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Russell Brand hits back at critics by singing his own version of ‘Parklife’
11.10.2014
09:05 am

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
Russell Brand
Parklife

russbparklife.jpg
 
It may be a week late, but Russell Brand has eventually responded to tweeters who commented on his political writing style with the tag “Parklife!” by singing his very own version of Blur’s 1994 hit single.

Dan Barker who has been credited with starting the Russell Brand “Parklife” meme reviewed the video for BBC’s Newsbeat where he said:

“I enjoyed the video and found it pretty funny, though I’m not totally surprised that a week of difficult brainstorming with his vast PR army, and a Hollywood-sized production budget resulted in a funny response to a mild 140-character observation.

“I was surprised the video content is all about politics and class though.

“The tweet that went viral had nothing to do with either - just an observation about his writing style (though I’m sure the state schools I went to in Whitley Bay would love to be compared to Eton, they were sadly lacking that kind of money).

“If I’m honest I think he’s done a great job of turning it round from a PR point of view, and hopefully boring people so much with the word ‘PARKLIFE!’ that it may limit the amount of times people shout it at him in future.”

I suppose some may see this as case of ‘If you can’t beat them, join them…’
 

 
H/T BBC

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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If you really think it matters which party controls the Senate, answer these simple questions
11.06.2014
11:37 am

Topics:
Class War
Politics
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Republicans
Democrats


 
This is a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith. Read his essays daily at his Of Two Minds blog. Smith’s latest book is Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

Please don’t claim anything changes if one party or the other is in the majority. Anyone clinging to that fantasy is delusional.

If you really think it matters which political party controls the U.S. Senate, please answer these questions. Don’t worry, they’re not that difficult:

1. Will U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast change from being an incoherent pastiche of endless war and Imperial meddling? Please answer with a straight face. We all know the answer is that it doesn’t matter who controls the Senate, Presidency or House of Representatives, nothing will change.

2. Will basic civil liberties be returned to the citizenry? You know, like the cops are no longer allowed to steal your cash when they stop you for a broken tail light and claim the cash was going to be used for a drug deal.

Or some limits on domestic spying by Central State agencies. You know, basic civil liberties as defined by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. constitution.

Don’t make me laugh—you know darned well that it doesn’t matter who controls the Senate, Presidency or House of Representatives, nothing will change.

3. Will the predatory, parasitic policies of the Federal Reserve that virtually everyone from the Wall Street Journal to what little remains of the authentic Left understands has greatly increased income and wealth inequality be reined in? Please don’t claim either party has any will or interest in limiting the Fed’s rapacious financialization. There is absolutely no evidence to support such a claim—it is pure wishful thinking.

4. Will the steaming pile of profiteering, corruption, waste, fraud and ineptitude that is Sickcare in the U.S. be truly reformed so its costs drop by 50% to match what every other developed democracy spends per person on universal healthcare? It doesn’t matter if ObamaCare is repealed or not; that monstrosity was simply another layer of bureaucratic waste on an already hopelessly dysfunctional system.

If you answer “yes,” please run a body scan on yourself to detect the biochips that were implanted while you voted Demopublican.

5. Will the influence of Big Money be well and truly banned from politics? If you answer yes, please pick up your tin-foil hat at the door.

6. Will the incentives in the Status Quo be reset to punish rapacious financialization and gaming the system and reward productive investment and labor? Before you answer, check out who’s buttering the Senators’ bread. Hint: Wall Street does not qualify as productive unless we’re talking about the production of life-draining parasites. Virtually none of the vast armies of skimmers and scammers, from those pursuing bogus disability claims to lobbyist leeches, will suffer any consequence.

Moral hazard is the Status Quo’s Prime Directive.

7. Will anything be done to dismantle the Neofeudal Debt-Serfdom known as student loans? You are delusional if you think either party has any interest in limiting the predation of an academic Upper Caste that came to do good and stayed to do well.

8. Will any prudent assessment be made of unaffordable weapons systems like the F-35 Lightning—$1.5 trillion and counting for aircraft that will soon be matched by drones that cost a fraction of the F-35’s $200 million a piece price tag? No way—parts of those insanely costly jets are made in dozens of states, so the pork is well-distributed. Never mind the plane is lemon, built to fight the wars of the past. It’s jobs, Baby—that’s all that counts. Never mind the $1.5 trillion—we can always borrow another couple trillion—the Fed promised us.

