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All the World (and the Media) is Your Stage: Occupy Wall Street, Act II


 
The clueless conservatives chatterboxes on Fox News and AM talk radio cheering on the evictions of the rapidly dwindling in number Occupy sites around the country have another thing coming if they think that the fun is over. It’s not the end of anything, no matter what smug frat-boys like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh or Eric Bolling claim to “think.”

The Occupy movement isn’t waning, it’s mutating into something different now. Something we can’t predict yet. The rightwing echo chamber acts as if standing around in freezing cold public spaces with the intention to annoy the “job creators” was the movement’s sole aim. I think these Marie Antoinette Republicans are… wrong.

Here’s what respected historian Todd Gitlin told Associated Press:

The Occupy movement is beginning to follow a familiar pattern, said Todd Gitlin, a sociologist at Columbia University and an authority on social movements. He noted that the 1960s anti-war movement grew gradually for years until bursting onto the world stage during the election year of 1968.

He predicted big rallies around the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Until then, “I think there will be some kinds of occupations, but I don’t think they’ll be as big and as central,” Gitlin said.

When the dust settles and the history is written, Zuccotti Park will be seen as a “strange attractor” rallying place, a “temporary autonomous zone” and a very potent symbol of what could be, but that’s all it will be in the final narrative: The First Act.

And what a beginning it was. People in Wisconsin, in Ohio, in Michigan, in Los Angeles, in Oakland, previously apathetic Americans are starting to wake up to the stark and shitty realities of life in our times in an unprecedented manner and actually fight back. I’m someone who thought “the revolution” would have taken place by the end of the 1980s. I’ve been predicting something like this for 30 years. Even a stopped clock has the right time twice a day, I suppose, but it was getting ridiculous.

As everyone who was there knows, something really special happened in lower Manhattan. Now, no matter where you live, it’s time to use the winter months to organize for next year’s election. There is a chance to gain a lot of ground in 2012. The Reichwing is in a state of preposterously comic disarray with no savior in sight. It might even be possible to push Obama and the Democrats truly leftwards for a change (stranger things have happened, see also FDR; see also what REALLY happened during Great Depression). No one knows what is going to happen next, but I do suspect for there to be a lot of it about, to paraphrase Spike Milligan.

To get too bogged down in trying to hold on to some real estate would have merely become a distraction and as time went on, the “visuals,” as so many in the media like to say, would have taken on a different semiotic and not done the movement any favors in what is, essentially still a war of images. All things considered—and this is just one asshole’s opinion, mine—I think it’s probably the right time for the various Occupy encampments to disperse. It was starting to feel like the first act needed to come to a climax. And what a G-spot barnstormer that curtain-closer was.

Even as I was privileged to have witnessed Occupy Wall Street on three occasions in all of its life-affirming, carnivalesque glory, for anyone looking at the situation as a supportive outsider, the writing was on the wall in October about how long Zuccotti Park could reasonably be expected to be held by the wide cross-section of people who kick-started the movement. As more and more people were going to get peeled off because of the diabolically cold New York winter, it’s a blunt fact that after a certain point, only the chronically homeless would have still been camping out in that freezing cold concrete park. And Fox News would have been all over Zuccotti Park, the open-air homeless shelter.

Lest you think I am disparaging the homeless contingent at Occupy Wall Street, I’m not. In very little of the reporting I’ve seen or read on the OWS encampment, is there any mention of the extremely pivotal roles that were played by the hardcore homeless people and the gutterpunk types in what went down at Zuccotti Park. THEY are the ones who made it possible for the park to be held long enough for the others to join them. Nope, I’m not dissing the homeless participants in OWS, in the least, I think they were amongst the very first frontline heroes of the movement, but it’s just time to move past romancing this idea of the ragtag encampments. go back inside and get better organized. Some people, sympathetic to the movement’s goals are never in a million years going to do something “rash.” It’s time to reach out to them now, so the government knows what size crowd it’s dealing with! (That “silent majority” thing works both ways, as the establishment is finally starting to find out. Americans don’t like “Socialism” but they seem to LOVE socialist ideas, especially in times when their families are starving and they can’t afford to heat their homes. Just saying).

