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There is a jock strap planter for men
08.22.2016
03:57 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Economy
Fashion

Tags:


 
You want to know why this is “dangerous”? Because it looks fucking painful, that’s why! The jock strap planter is by Pansy Ass Ceramics. It sells for around $100 and comes in green, purple and blue. Perfect.

Now how on earth you water this sucker and fertilize it, I simply do not know.

According to the website, the cactus is not included. Boo! Perhaps some nice succulent plants would make it less prick-ly?


 

 
With thanks to Rusty Blazenhoff!

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Capitalism’s operating system has gone off the rails: An interview with Douglas Rushkoff
03.08.2016
12:51 pm

Topics:
Books
Economy
Thinkers

Tags:
Douglas Rushkoff


 
In his latest book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity (Portfolio/Penguin), media/technology theorist and PBS documentarian, Douglas Rushkoff asks “Why doesn’t the explosive growth of companies like Facebook and Uber deliver more prosperity for everyone? What is the systemic problem that sets the rich against the poor and the technologists against everybody else?”

Rapid technological improvements have created unforeseen societal chaos and this change is just starting to pick up speed. Our economic operating system—the “program” at the heart of Capitalism itself—is deliriously out of control. The economy no longer serves the human race, just a tiny elite sliver of it. The rest of us, whether we realize it or not, to a certain extent toil on their behalf. Think about it: How did the Waltons become the richest family in America, amassing a collective fortune of around $150 billion, if not by siphoning off a micropayment from every single gallon of milk, bottle of shampoo or box of Hostess Ding Dongs sold there? Bud and Sam Walton might have started Walmart, but all their offspring did was win the lottery at birth.

If you think that sounds predatory—and it should—just wait until you get a load of what the big technology firms have in mind for us…

I asked my friend of some twenty years some questions over email.

Richard Metzger: You write how the operating system of capitalism is obsolete, creating vast spoils for a select group of lucky human beings who are more or less basically leeching off the rest of mankind’s activities, and in a world of increasing automation to make things even worse. What’s the new book’s diagnosis of the modern economy?

Douglas Rushkoff: That sounds like a pretty good diagnosis to me. Or I suppose those are the symptoms? The underlying problem is not a disease, however. It’s not that corporate capitalism has been corrupted by greed or even by the startup economy of digital businesses. The system is working precisely as it was designed to.

It’s just that the transfer of value from people and places into capital used to happen a bit slower. And our companies tended to do it to other places more than to us. So in the 1400’s, British East India Trading Company might have enslaved thousands of Africans or taken land from the people of the West Indies - where today it’s Walmart bankrupting our towns and Uber extracting labor from drivers.

So now, the extractive power of expansionary, growth-based capitalism has been turned against us. The same sorts of companies are growing, but at the expense of all humans - not just those we can’t see. And the startup economy does all this a whole lot faster. A company goes from zero to a billion in 24 months. And it only does that by abandoning its original goals of helping people do something new, and instead adopting scorched earth policies toward its own markets.

That’s the real problem: companies that want to be around for a long time need to keep their markets - their customers and suppliers and workers - healthy and viable. Once companies are in control of venture capitalists, that’s no longer the goal. They haven’t bought the company to own it, but to sell it. They only need their markets to survive long enough to get to the exit - the IPO or acquisition that lets them cash out.

In the process, the company can use its war chest of investment capital to regulate the marketplace in its favor, or undercut the prices of the competition. It’s not about doing business; it’s about selling the company.

Okay, if that’s the diagnosis, then what’s the remedy? Is there one?

There’s not a single remedy. That’s the one-size-fits-all ethos of the industrial age: figure out the solution, then scale it universally! (And make a ton of money in the process.) Rather, the solution set will be as varied as the people and communities of our planet. The first step is to remember that human beings retain their home field advantage as long as they stay in the real world, on planet earth. We are the natives here - the corporations and technologies and business plans are all invented alien. That’s part what the SF protesters mean when they lay in front of the Google buses.