Do you really think the Senate controlled by either party will ask why the F-35’s price tag dropped to $120 million from $200 million? That’s easy—the revised estimate left out the engine and avionics. They’ll be added back in after the Senate approves open-ended funding.

If none of these key dynamics will change, you got nothing. Please don’t claim anything changes if one party or the other is in the majority. Anyone clinging to that fantasy is delusional.

If you doubt this, please take the above quiz again.

This is a guest post from Charles Hugh Smith. Read his essays daily at his Of Two Minds blog. Smith’s latest book is Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Handy tips from the 1970s on how to survive a nuclear attack

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For some inexcusable reason, I have merged the first time I saw one of these Protect & Survive infommercials with watching kids TV on a Saturday or summer holiday morning. Let’s say, I saw them after re-runs of The Banana Splits and before My White Horses. I’m no doubt wrong but that’s how I like to remember these “chilling” ads instructing the plucky British nation on how best to “protect and survive” a nuclear attack. Fat chance, I hear you say, and I would certainly agree—as the government’s suggestion of some quick DIY (taking doors off their hinges to form a makeshift shelter) and stockpiling food, water and medical supplies within the allotted four minute warning before a nuclear attack was highly optimistic.

Twenty of these short Protect and Survive films were made in 1975, and were certainly screened at some point during that decade and during the 1980s. I know because I recall thinking it very unfortunate that my parents had glass doors throughout their house, which meant any unhinging or using of these doors as possible shelter was utterly pointless. It struck me then that such makeshift bunkers made from leaning a door against a wall and reinforcing it with furniture, suitcases, bedding and, er, sandbags (as if anyone had these lying around) were in reality coffins, graveyards for the millions of English, Scots and Welsh who would have been wiped out in an attack.

Of course the UK government knew this as they had secretly run a mock nuclear attack to estimate the actual number of dead and injured. Called “Operation Square Leg,” the exercise assumed that “131 nuclear weapons would fall on Britain with a total yield of 205 megatons: 69 ground burst; 62 air burst.” This would leave 29 million dead or 53% of the population; with 7 million or 12% seriously injured; and 19 million or 35% of the population remaining as “short-term survivors.” In other words, we were all fucking doomed.

Still, perhaps those in charge hoped these little films would offer a tiny glimmer of hope to those who thought the government knew best, or in my case some scary Saturday morning entertainment. The voice-over for these infomercials was supplied by Patrick Allen—-who was also at this time presenting a host of adverts selling timber-framed homes to first-time buyers. Some of his lines from these films were re-recorded and inserted into “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood notably:

“Mine is the last voice you will ever hear. Do not be alarmed.”

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The Russian Revolution in color
10.27.2014
10:47 am

Topics:
History
Politics

Tags:
photography
Lenin
Russian Revolution

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Lenin was a headbanger, quite literally. As a baby he would bang his head repeatedly on the floor. His parents thought little Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov might injure himself or that his actions suggested something wrong. According to his biographer Robert Service, Lenin was a troublesome child—needy, demanding attention and resentful of his family and other children. He always wanted to be the center of attention and this he later achieved on a grand scale when he turned the events of the Russian Revolution to his advantage, and became head of government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Lenin had campaigned and encouraged the revolution from afar, from his base in Switzerland, where he spent his days writing manifestoes and political pamphlets and his evenings watching DADAist performances offending the audience at the club Cabaret Voltaire, which left Lenin pondering who was the more revolutionary DADA or himself? The events of 1917 were to answer that.

These color images were uncovered by Russian-born photographer Anton Orlov when he was asked to clear out storage crates in the basement of a home in California. In amongst the personal items and assorted junk were hundreds of hand-colored glass slides taken by an American pastor named John Wells Rahill during the Russian Revolution of 1917.
 
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Pastor John Wells Rahill with three young boys at a Russian village.
 
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Members of the YMCA entertain a crowd at a train station.
 
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Soldiers at Omsk train station.
 
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Damaged buildings in the center of Moscow.
 
More color photos plus ‘The Russian Revolution in Color’ documentary, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Prankster in Chief: LBJ liked to fool people with his amphibious car
10.27.2014
06:56 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Politics

Tags:
Lyndon Johnson


Lyndon Johnson takes his Amphicar out for a spin

Aside from being perhaps America’s best post-WW2 president in domestic policy and America’s worst post-WW2 president in foreign policy, Lyndon B. Johnson has also proved to be perhaps our most entertaining president, with memorable moments like showing off his gall bladder surgery scar, holding meetings while he was on the toilet, and, as we posted in July, hilariously talking about his “bunghole” with his tailor.

