Friday, July 29, 2005

i am an idiot

one day someone is going to teach me to pay attention. all week i've been looking forward to seeing rob newman at the castle tonight, although earlier in the week i thought it was on wednesday. but it was ok, i checked my calendar and that said friday... except i inexplicably wrote down the wrong date. what is my brain doing to me?! and curse these electronic booking systems that don't send you an email or a ticket, it means i make ridiculous mistakes like this!

what a cock.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

i am become the destroyer of worlds

on the way back to nottingham tonight i listened to face the facts on radio 4 and i'm left completely heart-broken by yet another case of a multi-national busting into a region and fucking it over. this program (you can here it via the link above & 'listen again') detailed two cases where nestle has set up mineral water plants in areas of great natural beauty and importance (one in brazil, another in michigan - the great lake state don't ya know?) and then proceeded to suck all the life from the ground.

worst of all is that in both cases local residents have taken legal action and won, only to see nestle go to appeal and be allowed to re-open the plants while a final judgement is pending. in the case of the brazillian plant this final judgement has been pending for 4 years, during which time the springs the area was once famous for have lost most of their vitality. nestle claims innocence, and bangs on about the moral imperative it follows as a multinational, but even its own survey pointed to the fragility of the aquifer in this area.

meanwhile a michigan resident can't help but sob as she tells how the creek she loves to walk along has dried up and all the wildlife is disappearing.

yeah, watch us go! let's fuck more shit up for the sake of some bottled water! wankers!

Friday, July 22, 2005

commenting on comment pieces, hopefully coherently...

ho hum. i've just read an interesting piece in the guardian - Page 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 girl - about the mentality of porn taking over pop culture. It raised some worthwhile points, but i think i have to disagree.

The main points are the preponderance of nubile women in sexual poses in the media, ranging from shampoo ads to Nuts magazine, how this will affect the generation growing up with this and the old chesnut of objectification of women as sex objects. I think these are all fair concerns. What I'm less certain of are exactly which of these issues is particularly new, or worsened, recently and, more specifically, exactly how porn is to blame.

I think it's fair to say that ads have been getting more risque, but over the last 20 years - not just overnight. And i think it's fair to say that kids in the playground gawping at Nuts or Zoo is - culturally speaking - probably not a great thing, but again magazines like FHM have had the same playground cool for a while (and before that kids gawping at page 3... you've got to learn from somewhere!). What seems like a more coherent argument however is not to take these things in isolation and say "hmmm, that's a cause of porn becoming more mainstream and the media spreading these attitudes". It seems that it's more about the lad/ladette lowest common denominator culture that is at the root of all this. Magazines like nuts don't show this stuff because they've seen it in porno, they show it because it's what the public want, because beer and football and tits are all we are. People who want porn can go and buy porn, i don't think that it's some kind of malign evil that is saturating our media; rather it is the media that is taking its cue from popular culture and reflecting the growing interests of the public.

And more than this i'm not even sure if we can cast it in these simple black and white terms. Can we really say culture is dumbing down, or can we only go as far as saying that certain aspects of culture which currently seem popular don't reflect the intellectual aspects of humanity which we consider important? Can we also say that this has always been the case throughout history? This stuff is transitional, attitudes change and i don't think this can generally be cast as either a good or bad thing. Would i like to have the attitudes of someone from the 30s towards nudity? Would i like to have the attitudes of someone from the 1800s towards slavery or empire? No. Things change, but it's not just a one-way street and it's also not just a one-lane road, there's bound to be strange oscilations in taste and standards that some love and others loathe. Sure this stuff is popular, but so is a lot of other stuff that isn't concerned solely with beer and laddish jokes and puns. Look at the bigger picture and realise that there's probably not much you can do about it - save not being trapped by it - nor does it matter much in the end anyway.


and this was good too:
It's not political correctness to hold soldiers to account

Thursday, July 21, 2005

no wheezing the juice!

california man - still great budeeee.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

happy post

Phd: week 2. Brilliant! Now I see how it's supposed to be, a job should involve thinking and learning and freedom to explore. This is why I've never been interested in any before, this is what was lacking.

OK, so it's not a job job... I still count as a student. But it involves the 9-5, it involves projects and aims and various groups of people (unlike, say, most undergrad stuff), and I get paid. That's a job, it just happens to be one that gives back a lot too. And besides, the post-grad I'm working with – for whom it is a proper job – does much the same work: he just has more experience, and a salary rather than a bursary.

The thing that is surprising me most is the energy I've suddenly developed. I seem to have found a capacity to think about stuff all day then come home and do stuff. No collapsing in front of the TV, all will to life sucked out for another day. NO! It feels so good!

Yeah, it's probably partly because it's summer and it's novel (summer and the phd), but if it carries on even half as enjoyable as this then I will be very pleased. And at least when there are dull parts or deadlines I know that there's a purpose to them, not just endless, grinding, repetition.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

the futurist

the futurist
Originally uploaded by monkeyinfez.

Your gaze scans the streets as if they were written pages: the city says everything you must think, makes you repeat her discourse, and while you believe you are visiting Tamara you are only recording the names with which she defines herself and all her parts.

Cities & Signs 1 from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Friday, July 15, 2005

going to hell in a handbasket

From today's Guardian:

Far right and football gangs plot 'revenge'
"Football hooligans communicating over the internet have spoken of the need to put aside partisan support for teams and unite against Muslims."

[full article]

Because clearly violence solves all our problems. Twats.

Monday, July 04, 2005

exciting times

very excited, starting my phd today!