fengi: (Have a fucking puppy.)
Tomorrow, May 15, the FCC will vote on rules which would effectively end net neutrality using a bunch of weasel terms and workarounds.

It's time to take action to protect what remains of neutral access to online communication and commerce.

There are several options, the lazy (and perhaps not effective) one is at the bottom.

Option A1: Email the FCC.
Here is a new link to an inbox for internet comments. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] microbie.

Option A2: Call the FCC
1. Dial 888-225-5322
2. push 1, 4, 0
3. A person will answer.
4. They will ask for your name and address. you can just give them a zip code if you want.
5. Be courteous: "I'm calling to ask the FCC to reclassify Internet Service Providers as Title Two Common Carriers."
6. They'll ask if there is anything else you would like to add.
7. "No, Thank you for your time."
8. Hang up.

Option B: Call Congress
Go to OpenCongress & type in your zipcode. Pick up the phone and call each of the these folks. Believe it or not, someone will answer the phone, and phone calls make a difference. Politely tell the congressional staff that picks up to "Have the FCC classify internet as a Title Two common carrier." Ask them to repeat what they wrote down.

Option C: Online Activist Shortcuts
These are sponsored by the Free Press PAC, who will add you to their mailing list.
Stop The Slow Lane automated emailing to Congress
Email Petition to FCC
Before giving money to the Free Press, check out the evaluations here, here and here.

The "crisis fatigue" narrative is now being imposed on Net Neutrality, sometimes by people who should know better. It's the bullshit idea the ability to care about real ongoing issues is the same as audiences being bored by fictions which go on too long. This crap arises from various agendas, be it a shitty journalist who confuses their own lazy boredom with what qualifies as news, or a vested interest who wants people to stop paying attention.
fengi: (Mr. Sherrif)
So Kaleb Horton wrote this amazing post which uses Atari's failed ET game and rumination about mythic narratives versus mundane acts as a roundabout way to insult the portentious marketing for Interstellar. I love this sort of thought piece with a punchline strategy when it works. It touches upon the sort of things my brain finds delicious: cognitive dissonance, perception and reality and advertising metastasis.

The full essay is good if a bit loose - these excerpts distill the awesome:
...The reality is that in 1983, Atari threw a bunch of games away because they made too many. What’s out there in the desert is just garbage, and lacks even sentimental import. They made millions of those games. None of them have first-draft code that can bring down the Kremlin.

But the Atari landfill mythmaking imagery is just too powerful for reality to get in the way...It’s a great American story, at least in a vacuum: a long time ago, a convoy left Texas and entered New Mexico to bury something shameful....Atari’s failure takes on a mythic hue after 30 years beneath the desert. “E.T.” has gotten mythical too: it’s no longer the caffeine-addled last minute work of one overworked guy but instead the worst game ever. By burying some of that legacy in New Mexico, Atari made its failure mean a lot more than it did when they poured that concrete.

Marketing agencies need to look into this strategy. If you have a product that won’t sell as much as you need it to and you’re out of options, just bury it in the desert and ride it out for 30 years...Call it “The Desert Strategy.”

...When my grandma died, she left behind a whole storage unit worth of photo albums. Now, I’m never gonna look at those. It’s not gonna happen. They’re in Florida. Can’t be done. But if, in her will, she wrote that she buried “something” in New Mexico out by the Air Force base, not only am I gonna drive down to get it, but I’m gonna examine every one of those damn pictures like a forensics expert.

...Say you’re in a band. You’re 27 or so. You got some steady local gigs, opened for The Dead Weather a few times, went on Conan, Pitchfork described your first album as “haunted by the ghosts of forgotten people and forgotten places,” but it’s time for a day job because nobody makes money playing music anymore.

So go out with a bang. Record the second album. Make it even more haunted. Ten times as haunted. Press it to vinyl, drive down to New Mexico. Put all the albums in a big safe...Wait 30 years, and you’re all but guaranteed a documentary and a tour out of it. If the album’s a 7 or 8 out of 10, it’ll get retroactively canonized.

