I see your video for Boy George’s cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” and raise you a clip of a Chinese gentleman covering Justin Bieber’s “Baby” while perched atop a cow.
(Sub-Level 23, Writer Pod 14B)
I see your video for Boy George’s cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” and raise you a clip of a Chinese gentleman covering Justin Bieber’s “Baby” while perched atop a cow.
(Sub-Level 23, Writer Pod 14B)
Map of the Online Communities by XKCD, 2007. Larger version.
J.G. Ballard one said that his biggest fear was that the future would be boring. He feared the future would be “a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.” The notion, as applied to the Internet, was recently explored in two pieces on the changing face of internet culture.
Thanks to the French poet Charles Baudelaire and the German critic Walter Benjamin, both of whom viewed the flâneur as an emblem of modernity, his figure (and it was predominantly a “he”) is now firmly associated with 19th-century Paris. The flâneur would leisurely stroll through its streets and especially its arcades — those stylish, lively and bustling rows of shops covered by glass roofs — to cultivate what Honoré de Balzac called “the gastronomy of the eye.” … it’s easy to see, then, why cyberflânerie seemed such an appealing notion in the early days of the Web. The idea of exploring cyberspace as virgin territory, not yet colonized by governments and corporations, was romantic; that romanticism was even reflected in the names of early browsers (“Internet Explorer,” “Netscape Navigator”). …
In the second half of the 19th century, Paris was experiencing rapid and profound change. The architectural and city planning reforms advanced by Baron Haussmann during the rule of Napoleon III were particularly consequential: the demolition of small medieval streets, the numbering of buildings for administrative purposes, the establishment of wide, open, transparent boulevards … But if today’s Internet has a Baron Haussmann, it is Facebook. Everything that makes cyberflânerie possible — solitude and individuality, anonymity and opacity, mystery and ambivalence, curiosity and risk-taking — is under assault by that company. It’s easy to blame Facebook’s business model (e.g., the loss of online anonymity allows it to make more money from advertising), but the problem resides much deeper. Facebook seems to believe that the quirky ingredients that make flânerie possible need to go. “We want everything to be social,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said on “Charlie Rose” a few months ago.
Updated Map of the Online Communities by XKCD, 2010. Larger version here.
Evgeny Morozov writes from Palo Alto, a Californian charter city established by the founding father of Stanford University, at which Morozov is a visiting fellow. Palo Alto, nestled in a dewy corner of Silicon Valley, has been at various times home to Google, Paypal, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard: a prime piece of sun-drenched, Nor-Cal sprawl. Social media is to the Read/Write Web what sprawl is to the metropolis of modernity: a homogenous, cancerous, rhizomatic junkspace that expands exponentially outward on a sludgy wave of strip malls and sponsored links, greed and induced demand. This ruthless modernization produces miles of “junkspace” — a term coined by the architect Rem Koolhaas, who wrote that “more and more, more is more. Junkspace is overripe and undernourishing at the same time, a colossal security blanket that covers the earth in a stranglehold of seduction…
Junkspace is like being condemned to a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends. Seemingly an apotheosis, spatially grandiose, the effect of its richness is a terminal hollowness, a vicious parody of ambition that systematically erodes the credibility of building, possibly forever.” Koolhaas was referring to the airport and the strip-mall and the single-zone sprawl, but he could have been talking about Facebook…. If space is a practiced place, then collective navigation produces the commons. Like mall rats flipping tricks in a parking lot, users exhibit a feral fluency in the use (and transgression, as it is reimagined daily) of this common timespace: we tune out the ads and get on with the serious business of flirting, hustling, hanging out and talking shit. We know that this serious business is affective labor which produces capital for the custodians of netspace; indeed, meme culture (including but not limited to YouTube parody, stock photo art, cut-ups and image macros) can be seen as the user asserting a subjectivity that exists and thrives despite (and beyond) her status as targeted marketing demographic. Like the Occupy movement, these activities amount to a kind of politics of the public (virtual) body in (virtual) space. We may never own the means of production as such, but will continue to assert, pervert and subvert the commons anyway: a gesture of post-corporeal territorial pissing which necessitates neither phallus nor spray-can nor html.
