academics I respect most, after spending a night out on the town with him on Tuesday. I want to study under him at UBC, and I think I left a good impression. I'm headed off to breakfast with him and my program director in 40 minutes. The things I'm writing are stronger than they've ever been. I'm going to get to see some of my friends today who I haven't seen in basically forever. Last night I got the idea that maybe I should move to Toronto, which is kind of an exciting proposition. I'm 24 years old, about to complete my undergraduate degree, and yeah, it's too late for everything, I know, but I have my whole fucking life ahead of me and I might never be as free as I am right now and yes I am stressed out and overworked but good things are happening and life is good right now.

When the stakes are high, the odds are stacks against you, the chips are down, and the absurdity of the whole deal snaps into focus, sometimes there's nothing left to do but smile back.

Foundations: Isis - Panopticon, The Pixies - Surfer Rosa, Alice in Chains - Unplugged

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And ANOTHER Thing...

It needs to be said, so I'll just say it: the Olympic aesthetic is a decidedly fascist one. The torch burning, the flag waving, the mindless nationalism, the rhetoric about the "purity of sport" and supremacy of an elite class of athletes ... christ, we're one step away from eugenics here.

The ancient Greeks did not have a torch ceremony. The first Olympics torch ceremony was in Nazi Germany, in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Nice, eh?

Anyway, we've got another two years until the IOC uses the rights of the athletic elite to trample on the rights of the underclass in London, so until then let's everybody practice your indifference towards 95% of the sports that are involved in the Olympics (and 95% of the worlds social justice concerns that you have no stake in, apart from your shared stake in the wellbeing of other people).

Today's nutritional intake: Rational Youth - Cold War Nightlife EP, Iron Maiden - S/T, Zero Boys - Vicious Circle, Arghoslent - Incorrigible Bigotry

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Procession of Simulacra and Social Movements

I was in Vancouver last week for the start of the Olympics. It was a really strange time for me.

On one hand, I was excited about the Olympics. Large parts of downtown Vancouver had been pedestrianized, and were accordingly vibrant and brilliant. The massive support for street culture at this time reflected some of the excitement that got me interested in cities in the first place: it reminded me of sitting in classes during the fall of 2005 (!), after a year and a half of a boring and directionless university experience, and being stimulated by the thought of streets as a point of contact, social negotiation, struggle, and not-so-quiet beauty. I would be lying if I said I didn't find this really engaging. Many of my friends in Vancouver were similarly excited about the buzz in their city.

On the other hand, I felt some affinity for the argument that the glitz and the glamour of these games were obfuscating some disturbing social trends. The story by now should an unfortunately familiar one: gentrification, displacement, place-marketing, the construction of amenities for the wealthy at the expense of social welfare programs, and so on. In the case of Vancouver, however, these processes were hurtling forward at warp speed. Serious questions need to be (and have been) raised about the magnitude of funding that the City of Vancouver has dedicated to sprucing up Yaletown while a scant few blocks away the notorious Downtown East Side, Canada's poorest postal code, continues to grapple with deeply entrenched poverty, homelessness, crime, and drug addiction. Serious questions need to be asked about the viability of the Canada Line skytrain and twinning the road to Whistler, and why money wasn't spent on more sensible systems. Serious questions need to be asked about why housing promises for the game have fallen through, and about the scale of the games' incomprehensibly huge ($1 billion CDN) security budget. Serious questions need to be asked about the relevance of the Olympics themselves and the amount of investment they attract in a world where over 3 billion people still live on under $1USD per day (of course, this observation calls into question the whole spectacle endemic to neoliberal capitalism, and so it shouldn't be a surprise why it gets overlooked ... but still, come on).

I had one friend who shared these concerns, and he took to me a large protest of the games on opening day. I would estimate that the protest drew about three thousand attendees. It was peaceful and inclusive, and managed to march all the way to gates of BC Place, where it was stopped by a line of (surpsingly congenial) police officers. It was framed in class terms, which I think was the right idea. It emphasized democracy and communication, which again I think was the correct notion. And yet there is one thing about the protest that bothered me, and continues to bother me.

There were a small group of self proclaimed anarchists wearing requisite balaclavas and waving black flags at the forefront of the march, chanting anti-state slogans and coordinating their action with scouts operating ahead of the march via their cellphones. There were bored looking teens in brightly coloured keffiyeh snapping pictures, undoubtedly for their blogs. There scraggly looking men smoking joints and shouting "viva la relolution!". There is a no 2010 site offering "militant merchandise". There is a Tent City in the DTES where the population of homeless persons is outnumbered by middle-class UBC students. I look at all of this and can't help but wonder if revolution itself has become an empty signifier.