...The second angle for the Hollywood approach is to unceremoniously kill a movie that’s a guaranteed smash hit, just to make the director look like a tormented genius. Give an air of mystery to somebody fed up by the instant reaction culture of the internet. I suggest “Interstellar.”...To cancel this movie for no good reason, well, that’d turn the heads of the most jaded sons of bitches on earth.

Can you imagine it? A whole cottage industry would spring up. Websites dedicated to preserving as much “Interstellar” related content as possible. All the studio has to do is let two or three people see a rough cut and make them sign a non-disclosure agreement for 15 years, then ghostwrite books for them...All you have to do is say one little movie is buried someplace in the desert. Maybe by Roswell. Nobody knows.

Sure, there are some issues of practicality...A faceless corporation would lose a bunch of money in the interest of creating a top 10 event in movie history. And thirty years from now, if any of us are alive, we can all go “oh sure, I remember the trailers to that” or “yeah, movies are horrible” and our grandchildren will pay tepid attention to us for a few minutes.
fengi: (Mr. Bateman)
I've been watching Hannibal, which is doing non-supernatural horror rather well so far. I thought to myself, "I cannot be the only person who thinks Hannibal Lector represents capitalism."

I did a google search and found a decent essay on a site aptly named "Overthinkingit.com":
In most respects, the not-so-good doctor represents the perfect specimen of the homo consumericus. I won’t belabor this point, ’cause it’s obvious. Hannibal lives in an unnecessarily large and immaculately furnished house in the middle of Baltimore, a.k.a. The Wire Central. He drives a Bentley. He wears a $180,000 watch. Let me repeat that last one. He wears a $180,000 watch...As our pal Veblen once said, conspicuous consumption of valuable goods, such as art, is a means to reputability, and that reputability lets Hannibal get away with murder...We all know that Hannibal sees people as objects (see: “I’m having a friend for dinner,” et al.), but none more so than service providers. In Hannibal’s mind, the original sin is rudeness, which notably is the most mortal sin a customer service worker can commit...Hannibal Lecter chooses his nightly meal by flipping through the business cards of the many service providers who have wronged him by not engaging in the affective labor he paid them for.
More suprisingly, however, I found a 13 year old essay by Charlie Reese, a conservative pundit from the Orlando Sentinel. Another newspaper had printed his syndicated column under the headline "Capitalism is a Hannibal Lector".

I grew up in Orlando and knew Reese as a right wing blowhard. He was best known for his 545 people essay which became one of those things frequently emailed by conservative relatives in various forms along with the false claim it was his last column (it was written years before).

The Lector essay, however, shows how far right the goalposts have moved. Reese was actually able to admit reality wasn't always conservative.
I'm going to tell you why I am almost, but not quite, a libertarian.

First, capitalism, unless moderated by Christian virtue or government, is just as brutal and cruel as communism.

I know that's hard for baby boomers to believe. After all, they grew up in the incredibly prosperous post-World War II United States. Most have never experienced really hard times. Most have not bothered to read much history or literature. Many were content to believe the fairy tales woven by Ayn Rand and her cohorts.

Try digging coal for a few pennies a ton in an unsafe mine where you are forced to buy your own tools. Try imagining a disabling injury and, instead of receiving workers' compensation or disability insurance, your broken body is just tossed off the company property.

That's capitalism.

...Those $30 to $50 pair of jeans we wear were made by what amounts to slave labor in Central America or Asia.

I've never been a union member and don't intend to be one, but I can at least appreciate the struggle that union men undertook to improve the lives of working men and women. I guarantee you that without the "threat" of unionization, most working men and women would see a quite different face on their employers.

And that may not be too far off. Under phony free-trade deals, unions are being broken and pressured by the movement of and the threat to move factories overseas. Anybody who expects real compassion from a corporation would mistake Hannibal Lecter for a vegetarian. Unfortunately, the union leadership is so infected with socialists that they would rather pursue their ideological goals than look out for their members.

So, although I strongly believe in the maximum possible freedom, I also believe in community and in responsibility to that community. Not only is no man an island, but no man is self-made. Some people are just good at forgetting all the people who helped them get where they are...Freedom is not a virtue per se. It can mean the freedom of the strong to bully and enslave the weak. It can mean the freedom to exploit the poor, to despoil the land and the water, to turn your back on the oppressed, the sick, the dying.

I fall in with those old-fashioned conservatives who believe in ordered liberty, strict observances of the Constitution and a mind-our-own-business foreign policy....don't confuse me with chamber-of -commerce conservatives who say that anything good for big business is good for the country. That's horse manure.

At the same time, I'm definitely not a socialist...The idea of a mean, something-short-of-pure, unregulated capitalism and pure, over-regulated socialism is what we should strive for.
I don't know if Reese became more extreme with 9/11 and the tea party. Those occurred after he retired from the Sentinel. I do know he opposed the Iraq War, supported raising the debt ceiling yet dismissed health care reform.

Thing is, anyone who can acknowledge the merciless appetite of capitalism is not all bad. It's the sort of person you can reason with. The dead-eyed social darwinists who seem to dominate are just accomplices to the cannibal market, whether they recognize it or not.
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
From Slow Riot:







[Kramer bursts into the apartment] "Jerry, there was a fish in the percolator!"
fengi: (Minty)
Jim O'Neill was driving his taxi when he noticed a man being chased by a beaver off King George Highway on Tuesday.

"You look out the corner of your eye and see a beaver backing somebody up the driveway,” he said.

So, O’Neill stopped the cab and took out his camera.

Snapping a few pictures, O’Neill got about 2.5 metres away from the beaver before it turned on him.

"Slapped his tail on the driveway, slapped his front feet on the ground. He came on,” he said.

"So I backed up to try it again and jeez he got quite aggressive. He was camera shy."

...Miramichi Police Force were also called about the beaver as it was roaming around the northern city.

Sgt. Ed Arbeau said the Miramichi police deal with animals on a daily basis but this was a first.

"The damn thing was lost, it was going down the street. We didn't do anything, we showed up and seen what it was,” Arbeau said.

“The guys left it alone, told the citizens to leave it alone and it went on its way to where it was going."

Although quite rare, beavers have been known to attack people.

Arbeau said it's possible the large rodent had been provoked during its time in the city.
Hat tip to [livejournal.com profile] internet_sampo
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
It was Deadend Margo and mine's anniversary - 11 years since we met at Quimby's via an online dating service which I'm pretty sure no longer exists.

The day could not have been more aging hipsterish - we ran into Livejournal friends at a brunch spot, plus other people we knew all day, saw an amazing documentary about the twist at a music and film festival, went to two fascinating art openings and free comic book day and a fund raiser for a local activist group where Deadend Margo saw a reprint of a poster from her childhood and I ran into this local candidate who beat the Democratic Machine. Then we finished with cocktails, and perfect potatoes au Gratinin the brisk but not intolerable outdoors at this somewhat fancy bar.

It was this sort of day:

Note: The theme from Mtv's The Cutting Edge.
fengi: (Mr. Bateman)
In the last month I've heard headlines in which scientists have announced: A) the global disasters caused by climate change have begun and it might be too late to limit the damage. B) drug resistant diseases are now a major threat and it might be too late to do anything. C) the reason it's too late is because the ruling class will never do what's needed.

In this context, I can understand Rob Ford a bit. Why the fuck not just do whatever the fuck you can get away with for as long as you can until you collapse? If the nightmare begins, will there be any gratification in having been sober, restrained and responsible during the good times?

Wait, Whut?

May. 1st, 2014 07:54 am
fengi: (Mr. Oswald)
Rob Ford, AKA The Family Guy Sketch That Goes On Way Too Long Because They Think If It Goes On Long Enough It Will Become Funny Again But It Doesn't Made Flesh, is still running for office after this.
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
"It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign, and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture."
-AFA spokesman Buddy Smith, reacting to Equality Mississippi's sticker: "We don’t discriminate – If you’re buying, we’re selling!"