The Internet: Serious Business. Well-played.
On a tangentially related note:
Effective immediately, we’ll be shutting down until midnight tomorrow to protest two pieces of blacklist legislation – PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House.
Over the weekend, we saw several victories against the bills. The Obama administration came out against the DNS blocking in response to the anti-SOPA petition. SOPA author and notorious copyright infringer Rep. Lamar Smith stated on Friday that DNS blocking would be struck from the bill. The Internet may have won these battles, but the war is far from over. Despite earlier reports that SOPA was “shelved” (or, as some might say “indefinitely detained”) over the weekend, Lamar Smith announced today that SOPA markup would resume next month.
SOPA has not gone away. PIPA is still up for a vote on January 24th. It’s time to make our voices heard. Coilhouse will be standing with Wikipedia, the EFF, BoingBoing, Reddit, and sites all over the world.
Coilhouse (and countless other publishers, businesses, and activists) could never thrive in a world where SOPA and PIPA were considered reasonable. We oppose the concept of the MPAA (or any corporate sponsor, for that matter) actually writing legislation. We oppose a room full of politicians who don’t understand how the Internet works making vital judgements about its future.
Some relevant quotes:
“If the ████ SOPA [and PIPA] bill passes, ████████████ we’re all kind of ████ed.” – Marina Galperina
“I’m not by any means an enemy of intellectual property, and in fact keep a roof over my head because the conceptexists. But I think that SOPA as it stands now, or as it stood beforethey paused to think about it, is extremely ill thought out, and abasically crazily Draconian piece of legislation.” – William Gibson
“Our freedom is more important than your dying industry. Period.” – @mikeestee
“It doesn’t get much better than working from a war room dedicated to shutting down Wikipedia.” – overheard by @sfslim at the offices of Wikipedia
“These bills were written by the content industry without any input from the technology industry. And they are trying to fast track them through Congress and into law without any negotiation with the technology industry.” – Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures)
“When ideas are blocked, information deleted, conversations stifled and people constrained in their choices, the Internet is diminished for all of us. There isn’t an economic Internet and a social Internet and a political Internet. There’s just the Internet.” – Hillary Clinton
“The potential for abuse of power through digital networks – upon which we as citizens now depend for nearly everything, including our politics – is one of the most insidious threats to democracy in the Internet age … This is no time for politicians and industry lobbyists in Washington to be devising new Internet censorship mechanisms, adding new opportunities for abuse of corporate and government power over online speech.” – Rebecca MacKinnon (New York Times)
“We’re furthering our corporate interest by taking down our website + ads, to stop a law that the MPAA says can’t harm us.” – Rob Beschizza in response to MPAA butthurt
When was the last time you saw “The Internet” agree about something? It’s beautiful. Thanks, #SOPA! – @raindrift
Intellectual property theft is a problem for artists, and additional safeguards may be needed. As avant-cellist Zoe Keating tweeted earlier today, “I’m against
#SOPA, but meanwhile I’m issuing a 7th, ineffective & useless DMCA against @grooveshark. #devilinthedetails” (Grooveshark is notorious among music streaming sites for refusing to pay artists their fair share.) There are no easy solutions. Whether it’s collaboratively fine-tuning the OPEN Act (and it turns out that Rep. Zoe Lofgren, one of the act’s sponsors and SOPA’s biggest opponents, actually listens to feedback) or working out some other method of protest (perhaps a huge internet campaign to educate fans on which sites most fairly compensate the artists they love?), we can work together to construct an Internet where innovation can thrive and artists can fairly profit their work.
SOPA and PIPA cannot pass. The stats are scary: we currently have only 6 Senators opposing PIPA, and we need 40. Only 12 House Members oppose SOPA, and we need 214.