Revolutionairy social action, or playing right into the hands of
what marketing has informed us we should anticipate?

Have suburban malls selling Che Guevera shirts, radio-friendly punk rock, flag-burnings in Rage Against the Machine videos, romanticized accounts of revolution in television and film and so on commodified the concept of revolution so thoroughly that it has precluded a popular conception of what a real revolution (or really effective social action) might look like? If so, no matter how well-meaning these protests are, how effective can they actually be? Is the Spectacle, as Debord has it, really so skilled at processing and coopting dissent, turning it into a hapless caricature? Is there any hope for meaningful social action that can escape cliche, irony and marketing logic, or are these forces too deeply entrenched - in short, has Adorno's negative dialectic crossed the rubicon?

I don't want to think about the answer to that question right now. I'll have to, soon, but I don't want to right now. I want to believe in communication, I want to believe in democracy, and I want to believe in consensus, but some days...

Artistic ammunition for ontological warfare: The Raincoats - S/T, The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace, David Harvey - The Urbanization of Capital, Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender, Magrudergrind - S/T, Antipop Consortium - Fluorescent Black, Iggy Pop - The Idiot and Lust For Life, Jig Ai - Katana Orgy, As the Sun Sets - 7744, Lioness - S/T EP

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Just Want to Forget

I can't do it. Spiked hair, spiked drinks, the most banal music conceivable, the most desperate-yet-spoiled people imaginable, matching smiles, gladhanding, pretedetermined futures, pervasive marketing, just do what your parents did and take the life that was advertised to them, and don't ask too many questions, and no, I can't fit in here. I don't even try anymore. I won't go through the motions. Are you uncomfortable? So am I. Your discomfort will probably not last as long as mine. Maybe that's my problem. Maybe. Maybe. Then again...

Substance: Wolf Eyes - Human Animal, Final - Reading All the Right Signals Wrong, Rotten Sound - Cycles, Fushitsusha - The Caution Appears, Parlamentarisk Sodomi - De Anarkitiske An(n)aler, Santogold - Santogold, Official Secrets Act - Understanding Electricity

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Can See Through Time

All of you. I can see all of you. All of you with a future in the academy, I can see you. I can see you teaching first year political science courses and graduate seminars in anthropology, spending late nights in offices cluttered with unread papers and empty coffee cups, drunk and misty eyed at dinner parties, where you silently fume at how difficult it is to communicate with the majority of other people.

All of you with a future in business, I can see you. I can see you backslapping and clinking expensive scotches in exclusive clubs, spending early mornings in offices cluttered with valueless financial instruments and steaming cups of coffee, drunk and libidinous at office holiday parties, where you prey on young blood to recapture an elusive and lost sense of youth.

All of you with a future in the arts, I can see you. I can see you balancing the asceticism your means impose and the indulgence your will necessitates, spending long afternoons in quiet bedrooms with sleeping lovers and blank tablets, drunk and reckless at parties you've snuck into, where the vulgar tendencies of moneyed tastemakers frustrate and sardonically amuse you.

Just a sampling to be sure, but so many of you are tipping your hands to me. I can see straight through it, straight through time. I crave mystery.

Bedrock: Curse of the Golden Vampire - Mass Destruction, Techno Animal - Brotherhood of the Bomb, HEALTH - S/T, Wormrot - Abuse, Graf Orlock - Destination Time: Today, Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable, Dälek - Gutter Tactics, Discordance Axis - The Inalienable Dreamless, David Cross - I Drink For a Reason, Frederico Fellini - Satyricon

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I am back from Mexico City. All kind of bilious and yellowed mucous is frothing in my unhappy throat, and Montezuma has taken his revenge on me in spades. I started getting sick after I ate a hamburguesa at Burger King (I know, nothing else was open, OK?) called "El Furioso". Yeah, I know.

Maybe it wasn't the food that did it though? Maybe it was the thought of that meal after a day where I safely toured where The Other Half lives, amid dirt floors, stray animals, corrugated tin roofs and an absence of clean drinking water. Perversely, I laughed, both at my own decadence and self-loathing/self-pity. It didn't, and to a certain extent still doesn't, feel real.

Yeah, when it hits you, you will know. Until then...

Affinities: HEALTH - Get Color, Zola Jesus - The Spoils, Birdflesh - The Farmers Wrath, 3 Inches of Blood - Battlecry Under a Winter Sun, Young Widows - Old Wounds, The XX - XX, Wire - Pink Flag, Fever Ray - S/T, Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds