There's much sneering on the interwebs about naive Sanders supporters believing they could ever have free college. It's still a good idea, though, eminently affordable by siphoning off a fraction of US military spending or insisting that top earners actually pay their taxes. The sneerers also had a heyday with crying Sanders supporters at the DNC convention last night. Again, how are they supposed to feel when their guy rolls over at the crucial moment, or worse, plays them for suckers. It was a sad occasion.
hat tip goblin
hat tip maxlabor
Good English translations of books by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are starting to become available; I recommend their science-fiction-cum-medieval-swashbuckler Hard to Be a God. Star Trek fans will immediately recognize this as a "prime directive" story ("We must not interfere in this primitive society, however dysfunctional") but Hard to Be a God was published in the Soviet Union in '64, two years before Trek's five year mission. Moreover, the observers walking around on this feudal planet, wearing mini-cams disguised as jewelry, are Communist utopians, not Federation would-be-colonialists. The observers see themselves as historians, nothing more. Plotwise, let's just say this particular planet's habit of torturing and killing its intellectuals sorely tests our protagonist's restraint. The antagonist, Don Reba, was originally named Rebia, an anagram for a certain Stalinist henchman; the Strugatskys changed it because it was a little too obvious.
Iain M. Banks wrote a similar tale 35 years later, Inversions, with two competing notions of how to go native. Also recommended.
Not necessarily recommended is the 2013 film version of Hard to Be a God, directed by Aleksei German (who died that year). The film mixes Tarkovskian aesthetics with Ubu Roi-ish perversity in a depiction of a completely degraded anti-culture. It's stylistically fascinating but incoherent; the science fiction aspects are subtle to the point of non-existence. For example, the characters are constantly mugging for the camera disguised as a jewel on the protagonist's forehead (which is never explained), yet he is in half the shots, being filmed by we-know-not-what. The book mentions helicopters whisking our agents around the planet; these are not seen in the movie, which is all horses and mud puddles -- like an extended version of the "Bring Out Your Dead" sequence in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
People are talking about LA writer and art world mainstay Dennis Cooper losing his blog -- presumably for risqué content even though Google has been hosting it for 14 years. We don't really know what happened yet; apparently Google didn't know he had a notable rep and gave him their standard passive-aggressive "down the memory hole" treatment, which includes not talking to the account-holder.
My glib response earlier this week:
tommoody: @photos (i) he's a dope for not having a backup, (ii) he must have run afoul of some "community guideline" BS for blogger, (iii) this was obviously going to be a problem as soon as Google bought blogger (i.e., 15 years ago)
"Root Rot" [4.2 MB .mp3]
More self-bricolage with leftover loops. New piano, bass, and percussion parts were retrofitted around a "bit rot" beat.
"Two Shakes" [2.5 MB .mp3]
Made with some leftover loops from earlier tracks plus two shakers.
An earlier post carped about Hayes' superimposing Sailor Moon over icky de Kooning women, which felt like sloganeering (to which Hayes replied on dump, "dang brah," or something like that) but what's not to like about these pokemonsters-over-neoclassicism? Seductively and confidently rendered -- although glimpses of the actual paint surfaces are beside the point since the medium here is archival digital prints, offered by Exhibition A. The layering is a Picabia/Polke/Salle strategy but it works here because of the combination of absurd idea and tasty paint strokes. Similarities in colors and textures between "modern" foreground (as in, this-week's-headlines modern, what with Pokémon Go constantly in the news) and "classical" background make the juxtapositions seem almost logical.
"A-112 Piano Variations" [2.9 MB .mp3]
Some scratchy piano samples pitch-shifted, layered, played out of phase, etc.
Update: minor edits to make the scratchy samples less so.
Corey Robin has some choice anecdotes from the recent book Speer: Hitler's Architect, by historian Martin Kitchen. The book deflates what's left of Speer's rep as the "good Nazi."
As Minister of Armaments, Speer relied extensively on slave laborers from concentration camps to work in the factories. In 1944, he fell ill for an extended period of time. Himmler seized on the opportunity of Speer’s absence to remove those laborers from the factories -- at the pace of roughly 40,00 per month -- and send them back to the camps. Back at the office several months later, Speer complained about the “kidnapping” of his workers.
Robin also found in Kitchen's book a 1944 quote from German exile journalist Sebastian Haffner:
[Speer] symbolises indeed a type, which among all the belligerents has become increasingly important: the pure technician, the classless, brilliant man without a background, who knows no other goal than to make his way in the world, purely on the basis of his technical and organisational capabilities….This is his age. We can get rid of the Hitlers and the Himmlers, but not the Speers. Whatever may be the fate of each individual man, they will be with us for a long time.
Update: I read Kitchen's book on Speer and highly recommend it. The first part closely follows the architect's day-to-day life as an ambitious Nazi scum, based on Kitchen's careful study of the available documentation, and then the second half explores Speer's self-mythologizing after his release from prison. The first part effectively undercuts the claims in the second, and then the reader gets to enjoy watching the Speer myth begin to fall apart in the last few years of his life, as evidence he assumed was buried or destroyed began to surface.