FOLLOW US ON:
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Cholera sucks: The beautiful, brutal honesty of vintage Chinese public health propaganda
10.03.2018
09:41 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Out of all the “things” that have developed over the last few centuries, public health and hygiene propaganda is probably one of the most fascinating. To me, at least. From Victorian advertisements that looked more like S&M show-and-tell than healing tools to the wild VD films shown in US sex ed classrooms throughout the late 20th century, America has certainly had a strong history with weird and wacky ways to promote well being. I’m sure as shit not going to knock our flavor of crazy “stay healthy” publicity works since I own a good amount of 16mm films on how to prevent STDs and what fruits and vegetables you need to eat to stay balanced and pooping good. Wall to wall actors in fruit and veg costumes prancing about on a screen are great Friday night fun! Who needs bars when you have talking tomatoes and dancing grapes??

On the international side, however, I’ve become quite interested in Chinese public health posters and their history. First of all, many of them are incredibly beautiful. Their design and composition is quite a thing to behold. Considering that they are discussing how not to die of fatal diseases or some such topic, many of these communally shared images are awfully detailed and aesthetically pleasing. Others…well, their honesty and bluntness is admirable! And if nothing else, this is something I probably respect THE MOST about public health propaganda materials: they are there to tell you that you should really not fuck with the bad shit. The problem is so bad that they had to commission a poster for it. You might die.  It’s all about extremes in public hygiene education. There really is no middle ground.

While these posters may make you laugh or giggle, there is a fairly serious element in much of the content—they meant what they said. It seems strange to us now in today’s technologically advanced world, but when these posters were the social media platform, this was how messages about health were communicated. So just as a warning to those with a weak stomach, there may be an image or two here that are not completely, uh, ready for prime time…

It didn’t surprise me to discover that the US had a hand in China’s medical structure, nor was I shocked to find out that it was the Rockefeller family that introduced Western medicine to China. Good ol’ John D. helped to establish the China Medical Board and the Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) in the early 1920s (a medical school that still exists and is still highly respected). THAT SAID, the PUMC was certainly not an accurate reflection of the Chinese people. Based on the US John Hopkins model, the medical facilities did not truly attempt to include traditional Chinese medicine and thus many saw the PUMC and its work as Western colonization and were not super stoked on Rockefeller’s “contributions.” The tech may have been more advanced but it managed to completely steamroll over Chinese health and medical culture in its attempts to “modernize” what they interpreted as an underdeveloped society.

But y’know that was Western colonial thought. Fun times.

Anyways, above and beyond the obvious issues that arose from Old White Dudes fucking up (as usual) and deciding to make medicine and life-saving procedures a political issue (sound familiar?), some really fascinating health propaganda material came out of it.  Let’s look at it, shall we? (I could have captioned these, but that would have distracted from the art of these things. Plus it’s more fun to just imagine what’s going on if you don’t read Chinese.)
 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Ariel Schudson
|
10.03.2018
09:41 am
|
Boy George presents Captain Sensible and Lene Lovich in grossout animal rights film ‘Meathead’


 
The bad news first: the episode of Boy George’s nineties talk show Blue Radio on which Poly Styrene appeared, though she said she almost didn’t make it because of a close encounter with a spaceship, has not yet entered the worldwide digital video stream. Pair that with Lora Logic singing “Bow Down Mister” and you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a quality Dangerous Minds post!

But while scouring the intertubes in search of material for the Boy George/X-Ray Spex/Hare Krishna ultramegapost already inked in the book of my dreams, I came across this curiosity. Half of Meathead is like every other animal rights movie you’ve ever seen—emetic camcorder tape of fowl, ruminants, canines and hogs trudging through their relatives’ offal in cramped pens, proceeding inevitably toward the animal-snuff-film equivalent of the money shot—but half of it is a black-and-white narrative about a rich guy with an insatiable hunger for gore, fed by his maid (Lene Lovich) and a hamburger-juggling clown (Captain Sensible). If you make it to the end without hurling all over your keyboard, you’ll see Boy George’s interview with director Gem de Silva. Beware: you may blow chunks.