During the past few days, I’ve noticed quite a few more than just vaguely supportive “What’s next for the Occupy movement?” articles popping up in the mainstream media, including the front page of the New York Times, and from the Associated Press and Reuters. There’s also been some worried “What are we going to do about the OWS movement?” type things appearing in the conservative blogsphere.

A pretty good indicator of opinion on the right can be seen in Republican strategist Frank Luntz’s comments to the Republican Governors Association this week in Florida. Say what you will about Luntz—I hate his guts and think he’s made this country a much shittier, meaner, stupider place than had he never been born—the man, like Karl Rove, is an evil genius. But can even the sinister Mister Luntz do anything to stop the tidal wave of history? (To paraphrase the Carol Beer character in Little Britain, “Dialectic says ‘NO’”).

“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death,”  Luntz told the GOP governors. “They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”

In a series of talking points (you can read them all in Chris Moody’s article “How Republicans are being taught to talk about Occupy Wall Street” on Yahoo News) Lutz gave the GOP leadership advice like: Don’t say capitalism.

“I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market,’ ” Luntz told them. “The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”

You could read into that statement a lot of different ways. I’ll leave you to your own interpretation.

Another thing I see happening, and I applaud the editors who are sharp enough to get why this would be a good idea, is that people who have actually physically been at the various Occupy encampments and were writing from an “on the ground perspective” there, are starting to get hired by some of the major newspapers to cover current events, and the arts, from the point of view of the Occupy movement.

One of these individuals is Arun Gupta, the founding editor of The Indypendent, who wrote “This is a movement for anyone who lacks a job, housing or healthcare, or thinks they have no future” in a fascinating essay, “The Revolution Begins at Home An Open Letter to Join the Wall Street Occupation” that I read on Naomi Klein’s website. I’ve taken notice of his byline ever since.

He’s now covering the Occupy movement for Salon, but in the pages of The Guardian, Gupta wrote what I thought was a gobsmacking vision of what America has become in the intro to his sensational interview with novelist Arundhati Roy

“This is uniquely American,” I remark to Roy about interviewing her while both in cars but thousands of miles apart. Having driven some 7,000 miles and visited 23 cities (and counting) in reporting on the Occupy movement, it’s become apparent that the US is essentially an oil-based economy in which we shuttle goods we no longer make around a continental land mass, creating poverty-level dead-end jobs in the service sector.

If that last bit didn’t drain the blood out of your face, then read it again.

From the interview with the author of the Booker Prize-winning novel, The God of Small Things:

Arun Gupta: Why did you want to visit Occupy Wall Street and what are your impressions of it?

Arundhati Roy: How could I not want to visit? Given what I’ve been doing for so many years, it seems to me, intellectually and theoretically, quite predictable this was going to happen here at some point. But still I cannot deny myself the surprise and delight that it has happened. And I wanted to, obviously, see for myself the extent and size and texture and nature of it. So the first time I went there, because all those tents were up, it seemed more like a squat than a protest to me, but it began to reveal itself in a while. Some people were holding the ground and it was the hub for other people to organise, to think through things. As I said when I spoke at the People’s University, it seems to me to be introducing a new political language into the United States, a language that would be considered blasphemous only a while ago.

Arun Gupta: Do you think that the Occupy movement should be defined by occupying one particular space or by occupying spaces?

Arundhati Roy: I don’t think the whole protest is only about occupying physical territory, but about reigniting a new political imagination. I don’t think the state will allow people to occupy a particular space unless it feels that allowing that will end up in a kind of complacency, and the effectiveness and urgency of the protest will be lost. The fact that in New York and other places where people are being beaten and evicted suggests nervousness and confusion in the ruling establishment. I think the movement will, or at least should, become a protean movement of ideas, as well as action, where the element of surprise remains with the protesters. We need to preserve the element of an intellectual ambush and a physical manifestation that takes the government and the police by surprise. It has to keep re-imagining itself, because holding territory may not be something the movement will be allowed to do in a state as powerful and violent as the United States.

