This news cast was from 30 years ago, but it might just as well be today. We’re living in dark times folks and it ain’t rock and roll that got us here.
In contrast to the southern preachers, who sound like a bunch of drooling idiots, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are the voices of reason. Ironic that the craziest looking people in the room (in their “evil looking make-up”) are the most sane. Even the newscaster buys into the religious hysteria claiming that Kiss fans “idolize the underworld.”
“We thought the markets work. They’re not working.”—Dr. Nouriel Roubini
I have always maintained that the global future will ultimately be a socialist one, but it was not easy to “keep the faith” after the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the (seemingly) robust (dot)economy of the Clinton years. However, these days Marx’s predictions for voracious end-stage capitalism seem well-vindicated by what we’re seeing take place in Greece, Israel, Iceland and especially in England. The system hollowed itself out from the inside far faster than I ever would have thought possible in 1999.
So as someone whose politics have been more or less wildly out of step with American mainstream opinion for my entire life, I have watched with great bemusement at the surprisingly Marxist-tinged rhetoric that is now being espoused in places like TIME, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. It doesn’t get much more “establishment” than these venerable publications, I think you’ll agree, which is why they’ve always been such credible markers of where the cultural conversation is headed.
The riots that hit London and other English cities last week have the potential to spread beyond the British Isles. Class rage isn’t unique to England; in fact, it represents part of a growing global class chasm that threatens to undermine capitalism itself.
The hardening of class divisions has been building for a generation, first in the West but increasingly in fast-developing countries such as China. The growing chasm between the classes has its roots in globalization, which has taken jobs from blue-collar and now even white-collar employees; technology, which has allowed the fleetest and richest companies and individuals to shift operations at rapid speed to any locale; and the secularization of society, which has undermined the traditional values about work and family that have underpinned grassroots capitalism from its very origins.
All these factors can be seen in the British riots. Race and police relations played a role, but the rioters included far more than minorities or gangsters. As British historian James Heartfield has suggested, the rioters reflected a broader breakdown in “the British social system,” particularly in “the system of work and reward.”
In the earlier decades of the 20th century working class youths could look forward to jobs in Britain’s vibrant industrial economy and, later, in the growing public sector largely financed by both the earnings of the City of London and credit. Today the industrial sector has shrunk beyond recognition. The global financial crisis has undermined credit and the government’s ability to pay for the welfare state.
With meaningful and worthwhile work harder to come by — particularly in the private sector — the prospects for success among Britain working classes have been reduced to largely fantastical careers in entertainment, sport or all too often crime. Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron’s supporters in the City of London may have benefited from financial bailouts arranged by the Bank of England, but opportunities for even modest social uplift for most other people have faded.
Usually, when such thing is posed as a query, the answer in the text tends toward the affirmative. Roubini writes:
So Karl Marx, it seems, was partly right in arguing that globalization, financial intermediation run amok, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct (though his view that socialism would be better has proven wrong). Firms are cutting jobs because there is not enough final demand. But cutting jobs reduces labor income, increases inequality and reduces final demand.
Recent popular demonstrations, from the Middle East to Israel to the UK, and rising popular anger in China – and soon enough in other advanced economies and emerging markets – are all driven by the same issues and tensions: growing inequality, poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness. Even the world’s middle classes are feeling the squeeze of falling incomes and opportunities.
To enable market-oriented economies to operate as they should and can, we need to return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of laissez-faire and voodoo economics and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Both are broken.
The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment. It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts.
Over time, advanced economies will need to invest in human capital, skills and social safety nets to increase productivity and enable workers to compete, be flexible and thrive in a globalized economy. The alternative is – like in the 1930s - unending stagnation, depression, currency and trade wars, capital controls, financial crisis, sovereign insolvencies, and massive social and political instability.
Below, Roubini interviewed by the Wall Street Journal:
Yesterday I posted an infographic of the effects of soda pop consumption on the human body. One of our readers sent in these photos that are allegedly of a die-hard and life-long Mountain Dew drinker.
Here’s what he says:
“If you’ve never seen what pop can do to teeth, here’s some (kind of blurry) photos of “Mountain Dew mouth,” taken by my girlfriend of an acquaintance. The fella pictured was not yet thirty at the time, and soon after had all his teeth removed.”
Of course this could also be what happens when you drink soda ll the livelong day and NEVER BRUSH YOUR TEETH, but what do I know?
Dangerous Minds pal (and former contributor) Jason Louv returns with a new novel titled Queen Valentine: A Romance in Two Worlds. This is Jason’s fourth publication after Generation Hex, Ultraculture and Genesis P-Orridge’s Thee Psychick Bible, which he edited.
Ray Tesla caught up to the author via email at R.U. Sirius’s new blog, Acceler8or.
RAY TESLA: So what is Queen Valentine?
JASON LOUV: It’s a novel exposing the supernatural underworld beneath New York, as seen through the eyes of a young woman who’s lost her soul working in advertising, and ends up stumbling into the world beneath. It’s a bit like Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Coming Race mashed up with “Mad Men.”