Maybe it’s not too surprising that Johnson also engaged in pranks that, had more people known about them, would surely have had media scolds worrying that his behavior was insufficiently “presidential.” For instance, few people know that, much like James Bond, Johnson actually owned an amphibious car. The Quandt Group produced the amphibious convertible (!) known as the “Amphicar” in the German city of Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde. The car functioned by engaging “the two propellers, located under the rear engine compartment.” The company made 3,878 of them between 1960 and 1968. It came in four colors, “Beach White, Regatta Red, Fjord Green (Aqua), and Lagoon Blue,” the latter one being the hue that Johnson favored. For Johnson owned an Amphicar. The black-and-white picture on this page is of Johnson driving one in April 1965.
 

Adventures with the Amphicar
 
Even better than owning one, Johnson liked to fool visitors to his ranch in Johnson City, Texas, that the brakes had failed and that they were powerless to prevent the car from plunging into a lake and drowning the passengers. One of Johnson’s LBJ’s top domestic aides, Joseph A. Califano Jr., tells the following story:
 

The President, with Vicky McCammon in the seat alongside him and me in the back,was now driving around in a small blue car with the top down. We reached a steep incline at the edge of the lake and the car started rolling rapidly toward the water. The President shouted, “The brakes don’t work! The brakes won’t hold! We’re going in! We’re going under!” The car splashed into the water. I started to get out. Just then the car leveled and I realized we were in a Amphicar. The President laughed. As we putted along the lake then (and throughout the evening), he teased me. “Vicky, did you see what Joe did? He didn’t give a damn about his President. He just wanted to save his own skin and get out of the car.” Then he’d roar.

 
That’s right, the President of the United States liked to drive his amphibious car into a lake and then shout, “The brakes don’t work! We’re going under!” just to see what would happen. In the anecdote above, note how LBJ twits Califano for worrying only about his own skin. I suspect as a politician, Johnson liked learning about the character of the people he was with, to see what they were “really” made of.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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John Butler: Changing the world one animation at a time
10.23.2014
10:37 am

Topics:
Animation
Politics

Tags:
Marxism
John Butler

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Award-winning speculative fiction animator John Butler, one half of the Butler Brothers, will be making a rare appearance at the Exchange Rates Expo in Brooklyn, New York from October 23rd to 26th. John will be exhibiting alongside artist and filmmaker Patrick Jameson and artist Ellis Luxemburg, as part of the Glasgow’s Queen’s Park Railway Club at the Fuchs Projects, 56 Bogart Street.

Exchange Rates is an international expo of art and art galleries in around the Bushwick area of Brooklyn presenting work by exchange artists from around the world:

Conceived and produced by arts organizations helmed by artists and curators in Bushwick, Brooklyn and London, England, Exchange Rates—known also in this inaugural iteration as The Bushwick Expo—is an international exposition of artworks and curatorial programs in which host spaces in one art community open their doors and share their walls with kindred spaces on visit from elsewhere.

Some exhibits will be integrated, some collaborative yet autonomous, some even spontaneous or virtual.

The rates of exchange, as such, will fluctuate, while the currencies of exchange—ideas and culture—remain fixed.

 
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As regular readers to Dangerous MInds know, I am a big fan of John Butler’s work and have been banging the drum for his speculative animations for some considerable time. For those who don’t know his work, Butler, to give a snapshot, is a hybrid of J. G. Ballard, John Carpenter via Stanley Kubrick—an imaginative and intelligent dystopian, who has an exacting and precise style to his animated films.

Today, Butler will be premiering his recently completed speculative science fiction animation, the so-called Amazon cycle of four films (a reference to working practices of the company rather than the South American river) contained in Descention along with The Terminal Node. Butler’s recent work examines the processes by which capitalism uses technology to dehumanize a workforce.
 
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As Butler explained via email:

Descention draws a straight line from military robotics to retail cybernetics, from DARPA to Amazon.

Refusnik, G.O.L.E.M., M.O.N.A.D. and Mutator are all episodes in an adaptive odyssey that evaluates human utility in the age of artificial indifference.

Through a series of mutations, the human candidate is gradually purged of all non-essential attributes in an attempt to meet the imperatives of growth.

This process of adaptive degradation eventually leads to the distillation of human demand into an intelligent algorithm, fully able to realise it’s own destiny.

It is similar to The Incredible Shrinking Man except that his mutation is driven by the market rather than radiation.