Never having listened to Captain Sensible’s 1995 double album Meathead, I can’t say if the connection between the CD and the film extends beyond a shared disgust with flesh food. But I guarantee the film is much shorter.
 
Watch it, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
08.16.2018
08:56 am
|
Neil Hamburger reads Nixon’s resignation speech (and other greatest hits)
08.09.2018
08:36 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Richard Nixon resigned from office 44 years ago today. Many of your pundits, eggheads, critics, and other nosebreathers have never tired of kicking Nixon around. But on Independence Day 2002, one citizen had the guts to meet Dick on his own terms, in the arena: America’s $1 Funnyman, Neil Hamburger.

In the Neil Hamburger catalog, perhaps only his tribute to Princess Diana so touches the heart, and I’m not just talking about the stirring, patriotic strings in the background of “Hamburger Remembers Nixon.” No, as few others could, Neil captures the warmth of Nixon’s straight-talking 1952 speech about the joys of dog ownership; the magnanimity of his gracious concession of the ‘62 California gubernatorial race to Jerry Brown’s father; the bold vision of his remarks at the ‘68 victory party on the relative friendliness of handheld signs. Hamburger also pays tribute to the April ‘70 “pitiful helpless giant” TV address, the November ‘73 “I’m not a crook” press conference, and the August ‘74 “we don’t have a good word for it in English” farewell speech.
 

 
Listen after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
08.09.2018
08:36 am
|
Hilarious photoshopped images of Trump & his ‘best people’


A portrait of our current president by Chest Strongwell.
 
I present to you a few of the best photoshop jobs I have seen in quite a while which also just so happen to poke fun at members of our current administration and other fascistic enablers and foul miscreants. Not all photoshopped images are created equal—and these images set the bar a bit higher if you ask me.

I don’t know much about Chest Strongwell outside of the fact that Strongwell is probably not really his real name (duh), he is a professional, left-leaning Internet troll, and a stay-at-home Dad claiming to have one thousand balls. I also know Chest has some sharp photoshop skills, and Republicans hate him, which I’m sure is just fine by Chest. At any rate, ole’ Chest has recently upped his online taunting directed at right-wing politicians with a few beautifully executed photoshopped images of 45’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” posse in the style of old-school KMart and JC Penny Portrait Studio photos from the 70s and 80s. Repulsive individuals such as Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Vice President Mike Pence have never looked BETTER if you ask me.

So since I know we could all use a good laugh, please enjoy some of the best shopped-up images of some of the worst people in the world. God bless America, and god bless Chest Strongwell. Whoever you are.
 

Former mayor of New York City now acting as an attorney for Trump, Rudy Giuliani.
 

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
 

White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
 

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
07.10.2018
01:13 pm
|
Jello Biafra and his father interviewed at the ‘Frankenchrist’ obscenity trial
06.22.2018
08:54 am
Topics:
Tags:


Jello Biafra in court, 1987 (via Heather Harris Photography)
 
In December 1985, a Southern Californian teenager named Tammy Scharwath bought the Dead Kennedys’ latest album, Frankenchrist, from the Wherehouse at the Northridge shopping mall. Then her mother saw the poster of H. R. Giger’s “Penis Landscape” included with the record and lodged a complaint with the Los Angeles city attorney, setting in motion a series of events that culminated in the breakup of the Dead Kennedys and a 1987 obscenity trial for singer Jello Biafra.

The hysteria that surrounded rap and rock music 30 years ago is hard to imagine today, now that the anti-smut crusaders have elevated Mr. Obscenity himself to the White House, but the incoherent language of the reactionary right hasn’t changed much: at one point during the trial, in an ecstasy of outrage, the prosecutor compared H. R. Giger to the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez. (Biafra discusses the PMRC “porn rock” panic and recounts the whole ugly Frankenchrist mess from his point of view on his second spoken word release, High Priest of Harmful Matter.)

