The first movement, “Des choses comme ça” (“Such things”) of Jean-Luc Godard’s 2010 film Socialism, was filmed on board the tragically ship-wrecked Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the coast of Isola del Giglio, on Janury 13. Godard’s film dealt with the decline of capitalism, and questioned the role of socialist ideals within civilization. As Xan Brooks notes in the Guardian, the Costa Concordia served:
‘...as a self-conscious metaphor for western capital ploughing through choppy waters. In Godard’s film, the Concordia plays the role of a decadent limbo where the tourists drift listlessly amid the ritzy interiors. The passengers include a UN official and an elderly war criminal. The onboard entertainment comes courtesy of an unsmiling Patti Smith.
Socialism divided critics and left the audience with a foreboding sense of disaster.
Legendary funk saxophonist and band leader Jimmy Castor, of The Jimmy Castor Bunch - the sample source for a huge amount of hip-hop records - died today in Las Vegas of causes that are “currently unknown.” Sad news. Castor is best known for the evergreen breakbeat classic “It’s Just Begun,” “Troglodyte (Cave Man),” which was a huge hit for The Jimmy Castor Bunch in 1972 and “The Bertha Butt Boogie.” Here’s an excellent clip of the band performing “It’s Just Begun” live on TV (apparently the show is called Soul School), and tearing the roof off that sucker:
Forget The Beatles and The Stones, the sixties was really about “Two Ton” Tessie O’Shea vs. Sing-a-Long Pianist Mrs. Mills.
These two giants of British Music Hall slugged it out during the 1960s and 1970s, each selling shed-loads of records, making top-rated TV shows and performing sell-out concerts across the globe - from Las Vegas to The Wheel-Tappers and Shunters Club - in a bid to be top Light Entertainment Star.
Celebrated ukelele and banjo-player, Tessie O’Shea debuted with The Beatles on the same legendary Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 - their appearance drew the largest audience in the history of American television at the time. It also made both international stars over-night. Though Welsh-born O’Shea was already a star of stage and screen back in Blighty (cast in plays by Noel Coward), her performance on the Sullivan Show guaranteed her a highly successful career on US TV and in Hollywood, making such films as The Russians Are Coming and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Mrs Mills was signed to the same label as The Beatles, Parlophone, and rubbed shoulders with the Fab Four at the Abbey Road Studios, where they both recorded. Mrs Mills was also for a time under the same management as The Stones. While Mrs Mills was arguably a bigger star in the UK, with a dedicated following across Europe and Australia, she never took off in the States as Tessie O’Shea did. However, Mrs Mills did release over 50 albums in 20 years, all of which were best-sellers. No mean feat.
I liked Mrs Mills, but preferred Tessie, who had an infectious twinkle and jolly sense of glee. Here, then, is “Two Ton” Tessie, decked out in a Dolly-Parton-wig and what looks like the living-room curtains, serenading an audience (that looks straight out of Michael Caine’s Get Carter) with a paper bag. From the bizarre Wheel-Tappers and Shunters Club.
A speaker at the first—and hopefully last—South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention told an audience mostly comprised of complete idiots that the U.S. could save $260 billion building the border fence by forcing illegal aliens to work as slave labor instead of hiring union workers. Colin Heaton discussed his understanding that it would cost $400 billion to build a border fence using labor unions, but reckons his plan would cost just $140 billion.
“I proposed a two dual-fence system, multi-tiered wall with a no man’s land — I put a minefield in there, but they said no — intrusion detection systems like we use in detecting tunnels with nitrous and oxygen emission control emitters to detect carbon dioxide upon exhalation of someone digging a tunnel,” he explained. “Then you pump gas in there, — tear gas, nothing lethal. Just make it come out the other side.”
“But what you do, you take all these incarcerated illegal aliens — even give some of the guys who are U.S. citizens in the U.S. prison system, who make about 27 cents a day doing ridiculous work — kick out the union labor charging $28 an hour, force these Mexicans and these other people to make $5 a day, making more money than they made in Mexico anyway,” Heaton continued. “Put them to work building a security fence under military and local-state law enforcement administration. … Projected budget: $140 billion, which will pay for itself in four years once you get them the hell out of here.”
Heaton went on to propose a large, single federal detention system to incarcerate undocumented immigrants, “sort of like a KOA Campground with walls.”
The tea party speaker also drew a comparison between Adolph Hitler and President Barack Obama, but admitted that the current White House resident would not have caused the Holocaust.
“The only difference between Adolph Hitler and Barack Obama is that Barack Obama not overtly ethnically challenged with regards to various groups and religious paradigms,” he said. “But socialism is alive and well in Washington.”
So says a fucking asshole moments after suggesting that the United States of America open forced-labor camps on the Mexican border!!!
On Martin Luther King Day, yet!!!
How the fuck would rounding up Mexican illegals and sticking them in labor camps be all that different from what the Germans did to the Jews? And somehow Colin Heaton got the idea that Obama is just like Hitler, huh? Stunning, isn’t it???
This guy is the best Teabagger ever!
After making these remarks, Colin Heaton was politely applauded by a bunch of ignorant old coots who did not realize that advocating something like this would mean that they were in support of illegal aliens being forced by the US government to take away American jobs!
(To Mr. Heaton, if you’re reading this, did I mischaracterize your thoughts here or not? If so, please explain how I got it wrong in the comments).
