Archive | May, 2011

The Atrocity of Hope, Part 15: Toward a New Radicalism

Chris Hedges on corporate liberalism:

The pillars of the liberal establishment – the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party – all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence. …

By extolling the power of the state as an agent of change, as well as measuring human progress through the advances of science, technology and consumption, liberals abetted the cult of the self and the ascendancy of the corporate state. …

Of what import are brief, nameless lives ... to Galactus?

The state, now the repository of the hopes and dreams of the liberal class, should always have been seen as the enemy. The destruction of the old radical and militant movements – the communists, socialists and anarchists – has left liberals without a source of new ideas. …

The liberal class, by allowing radical movements to be dismembered through Red baiting and by banishing those within its ranks who had moral autonomy, gradually deformed basic liberal tenets to support unfettered capitalism, the national security state, globalization and permanent war. Liberalism, cut off from the radical roots of creative and bold thought, merged completely with the corporate power elite. The liberal class at once was betrayed and betrayed itself. And it now functions like a commercial brand, giving a different flavor, face or spin to the ruthless mechanisms of corporate power. This, indeed, is the primary function of Barack Obama ….

To accept that Obama is, as West said, a mascot for Wall Street means having to challenge some frightening monoliths of power and give up the comfortable illusion that the Democratic Party or liberal institutions can be instruments for genuine reform. It means having to step outside the mainstream. It means a new radicalism. It means recognizing that there is no hope for a correction or a reversal within the formal systems of power. It means defying traditional systems of power. And liberals, who have become courtiers to the corporate state, must attempt to silence all those who condemn the ruthlessness and mendacity of these systems of destruction. …

(Celý piroh. CHT Gary Chartier.)

Money quote: “The state … should always have been seen as the enemy.”

How to Make a Renaissance Novel a Bestseller

La Princesse des Cleves

This story is a couple of years old, but I missed it the first time.

I read that book in senior year of high school; but I read it in French, and my French wasn’t that great at the time, so I don’t actually remember anything about it. But if it ticks off Sarko, it has my vote. (Well, unless that implies endorsing Dominique Strauss-Kahn ….)

Fear of a Red Planet

First the Pirates of Venus movie becomes Carson Napier. And now the John Carter of Mars movie becomes John Carter. Why the planetophobia?

A Princess of Mars

Maybe the feeling is: everybody nowadays knows that Mars and Venus are a) uninhabited, and b) inhospitable to human life, so audiences won’t buy seeing human heroes without protective suits running about in Martian or Venusian cities having adventures with the natives. If so, I think this greatly overestimates audiences’ concern with scientific accuracy and/or underestimates their willingness to suspend disbelief. (After all, Avatar audiences bought this.)

On the contrary, I would think that the phrase “John Carter of Mars” – which (even for people who’ve never heard of the books) promises science-fiction action-adventure – is a bigger draw than “John Carter,” which for most audiences suggests nothing in particular. (And ditto, mutatis mutandis, for Carson of Venus.)

Another suggestion is that the studio shortened the title in order to be able to establish IP rights to the name “John Carter.” (They already own “John Carter of Mars.”) But it seems to me they could do that just by releasing a five-minute animated tie-in called “John Carter,” and leaving the movie with the cooler title.

Actually I’d prefer the proper title, “A Princess of Mars.” But I’d be willing to bet that some studio exec thought, “Male audiences will be scared off by a film with ‘princess’ in the title; they’ll think it’s some girly rainbow thing.”

Double Doughnut Standard

I'm gonna kick your ass and get away with it

“[Police officers] need to move quickly, in split seconds, without giving a lot of thought to what the adverse consequences for them might be. … [A]nything that’s going to have a chilling effect on an officer moving – an apprehension that he’s being videotaped and may be made to look bad – could cost him or some citizen their life.” — Jim Pasco, Fraternal Order of Police

(Read the celý piroh.)

Hey Pasco – as you defenders of the surveillance state always say to us: if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Freeze for Scotland

“I’m appalled and outraged. What the BBC are doing is stealing Scotland’s heritage. It is a kick in the teeth to one of our most iconic industries.”

Before you click, try to guess what monstrous crime the BCC has committed.

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