Get involved. Some tips from Congressman Jared Polis and the EFF:
Together, we will defeat this.
In case you weren’t sure if there was a contest for everything, Metropolis TV is here to assure you that yes, indeed there is. The above preview of their new season on masturbation spotlights Masanobu Sato who one both the 2008 and 2009 Masturbate-A-Thon, held by the Center for Sex & Culture in San Francisco. Both times he set a record, the current being 9 hours and 58 minutes, a time that sounds as impressive as it does painful.
In an especially surreal moment we get to watch Soto begin his day with a 2 hour “practice session”. There he sits, cross-legged on the floor, peacefully watching the news while his girlfriend sews, all the while casually working an artificial vagina over his turgid member. His girlfriend, for her part, sees this as a hobby, not unlike her sewing, She even helps him “train” by timing him, a decidedly different reaction than I would probably get from my girlfriend if I decided to jerk off on the couch in front of her every morning. There is also a harrowing moment in which their cat climbs on his leg to investigate, running the risk of being pulled into the thresher like vortex created by Sato’s inexorable pumping.
Things turn even weirder, though not unexpectedly, when we accompany Soto to his favorite adult video store. Here he explains his particular taste in pornography: specifically adult anime, explaining that a “real female” can be both smelly and/or dirty, whereas, conversely, the women in anime are nice and clean. Which is true, but really, it’s not something we should be saying out loud. Just let those dirty, stinky women live in ignorance. Better to suffer in silence like a gentleman than complain aloud like a man best known for stroking his dick for nearly 10 hours at a time.
Credit where credit is due, though. A lesser man than Soto would no doubt collapse around the one hour mark, exhausted, frustrated, and horribly, horribly chafed. There are worse things, I suppose, than being known as the world’s premiere practitioner of the autoerotic arts. Better to be recognized for a talent than have none at all.
Via John Coulthart!
“boy·taur \’boi-tawr\ n 1 : a guy with four (or more) legs 2 : a guy with any of a variety of multilimb or other transformations 3 : a guy who enjoys the company of boytaurs, and is thus a boytaur in spirit”
“There’s something wildly, almost primally, attractive about a guy with four legs: the crowding of long, sculpted thigh muscle, the four calf muscles bobbing and working in rhythm with his four-legged walk, the four strong male feet supporting his powerful boytaur body. Boytaurs know this attraction well, and it is our constant joy, both to have and to share.”
“Of course, many boytaurs don’t stop with four legs. Some add more legs, going six-legged or more. Some add extra arms. And many, enjoying all their boytaur feet, decide to go wristfooted as well.”
“Other boytaurs have completely different transformations, or none at all, but are still boytaurs in spirit, enjoying their augmented bodies, and sharing that joy freely. boytaur.net is dedicated to helping that sharing go on across the internet, all around the world.”
In 1940, Disney released Fantasia; an epic animated film consisting of several shorts set to classical pieces. If you haven’t seen it, it’s perfect for the holidays. There are fairies and unicorns and dancing mushrooms.
And, of course, Fantasia includes the Pastoral Symphony. As a child, I was happily unaware of the heteronormative, gender essentialist overtones of this piece. I was just excited to see all the centaur boobs and watch the fashion show unfold. Multicolored centaurettes wearing hats made from lotus flowers, birch bark and even live white doves. Exotic mythical creatures lazing around all day, spending the beautiful sunset hours eating grapes, swinging on giant swings, and bathing by the waterfall. It was just lovely. Looking back, it’s clear how ridiculous the whole thing was. A post at Nectarade provides a hilarious, pitch-perfect overview (click through to the site, it’s better with pictures):
There’s a centaur meetup and the ladies are “dressing up” so it’s not so obvious they’re all clones of each other in different colors. The males are also clonic, but they don’t give a shit about looking alike because they’re there for the mare pussy (well, that sounded funny). Also, there are some weird “little cherubs” playing as sassy gay friends of the girls, matchmakers, makeover artists, and creepy voyeurs. My first reaction: “Why are there cherubs in Olympus, anyway? I suppose they’re sort of little cupids without the bow and arrows, but it’s still fucking weird.” I did my homework, and those things are called putto (plural: putti) . Oh, okay, it makes sense artistically then. It’s still weird because they’re little creepers in this movie, but I’ve learned something new today!
