tom moody

a new nickname

Walking across lower Manhattan, I passed a man with a loud, mellifluous speaking voice and a microphone, addressing people on the street: "I told you not to vote for Donald Duck, and you didn't listen to me, and now he's taking away your health care."
So far it's just the hated individual mandate but "Donald Duck" -- that's a good one.

- tom moody

January 22nd, 2017 at 11:53 am

Posted in general

three takes on the inaugural address

From the RSS reader, three reactions to the Trump inauguration speech, two worthless and one fairly insightful:

Village Voice journalist-turned-Clinton-zombie Joe Conason thinks Trump is still fighting the campaign and is shocked, shocked by Trump's appeal to "anger." Lefty bloggers used to call this "pearl-clutching" or "fainting couch" behavior, where a comfortable Washington insider can't understand how someone could hate his guts.

Juan Cole calls the speech "a chain of falsehoods, saber-rattling and scary Neofascist uber-nationalism" and oh-so-cleverly translates it from the "original German" of the 1930s to the America of 2017. This all seems a tad ... overwrought ... if you actually saw the speech.

Corey Robin compares Trump's inaugural address with Reagan's 1980 equivalent. Now we're getting somewhere!

[T]here’s an interesting contrast to be drawn in how Reagan and Trump summon the people. Both men make much of the people as against the government. But where Reagan is very clear that government needs to get out of the way so that the people’s native talents and genius and initiative can flourish [speech excerpt] Trump construes the people differently. They are either the objects and beneficiaries of government action -- specifically, Trump’s actions -- or they are partners with the government [speech excerpt]

That sounds more like FDR or JFK than Hitler but the angry, fascist talk is more fun and soothes our woes at the loss of the noble, misunderstood Clintons. *sob*

- tom moody

January 21st, 2017 at 11:21 am

Posted in general

social media and "scenius"

An artist emailed asking for recommendations of theorists on art and social media. He's interested in the idea of an art based on collective intelligence and feels that Facebook and Twitter would be the logical place to look for such networks, given those platforms' "relative ubiquity." The idea of the hive mind has been with us since before the cyberpunk era (see Theodore Sturgeon's books More Than Human and To Marry Medusa) and could even be traced back to the collective wisdom of the twelve-person jury system. In the artistic context, Brian Eno used the term "scenius," which Simon Reynolds applied to the mostly anonymous DJ-producers who rapidly built on each other's discoveries and group-innovated musically in the jungle/drum and bass era. It's a real phenomenon and not inherently to be laughed off with Borg jokes, but one might still balk at Facebook and Twitter being a place to find it. Here's the skeptical reply I sent:

Geert Lovink ( http://networkcultures.org/geert/ ) is one a few writers on this topic but he's mostly negative on the "big soclal media" (facebook and twitter) and I agree.
I understand the urge to use twitter for art-as-social-experiment but even *you* are hosting the results [of your art project] on an independent site (that is, not Facebook or Twitter).
For me, the big sites are too controlled to be a place for meaningful art activity (controlled as in monitored, policed, relentlessly monetized) and also too large for any one theorist to grasp.
We'd like to think an art could emerge from places where so much of the world spends so much of its time but I feel it's doomed at the outset because the hosts -- the masters -- are essentially soulless tech zombies. I'm interested in the idea of "the occult" and "the underground" that exists outside those platforms, almost by virtue of being non-participants.

There were some early attempts to curate Twitter (am thinking of Travis Hallenbeck's book Twitter Favs) and journalists regularly mine and massage collections of tweet screenshots as an indicator of group or mass opinion. I see less Facebook screenshotting but it may be because "everyone is on Facebook" and feels what's on there is always accessible, even though it's not. Whatever scenius is, it's not mere demographics; what we're looking for is cults, in the sense of a shared aesthetic, and Twitter unquestionably has them (spend five minutes looking at anyone's followers, and followers of followers). The question is how to cull them and make sense of them, ideally non-algorithmically, in an environment increasingly larded and confused with ads, promotions, and scams. Am admittedly not up to the task and would just rather look elsewhere on the still-wide Internet.

To be precise, this particular artist wasn't looking for Twitter cults but had a project somewhat akin to Amazon Mechanical Turk-like employment of Twitter users for aesthetic ends. Am personally not a fan of these kinds of overdetermined tech art schemes, which seem inevitably to cross over to venture capitalist/incubator notions of technological-innovation-for-profit.

- tom moody

January 21st, 2017 at 8:48 am

Posted in theory

not dark

It continues to amaze that so-called progressives are comfortable aligning themselves with the worst so-called Deep State elements fighting the incoming administration. Consider Trump's recent interview where he spoke about Europe, Russia, and the "obsolete" NATO. Depending on who you read, this was the kid pointing out the emperor's nakedness (Antiwar.com) or a kid, period (LobeLog). How aggressive will Trump be about altering US security priorities (if at all)? Quite a few well paid defense contractors seem nervous about #J20 -- it's not just the angry art galleries and websites who are "going dark" today.

