Friday, July 21, 2006

(Dialectical) (Media) (Histories)

Way back blogthink, McLuhan-style:
Men trained in book culture are slow to assess these facts. Yet they will admit that even books, by and large, have been written by their reading publics. Authors have always been shaped by their potential publics.

But the new media are not ''authored'' by single individuals any more than a modern newspaper. As the public of the new media increases the ''author'' staff increases. Scott or Dickens could net a nation. But no single writer today can encompass more than a fragment of the available attention of the public. The media have transformed the public in many ways and the public goes on transforming the techniques and consciousness of the authors who would master it. The man who has something to say is the man who has mastered some segment of public awareness. He is capable of lighting up some dim, fusty corner of embryonic social consciousness. Formerly an author could do this by introspection, when he was essentially a member of society. Today when it is no longer possible to be sure of what being a member of society may involve, the ''author'' has to bestir himself as much as any pollster. He lives in an unknown world of strange new components and effects.

Marshall McLuhan, from New Media As Political Forms (1955)

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

(Activist) (National) (Poetics)

Another approach to reconciling the lazy mind of summer with the activist desire of the poet to intervene in the growing conflagration of war and instability throughout the Mideast and beyond, is to address your (media) captors directly:
Dear Soul of Karl Rove:

You are a great conceptual thinker, and I am concerned about the collective memory of our nation. Concerned, that is, that your invented scenarios are destructively meddling with our memories, and leading to the demise of this great nation. Now that you have entered a maze of your own design (a difficult conundrum, even for a man of great creative genius) I’m wondering if perhaps you can begin to help, rather than hinder, the soul of America.

For example, I remember that there were really no terrorists in Iraq before this war started. But reading the papers, it would seem that the terrorists have been there all along, and we went in to “get” them. I had this discussion with my neighbor, and he looked at me like I was insane when I told him that the insurgency in Iraq was born and gathered steam only after the invasion. You really got into his head!

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

(Slumbering) (National) (Politics)

It's summer. The heat is on. Everyone is slumbering around enjoying "doing nothing."

But doing nothing about what?

According to the NY Times weekend editorial "The Real Agenda":
It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.

Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone. While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism, the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another, perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.

One result has been a frayed democratic fabric in a country founded on a constitutional system of checks and balances. Another has been a less effective war on terror.

No shit, Sherlock.

It's been five years and only now are our supposedly "liberal" media putting it all together?

Better late than never (I guess).

But I have to wonder what's so special about those who had the vision, or maybe the better word is perspicacity, to see this all happening within a year of 9-11. I mean, it was so obvious, wasn't it?

Maybe we (present company excluded) didn't want to believe that it could happen here, during our lifetimes.

John Dean's new book "Conservative Without Conscience" (nice way of saying "being fascist") appparently has a new angle on America's current disposition toward the rest of the world. Investigating some of the discoveries made in a cluster of studies overloooked in various fields of academic research, Dean suggests that a large percentage of the US population is itself into authoritarianism. Not as masochists per se, or so I understand Dean to say, but as fellow sadists who get off on being authoritatively dicatated to. Strange fetishization? Something about that bullying style makes it all seem worth it to the rah-rah crowd. In an interview with Keith Olberman, Dean says:
There's no question that, particularly the followers, they're very aggressive in their effort to pursue and help their authority figure out or authority beliefs out. They will do what ever needs to be done in many regards. They will blindly follow. They stay loyal too long and this is the frightening part of it.
Although I have not yet had time to read the book, I have heard Dean lay out the general premise a few times, and having been surrounded by frat boys a lot in my youth, I can see where it's going.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Weathered Thoughts

Fragment written seven days ago when the high temp was 62, a record low high after four days of rain:

Why does the continuous rain stir up my language pot, teasing my ambivalence toward another round of artful production?

I can (and always do) write a lot while living on an always sunny beach.

But when it rains, and rains, and rains some more, and the Rocky Mountain air is continually refreshened, it's almost as if I am experiencing a kind of poetic cleansing.

My mind is lost in cloudy transfigurations of thought -

My skin is moist -

My nerves are lubricated -

My eyes are sleepy -

My balls are bulging -

My measure is running -

and all I can do



Fragment written today (one week later), anticipated record high of 102:

Emptied dinosaur skin -

Moltenmollusk -


Not moving.

Protocol --

Brain signals legs
legs reject the motion -

Brain signals arms
arms reject the motion -

Brain signals entire body
body rejects the motion -

New business: pronate
in a pool of chlorination?

Discussion -

followed by heated discussion

followed by more heated discussion

a series of unnecessary digressions

an unexpected stall in the negotiations

until finally

another motion to move

amendment to the motion to move

amendment to the amendment to the motion to move

endless discussion of amendments to the motion to move

a call for recess

unanimously approved


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