Arun Gupta: At the same, occupying public spaces did capture the public imagination. Why do you think that is?

Arundhati Roy: I think you had a whole subcutaneous discontent that these movements suddenly began to epitomise. The Occupy movement found places where people who were feeling that anger could come and share it – and that is, as we all know, extremely important in any political movement. The Occupy sites became a way you could gauge the levels of anger and discontent.

Arun Gupta: You mentioned that they are under attack. Dozens of occupations have been shut down, evicted, at least temporarily, in the last week. What do you see as the next phase for this movement?

Arundhati Roy: I don’t know whether I’m qualified to answer that, because I’m not somebody who spends a lot of time here in the United States, but I suspect that it will keep reassembling in different ways and the anger created by the repression will, in fact, expand the movement. But eventually, the greater danger to the movement is that it may dovetail into the presidential election campaign that’s coming up. I’ve seen that happen before in the antiwar movement here, and I see it happening all the time in India. Eventually, all the energy goes into trying to campaign for the “better guy”, in this case Barack Obama, who’s actually expanding wars all over the world. Election campaigns seem to siphon away political anger and even basic political intelligence into this great vaudeville, after which we all end up in exactly the same place.

—snip—

Arun Gupta: You’ve written about the need for a different imagination than that of capitalism. Can you talk about that?

Arundhati Roy: We often confuse or loosely use the ideas of crony capitalism or neoliberalism to actually avoid using the word “capitalism”, but once you’ve actually seen, let’s say, what’s happening in India and the United States – that this model of US economics packaged in a carton that says “democracy” is being forced on countries all over the world, militarily if necessary, has in the United States itself resulted in 400 of the richest people owning wealth equivalent [to that] of half of the population. Thousands are losing their jobs and homes, while corporations are being bailed out with billions of dollars.

In India, 100 of the richest people own assets worth 25% of the gross domestic product. There’s something terribly wrong. No individual and no corporation should be allowed to amass that kind of unlimited wealth, including bestselling writers like myself, who are showered with royalties. Money need not be our only reward. Corporations that are turning over these huge profits can own everything: the media, the universities, the mines, the weapons industry, insurance hospitals, drug companies, non-governmental organisations. They can buy judges, journalists, politicians, publishing houses, television stations, bookshops and even activists. This kind of monopoly, this cross-ownership of businesses, has to stop.

The whole privatisation of health and education, of natural resources and essential infrastructure – all of this is so twisted and so antithetical to anything that would place the interests of human beings or the environment at the center of what ought to be a government concern – should stop. The amassing of unfettered wealth of individuals and corporations should stop. The inheritance of rich people’s wealth by their children should stop. The expropriators should have their wealth expropriated and redistributed.

Standing ovation!

The interview concludes when Gupta asks Roy if the term “occupation” can be reclaimed: She tells him “We ought to say, “Occupy Wall Street, not Iraq,” “Occupy Wall Street, not Afghanistan,” “Occupy Wall Street, not Palestine.” The two need to be put together. Otherwise people might not read the signs.”

Arundhati Roy: ‘The people who created the crisis will not be the ones that come up with a solution’ (The Guardian)

Look for more of Arun Gupta’s work on Salon. Follow him on Twitter.

Another strong—and often very amusing—new voice emerging from the media on the Left is Tina Dupuy, the managing editor of the mighty Crooks and Liars blog. She’s a powerful and persuasive writer and a sometime stand-up comic. Dupuy gave a fascinating firsthand description of what she saw the other night when Occupy Los Angeles—the largest of all the encampments—was evicted, when she was on Sam Seder’s Majority Report yesterday. I’m glad this woman is out there on the frontlines. Tina Dupuy could be another Rachel Maddow. It can’t be long until Current TV or MSNBC snaps her up (Or The Daily Show for that matter. They could use a real Lefty…)
 

 
And then there is this survey, which suggests to me that some of the marks are wising up. At The New York Times blog, The Caucus, Kate Zirnike writes in “Support for Tea Party Drops Even in Strongholds, Survey Finds

In Congressional districts represented by Tea Party lawmakers, the number of people saying they disagree with the Tea Party has risen sharply over the year since the movement powered a Republican sweep in midterm elections, so that almost as many people disagree with the Tea Party as agree with it, according to the poll by the Pew Research Center.

