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Art not oil: London artists let the truth spill at the Tate

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As you can see, London artist collective Liberate Tate were at it on Monday, letting the Tate Modern art museum know during their BP-feting summer party that taking sponsorship money from the oil giant is unacceptable. Don’t be misled by the occasional media reports of indignant Englanders bristling about the supposed anti-British nature of BP bashing. While we in the US have been driving around barely knowing what “BP” stands for, UK orgs like Art Not Oil have been working since 2004 to call attention to BP’s and Shell’s beneficent use of arts sponsorship to divert public attention away from their actual activities.

And now you can spill on the Tate yourself!
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Partying with ironic hipsters at the G20 riots
06.29.2010
01:35 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Hipsters
G20
Toronto
2010

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From a pretty thought provoking collection of photos and written snark over at Hipster Runoff. Does this all-irony-all-the-time thing betray a humorous defense mechanism against the horrors of the world or a serious lack of actual feeling and engagement ? Funny what the simple phrase “Justin Bieber” can cause me to ponder.
 
 
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Does n e 1 know what G20 protesters are even protesting? Seems like they just want to make .jpg internet memes (Hipster Runoff)
 
Previously on DM : G20 TORONTO RIOT FOOTAGE & THE RISE OF THE ANTI-G PROTEST VIDEO

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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Postcards from Hell:  A rogue’s gallery of failed states
06.28.2010
06:56 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
failed states

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As Foreign Policy’s Elizabeth Dickinson writes in the introduction to this powerful photo essay, “As the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You’ll only know a failed state when you see it.”
 
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Here, men in Uganda rallying against corrupt strongman Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, burn a bus in protest.
 
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Intercommunal violence in Nigeria’s middle belt means the sight of mass graves is common in the area.
 
The Failed States Index 2010 (Foreign Policy)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Rent a White Guy
06.28.2010
03:36 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
China
Fred Willard
Caucasians

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This article, about a rather peculiar business practice in China, is quite amusing, I think you will agree. Hell, with my look, I would be in high demand there! From The Atlantic:

Not long ago, I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.

“I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”

I was.

And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image—particularly, the image of connection—that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: “Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.”

I just have one question: What KIND of racism is this? Positive racism? Lucrative racism? Self-loathing Chinese racism? It’s clearly racism of one stripe or another, seemingly positive, at least for white males who look like business men, but still, it’s a bit confusing, isn’t it?

Rent a White Guy: Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing (The Atlantic)

Via Steve Silberman’s always interesting Twitter feed

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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G20 Toronto Riot Footage & the rise of the anti-G protest video

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The great Mixmaster Morris drew my attention to this bit of coverage of the G20 demonstrations in Toronto this weekend by Miguel Barbosa’s YEAH! Films Company. Clip #1 is more raw, and seems to have been converted to the more stylized clip #2. It seems like some of the most de-sensationalized, semi-balanced coverage so far, although Barbosa & co. seem rather generally disenchanted by the protestors, as shown in his posting on the YEAH! site:

If your going to attack a city, I would suggest weapons & better tactics. I knew these guys were gonna attack 10 minutes before it happened…

Anyways, they didn’t like people taking photos & video. It was kind of too late only a few minutes into the protest, the year is 2010, and everybody has some sort of camera. One protester attacked me when I yelled “Do you think this burning car is going to change the world?”

I hope you at home are sane and human enough to see what they did to this city & what they put innocent people through is completely wrong. It was embarrassing for the City of Toronto and it was embarrassing for Canadians. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. I heard you guys smashed a Tim Hortons. If that isn’t crossing the line I don’t know what is.

Barbosa points out the extreme mediation of the event—“everybody has some sort of camera.” Although it can be useful in documenting and possibly preventing police abuse—which seems to have been somewhat the case since, say, Chicago ’68—it’s hard not to detect a bit of collective narcissism as well.

Is there any doubt that the anti-globalization protest video is now its own genre?
 

 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Stuck in Calais: Europe, Immigrants, and Jack Chute’s Reaching Albion

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Over a year ago, Bournemouth University student Jack Chute released this truly impressive short film chronicling the hard lives of Sudanese, Afghani, Palestinian and other immigrants stuck in the French port city of Calais. On a clear day, these guys can see England, a country with far more lenient visa regulations than those of France. In short, they see their futures.

Located directly across the English Channel from the White Cliffs of Dover, Calais has been a historical touch-point between France and England since ancient times.  It was bounced back and forth between the two countries from the 14th through 19th centuries, and served as a crucial decoy to Hitler while the Allies invaded Normandy.

Now it’s a harrowing human locus of the New World Order. Since the film’s release, French police have raided and destroyed the migrant’s refuge, unofficially known as the Jungle.
 

Reaching Albion from Jack Chute on Vimeo.

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Best headline in the history of newspapers?
06.25.2010
11:11 am

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events

Tags:

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Don’t bury the lede!
 