 
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Below the Butler Brothers Descention which will be screened at Exchange Rates. More information here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Potty-mouthed Princesses: Which is more offensive: Sexism or little girls saying ‘f*ck’?
10.22.2014
06:15 am

Topics:
Feminism
Politics

Tags:
FCKH8
girls
equal pay


 
As far as ethical consumerism goes, FCKH8 is pretty unobjectionable to non-bigots. For a reasonable price, you get a T-shirts with an antisexist, anti-racist or anti-homophobic slogan on it—what the company calls a “mini-billboard for change.” They’re a for-profit company, but they’ve donated over $250,000 to LGBTQ charities, and $5 from every T-shirt, hoodie and tank from their anti-racist line goes to valid anti-racist organizations, including the Michael Brown Memorial Fund. Are we gonna save the world by buying stuff? No. But you gotta wear clothes, and a “Some kids are gay. That’s OK” T-shirt could be a lifeline to a lonely kid—especially if their community is less than queer-friendly.

Their latest commercial addresses sexism with a cute hook. A series of little girls (and one very fabulous little boy) are adorned in princess gear, but quickly drop the sweetie-pie act to lecture us on wage inequality and rape, with plenty of profanity thrown in for effect. The point is pretty clear—society is more offended by decorative profanity than it is economic discrimination or sexual assault. Curious to see if the pearl-clutching prigs were incensed, I checked the Facebook comments (why? I’m a masochist, I suppose). The Internet never fails to showcase the very worst of humanity, but I have to say, I’m a little surprised at how many people took the bait on this one!

Here are some highlights:

I would beat the living shit out of my child if they ever did this. Using bullshit facts and swearing to sell a shirt

You know they’re… child actors, right? Like, they didn’t hop a bus to a soundstage and produce a commercial on their own accord. You know that… right?

In do not think making little girl swear is what’s needed to create gender equalityz

This is actually one of the nicer criticisms. It lacks justification and completely misses the point, but the tone is so reasonable, I’m not even going to make fun of the spelling and grammar. This is literally the best of the negative comments. Thanks, lady for at least being a civil goody-goody.

The sheer absolute craziness of this feminist propaganda, embriguading young kids into being irrespectful and vulgar is absolutely…through the roof!

“Embriguading.” Not a word in any language. Google has no suggestions.
 

 

This video is basically what happens when the line isn’t drawn

Lines, people! We need some goddamn lines drawn! Without lines it’s gonna be goddamn anarchy!

I don’t care what the message is . If my 11 year old boy or girl talked like that they would be getting a boot in the ass and no phone till they graduate there’s your fucking equality

Actors. Child actors.

Naked facepalm. These kids are being fed propaganda of lies. Using “fuck” as just for shock value, which I also disagree with. Don’t remember Martin Luther King bringing in kids to use the word n*gger, but hey. It’s all and good for the wonderful name of feminism.

I don’t really have anything to say about this comment. I just want everyone to know that this guy’s Facebook name is “Samuel PunishedSnake Byram,” and his favorite sports is bikini wrestling.

Fuck up you grape looking slut

I was waiting for slut. Did not expect the “grape” part, nor do I quite understand it, but… points for originality? (A woman wrote that, by the way.)

I’m offended by it all. Kinda. I mean. I don’t really care if this girls are cursing. But some men look at women as trashy when they talk like that. *Shrugs*

Thank you for your invaluable contribution to the dialogue!

Disgusting way to send a “message”...through children who have no clue as to what they are saying; just a script written by adults. By the way, we’ve had laws in place for years re: equal pay. The parents of these children should be ashamed of themselves.


Of course they’re reading scripts! They’re actors! Does no one know what an actor is anymore? Is this a foreign concept to vast swaths of the Internet population?!?

Was my childhood some kind of free-range anomaly? I wasn’t allowed to cuss in public, but after a certain age, my mom was more concerned with me using cuss words effectively—Swear smart, kids! Don’t oversalt your food or your language! Have I spent too much time in New York? Are there really this many Helen Lovejoys left in the world? Check the video below—that is, if you’re not prone to fainting spells.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The year Dizzy Gillespie ran for president—spoiler alert, he didn’t win
10.21.2014
06:09 am

Topics:
Music
Politics

Tags:
Lyndon Johnson
Dizzy Gillepsie


 
In 1964 the “fate of the free world,” ahem, came down to a contest between two men, Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Republican challenger, Barry Goldwater, U.S. Senator from Arizona. History tells us that the contest was decided in favor of Johnson, but the whimsically inclined can entertain another outcome in a parallel universe—John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie as U.S. President.