RT: Can you say more?
JL: Well, the premise is essentially this. In the middle ages, the people of Europe took it for granted that non-human beings — often called the Sidhe or the faery folk — were as real as humans, and regularly trafficked with the human world. Just like “modern” people sometimes claim to see UFOs or to have been abducted by aliens, in the middle ages people often claimed to have happened upon secret Sidhe kingdoms, to have been abducted to faerie land, or to have had their children swapped for faerie babies. That’s where we get a lot of European mythology from. And then we stop hearing about them as soon as the Inquisition and then the Age of Reason come in.
So the question is, what happened to those beings? And the answer in the book is, well, they did what lots of displaced people do. They emigrated to New York, or the settlement that became New York. And they’ve been living in secret catacombs and warrens underneath the city ever since, in their own shadow version of the city and shadow economy — along with their evil half, the Unseelie, who are like creatures created by pure nightmare energy. And after four hundred years, the Unseelie are tired of hiding, and they want to make a bid to subjugate the human side of the city.
RT: What were your main inspirations writing this?
JL: Having been involved both in advertising world and the supernatural underworld of New York.
RT: You’ve previously written about consciousness expansion and magic (Generation Hex, Ultraculture, Thee Psychick Bible) and about the transforming effects of technology on the soul. Do you see this as a continuation or a departure from those topics? Why the switch to fiction?
JL: Definitely a continuation. There’s only so much truth you can express about the hidden corners of reality in non-fiction or essay form before people start wondering if you’re making it up. The threshold is very low. With fiction, hopefully I can put it all in there and instead of that nagging voice in your head while you’re reading it being “I wonder if he made this up,” it might be “I wonder if any of this is actually true?”
RT: So are you saying there’s actually coded occult information in Queen Valentine?
JL: No. Certainly not.
RT: You’ve also written about transhumanism and posthumanity. Does that tie in with the book?
JL: In a way. The book is in many ways a critique of transhumanism from the perspective of the original guardians of the earth, the nature spirits who’ve had to adapt to our technological progress and find a way to live in the cracks like any diaspora culture. A lot of the tension in the book revolves around the different responses from different factions of the Sidhe to the direction humanity is going. There’s also a lot of satire of the Faustian need for physical augmentation. I don’t want to give too much away, but the crux of what’s being discussed is whether humanity will be allowed to manifest the kind of nightmare future that it seems to be hellbent on creating.
This is one for the noise cognoscenti out there. Two of the best modern rock bands in America come together for a collaboration (full title: The Flaming Lips With Lightning Bolt EP) and the results are pretty unusual - though not necessarily more than you’d expect. ‘Cos let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely that the genesis of this project was a desire to push either of these acts further up the charts. I’d like to think it had more to do with a shared love of acid-burnt neon psychedelia.
The clue may be in the song titles. “I’m Working At Nasa On Acid” and “I Want To Get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage” are the first two tracks and the Flaming Lips’ main contributions, being the kind of bass driven psych-garage we’ve come to expect, but now with a whole extra layer of fuzzy noise on top. The remaining two tracks are reworks of the first two by Lightning Bolt, which feature even more noise and, of course, the furious drum chops of Brain Chippendale. These reworkings are called “NASA’s Final Acid Bath” and “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”.
The EP has been released on 12” mixed-color vinyl (some copies feature translucent vinyl mixed with black) but because of its limited nature was only shipped to some shops a few weeks ago. It’s likely to have completely sold out. If you really want one, I say get in touch with your local decent independent record store and ask if they can get it - failing that it has already turned up for sale on eBay. In the meantime though, here is the lead video introduced by Wayne Coyne, and the other 3 tracks:
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I Want To get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage”
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I’m Working At NASA On Acid”
Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “NASA’s Final Acid Bath”
Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”
Calling all budding horror directors! Looking for a unique, bizarre and terrifying mask to adorn the face of your killer? Then look no further - this is the Elliot’s Costume & Fancy Dress shop of Belfast’s “meerkat” mask. It’s based on the really fucking annoying “Compare The Markets” adverts in the UK. Here’s one:
So you see, it would also be giving your killer a satirical, anti-consumerist twist. And horror critics love that kind of shit.
The song is depressingly conventional. It could be Shania Twain or the Dixie Chicks - you know, MOR country music. But, the video is a slick machine, sexy, beautifully shot, and so outclasses the song that they seem to come from different universes all together.
This is what happens when an artist is expected to constantly up the ante while running out of fresh musical ideas but still has a terrific sense of theater. Huge disconnect.
Oh, I nearly forgot…the song is called “You And I” and it was produced by Mutt Lange, who a DM friend just reminded me is Shania Twain’s ex. Thanks Tim. Now it makes a little more sense, but it doesn’t make it any better.
Brian May on guitar.
Oddly, I can’t find any information as to who directed this mini-epic. It’s like a mash-up of Peter Greenaway, David Fincher and, as DM reader Framk noted, Matthew Barney.