During the trial, the Canadian TV show The NewMusic sent correspondent Erica Ehm to Los Angeles, where she interviewed Jello and his father at the courthouse. How cool was Jello’s dad?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
|
06.22.2018
08:54 am
|
‘How the World Went Mad’: A diagnosis of the confusing, topsy-turvy world of President Donald Trump

01howmad1.jpg
 
I could start with a nod to Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis by writing:

“Rupert Russell awoke one morning from unsettling dreams to find the world had gone mad.”

But that isn’t quite right and doesn’t fully describe the situation that filmmaker Russell found himself when he awoke on the morning of November 9th, 2016, to the news that Donald Trump had been elected the 45th President of the United States of America. Russell described it better himself:

“I felt a sense of unreality. That I had woken up on a different planet than the one I had gone to bed on.”

Seemingly, the world had had gone mad overnight. But how had this happened? And what had caused this strange insanity?

Russell wanted to understand what the fuck had just happened. He also wanted to do something about this new topsy-turvy world, where the lunatics had taken over the asylum. He was finishing work on his documentary feature Freedom for the Wolf. Nick Fraser, the editor of BBC’s Storyville, had come onboard as executive producer. Fraser had also just launched a new venture, Docsville, and asked Russell if he would like to make some short films for this new platform.

On the day after the election, Russell had written a Medium post on being sane in insane places inspired by the work of David Rosenhan, in particular his famous experiment in which he entered an asylum claiming he heard voices. The doctors and nurses had diagnosed Rosenhan as insane, however, the patients quickly realized that Rosenhan was actually faking it.

Russell also “sketched out two more essays on madness under the new regime of (in)sanity”. He sent these along to Fraser as a possible idea for a series of animations called How the World Went Mad which would diagnose Trump’s election as a form of madness and offer up a possible cure. Fraser told Russell to go for it.
 
02howmad2.jpg
 
The end result was a series of five short films explaining How the World Went Mad by which Russell asked the very pertinent question:

In a world gone mad who can you trust?

Beginning on that fateful morning in Fall 2016, Russell takes the viewer through a brief history of psychiatry, culture, and politics to explain how we have all ended up here. I contacted Russell to ask him about the making How the World Went Mad and what he hoped his diagnosis of our current malady would achieve.

How did you go about making ‘How the World Went Mad’?

Rupert Russell: I spent a month in the British Library going through histories and psychologies of madness. I picked out studies that could be linked together to form a narrative arc of the series: diagnosis, symptoms, transmission, epidemic, and cure. I turned the notes into scripts, recorded them, and sent the files to Dare Studio in Poland, who had worked on my last feature, who got to work on the animation. The rest is archival footage, which I trawled through.

The most arduous of which was finding out who the infamous “fat guy” that Trump tormented in The Apprentice was. When we locked picture, Alex Williamson composed a wonderfully off-kilter score and three sound designers at Unit Post created a soundscape of insanity filled with screams, explosions, and even orgasms.

The polemic for your films rests on the idea Trump is mad—what happens if he is not mad?

RR: The source of my anxiety, as I describe in Episode 1, “Diagnosis,” is precisely this question: What if Trump is the new definition of sanity and it is I who am in fact mad. The line between sanity and insanity has been a skipping rope throughout history, pulling people in and out of it. Gays, lesbians, and women have only recently escaped their 19th-century diagnosis as perverts and hysterics. The Trump/Pence victory signalled another swing of the rope. In their Handmaid’s Tale morality, these gender traitors deserve no voice in the patriarch’s definition of sanity—where only the male “commanders” are capable of rational judgements.

The insanity of this position should be self-evident. But too increasingly, it’s becoming the new definition of sanity. We are living through another reaction to social progress that has resurrected the same tropes and characters of the feminist backlash in the 1980s, which inspired Atwood’s original novel.