…meanwhile, the clonic Ken doll centaurs get their own catwalk show from which they pick the girl they want to fuck senseless take to the prom. I don’t know if it’s racism or narcissism or fashion taken to the extreme, but I can’t help but notice that all the pairings have similar color palettes. Red/pink/brown/yellow goes with red/pink/brown/yellow, blue/purple goes with blue/purple. That’s very disappointing. You can also tell how much the couples want to have sex as soon as possible, but they can’t because there are little kids watching (and depraved putti stalking them).
Seriously, they have to settle with a lot of second-base touching and inane activities such as playing in swings and eating grapes and just hang out, sitting here consumed with lust for the rest of the evening. But OH NOES!! EMERGENCY!!! DISASTER!!! ONE OF THE CENTAURS IS ALONE! Don’t worry, guys! There’s a centauride who’s also alone! And in the same color scheme! We’re saved! How convenient that there was the same amount of boys and girls! So our team of putti, like fanbrats who feel compelled to pair every character up in the bad fanfiction they write, set them to a date by playing their phallic flute-trumpets. Thankfully, our two dorks liked each other and were actually the ones with less libido. Actually, they’re quite sweet and old-fashioned, and I’m glad for them. I mean, as happy as it can be since the putti are still stalking like Edward Cullen in Bella Swan’s period days, and even when they drop the curtain (literally) they’re still peeking over the centaurs. Eww, GTFO!
The above review of Pastoral Symphony was pretty complete… except, HELLO, WHAT’S THIS:
That’s right. Disney originally included a character named Sunflower – a half-donkey, half black girl servant figure who polished hoofs, brushed/decorated tails, and carried garlands for the centaurettes. It’s not surprising that Nectarade didn’t catch them; the scenes haven’t appeared on any release of Fantasia since the 1960s, and are hard to come by in high quality. Most versions on YouTube look like they were taped off a television. Here is the best-quality collection of all censored scenes. Sister Suffragette adds, “there’s also the possibility that there are more Sunflowers; the movie shows Sunflower with a couple different hair styles which could mean that they actually represent several servant/slave half-asses. It’s hard to tell, though, because the difference in hair style is the only distinguishing feature … of course she was happily shining the hoofs and fixing the tails of the non-black centaurs and there’s not even any thought or explanation given as to why she’s the only one that doesn’t meet a mate by the end of the segment. The others females are chosen by the males who picked them out of the lot after the females paraded and posed in front of the males.”
The real kicker is that, according to several sources, Disney adamantly denied that Sunflower even existed up until somebody finally dug up the footage and put it on the internet (despite the fact that you can find her chowin’ down on watermelon, in stereotypical fashion, in the Fantasia cut-out book. Perhaps Disney was counting on the fact that it’s solidly out of print).
Recently, artists have been reclaiming and re-imagining Sunflower, so perhaps there’s a silver lining to all of this (as an aside, people are also reimagining some of the other Fantasia nubile centaurettes in a very – how shall I put this – non-heteronormative, non-monogamous way. Thanks, Rule 34. Thanks, Internet). People are imagining Sunflower (or Sunflowers) as a strong, confident young girl. Or a self-aware, independent woman. Or even painting her as a servant, but with much more emotion and character. If Disney won’t make this right, the people will. More remixes of Sunflower, after the jump.
Sunflower by AtomicFireball: “This is not a fanart. It’s a little wishful thinking of my own. This is my Sunflower, who never served a mistress.”
