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Adam Curtis on the death of Bin Laden
05.04.2011
01:01 pm

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Current Events
Media
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Thinkers

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Regular DM readers will know by now that we are big fans of the documentary maker Adam Curtis. He deals with current events and how they fit into a broader scheme of social and political history. Just the other day Richard posted the trailer for his upcoming documentary “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” which is to air on the BBC soon.

Curtis yesterday published an article through the Guardian about the death of Osama bin Laden, and what that means for the global political spin-machine. In it Curtis addresses the bogey-man status of Bin Laden and how his death will impact on the ongoing Western cultural narrative of “Goodies” vs “Baddies”:

Journalists, many of whom also yearned for the simplicity of the old days, grabbed at [the Bin Laden story]: from the outset, the reporting of the Islamist terror threat was distorted to reflect this dominant simplified narrative. And Bin Laden grabbed at it too. As the journalists who actually met him report, he was brilliant at publicity. All three – the neoconservatives, the “terror journalists”, and Bin Laden himself – effectively worked together to create a dramatically simple story of looming apocalypse. It wasn’t in any way a conspiracy. Each of them had stumbled in their different ways on a simplified fantasy that fitted with their own needs.

The power of this simple story propelled history forward. It allowed the neocons – and their liberal interventionist allies – to set out to try to remake the world and spread democracy. It allowed revolutionary Islamism, which throughout the 1990s had been failing dramatically to get the Arab people to rise up and follow its vision, to regain its authority. And it helped to sell a lot of newspapers.

But because we, and our leaders, retreated into a Manichean fantasy, we understood the new complexities of the real world even less. Which meant that we completely ignored what was really going on in the Arab world.

Curtis neatly sums up, in one statement, just why there is so much distrust for politics and the media in this day and age, be it from the right or the left, the fringe or the more mainstream:

One of the main functions of politicians – and journalists – is to simplify the world for us. But there comes a point when – however much they try – the bits of reality, the fragments of events, won’t fit into the old frame.

The article is highly recommended reading and you can view the whole thing here. I especially love Curtis’ work on the effect of the media in propagating certain cultural memes, particularly oldstream media, which tries to pretend it has no effect on politics and society even though it has a huge impact on how we think and function. If you’re not aware of Curtis’ work and his sharp insights (or even if you are) here’s a segment he produced for Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe on media and political paranoia:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Donald ‘China is raping this country’ Trump has been gif’d
05.03.2011
03:34 pm

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It’s actually rather hypnotic.

(via Boing Boing and Xeni Jardin)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Rapper jumps on the bandwagon releases shitty Bin Laden is dead song
05.03.2011
03:05 pm

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Hip-hop
Politics

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Expect a deluge of really bad Osama bin Laden death songs. Here’s one by a rapper from Phoenix, Arizona calling himself Hot Rod. He was at one time a protege of 50 Cent.

“My musical ear has expanded. Now the music I make is fuckin’ incredible and I can’t wait to unleash it to the world.” Hot Rod.

Mr. Rod, put it back on the leash.
 

 
Via The Daily Swarm

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Hunter S. Thompson for Sheriff: 1970 Campaign Ad
05.02.2011
07:43 pm

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Drugs
Literature
Politics
Pop Culture

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Hunter Thompson ran for Sheriff in Aspen, Colorado in 1970. His campaign posters featured a fist clenching a peyote button. While running on a platform to legalize drugs, he promised that if elected, he wouldn’t do any mescaline while on duty. He clearly spelled out his plan for punishing drug dealers:

It will be the general philosophy of the sheriff’s office that no drug worth taking shall be sold for money. My first act as sheriff will be to install on the sheriff’s lawn a set of stocks to punish dishonest dope dealers.”

Hunter lost the election. Aspen continued its decline into an enclave for the super rich.

Here’s his ad campaign for Sheriff:
 

 
Via biblioklept

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Obama gonna knock you out
05.02.2011
02:45 am

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Amusing
Animation
Current Events
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An oldie but goodie has been re-imagined to reflect today’s news.

Yes, I know its easy to get carried away with the gung-ho vibe that’s permeating the airwaves right now, but I’m savoring it for a few hours before cynicism sets in.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Osama Bin Laden is dead
05.01.2011
10:45 pm

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Current Events
Politics

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According to Newsday, Osama bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has his body, a person familiar with developments has told the Associated Press.