More diagnosis of ‘How the World Went Mad,’ after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
06.18.2018
10:02 am
|
Here’s how to hack an election
06.13.2018
08:34 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Election hacking has been a pretty hot topic recently. Now that we know it is possible, you know, controlling the fate of a governed body through manipulated misinformation, we must acknowledge that it could happen again. Especially in a place like Manitoba, Canada.

The term “hacker” has been around for much longer than you think. The first reported case of an unauthorized entry into a private network was conducted on June 4th, 1903—by a magician. By this point on our technological evolutionary timeline, electromagnetic waves had been discovered and were being experimented with to communicate wireless messages. Italian engineer Guglielmo Marconi had gained much international attention for his accomplishment of the first successful wireless transmission across the Atlantic ocean (2,200 miles). Marconi claimed his methods to be impenetrable and Nevil Maskelyne, the skeptic British magician, sought to prove him wrong. During a very public demonstration at the Royal Academy of Sciences, Maskelyne tapped into Marconi’s signal, which was being broadcast from Cornwall, over three-hundred miles away. The hacked messages appeared in morse code on a projector screen and consisted of several jabs at Marconi and his “secure” network. Turns out, besides magic, Maskelyne was also employed by the Eastern Telegraphic Company, whose wired system would suffer from these new innovations to communication technology.

And then came phreaking. In the 1960s, it was discovered that one could “hack” into the public phone network through the manipulation of sounds. The most notable figure of the “phone freak” movement, which predates the personal computer, was a man who went by the alias of Cap’n Crunch. Mr. Crunch got his nickname from a toy whistle that came in specially marked boxes of the sugar cereal. When blown, the whistle could emit a frequency at 2600Hz, which, it was discovered, allowed a user to tap into nexus of the AT&T phone system and place free long distance calls. More advanced techniques of phreaking soon developed, through use of “blue boxes” that were built to replicate unique tones and frequencies. Before they started Apple, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold blue boxes to the hacker community. The first example of a fictional hacker in popular culture came with the Firesign Theatre’s 1971 comedy album I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus where the main character causes an audio-animatronic Nixon robot to malfunction by asking it surreal and confusing questions.
 

Phreakers unite
 
2600: The Hacker Quarterly was started amid the phreaker scene in 1984. The seasonal publication, edited by a guy with the Orwell-inspired pen name of Emmanuel Goldstein, has served as an important resource within the hacking community as it has evolved over the years. Rather than focusing on the deliberately destructive and malicious tactics of hackers often portrayed in the media, 2600 benefits the less illegal intentions of the “grey hat hacker,” who is merely demonstrating his/her capabilities of penetrating into an off-limits system. In our complex digital world, the publication today has taken on more of an activist approach toward our digital and personal freedoms.

More of a dark-grey hat than anything, the Autumn 2007 issue of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly contained an article about hacking an election.

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bennett Kogon
|
06.13.2018
08:34 am
|
When Johnny Thunders endorsed Jesse Jackson’s presidential bid in song
05.18.2018
08:51 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Let it be said that I had this, at least, in common with Johnny Thunders: we both supported Jesse Jackson’s candidacy in 1988. I was just starting the fourth grade, and Johnny was getting ready to graduate from the planet Earth, but we were both willing to forgive Jackson’s offensive characterization of NYC as “Hymietown” and his prudish condemnations of “sex-rock.”

This video of Thunders’ impassioned plea to the American soul comes from September 4, 1988, the last day of the Hotpoint festival in Lausanne, Switzerland. The DNC had come and gone, with Bill Clinton’s windy nomination and Michael Dukakis’ narcotizing acceptance speech. No matter: Johnny Thunders still liked Jackson’s chances, and if he was discouraged by Dukakis’ nomination or Bush’s subsequent election, he gave no sign. He kept “Glory, Glory” in the set in 1989, and when he entered the studio in 1990, Thunders was still stumping for the Rev.