Support for the Republican Party has fallen more sharply in those places than it has in the country as a whole. In the 60 districts represented in Congress by a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, Republicans are viewed about as negatively as Democrats.

The survey suggests that the Tea Party may be dragging down the Republican Party heading into a presidential election year, even as it ushered in a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives just a year ago.

Other polls have shown a decline in support for the Tea Party and its positions, particularly because its hard line during the debate over the debt ceiling and deficit reduction made the Tea Party less an abstraction. In earlier polls, most Americans did not know enough about the Tea Party to offer an opinion.

But the Pew survey shows that Tea Party support has declined even in places where it had been particularly robust.

“We know that the image of the G.O.P. has slipped, but to see it slip so dramatically in Tea Party districts is pretty surprising,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew center. “You think of those as bedrock Republican districts. They are the base.”

Tea-hee! Superb!

More from Reuters:

In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken earlier this month, 76 percent agreed that the “current economic structure of the country is out of balance and favors a very small proportion of the rich over the rest of the country.” In another recent poll, by The Washington Post/ABC News, respondents were asked: “Do you think the federal government should or should not pursue policies that try to reduce the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans?” A majority – 60 percent – said the government should pursue such policies.

Meanwhile, public concern about the Tea Party’s linchpin issues – taxes and the deficit – has receded. Asked in late October to name the most important issue facing the country, just 5 percent of respondents to a New York Times/CBS News poll named the budget deficit. A majority said jobs and the economy. This same poll included another result that should give Democrats hope: A strong 69 percent of respondents agreed that the policies of Republicans in Congress “favor the rich” while just 12 percent thought the same thing about Obama’s policies.

Actually that poll should do more than just provide the Democrats with some “hope”—it should give them SOME FUCKING IDEAS. Here’s one for free: TAX THE RICH.

And lastly, here’s the New Statesman blog had a look at the numbers from big strike in the UK:

The unions claim that around 2 million people were on strike yesterday, but ministers dispute this, putting the number closer to 1.2 million.

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they? Either way that’s well over a million people striking. And David Cameron calls that “a damp squib”? What number would it take to really rattle the boy Prime Minister? Let’s hope we get to find out soon!
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.02.2011
09:58 am
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Egyptian women’s group calls on men to try out the veil
11.14.2011
06:10 pm
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Aliaa El Mahdy, an Egyptian university student, is changing the way men view women by setting up a Facebook page, where Egyptian men can post photographs of themselves wearing veils. The page called Resounding Cries, was launched on November 1st and has had dozens of men sending in their snaps - though not everyone is happy with what El Mahdy is doing, as she explained to France 24:

For me, the veil is not a personal choice in Egypt, but the result of social and religious pressure. The girls I know who wear the veil do so because of their families or to avoid being hassled in the street. I don’t see why we should always dictate what women must wear and never what men must wear. Asking guys to put on the veil, if only for the time it takes to take the photo, is a way of saying to them ‘See how this feels!”

The other reason I launched this page is because society still considers women as sex objects. [83% of Egyptian women claim to have been victims of sexual harassment. Some women feel that the veil is a necessary form of protection against assault] . Many people, even on television, denounce the harassment of women in Egypt, but in my opinion this is not enough.

Obviously, I have been attacked and insulted because of this Facebook page. Some Internet users have responded to me by citing verses of the Koran. I realise that this is shocking for a conservative society like ours, but I am not going to change my ideas because of that.