Update: CNN is confirming that Osama bin Laden is dead. He was killed “in a mansion outside Islamabad along with other family members.”

The news comes eight years to the day that George W. Bush declared “Mission accomplished” in Iraq.

Update: “President Obama said that on Sunday, a small team of U.S. operatives launched a “targeted assault’’ on a multi-million dollar compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad where months of intelligence work had established that Mr. Bin Laden was living. Mr. Bin Laden was killed after a firefight, and the troops took custody of his body.”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Obama kills at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
05.01.2011
10:54 am

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Current Events
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So satisfying to see the Prez roast Trump alive. Good times. Too bad there isn’t a correspondents’ dinner every night.

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Donald Trump says ‘China is raping this country’
04.28.2011
03:02 pm

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Photo by Justin Elliott
 
I think this speaks for itself.

(via The High Definite and The Daily Beast)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
World Net Daily reacts to Obama ‘birth certificate’

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As if this wasn’t THE most predictable response of all fucking recorded history, the batshit crazy “journalists” over at “news agency” World Net Daily (aka “birther central”) had this to say about Obama’s “birth certificate”:

If the document proves valid, it could answer the questions raised by those who have alleged he was not actually born in Hawaii. But it also could prove his ineligibility because of its references to his father. Some of the cases challenging Obama have explained that he was a dual citizen through his father at his birth, and they contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born citizens.

Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, the only news agency that has waged a relentless investigative campaign on questions swirling around the Obama’s eligibility for nearly three years, was elated at the turn of events.

“We’re gratified that our work has begun to pay off,” he said. “The certificate of live birth is an absolutely vital foundation for determining constitutional eligibility of any president. We look forward to reviewing it like so many other Americans do at this late date. But it is important to remember there are still dozens of other questions concerning this question of eligibility that need to be resolved to assure what has become a very skeptical public concerning Barack Obama’s parentage, his adoption, his citizenship status throughout his life and why he continues to cultivate a culture of secrecy around his life.”

Now that this “matter” has been definitively put to rest—for SANE people with IQs higher than carrots—it’s probably time for the reality-challenged idiots at WND to move on to Donald Trump’s new buffoonish conspiracy theory about how it was affirmative action that allowed a “poor student” like future president Barack Obama to attend first Columbia, then Harvard (a view that got talked up on Hardball the other night by an increasingly senile-seeming Pat Buchanan).

I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THIS IS TRUE BECAUSE I GOT AN ALL-CAPS EMAIL FROM MY GRANDMOTHER ABOUT THIS THAT SHE GOT FROM HER NEIGHBOR, MRS. JEROMIE WHO GOT IT FROM A LADY AT HER CHURCH. SO WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT, SMARTYPANTS LIBTARDS!!!!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Khrzhanovsky’s ‘Glass Harmonica’: Subversive surrealist late-‘60s Russian animation
04.26.2011
06:09 pm

Topics:
Animation
History
Politics

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In the opening titles of his 1968 animated short Glass Harmonica, Russian director Andrei Khrzhanovsky claims to present a cautionary against “boundless greed, police terror, [and] the isolation and brutalization of humans in modern bourgeois society.” Of course, it was more complex than that.

At the time Khrzhanovsky made the film, Russian animation had experienced a creative renaissance that spanned most of the ‘60s, fuelled by the Soviet Union’s post-Stalinist liberalization policy best known as the Krushchev Thaw. Although that period yielded cutesy and colorful satires like Fyodor Khitruk’s 1962 short Story of a Crime, Glass Harmonica—which posits music to symbolize beauty repressed by avarice—stands apart.

Amid desolate modern landscapes, Khyrzhanovsky and his dozen animators tell the tale with some industrial age and Renaissance visual elements, along with some zany zoomorphic caricatures of paranoia and envy. Buoyed sonically by Alfred Schnittke’s Quasi una sonata and drawing from Breugel, Dali and George Dunning (the director of Yellow Submarine), Glass Harmonica reaches even proto-Python-esque heights towards the end.

Despite its semi-socialist utopian resolution, Glass Harmonica comes off as surprisingly quaint and archaic, even as an indirect product of Kruschev’s less ideologically rigid era.
 

 
After the jump: check out part 2 of Glass Harmonica

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
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