What makes this episode even more unfortunate is that several of South Carolina’s elected Republican officials were in attendance at the Tea party convention. In addition to Governor Nikki Haley, other speakers at the Tea party convention include Sen. Jim DeMint, U.S. Reps. Jeff Duncan, Mick Mulvaney and Tim Scott, state Treasurer Curtis Loftis and Attorney General Alan Wilson. Presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were also scheduled to speak to the group.
Logic and intelligent people stuff never was of much use to these Tea baggers to begin with, but as the movement’s wave recedes, leaving only trash on the beach like these poor fools in Myrtle Beach, does the Republican party really wonder why Hispanic voters want nothing to do with them?
A new and as-always fun and functional project from New Orleans genius musician/inventor, Quintron. It’s really a beautiful idea, especially the rain drop trigger. In my perfect parallel universe every home would come equipped with this set of devices.
Last November, Cinefamily held an event called “The Glass Teat” with writer/raconteur Harlan Ellison. The evening was such a success that they’re doing a second installment this Thursday:
One of America’s most prolific and dangerous writers, Harlan Ellison radicalized science fiction from the 1960s onwards with swirling, shouting, freaky, psychedelic and sexual visions realized across over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays and essays. That would be enough for most — but Ellison is also one of the great TV writers, responsible for iconic episodes of The Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, to penning the most popular episode of the original Star Trek, and much, much more. And, somewhere in there, he even found the time to write “The Glass Teat”, a seminal work still considered one of the most important and scathing books ever written on the nature of television. Join guest moderator Josh Olson (Oscar-nominated screenwriter of A History of Violence) for a very special evening, as Harlan makes a very rare and highly spirited personal appearance at Cinefamily to discuss his love/hate relationship with TV, followed by a screening of several of his best episodes!
Videotaped during the Q&A portion of a Chomsky speech at Kutztown University on November 21, 2011
CHOMSKY: Ron Paul’s a nice guy. If I had to have dinner with one of the Republican candidates, I’d prefer to have it with him—but, his policies are off the wall.
I mean, sometimes I agree with him. I think we have to end the war in Afghanistan. But, if you look at the other policies, I mean, it’s kind of shocking and principles that lie behind them (shakes head)....I don’t know what to say about them.
In the Republican debates, at one point—and this kind of brought out who he is—- he is agains Federal involvement in health, in anything. He was aked something like, “Well, what if some guy’s in a comma, and…uh…he’s going to die and he never took out insurance. What shouldhappen?”
Well, his first answer was something like, “It’s a tribute to our liberty.”
So, if he dies, that’s a tribute to how free we are?
He kinda backed off from that, actually. There was a huge applause for when he said that. But later, reactions were eleswhere. He backed up and said, “Well, the church will take care of him…or charities or something or other….so, it’s not a problem.”
I mean, this is just savagery.
And it goes across the board. In fact, it goes through the whole so-called Libertarian ideology. It may sound nice on the surface but if you think it through, it’s just a call for corporate tyranny. It takes away any barrier to corporate tyranny.
But, it’s all academic. The business world would never permit it to happen because it would destroy the economy. They can’t live without a powerful state, and they know it.
In the centenary of his birth, mathematician, code-breaker and pioneer of computer science, Alan Turing has been honored with a Royal Mail commemorative stamp, but has as yet to be pardoned over his conviction, in 1952, for being gay.
Turing was a central figure in the development of the computer. In 1936, he proposed a theoretical “Universal Machine”, which could carry out any calculation by following a stored program. He was also an essential part to Britain’s victory in the Second World War through his work at Bletchley Park, where he turned his “Universal machine” into a working computer. After the war, he intended to manufacture his machine as the first general purpose computer. He also pondered the question of a computer’s ability to think for itself, and proposed the Turing test as a way of measuring a computer’s intelligence.
Yet, for all his hard work for the state, he was shown no leniency when arrested in 1952 for admitting to sexual acts with a man. Homosexuality was illegal in England at this time, but Turing had no fear or shame over who he was. As the police noted when Turing gave his confession: “He was a real convert…he really believed he was doing the right thing.”
By doing the right thing, being brave, and proud in who he was, Turing was punished by the choice of imprisonment or chemical castration. He opted for the latter. He was also stripped of his security clearance and barred form working on or advising on any government matters.
In 1954, his career ruined, his life all but destroyed, Turing committed suicide by eating an apple injected with cyanide.
A tragic end to a man who did so much for others.
In 2009, John Graham-Cumming successfully organized a petition urging the British Government to posthumously apologise to Alan Turing for prosecuting him as a homosexual. This happened when then Prime Gordon Brown released a statement, which read:
‘Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him ... So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.’
But sometimes saying ‘sorry’ is not enough, and in December 2011, William Jones started a petition which states:
We ask the HM Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing for the conviction of ‘gross indecency’. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ with another man and was forced to undergo so-called ‘organo-therapy’ - chemical castration. Two years later, he killed himself with cyanide, aged just 41. Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death by the nation he’d done so much to save. This remains a shame on the UK government and UK history. A pardon can go to some way to healing this damage. It may act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Turing’s birth and it is now time to clear his name of the terrible injustice that was meted out to him, and other gay men. You can sign the petition here.
Bonus short, ‘The Achievements of Alan Turing’, after the jump…