I’ve no idea what led this young man to the idea of stacking 3118 coins upon a single dime. Perhaps, as alluded to in the title of this post, he was simply bored. Perhaps he had though long and hard about, what he perceived to be, a lack of coin-stacking research, a gap in the understanding of coin storage. Perhaps he simply got his hands on some grade A marijuana. We will never know. What we do know is that, regardless of the reasons, he ends up with 3118 coins, impressively stacked on a single dime after seven, time-lapsed hours. Isn’t that enough?
Another thoughtful article by guest contributor Jeffrey Wengrofsky, “The Praise of Motherfuckers” looks at intergenerational warfare and the use of the word “motherfucker” in counterculture. NYC readers, take note: Jeff’s latest film (with the Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers), “The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen,” is an Official Selection of DOC NYC 2011, the documentary film festival of the Independent Film Channel. It is scheduled to make its premiere on November 6 at New York University’s Kimmel Center at 7:30 and on November 7th at the Independent Film Center at 3:45. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life as embodied by Beat poet and Warhol Superstar Taylor Mead. It’s being shown with “Girl with the Black Balloons.” Grab your tickets here. Congrats, Jeff! – Ed
“WALL ST. is WAR ST.” Photo by Larry Fink. More photos here.
There is a … sort of madness… which the furies bring from hell; those that are herewith possessed are hurried on to wars and contentions… inflamed to some infamous and unlawful lust, enraged to act the parricide, seduced to become guilty of incest, sacrilege, or some other of those crimson-dyed crimes… ~ Erasmus
Not long ago I attended a lecture on youth rebellion in the 1960s. The presenter noted with disdain that the word “motherfucker” was used by some of the speakers at the notorious demonstration against the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Use of this term, so the argument went, was emblematic of a movement that was politically inept if not inherently self-destructive. And the most immediate casualty of the unholy coupling of “mother” and “fucker,” it was alleged, was the candidacy of Hubert Humphrey, who lost to Richard Nixon. For those outside the Convention, however, Humphrey’s nomination – pre-ordained by party insiders – offered a continuation of the Vietnam War and seemed to make a farce of our democracy.
The Motor City Five get it on (and duck stray bullets)
Well, it got me to thinking, and I soon made the personal discovery that Motherfuckery was all over America in the late 1960s and early 1970s. No, not literally, of course. The phrase was, however, in conspicuous currency among New Leftists in a way it had not been before or has been since.
On that fated afternoon in 1968, Rob Tyner of the MC5 had, indeed, shouted his shibboleth – “It’s time to kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” – to ignite his band’s performance, as he did for nearly every show. After hours of peaceable, if raucous, assembly and rock’n’roll (the MC5 were the only band with the gumption to perform), Chicago mayor Richard Daley dispatched 23,000 police and National Guardsmen to beat and gas the protestors. And when Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff noted, on the floor of the Convention, that Daley was using “Gestapo tactics,” Daley himself fired the epithet of the era right back at the rostrum: “Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch! You lousy motherfucker!”
Just a year earlier, Everett LeRoi Jones decorated a poem celebrating the race riots that would permanently cripple Newark: “All the stores will open if you say the magic words. The magic words are: Up against the wall mother fucker this is a stick up!” Magic words indeed, but the “joosh stores” did not “open,” they closed and remain shuttered to this day or marked only by empty spaces in their footprint.
The phrase “motherfucker” had already been in circulation in hip, African-American lingo long before Jones tapped it, referring to someone who may be evil, a passionate musician, or simply a force to be reckoned with. It is important to note here that mainstream African-American society, ever-struggling for respect, was possibly even more hostile to the use of the term in polite company than America as a whole.
In New York City, Ben Morea, a ballsy street urchin whose totalizing, uncompromising politics was wedded to a phrase befitting his society of self-proclaimed “suicidal sidewalk psychopaths” known as “Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker,” “The Motherfuckers,” or, most simply, as UAW/MF – though they referred to themselves collectively as “The Family.” Perhaps significantly, Morea “did not know his father [and] did not want to tell his mother he was a Motherfucker because he did not want to disappoint her.” Osha Neumann, another Motherfucker, also had a twist in his family romance: his father’s best friend, a man who had lived in his house like an uncle (Herbert Marcuse), married his widowed mother.