The campaign started after Governor Phil Bryant signed a ‘religious freedom’ law protecting homophobic business owners.

Via [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
IDEA ONE!
MEMORY FOAM CUBICLES.

IDEA TWO!
EVERYTHING ELSE IN OFFICE: BOUNCY CASTLE.
fengi: (Tubey)
In 1997 Natalie Imbruglia, a preternaturally attractive Australian pop star, released "Torn", her only American hit. I first heard it when I found a promotional VHS of the video lying in the street. I assume it had been tossed there by an employee from a record store a block away.

This was the video.



A few things struck me about this video.

First, the moment which is clearly designed to encourage boys to kiss the screen in a mocking yet ultimately pathetic fashion. I tested it by showing it to a creepy nice guy colleague who responded exactly as anticipated. He then expressed mock rage over knowing such an unattainable perfect gamine hipster girl existed. Underneath the ironic fuming, however, was all too genuine resentment at women like that could be permitted to walk the earth without ever having to fuck him.

Second, the video occurred deep enough into the meta era that it deconstructs itself as it goes on, emphasizing how everything in it is a mere facade. By the end Natalie is the single genuine object, bopping around in the remains of a presentation which ended even before it was complete.

For Americans Imbruglia was a one hit wonder. In Australia, however, her career has spanned nearly two decades (mostly modeling and acting) and four albums.

In "Smoke" the last video off her first album Imbruglia was in a white void her very self struggling to remain tangible as the tune progressed.



In 2001, "That Day", the first single off her second album was advertised with this video:



As in the previous clips, Imbruglia addresses at the camera while the surround images are less than cooperative. This time, however, she is wandering down a dimly lit tunnel, vaguely menaced by faceless, shadowy forms who barely acknowledge her presence. It has a Stygian feel, a journey into the underworld, though at the end she walks into the light. Perhaps not the best imagery to use for a 2001 release, which may be why it was never shown stateside.

The first single off her third album, "Shiver" was visualized in a more dramatic fashion. With a spy themed action interrupting the direct camera address.



Again, however, the Imbruglia seems to be struggling against the video itself. She first appears burning her identity and wandering a field almost like a ghost, then engaged in an action packed escape from men who clearly mean her harm. By the end she is alone, pushing aside a box full of discarded personal documents in an apartment which vaguely resembles the one in her first video. As the camera pulls back, one thinks it's going to be another set, but it's just a doorway.

There's a video for her most recent hit single "Scars" in 2010, but it's not on YouTube as far as I can tell. This may be due to a contract dispute which has prevented the release of the album in the UK and US after the previous single tanked.

I'm imagining it starts a black screen in which Imbruglia's lips are briefly and barely sceen through a wash of static and digital glitches. Eventually the camera pulls back to reveal the black is a discarded leather jacket on the edge of some barren cliff. Nearby a few scuff marks that might be bootprints seem to lead off the edge.

POSTSCRIPT: The first unsuccessful single off her last album, Want, has a video in which Imbruglia picks up the camera and turns it on her self for sexytime rolling around, then casts it aside in gesture of meta-dismissal. Alas, it apparently did not work, despite having a one syllable title like nearly all her work.

Idea

Apr. 22nd, 2014 04:03 pm
fengi: (Mr. Wolf)
I think an event or group or place called The Madam Defarge Knitting Club would be a great thing. I do not know if I have the wherewithal to organize such a thing, but I may commission the logo and dream.
"It does not take a long time," said madame, "for an earthquake to swallow a town. Eh well! Tell me how long it takes to prepare the earthquake?"
"A long time, I suppose," said Defarge.
"But when it is ready, it takes place, and grinds to pieces everything before it. In the meantime, it is always preparing, though it is not seen or heard. That is your consolation. Keep it."
Years ago some friends and I considered forming an art group called "The Sisyphians" (sic intentional) but we could never get past the start.

