disquiet review

Many thanks to Marc Weidenbaum for this review on the disquiet site of my music and artwork and how they relate. I'm flattered to be included in this list of working musicians, and will do my best to honor the honor with more lo fi and "defaults" electro tunes. (Some are saying--"oh no.") My artwork is probably more 8 bit than my music because self-identified 8 bit musicians tend to be roots and hacking focused but I'll certainly accept the label and try to put a non-roots, non-hacking spin on it. See these notes on the Scratch Ambulance CD I did with earcon and this interview with Paddy Johnson about the movie 8 Bit.

The Mist

Good review on Open Left of the movie The Mist. Saw it yesterday and found it a compelling and creepy blend of John Carpenter's Thing and Arthur Miller's Crucible.

To those who love the Stephen King novella on which the movie is based, yes, Mrs. Carmody still gets hit in the chest with a can of peas but she has taken on special significance as a character in the Bush era. One critic of the movie says "What scares me? Cancer. Osama bin Laden. Teenagers. But not a giant land octopus." Well, what scares me is a fundamentalist Christian in the White House appointing zombie end-timers to scores of government posts. The movie presents a twin abyss: the Lovecraftian horror of unexplained, utterly malevolent forces and the dark human tendency to listen to people with voices in their heads when things get frightening.

An interesting interchange occurs in the back of the alien-besieged supermarket after the land octopus and other critters have struck: a small group of characters confess to each other they have no faith in human nature, and believe that everyone else in the store will eventually succumb to the non-stop persuasions of a Christian millennialist who sees the aliens as harbingers of the apocalypse. This is increasingly plausible: millions of Americans believe they will be levitated into space when Jesus returns, and we have seen Biblical zealots (some phony, some not) reach the highest levels of government power in the last decade--Tom Delay, anyone?--with a special boost from a particularly mind-boggling mass crime.

By the end of the movie only a handful of people remain who have some belief in rational, empirical, Enlightenment-style principles. They are literally embattled, surrounded by knife-wielding religious converts. The creepy crawlies delivering face bloating stings and bursting out of chests and such could be taken literally, but one could also see them as an occult double of our political culture, an increasingly ugly world where torture is official policy and statesmen must swear fealty to an invisible, omniscient God or be tarred as "anti-family."

McCain or Paul: Who is the "Nut"?

From Juan Cole's blog, a CNN transcript of the most recent Republican presidential debate. Note that the man saying that Iraqi insurgents are people who must be stopped before they become another Hitler is John McCain and the person saying we need to trade with other countries, not invade and kill them is Ron Paul, who David Neiwert and Paul Rosenberg believe is a "whack job." I think these earnest lefties have their priorities backwards and don't really understand politics very well, but that's just my opinion as a civilian:

McCain: . . . I just want to also say that Congressman Paul, I've heard him now in many debates talk about bringing our troops home, and about the war in Iraq and how it's failed.


And I want to tell you that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II. We allowed...


We allowed ...

(Audience booing)

Cooper: Allow him his answer. Allow him his answer, please.

McCain: We allowed -- we allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of attitude of isolationism and appeasement.

(Audience booing)

And I want to tell you something, sir. I just finished having Thanksgiving with the troops, and their message to you is -- the message of these brave men and women who are serving over there is, "Let us win. Let us...


Cooper: We will -- please. We will get to Iraq...


All right. Let me just remind everyone that these people did take a lot of time to ask these questions, and so we do want direct questions to -- the answers. We will get to Iraq later, but I do have to allow Congressman Paul 30 seconds to respond.

Paul: Absolutely. The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel?


What John is saying is just totally distorted.

(Protester shouts off-mike)

Paul: He doesn't even understand the difference between non- intervention and isolationism. I'm not an isolationism, (shakes head) em, isolationist. I want to trade with people, talk with people, travel. But I don't want to send troops overseas using force to tell them how to live. We would object to it here and they're going to object to us over there.


Paul on Iraq:

Paul: The best commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That's the most important thing that we can do.


Already, part of their country has been taken back. In the south, they claim the surge has worked, but the surge really hasn't worked. There's less violence, but al-Sadr has essentially won in the south.

The British are leaving. The brigade of Al Sadr now is in charge, so they are getting their country back. They're in charge up north -- the Shia -- the people in the north* are in charge, as well, and there's no violence up there or nearly as much.

So, let the people have their country back again. Just think of the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam. Vietnam now is a friend of ours -- we trade with them, the president comes here.

What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the French and the Americans being in Vietnam.

So it's time for us to take care of America first.