Though there has been some controversy over Aliaa El Mahdy’s idea, there has been some support for holding a peaceful demonstration in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, which would be a very positive thing to see happen.
 
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2 more pics, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.14.2011
06:10 pm
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Angela Davis speaks to Occupy Wall Street


 
Academic, activist, scholar and revolutionary, Angela Davis addressed the Occupy Wall Street “annex” in Washington Square Park yesterday. She asked the bone-cold crowd:  “How can we be together in a unity that is complex and emancipatory?”

Via AlterNet:

To the question of the language of “occupation,” Davis counseled protesters to be aware that the U.S. is behind military occupations in other countries that are brutal and oppressive, but argued it was also possible to use the word differently. “We turn occupation into something that is beautiful, that brings community together.”

Many in the audience seemed to want advice from Davis, but she encouraged the movement to find its own answers. “We stand behind calls for…the decommodification of education, healthcare,” she said, and noted that the movement’s language carries with it the implicit promise of more work: “If we say we are the 99%, we have to commit ourselves to organizing the 99%”

Repeatedly, Davis stressed the need for inclusion, urging protesters to insist on inclusiveness, to make space for the most marginalized people in society, to hear their voices. To questions about political process, she got a laugh from the crowd when she said, “I agree with you that capitalism sucks,” but she urged the crowd not to let another Republican become president even as she said that the two-party system was broken and called for growing the movement until even conservatives wanted to join it.

“That seems to me what this movement is about: freedom and the redefinition of freedom,” Davis said. She called for support of the November 2 general strike planned in Oakland, CA.
 

Angela Davis interviewed in a California prison in 1970 by Barry Callahan. This is a fascinating clip.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.31.2011
11:36 am
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A scene from last night’s Elizabeth Warren volunteer meeting


 
This amazing photo was taken at an Elizabeth Warren volunteer meeting last night in Framingham, Mass. and posted by Daily Kos reader ndrwmls10.

Scott Brown is so fucked. I’m sure he must know it. Although Brown is my #1 favorite Republican—not that this is saying very much, of course, because I hate all Republicans—I won’t be sorry to see him go…

If you are interested in Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Senate campaign, you can find more information here: Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.27.2011
02:11 pm
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Tracey Emin chooses her favorite ‘Desert Island Discs’
10.03.2011
06:59 pm
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The long-running BBC radio series, Desert Island Discs is well-known for the quality of its celebrity interviews, where a guest chooses 8 tracks that best described key moments in their life. Each guest also gets to pick a book, and one luxury item.

When Tracey Emin guested on the show in November 2004, her luxury item was a pen that would never run out. Her book was a copy of Spinoza’s Ethics. Tracey also gave a revealing interview to host, Sue Lawley, in which she discussed her difficult and traumatic childhood and youth, and her ambitions, the importance of art and her controversial career as an artist.

Tracey’s favorite discs were:

1. John Holt “Riding For a Fall”
2.  The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”
3.  Donna Summer “I Feel Love”
4. The Clash “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
5.  Middle of the Road “Chirpie Chirpie Cheep Cheep”
6.  Elvis Presley “Burning Love”
7.  Third World “Now That I’ve Found Love”
8.  David Bowie “Young Americans”
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Tracey Emin: Sex, Success and Celebrity


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.03.2011
06:59 pm
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Subverting American Apparel: an interview with the amazing Nancy Upton
09.11.2011
02:25 pm
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You might have seen the name Nancy Upton trending online in the last few days. After taking offence at the language in a recent talent-hunt campaign by American Apparel (a company whose image is already a source of much controversy, and who are looking for a plus-size model to advertise their new range), Nancy decided to do some satirical beauty shots of herself sexily consuming food and enter them into the contest. Well, the photos came out very well and have proved wildly popular with the public, who have voted Nancy into first place in the competition (even though she has stated that she would not accept the prize if the judges chose her to win). 