I've been fascinated with movements and manifestos since I read about DaDa and the Surrealists in High School. I even attempted to start my own club called Grt Nitz which was about nothing. The word "Fengi" comes from that time. When it comes to manifesto types, my sympathies lie more with the Dziga Vertovs than the Sergei Eisensteins. I'll explain that contrast sometime, suffice it to say, Chicago overall is the Vertov of urban culture (along with most of the rest of the nation.

Anyway, over the years numerous group names have burbled through my mind, enough to fill an imaginary textbook on cultural movements. I don't think I'm alone in this, the impulse to invent a tribal name with mythic meaning beyond those life imposes upon us rest in many people, I think, and is expressed in many ways. Be it philosophers, activists, gangs, artists or whatever, we all have epic titles for the revolutions stirring in our souls.
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
UPDATE: My original was callously dismissive and factually inaccurate about Marissa Alexander's situation and the injustice done to her. That was wrong and just as bad as those who hijack her case to advocate lax self-defense laws.

From [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking and [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll comes this bit of dubious chart making.



It's unclear if this was bias or incompetence. The correction comes from an article which points out gun deaths have skyrocketed in Florida since "stand your ground" has passed and this is the trend in most, but not all, places where such laws have passed.

Meanwhile, Florida is shaping up as the place to be a gun toting psycho. A new law legalizes warning shots and threatening people with guns with exceedingly vague standards written by the NRA.

This was done in the name of a black woman who got 20 years for shooting an warning shot at her abusive ex. Which is a compelling argument for changes to the legal system, but not the ones the gun lobby claims. She got away from the confrontation, got her gun then fired it, which created technical problems for the "stand your ground" defense. [Note: my initial take on what happened was oversimplified, inaccurate and dismissive, there are various accounts of what happened, but all indicate this wasn't a felony.]

The judge said the problem was Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing laws. In addition, the prosecutor chose to charge her with a felony in what seems like an overly broad application of the law (even her husband argued against the charge). Something needs to be done about selective prosecution and mandatory minimums, but gun nuts were able to hijack the story to expand stand your ground.

Michael Dunn also left to get a gun and so far he's been able to avoid a murder conviction. Increasing preemptive immunity for such situations will not help Marissa Alexander, but will further encourage those who assume vigilante behavior is condoned by the state.

Alas the increase in gun threats this may inspire will be hard to measure since the law will essentially make it harder for victims to report such intimidation. It could even enable abusive husbands to justify firing warning shots on the claim they were concerned their wives might do it first.
fengi: (Mr. Gud Greef)
Fengi and Deadend Margo are reading.

Fengi: Oh, Oberlin...

Margo: What?

Fengi: Just reading about obsessive trigger warnings.

Margo: Hmmmn? Twerker warnings?

Fengi: What?

Margo: The dancing is inside the house! Look out!
fengi: (Fengi Princess Castle)
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council has released a draft of their paper evaluating the evidence on homeopathy. They find there's no difference between homeopathy and a placebo.

The response from Greg Cope, spokesman for the Australian Homeopathic Association:
No-one can point to scientific evidence that explains how homeopathy works because that's not something that's able to be explained. Like many things that we do, we don't know how it works but we do at least certainly do know that it does work.
Which makes me think of this:

fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
[Poll #1963765]

More options for the conspiracy question which occurred to me after the poll was posted.
-Radar Online (already mining the Scientology angle)
-The Daily Beast
-Huffington Post
-Somebody we thought was sane writing on Twitter
-Buzzfeed
-World Net Daily
-Twitchy
-Brietbart
-The Daily Caller
-The Blaze
-Newsweek
-Jimmy Kimmel (in a fake viral video)
fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
Remember when Livejournal used to have witty fictional persona accounts? Here's one with potential: [livejournal.com profile] hipsterthulhu. There's only 4 posts so far, but they are clever. Someone to watch but not follow because, y'know, Great Old One.