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