All in all this is a pretty awesome story, which touches on female sexual empowerment, body image, sexist corporate branding and the acceptability of sizeism within the mainstream. I sent Nancy some brief questions for Dangerous Minds, and she was kind enough to answer them in some detail:

How did you feel about American Apparel before their “plus size” competition? What was it about this particular campaign that made you want to enter?

I feel like they’ve always gone above and beyond other companies in objectifying women. Basically it was the fact that they were trying to take advantage of a new market but make it seem like they were doing people a favor. I answered this a bit with my Daily Beast article.

“The company was co-opting the mantra of plus-size empowerment and glazing it with its unmistakable brand of female objectification. The puns, the insulting, giggly tones, and the over-used euphemisms for fat that were scattered throughout the campaign’s solicitation began to crystalize an opinion in my mind.
...
American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products.”

 

 

What’s your reaction to being voted no. 1 by the public?

Complete and utter shock. I never expected to actually be accepted into the contest, and I certainly never expected for people (other than friends who knew what I was doing and why I was doing it) to want me to win.

You’ve taken a bit of flack for supposedly insulting large women with the pics - how do you respond to that?

It’s actually very upsetting for me to hear from women that they feel insulted by what I did. I feel like, being a plus-sized woman myself, it should be very apparent that the photos are done to mock people who are the ones judging overweight men and women. Also, that they were done in the spirit of silly shenanigans and having fun being yourself. I feel like watching a plus-sized model get brutally airbrushed or only shot from one specific, slimming angle for an ad campaign is way more insulting. It’s interesting that by insulting a company that has a history of negativity towards women, I’ve managed to insult the same women the company marginalizes.

You have already said that if you do win you wouldn’t accept the prize - but wouldn’t it be better if you did?

Would it be better? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t appear for American Apparel because I disagree with their business practices, specifically their system of advertising. I feel like putting your face on a product or brand you can’t actually get behind is pretty gross. I’m also not sure it would send a great message. I feel like I’ve had an opportunity to make a statement about standing up (or at least satirizing) for what you believe in, and if I turned around and accepted a job from AA, that statement would be negated to a degree.
 

 
Do you have any favourite other models in the comp you think should win?

I’m not going to play favorites, but I definitely think the person chosen should ACTUALLY be unknown, especially since there’s no monetary compensation. Some of the women in the competition not only had modeling experience, but are actually signed with agencies. I’ve always been under the impression that once you have representation, you should avoid contests and stunts like this. But what the hell do I know about the world of modeling?

What do you think as to how large people are treated in mainstream culture and fashion in general, and is there anything anyone can do to affect this?

I feel like it’s a dialogue/presence that is always in a flux between shrinking and expanding. For every “fat best friend” throw away character on television, we get one who is brilliantly written and portrayed. Increasingly we see different shapes and looks being incorporated into major ad campaigns and runway work. Are large people treated well across the board? No. Has their level of representation and respect grown from where it was 10 years ago? Yes.

I think people are becoming more and more outspoken about the role of the plus-sized model in fashion, as well as in other aspects of entertainment and art. If we continue to keep those lines of communication open and express our desires directly and dynamically, change will happen.
 

 
Are there any designers/labels/outlets you think DO respect plus size people?

I think some designers have cuts that are more generous or have become more generous as time has gone on. Diane Von Furstenberg, for example. I believe they go up to a 14 now, as does Kate Spade, which is interesting considering their clothing line isn’t even the company’s main selling point.

I’m a big fan of the Dove campaigns. They’re very natural and don’t feel patronizing or cheap. They’re honest, simple and encourage individuality. The Gentlewoman had a great article on Adele earlier this year, and I’m a big fan of the way they profile strong, interesting women in their magazine. Target has a great selection of sizes and, I swear, every time I walk in there, the clothes are better and better.

And finally the photographs are beautiful - can you tell us more about the photographer?

Shannon Skloss, the magnificent. She has a website that will be launching soon, but for now you can find her business page on Facebook. She’s incredibly funny, vibrant and talented. We had so much fun on the shoot, and her work is just outstanding. We were introduced through a mutual friend when I needed some headshots done a few months ago, and I’m so glad it worked out that way.