The way to reduce the power of the companies extracting value from our economy is to begin transacting locally and laterally. Do as much locally as you can. See your town or city as the economy. If there’s people with needs, and people with skills, you have the basis for an economy. You just may need to develop an alternative means of exchange, such as a local currency or favor bank.

Of course that doesn’t replace the entire economy. People look at a suggestion like that, and they immediately thing I’m arguing that cash, banking, corporations, iPhones, and automobiles go away. We can’t help but think of things in apocalyptic terms. But all I’m suggesting is that we balance out even just a little of our Walmart or Amazon purchases with some more local, small-scaled value creation and exchange.

The other remedy is for those developing new technologies or applications not to accept so much venture capital. They still think that getting a lot of money for their idea is the best way to build it. But it’s not. The more money you take, the less control you have over the future of your company. When you take in VC, you have already sold your company to someone who doesn’t care about your app, your customers, your employees, or your mission. Kiss it good-bye. They only care about selling your business to someone else - to the next round of investors - and that means plumping it up. You will be forced to pivot from whatever you wanted to do, to something they think can let them sell the company. It doesn’t even have to make money - it just has to destroy a market and claim a monopoly over what’s left. 

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Depressing photos of an aging mall devoid of shoppers during the holidays
01.06.2016
12:51 pm

Topics:
Economy
Pop Culture

Tags:
1980s
Malls

The only two
The only two “shoppers” at the Century III, November 29th, 2015
 
Editor and former photographer for her high school newspaper and yearbook, Meg Stefanac took a trip back in time just before Christmas last year and paid a visit to a mall where she and her friends spent countless hours, the Century III Mall in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. As it turns out, Stefanac was one of only a scant few people traipsing around Century III on Sunday, November 29th. Luckily, she took her camera with her and captured some pretty depressing shots of the mall that hasn’t changed much since it opened back in 1979.
 
The deserted Century III mall carousel
 
The empty food court at the Century III mall
The empty food court at the Century III Mall
 
Stefanac’s photos remind me of the Sherman Oaks Galleria from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, only without Damone trying his best moves on a cardboard version of Debbie Harry and without PEOPLE. Here’s Stefanac’s recollections of Century III, which sound pretty much like my own memories of being an 80s mall-rat:

This was THE place to be for those living in the South Hills of Pittsburgh in the 80s. We pitied those who had to live their lives without such a mall nearby. It was always crowded and bustling, and it was frequently difficult to quickly work your way across as you navigated through a sea of neon clothing and big hair held firmly in place with Aqua Net.

 
The saddest arcade in America in the Century III Mall
The saddest arcade in America in the Century III Mall
 
The wide open spaces of the Century III Mall, November 29th, 2014
 
Sometimes if I close my eyes and listen to Winger, I can smell the ooze of the fabled Aqua Net Pink Can wafting a hole through the ozone. I don’t miss those days. Much.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Got $4000 Germs-burning a hole in your pocket? Buy signed (pitiful) royalty checks of Germs members!
11.23.2015
08:59 am

Topics:
Economy
Music
Punk

Tags:
Darby Crash
The Germs
Pat Smear


 
Let’s say you’re an ageing ex-punk who’s made it in the world of high finance. You’re on top of the world, but still something is missing. You’ve got the McMansion and the porsche and the cabin cruiser, but you still wear your FEAR shirt on the weekends up at the lake and there’s always that Germs-burn on your inner wrist which serves as a constant reminder of your rebellious roots. You still feel connected to those glory days, but time has built a wall between you and your lost youth. If only this great wealth could somehow help you reconnect…

Perhaps…

Allow me to direct your attention to three pieces of punk rock memorabilia currently for sale on eBay that would be considered absolutely priceless if it weren’t for the fact that they have an actual price: $3,998.00.
 

Germs’ royalty checks. Click on image for larger version.
 
These three royalty checks were made out by What? Records owner Chris Ashord to Paul Beahm (Darby Crash), Teresa Ryan (Lorna Doom), and Georg Ruthenberg Jr (Pat Smear) for sales of the first Germs’ single “Forming”, which was released in July, 1977. They are endorsed on the reverse side by the band members.
 

Endorsements. Click image for larger version.
 