Apropos of #J20 and #J20ArtStrike, this Archdruid essay (hat tip m.po) roots some of the Trump angst in pure class snobbery. A president who wears a ball-cap must be "illegitimate." Regarding indiscriminate use of the I-word, see Benjamin Studebaker.

- tom moody

January 20th, 2017 at 9:33 am

Posted in general

"Working Lurker"

"Working Lurker" [4.9 MB .mp3]

Beats: Elektron Machinedrum (these were not made by the previous owner -- they are step-keyed by yrs truly)
Softsynths: Loomer Aspect, Calf Monosynth
Recorded and arranged in Ardour (Linux version)

Am a few songs shy of the ten needed for Generic PC (Vol. 6), so this is the next installment.

Generic PC (Vols. 1-5) are available for modest prices on Bandcamp.

- tom moody

January 19th, 2017 at 7:43 am

Posted in music - tm

desktop computer photos, new Bandcamp release(s)

I made these images as cover photos for my newest music release, Generic PC (Vols. 1-5) on Bandcamp. 50 songs from 2016 -- please buy some, for the music, or, if you prefer, to support the efforts of the last blogger on earth.

These aren't old PCs but rather, a form of personal rebellion against the "design award" aesthetic for computer hardware, popularized by the late, unlamented Steve Jobs.

Just stick some wires in them and they work; they don't have to look "cool."

- tom moody

January 15th, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Posted in music - tm, photo 3

another obama legacy

Matt Stoller, a blogger for the now-disappeared sites MyDD and Open Left, became a Congressional staffer (for Alan Grayson) and joined the DC establishment. :( He can still write a fiery screed, such as this one for the Amazon Washington Post, titled "Democrats can’t win until they recognize how bad Obama’s financial policies were."

While the Hillary Left moans about Russia and Trump's supposed "illegitimacy," Stoller gets at the heart of why the Dems lost.

- tom moody

January 15th, 2017 at 7:33 am

Posted in general

it's too soon to be complacent

Several liberal blogs I read, anguished about the "inexplicable" election loss of the noble, honest, highly competent Hillary Clinton, have eagerly jumped on revelations by the "IC" (euphemism for US spy agencies) that the Soviet Union, that is, Russia, influenced the outcome of the contest!

It was understandable that the Russians would want a socialist anti-militarist in the White House, but it's going a tad far to think they could have engineered the Sanders win. Sanders is more of a Roosevelt Democrat than a "commie" -- he's not against capitalism per se. There was certainly plenty of "dirt" on Clinton to turn Democrats against her at the primary stage, without alleging foreign influence. And it's obvious that once Sanders was in, he didn't need any additional help in the form of "hacking" to beat Trump.

It's too soon to be complacent about President-elect Sanders' hard-fought election victory -- we need to support him now, against this propaganda "soft coup" by disgruntled Washington insiders. Pass this post along, share it on social media, send it to newspapers, write letters to the editor -- support President-elect Sanders!

- tom moody

January 14th, 2017 at 9:25 am

Posted in art as criticism

cyan news stand

- tom moody

January 12th, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Posted in photos - cell

current ebook list

Q. Tom, what's in your Kindle?
A. Uh, Jeff Bezos is an *ssh*le monopolist who owns the Washington Post (fake news dispenser) and seems bent on hooking consumers into addictive rent-extraction schemes, so I use the Kobo reader for ebooks now.

Q. (Sigh) OK, Mr. Man of Principle, what's in your Kobo ebook reader?
A. Joseph Conrad, Nostromo, Chance, Under Western Eyes, Lord Jim, The Secret Agent, Victory (all good, all available DRM-free from Feedbooks.com)

Mark Olden's Poe Must Die and Kevin Baker's Paradise Alley both take place in the slummy, scary New York of the mid-1800s. Pigs running wild in the streets, Hot Corn Girls, Croton hydrants...

Ross McDonald's books pre-Lew Archer: The Dark Tunnel, Trouble Follows Me, Blue City, The Three Roads

George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Digger's Game, Cogan's Trade

James M. Cain, Double Indemnity (the movie version turns claims analyst Edward G. Robinson into a sympathetic character and friend to the main heel, making it less bleak than Cain's cold-blooded book), The Postman Always Rings Twice

Philip Pilkington, The Reformation in Economics (just purchased -- DRM-free epub -- looking forward to this book by an erstwhile Naked Capitalism contributor)

- tom moody

January 12th, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Posted in general