(via BuzzFeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Moms with Guns
06.23.2010
11:27 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
PSA
Amber Alert
Moms with guns

 
From a YouTube commenter: “This is a great commercial, but it sort of makes me want to buy a gun to protect my kids. And I don’t even have kids.”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Sexual hypocrisy in Minneapolis: Anti-gay Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock ‘outed’
06.23.2010
09:48 pm

Topics:
Belief
Current Events
Sex

Tags:
Ted Haggard
Pastor Tom Brock

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I read this story about a magazine called Lavender ‘outing’ an anti-gay Lutheran pastor by crashing his gay ‘chastity’ support group with interest and a chuckle this morning. Pastor Tom Brock, a local radio personality, had notoriously linked a tornado that struck a church and the Minneapolis Convention Center to gay marriage

The story went around the Internet faster than you could say Ted Haggard. Predictably, the judgement on hypocrite extraordinaire Brock was swift and chock full of schadenfreude. The Queerty website had this to say: Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock Blamed ELCA’s Tornado on Homosexuality. Which, Uh, He Suffers From. Ouch!

But then a bunch of articles calling the reporter’s journalistic ethics to task for betraying the anonymity of a support group setting started to appear. Lavender Media’s head Stephen Rocheford confirmed that reporter John Townsend was sent into the program “undercover,” but insists—and I agree with him 100%—that Brock — who broadcasts on a Christian radio station called KKMS-AM nearly every day of the week— is a major “get” for the gay community of Minneapolis:

“I personally, and Lavender Magazine as a matter of policy, do not believe in outing anyone. People are allowed to be crazy and dysfunctional in their lives. There’s one exception: a public figure who says one thing and does another. This is not the first homosexual minister who denounces homosexuality in public and engages in it in private.”

Damn straight (ahem) and every time one of these twisted, self-loathing Christian closet cases is exposed as a hypocrite, displays of public homophobia will become rarer and rarer and this is a very, very good thing. Brock should look at this new chapter in his life as a good thing, too, because he’ll no longer be able to live a lie and hurt the very people he might otherwise (if he is to be honest with himself) be the most appropriate pastor for. Go with God, Pastor Brock, go with God, mi’ fren…

Anti-gay Lutheran pastor protest too much (Lavender)

Lavender ‘outs’ Lutheran pastor—by crashing confidential support group (Minneapolis Post)

Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock Blamed ELCA’s Tornado on Homosexuality. Which, Uh, He Suffers From (Queerty)
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Charles Hugh Smith: An Open Letter to the Millennials/Gen-Y: Where Are You?
06.23.2010
06:47 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Charles Hugh Smith

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Dangerous Minds pal Charles Hugh Smith has posted an open letter to the folks belonging to the so-called Millennials and Gen Y generations. Many older readers will probably agree with his thoughts on the matter, while younger readers will either be pissed off or agree themselves. I think this is one of those things where there’s never going to be agreement across the various age groups. If you’ve ever had conversations about this and similar “generation gap” type topics, you’ll know why I say this! Surely this is a controversial subject no matter what age you are.

Take it away, Charles:

Here are my first-hand observations of Millennials:

1. They can’t/won’t recycle. Here in a “green” capital of activism, very few American students can be bothered to recycle cardboard, paper or even aluminum. They stuff a cardboard box (unfolded) into a trash container, filling the container, and then pile the garbage on the side since they are too lazy to recycle the box (the recycling containers are right next to the trash cans) collapse the cardboard box or even press it down to make room for more garbage.

2. The males generally own their own vehicles; on my street, that includes Mustangs and Jeep SUVs sporting bumper stickers like “The environment is all we have.” The Millennial owner is apparently blind to the irony.

Most of the students who recycle with any sort of consistency (i.e. demonstrating their belief via actual action instead of bumper stickers) are Europeans.

3. At the end of the Spring semester, Millennials stuff dozens of huge 20-foot long containers with their waste and tossed-out “stuff”—trash bags full of barely worn shoes, perfectly good beds, desks, books, etc. I have no direct knowledge that any graduating student took all their perfectly good shoes, etc. to the Goodwill, a few blocks from the university. From my informal dumpster diving, I can attest they throw out tons of high-quality food—whole unblemished fruits, canned goods, etc. Based on my direct observation, I would say the Millennials are the most wasteful, profligately consumerist generation in history.

4. My brother-in-law reports that the vast majority of his students are in active denial about the economy or the interlocking problems of the nation and world. They express little to no interest in environmental issues or actions, or in Peak Oil, etc., even though it will most certainly impact them.

5. Local “progressive” politics is still completely dominated by Boomers and Gen Xers. If there is a Millennial political movement or zeitgeist, it is currently invisible in one of the great political hotbeds of the nation and world.

6. The over-arching emotion of the Millennials I have met and observed is fear: fear that they won’t get a cush job with bennies, fear that the “good life” which apparently means a secure job with high pay might not open up, fear that life might not work out easily.

It’s over, so move on to something better. The whole cheap oil, Savior State, consumerist/media/facebook solipsism has no future. Clinging to it in the hopes you can extract some meaning, security or swag is a losing proposition. Where is the excitement about changing things, rather than fearfully hoping the swag lasts long enough for you to get your share? Fearfully clinging to Mommy, Daddy and the Savior State is no path to greatness.

I even make an appearance at one point in the essay. Read more of Charles Hugh Smith’s An Open Letter to the Millennials/Gen-Y: Where Are You? (Of Two Minds)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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