The Motherfuckers declared war on “the totality of reality as shaped by” the financial, military, and cultural elites by disrupting the suburban commute at Grand Central Station and high mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In the middle of the garbage strike of 1968, Motherfuckers dumped bags of rotting garbage from the scummy streets of the Lower East Side onto the pristine promenade of the newly-minted Lincoln Center. They “ran free stores and crash pads…organized community feasts…[and] propagandized against the merchandizing of hip culture…” And, in the middle of the attempted “exorcism of the Pentagon,” only the Motherfuckers actually got inside the five-sided hole of power. Puritanical Roundheads on the frontline of America’s “cultural revolution,” they fought the police and sometimes against other radicals, criticized both the war and the naive embrace of the Vietcong by the left, shot blanks at poet Kenneth Koch (who may have fainted or told them to “grow up”), printed and distributed fliers in solidarity with fellow traveler Valerie Solanas after she shot Andy Warhol, and forced Bill Graham into letting them use the Fillmore East for free once a week.
When Detroit’s MC5 came to play New York’s Fillmore on one such night, free tickets had not been distributed to the Motherfuckers and their ilk, unbeknownst to the band. The sight of the MC5 pulling up in a limo provided by Electra Records the Motherfuckers then took to be a sign of bourgeois bedfellowship, so they trashed the Fillmore and sent that otherwise courageous band into rapid retreat under threat of grievous body harm. The Motherfuckers were so feared that they once closed the mighty Museum of Modern Art by simply revealing their plans for it. Their slogan was put to music by David Peel and Harold C. Black, lo-fi renegades calling themselves “The Lower East Side,” in a feisty ditty on an album whose cover demurred from disclosing the word “motherfucker” although it was otherwise brash enough to be titled Have a Marijuana. More than a regional phenomenon, the Motherfuckers were the only non-student branch of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), were admitted to and then purged from the largely French Situationist International, and had their slogans scooped up by San Francisco’s Jefferson Airplane for their song, “We Can be Together.” (Jefferson Airplane would actually voice a parricidal fantasy in a different song: “Hey Frederick.”)
Watching this video I cannot exactly be sure if this isn’t in jest. Surely, one would think, there is no need to explain the proper way to open a door. Surely, one would think, if those Scandinavians figured out the mechanics of leaving a room, the Finns would have as well. This video seems to illustrate otherwise, indicating that, at least until 1979, the Finnish people were constantly running, full-tilt, into entryways, oblivious to how these infernal blockades functioned, perhaps flailing wildly at the door knobs (provided they had not knocked themselves unconscious) their spastic flapping eventually resulting in the door opening after, what must have seemed, an eternity; the sad, exhausted individual collapsing through the doorway, already dreading the next encounter. One could theorize that, with so much of their faculties taken up by trying to master their sadistically difficult language, they have little capacity for much else inside their brain-meats. (Editor’s Note: This is just the theory of one man. It does not represent the opinions of Coilhouse or the Editors and does, in fact, come from the diseased mind of a crazy person. The Finnish people have a wonderful language and are also in possession of exemplary brains.)
Whatever the reason, there still exists this clip of a dapper, mustachioed gentleman, wearing, one might say, an obscenely wide tie, demonstrating how to open a door in a manner that would most likely result in the practitioner immediately being ejected from the space they had just entered on suspicion of being some sort of trespasser; especially in conjunction with the aforementioned moustache. Perform at your own risk.
From John Campbell, creator of the amazing/depressing/hilarious comic Pictures For Sad Children, comes “Cats”, a short film about Shannon Driscoll — screenprinter, teacher, cat enthusiast. The film explores Shannon’s love of felines and how they influence her art and, in doing so, hold up a mirror to her strained relationship with her father. A relationship in which the truly innocent suffer the most.