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Hey, progressive bloggers, can you please, please stop using Robert Fisk's name as a verb
? The veteran reporter for The Independent
has been a staunch, pointedly critical source of news about the Middle East for years, a beacon in the smog of propaganda that passes for reportage on this side of the pond. For reasons that make absolutely no sense (see the comments to this post), warmonger troglodyte bloggers started using his name a while back to mean "assiduously refute a blog post." It has an unpleasant sexual ring, as in "fisting."
To be less precise, Wikipedia defines it as "a point-by-point refutation of a blog entry or a news story." But why should this be associated with Fisk, as opposed to any other journalist? It's not like the term "bowdlerize," meaning censor, which was named for a man named Bowdler, a censor. There is some etymology in the comments: apparently the term originated with Andrew Sullivan or Instacracker, but it is nonsensical, even as a smear. In any case, given that these blowhards mean it as an insult, why would anyone opposed to Bush's various wars want to do that? Robert Fisk is our friend. Jane Hamsher, others, could you please stop using it? It's even worse that writing "ANWR" instead of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, a trick right out of Frank Luntz's pro-pollution handbook.
devil tail mandala--artist unknown
Trite Image of the Day
This page respectfully dissents from Regine's
granting of Image of the Day status to the above jpeg, and The Telegraph's
original designation of it as an "image of the week." That is, assuming those titles carry with them some honorary weight and don't mean "sensational but trite image of the week."
Here's how the Telegraph describes it: "Visitors walk under 'Head On' by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. The installation consists of a pack of 99 life-sized wolves, fabricated from painted sheepskins and stuffed with hay and metal wires, barreling in a continous stream towards--and into--a glass wall." Regine helpfully adds: "Only the first ones crash into it, but the pack chases after the leader."
The above photo is to art what Steven Spielberg's cinematography is to movies: visually dramatic, epic in scale, pompous, obvious. Actually that's not fair to Spielberg, who's greatest sin is indulging in razzle-dazzle imagemaking that has nothing to do with his plots. For example, why have a long bike chase if ET could levitate the bicycle all along? Because chases are so...cinematic.
But the bicycle flying in front of the moon is kind of striking. One or the other--you can't have both. Cai Guo-Qiang faced no such choice. He has created a singular story, the theme of which is "Think for yourself, dude; following others can, like, lead to tragedy." As if that wasn't bad enough, he has his wolves flying through the air like Santa and his eight tiny reindeer. Why? Because it looks dramatic in the gallery. Please.
Follow this link
to the above performance by grid-m 7
. I know next to nothing about the event except it's (a) in Japan, (b) at "Design Festa," which is some kind of festival where artists can rent space (don't know why there are kitchenwares in the band's "set") and (c) has some artwork on the TV monitor by Ryuko Azuma
, who I posted about recently (don't know who is painting the apparently topless cutie on the back wall, but she's very nicely drawn). The video goes on a bit too long but some of the human beatbox moves are great. What cracks me up is the vibe of the utopian Total Artwork (with beatniks). You got your human beatbox. You got your DJ with wild synthesis effects. You got your video screen. You got your live painting...
Kraftwerk stitch by the daughter of co-founding member Florian Schneider
. Her dad is the guy at the end with no coiffure.
After posting about the rash of hardware synth sequencer performances
on YouTube and speculating that it might be a micro-genre in the making, I noticed Cory Arcangel had a series of del.icio.us links to Ed DMX's
website, which is chock a block with pictures of mostly '80s gear and the sounds they produce. Some great stuff there. (Like this .mp3
What we're seeing, I think, is the reaction to what DMX calls "the computer revolution" in music production. There's almost no function of old gear that your laptop and a good soundcard can't do better and more imaginatively nowadays, so inevitably the outmoded becomes fetishized.
It's ironic that the sequencer, a piece of gear that generates MIDI patterns for synths to play, was yesterday's soul deadening "end of music as we know it," but now that it's been made superfluous by software--honestly, nothing is easier for your computer to do than generate MIDI notes--it is all about "warmth" and "hands-on playing."
Not saying that analog synthesis lacks romance. I'm guilty of spending hours surfing old synth sites and have recently plunked down for a couple of pieces of such gear, but have mostly not succumbed to the urge to fill up my apartment with power-hogging, space-occupying, hard-to-transport machinery.
And I'm not saying that watching someone play a hardware sequencer live isn't superior to watching a performer stroke a laptop thumbpad. (Although, done badly, which they usually are, "sequencer workouts" quickly devolve into boring new age music.) And I'm not suggesting that the crackly, juiced up voltages of analog synths aren't sexy as hell.
But perhaps we need to separate what's irreplaceable about the "old new ways" from our kneejerk reaction to the "new new ways." Former computerphobe Brian Eno is selling off his gear--that's a good, positive role model for everyone. Small is beautiful.
Pong on the Akai MPC1000 sampler
I have no idea how hard or significant it is that someone put a pong game on a sampler's LCD. But I like this animated GIF.
Midibox V3 SEQ demonstration
"Hardware Sequencer Demos" appears to be a happenin' genre on YouTube. Here's a home-built unit