What’s most remarkable about these artifacts is the fact that the royalty checks are made out for $3.00, $2.57, and $2.56. One is reminded of the Opti-Grab lawsuit scene from The Jerk in which Steve Martin’s character is reduced to writing hundreds of settlement checks for “one dollar and nine cents.” A $2.56 check seems hardly worth writing, but considering the value of that check now, there’s at least one eBay seller that’s satisfied that the payments were made in a timely manner. 

Money can’t buy you authenticity, but these checks do seem to prove the street-cred of early punk bands like The Germs. No one was in it for the money, and here’s the evidence! These items prove that, at least once-upon-a-time, there were some things more important than money—and you can have that proof to hold in your very own hands today for only $3,998.00.

After the jump, the hit What? Records single from whence the Germs got filthy rich. Listen to it and ponder, “What happened to Don Bolles’ check?”

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Pooping on the beaches in India (NSFW)
10.21.2015
12:06 pm

Topics:
Economy
Environment

Tags:
Mumbai


 
What you’re about to see is a reporter taking you into slums of Mumbai, India where a long time resident gives her an eye-opening tour of how the poor there “do their business.” There is no sewage system in the area, and few public toilets, so folks are forced to defecate on the beaches or in the water. While, yes, there’s a bit of a gross-out factor to this video, I actually found it quite fascinating.

I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ll never take my toilet for granted again. Never. But what I can’t understand is the flip-flops. If I had to make potty in these places, I’d be wearing boots.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Sad Truth: Nauseatingly profound illustrations of what the world is turning into


 
Everything that’s bleak about the modern world is wrapped-up like a perfect, little package with these illustrations by London-based artist and animator, Steve Cutts. Rampant consumerism. Shitty jobs. Environmental devastation. Disinformation. Nonsense. Billionaire psychopaths. Overcrowded cities—all present and accounted for. We’ve featured Cutts’ work here on DM before with his dark animation about the current lives of ‘80s cartoon characters.

If a picture paints a thousand words, these pieces are Molotov cocktails for the mind.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Miniature recreations of Philadelphia’s vanishing urban artifacts
07.21.2015
11:41 am

Topics:
Art
Economy

Tags:
Philadelphia
miniatures

A miniature replica of The Forum
A miniature replica of The Forum XXX Theater in Philadelphia (RIP)
 
Long-time Philadelphia resident and artist Drew Leshko, has created incredibly detailed miniature versions of some of his city’s decaying architecture.
 
Miniature version of the Revival Temple in Philadelphia
Revival Temple
 
Inspired by subjects found in his own neighborhood, Leshko’s goal was to enlighten people to the ever-encroaching gentrification of his city by preserving structures and objects in miniature form that have been a part of his community for many decades. Especially structures that will soon be replaced by shinier, newer buildings or businesses. Using a layering technique, Leshko carves his three-dimensional relics out of paper and wood and creates 1:12 scale replicas of fading local attractions like the “Set- it-Up-Go-Go-Bar” (which is still open), XXX movie theater “The Forum” (RIP), or everyday objects like dumpsters decorated with bumper stickers, signs, long gone businesses or other reminders of the past.
 
Close up of miniature/phone and stickers (finger for scale)
 
Wherever you might be reading this, it’s likely that in the very recent past you have said goodbye to yet another part of your own town’s cultural heritage. And there seems to be no stopping this disturbing, profit-driven trend. Thanks to an artist like Leshko, a piece of that heritage will live on and be remembered by those who grew up with them, and will hopefully serve as a reminder to future residents of cities like Philadelphia that preserving our past has as much to do with ensuring our future as anything else.
 