In that heady year the notion of Dizzy for President was a little bit of a thing in the culture, as the famous trumpeter, by then synonymous with bebop itself, announced his intention to become chief executive of the land. Dizzy even announced that his running mate would be Phyllis Diller.
 

 
As Barry McRae wrote in Dizzy Gillespie: His Life and Times:
 

Goldwater was a conservative who had voted against the civil-rights bill and exploited the ‘redneck’ backlash or favouring the “freedom not to associate.” At a Republican meeting he declared that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

That such a man could be considered for the presidency worried Gillespie enormously, and when jazz writer Ralph Gleason suggested that Dizzy himself had better credentials for the job, he began to take the idea seriously. Gleason began to use his jazz column to promote his possible candidate. He pointed out Gillespie’s skill with people of all nationalities and the success of the State Department tours. Jon Hendricks put presidential words to Salt Peanuts and Dizzy himself thoroughly enjoyed the whole operation. …

He postulated a change of colour for the White House, suggest Bo Diddley as secretary of state and told doubters that he was running for president because “We need one.”

 
Gillespie promised that if he were elected, the White House would be renamed “The Blues House.” He proposed the following provocative positions: Duke Ellington (Secretary of State), Miles Davis (Director of the CIA), Max Roach (Secretary of Defense), Malcolm X (Attorney General—“because he’s one cat we definitely want to have on our side”), Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace—“because he’ll take a piece of your head faster than anyone I know”), Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress), Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture), Mary Lou Williams (Ambassador to the Vatican), Thelonious Monk (Traveling Ambassador). The campaign buttons that Gillespie’s booking agency had produced some years earlier “for publicity, as a gag” were now enlisted in the effort; proceeds from them would benefit the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Martin Luther King Jr. He advocated U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, promised free education and health care, and pledged to put an African-American astronaut on the moon (if none could be found, Gillespie volunteered to go himself).
 

 
In 1963 Gillespie released Dizzy for President, which included as its final track “Vote Dizzy,” for which singer Jon Hendricks supplied new political lyrics to Gillespie’s trademark tune “Salt Peanuts” as follows:
 

Your politics ought to be a groovier thing
Vote Dizzy! Vote Dizzy!
So get a good president who’s willing to swing
Vote Dizzy! Vote Dizzy!

 

 
via Lawyers, Guns & Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Slayer’s public health warning
10.17.2014
08:33 am

Topics:
Music
Politics

Tags:
Slayer


 
Close friends know that I’ve been in mourning since Slayer discontinued their signature line of rolling papers, but seeing this item in the webstore got me out of my black Slayer tee and into my faded black one in no time flat. I used to be in a Seasons in the Abyss mood, but today I’m blasting Show No Mercy. This handsome \m/ metal \m/ sign measures 12"x18”, retails for $15, and is a great way to let clients (prospective and actual) know where you’re coming from.

If I’m not very much mistaken, the idea for this awareness-raising sign came from the guerrilla sticker campaign of @CarveSlayer (see below), and not from OSHA. I rejoice that Slayer has given this message official sanction.
 

 
I don’t know why it isn’t mandatory to display this notice in every American workplace. It’s 2014, people, and this is the most cost-effective way of addressing the major public health issue of our time. My fellow Californians, let’s clean up our act and get this on the ballot in 2016. We Slayer fans are human beings too. #IAmASlayerFan

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The Muppets go Situationist

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I doubt I’ll be able to watch The Muppets again without quotes from Guy Debord popping up unannounced in my noodle. These magnificent images are the work of artist and writer Amy Collier, who posted them on Toast where she gives some explanation of her work in the comments:

Oh look! I found some history about Guy Debord’s “The Muppets”:

Though the name “Guy Debord” is now synonymous with two things: Situationist philosophy and The Muppets, this pairing of passions was not as easily reconciled as you might think. “I had to fight really hard not to be pigeon-holed as a Marxist theorist in the puppeteering community,” Debord once said. “They told me ‘Kids don’t want to hear about how the concrete life of everyone has been degraded to a speculative universe, Guy.’ I said ‘How about we let the children decide that?’”

Decide they did.

Years later, we remember him as both a Marxist visionary who criticized societies where modern conditions of production prevail in which all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles, and the beloved man who brought Kermit, Miss Piggy, as well as many other characters into our hearts.

You can read the rest of it here and now I can’t wait for On the Passage of The Muppets in Rather Brief Unity of Time.
 
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More of Guy Debord’s Muppets, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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