Here, weeks before the first broadcast of the Willie Horton ad, Johnny Thunders sounds like a schoolboy telling the Swiss festival crowd why he’s for Jesse Jackson. Then he “takes them to church”:

Okay! Well, I’m from America, and we’re having a presidental—presidential election. And I think, uh, the only person that I think is worthy of being a president of America is Jesse.

Oh, Jesse!

Oh, Jesse, Jesse Jackson!

Ooh, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse! etc.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
05.18.2018
08:51 am
|
New book collects every issue of the Crass zine ‘International Anthem’


The ‘domestic violence issue’ of International Anthem, 1979
 
This deserves more press than it’s received: a new book collects every issue of International Anthem: A Nihilist Newspaper for the Living, including two never before published. The volume is an official product of “the publishing wing of Crass and beyond,” the venerable Exitstencil Press.

International Anthem was Gee Vaucher’s newspaper, but denying its connection to the band would be a challenge. Its 1978-‘83 run coincided, roughly, with Crass’s (as opposed to, say, Exit‘s), and the Crass logo sometimes appeared on the paper’s cover (see above). Eve Libertine, $ri Hari Nana B.A., Penny Rimbaud, G. Sus (aka Gee Vaucher) and Dave King contributed to its pages.
 

Gee Vaucher collage from International Anthem #2 (via ArtRabbit)
 
The book contains scans of the originals (“bad printing, creases, mistakes and all”), reproduced at full size. If it is good to buy quality art books, it is better to buy them directly from the artist. Buddhists call it “accumulating merit,” and they say you want to do a lot of it in this life, so you don’t have to come back as Eric Trump. Below, consume two hours of Crass programming broadcast on Australia’s JJJ Radio in 1987, featuring some Crass texts read in Australian accents and contemporary interviews with Gee and Penny at Dial House.

Help Gee Vaucher collect 20 million hand-drawn stick figures for her World War I project.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
|
05.17.2018
08:47 am
|
Ulrike Meinhof’s teenage riot TV movie


“If you obey, they are happy because you are ruined. Then they are cool because they have crushed you.”
 
Right before she embarked on a campaign of left-wing terror, Ulrike Meinhof produced her screenplay for Bambule, a TV movie about the miserable lot of girls in a juvenile reform institution. It was supposed to air in 1970, but the broadcast was canceled after Meinhof helped the Red Army Faction bust Andreas Baader out of prison.

The title means “prison riot,” though apparently the bambule originated as a form of nonviolent prison protest, making a “Jailhouse Rock”-style racket by drumming on anything available. “You lousy screws!”

During one scene, the girls beat a frenzied tattoo on their doors. But in Meinhof’s own definition of the term, from a 1969 radio report (quoted in Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F.), there is no mention of noise:

Bambule means rebellion, resistance, counter-violence – efforts toward liberation. Such things happen mostly in summer, when it is hot, and the food is even less appealing than usual, and anger festers in the corners with the heat. Such things are in the air then – it could be compared to the hot summers in the black ghettoes of the United States.

 

(via ARD.de)
 
Meinhof based the screenplay on her conversations with girls at the Eichenhof Youth Custody Home, for which Bambule is not much of an advertisement. They had a prescription for teens like Monika, expelled from a convent for kissing another girl: discipline and work, with occasional breaks for obeying the rules. The only pleasures in Bambule are the small acts of disobedience available to teenagers. They smoke cigarettes, curse out a few fuckwords, write graffiti about LSD and hash, play the Bee Gees’ “Massachusetts.” All relationships with adults are characterized by violence, cruelty and exploitation; everyone over 20 is dead inside. It’s like watching an episode of Dragnet written by a militant leftist.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
05.11.2018
08:56 am
|
Page 1 of 162  1 2 3 >  Last ›