Miniature of The World Famous Set it Off Go-Go Bar
Miniature of The World Famous Set-it-Off-Go-Go-Bar in Philadelphia
 
United Check Cashing miniature replica
United Check Cashing
 
More miniature Philly after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘In Drones We Trust,’ a grassroots protest of the U.S. military’s use of drones
12.08.2014
01:44 pm

Topics:
Activism
Art
Economy

Tags:
money
drones


 
Joseph DeLappe is not your ordinary artist. He’s a professor of art at the University of Nevada, and some have called him the first “gamer artist.” In October 18, 2002, with the TV show Friends still on the air, he and five gamer friends staged a recreation of “The One Where No One Proposes,” the premiere episode of Season 9, in the medium of a Quake III Arena game server (that is, a massively multiplayer environment where hundreds of players compete in the same arena). The project was called “Quake/Friends.” Each character in the show was given an avatar in the violent shoot-‘em-up, and the players used the in-game messaging system to render the episode’s dialogue: “Our performers functioned as passive, neutral visitors to the game—we were constantly killed and reincarnated to continue the performance. The piece was presented a second time in 2003 using six projected points of view, multiple audio channels and microphones for each performer.” The episode they were reenacting was not quite a month old at the time of the first performance. It was kind of a big deal at the time—the New York Times gave the second performance of the piece a writeup with the title “Take That, Monica! Kapow, Chandler!

More recently, DeLappe’s work has shown a more explicitly political flavor. From 2006 to 2011, DeLappe undertook the impressively subversive “Dead in Iraq” project, which involved logging on to the U.S. Army recruiting game “America’s Army” with the username dead-in-iraq and typing in the names of all 4,484 (at that time) service persons who had died to date in Iraq. In 2013 DeLappe commenced the “Cowardly Drone” project, which was essentially an elaborate effort to fuck with Google Image search results. He would take images of e.g. MQ9 Reaper Drones and Photoshop the word “COWARDLY” on the vehicle’s side in large bold letters, then re-upload the images with unprepossessing titles like “predator drone” in the hopes that some of his images would come up as hits in Google Search. The images are intended as “a subtle intervention into the media stream of US military power.”

DeLappe’s newest idea, “In Drones We Trust,” is combining a critique of the U.S. military’s use of drones with the defacement of U.S. currency. He noticed that all U.S. bills in wide circulation (except for the $1 bill) feature an etching of an august edifice connected with the U.S. government on its reverse side. (The $2 has a reproduction of Joseph Trumbull’s painting The Declaration of Independence.) In each case the building comes with an entirely featureless, placid sky, so DeLappe figured, why not add a menacing image of a drone to them? “It seems appropriate,” writes DeLappe, “considering our current use of drones in foreign skies, to symbolically bring them home to fly over our most notable patriotic structures.” He has created a couple hundred rubber stamps with the drone image and you can get one for yourself for a nominal price that simple covers the price of postage ($3 for domestic orders). I ordered one, and I can’t wait to ... er, use it on non-currency bits of paper! (Actually, if I’m reading this right, it’s not illegal to draw on or add markings to U.S. paper currency.)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
No video of “In Drones We Trust” that I could find, but here’s a look at “Quake/Friends”:
 

 
via Internet Magic.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Big ol’ penis spray-painted on $2.5 million car
10.08.2014
06:09 pm

Topics:
Art
Economy

Tags:
Bugatti Veyron


 
I can’t help but laugh a little at this dick that was childishly graffitied on a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport (the world’s most expensive production car).

Apparently this all went down in Seattle as the car was parked on a city street. No one has copped to the vandalism yet, so the motivation behind the graffiti is still unclear (but I don’t think it takes a brain surgeon to figure why this happened or the message). 

I can’t imagine the owner of the Bugatti Veyron was too thrilled to see a primitively rendered spray-painted dick on his or her car, but it sort of comes with the territory when such an opulent chariot is parked among the proletariat, don’t you think?

The owner has, so far at least, not revealed his or her identity.


 
Via Metro and h/t Death and Taxes

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Karl Marxio Brothers: An 8-bit ‘Marxism for Dummies’ for the digital generation

marx8bit1.jpg
 
Dialectical materialism as explained by 8-bit philosophy, a kind of “Super Marxio” or “Marxism for Dummies” for the digital generation. Why bother with boring old Das Kapital when you can bluff your way through the exam with this four-minute video?

More low resolution gems of useful information on Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, Sartre, Zeno, Descartes and Kierkegaard can be found here, or better still, read the books.
 

 
H/T Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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