Voting has now closed on the American Apparel “Next Big Thing” campaign, though we await with interest any kind of statement from the company. Shannon Skloss’ Facebook photography page is here.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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09.11.2011
02:25 pm
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Olive and Mocha: (Little) Riot Grrrls
08.24.2011
03:16 pm
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Simply brilliant:

“An unlikely friendship between a goody-goody and a bad seed results in havoc at a birthday party.”

Directed by Suzi Yoonessi. Written and produced by Molly Hale. Producers: Lara Everly, Jonako Donley

More information at www.oliveandmocha.com
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.24.2011
03:16 pm
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Kathleen Hanna: The Riot Grrrl Manifesto
08.23.2011
04:48 pm
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If I wrote something this good when I was young, I think I’d read it now with real satisfaction:

WHY RIOT ?

BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways.

BECAUSE we wanna make it easier for girls to see/hear each other’s work so that we can share strategies and criticize-applaud each other

BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own moanings.

BECAUSE viewing our work as being connected to our girlfriends-politics-real lives is essential if we are gonna figure out how we are doing impacts, reflects, perpetuates, or DISRUPTS the status quo.

BECAUSE we recognize fantasies of Instant Macho Gun Revolution as impractical lies meant to keep us simply dreaming instead of becoming our dreams AND THUS seek to create revolution in our own lives every single day by envisioning and creating alternatives to the bullshit christian capitalist way of doing things.

BECAUSE we want and need to encourage and be encouraged in the face of all our own insecurities, in the face of beergutboyrock that tells us we can’t play our instruments, in the face of “authorities” who say our bands/zines/etc are the worst in the US and who attribute any validation/success of our work to girl bandwagon hype.

BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t “good” music or punk rock or “good” writing AND THUS need to create forums where we can recreate, destroy and define our own visions.

BECAUSE we are un willing to falter under claims that we are reactionary “reverse sexists” and not the true punk rock soul crusaders that WE KNOW we really are.

BECAUSE we know that life is much more than physical survival and are patently aware that the punk rock “you can do anything” idea is crucial to the coming angry grrrl rock revolution which seeks to save the psychic and cultural lives of girls and women everywhere, according to their own terms, not ours.

BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-hierarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.

BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.

BECAUSE we see fostering and supporting girl scenes and girl artists of all kinds as integral to this process.

BECAUSE we hate capitalism in all its forms and see our main goal as sharing information and staying alive, instead of making profits of being cool according to traditional standards.

BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl=Dumb, Girl=Bad, Girl=Weak.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors.

BECAUSE self defeating behaviors (like fucking boys without condoms, drinking to excess, ignoring true soul girlfriends, belittling ourselves and other girls, etc…) would not be so easy if we lived in communities where we felt loved and wanted and valued.

BECAUSE I believe with my whole heart mind body that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.

Kathleen Hanna’s “The Riot Grrrl Manifesto” was originally published in “Bikini Kill” fanzine issue #2, 1991.

Below, Bikini Kill perform “Suck My Left One” live in a clip from the 1994 UK video zine “Getting Close To Nothing.”
 

 
After the jump, a recent Kathleen Hanna interview…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.23.2011
04:48 pm
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Unknown Swiss girl-group sings Slade’s ‘Gudbye T’Jane’ in 1974
08.11.2011
03:33 pm
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Sometime in 1974, an unknown, all-girl rock group from Switzerland performed an extremely mild version of Slade’s “Gudbye T’Jane.”  This is very, very Swiss.

Celtic Frost aside, the Swiss are not a people well-known for rocking out, are they? The “Swiss rock” Wikipedia entry is rather short, which is hardly surprising.
 

 
Thank you Douglas Hovey!

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.11.2011
03:33 pm
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Women are the greatest ones
07.31.2011
09:36 pm
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Yes. Yes, we are.

 
(via Nerdcore )

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.31.2011
09:36 pm
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