Category Archives: gripes

Comedy

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The times are those of distraction. Intensive scrutiny of slights and perceived hurts, while the libidinously ironic engage in rampant expressive display of mildly unacceptable comic-cum-outrageous transgressive provocation. At the same time substantial, world destroying, crimes of armaments, pollution, resource obsession, privatised prisons and obscene wealth carry on regardless.

While we should no doubt be interested in efforts to extend a ‘theoretical framework for how appropriations contribute to both the construction and reception of visual icons and how personification constitutes the main link between icons and their appropriations’ (Mortensen 2017: 1143) maybe we want to stress context as key to what is called personification. The personification is, we might contend, of a moment, a period, a, tragically, zeitgeist, that would identify as emergent, even established, cynicism on the run. Never wants to be tied down, and never thinks of its own identification as such, but fascism might be another name for it. Sure, we can recognise the difficulties of this as context – it looks back too far and the danger of any interest in Adorno is that some people think a postcolonial Adorno is not plausible. The contexts of appropriations that took place then, already dated in WW2, are also now, and the now is a time when the critical power of irony has been stolen. The memes and edgelord culture of the far-right thrives on a cynicism that is hardly worth the name, it is ironically cynical and all the worse. There is no telling some people. Yet, conversely, on the other side, an eroded ‘left’ politics is often where irony and perspective have been eviscerated by an unexamined warrior earnestness, exaggerated and solemn intensity, unable to recognise self-inflicted, humourless, damage and futility. The ancient idea of humour being about having a laugh has long, long gone, if from Freud and others, as we note, it never was without power plays. For the caustic circulation of name-calling and regimented thinking that refuses to laugh, even sometimes inappropriately, is what Adorno had already diagnosed as a taboo. An injunction that ‘nothing should be moist’ (Adorno), and even if this has still has not taken hold absolutely everywhere, sometimes even the moisture just tastes like what Michel Leiris called a ‘sexual lozenge’ (Leiris), an approved limit to desire imposed with a sales pitch effectively keeps us quiet, keeps us from getting at them with a bat as the bombing continues.

Research on posters

Can someone in the UK souvenir one of these fab posters for me please (for ‘research’ purposes). I find them amazing. Yes, I know, it was the flip-floppery on Brexit, the contempt of the class (failure to purge the party, and inexplicable tolerance of the Blairite Right with their vicous articulation of privilege in a virulently prejudiced class system) and media demonisation. And yes, more youth and more votes and etc.

But this poster is truly awesome:

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Is this poster even true – crikey, there were posters like this! So bad, I want one. The absolute gobsmacking craziness of the three-toed mugwumps that dreamed these up. Oh, wait, maybe here, and here, and here:

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Foolish to ask if Jeremy can sue them – sue who? – for this kind of smear. Its of the level of the “For Wider Streets Vote Conservative” poster (that I love, and used in Australia) or the Saatchi and Saatchi (Thatcherite) campaign posters of yore. Only lawyers would gain from such a move. And, well, maybe that will permit the luvvies to indulge in still more endless recriminations, rather than getting in the way of a larger necessary project. They will never be the ones able to transmute the interest in the ‘manifesto’ into something that really is for the many.

The point is, if you can hear this outside the triple echo-camber, with the three scourges of pointless reaction: going off social media for a while, sniping at everyone, or I told you so (well, I did – can only support labour for so long) you can get on with generalising and universalising the so-called little Britain manifesto. Then, whatever the vote tally that so reassures you however you do the sums, it is still the case that a left labour step towards a larger communist future has to be better than what Boris has in store.

(NB. Before I knew he was labour party, that Jeremy bloke came to demonstrations I’d helped organise – eg a London group against the Internal Security Act in Malaysia, a protest of 6 people outside Malaysian Airlines office decades ago. So, you know, if he keeps on, it is a good thing. He does not have to be Jezza the superstar to do worthwhile things). So, in return for joining an overlooked cause, please see the video:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJeremyCorbynMP%2Fvideos%2F448002489199292%2F&show_text=0&width=476

Then, finally, to bring something forward from elsewhere,there is Neil Davenport, who I also knew as a journalist in Manchester long ago. He seems spot on to say:

‘It is wrong to assume that a re-run of mild social democracy was to blame for Labour’s catastrophe on Friday. Instead it was a reliance on continuity Blairism that led to the collapse of its northern heartland. There are a number of key aspects of Blairism that Corbyn and Momentum continued and went further with. The most obvious one was Blair’s peace with the EU and outright Europhilia, a position miles away from Labour’s old left and ex miner’s in the north. Secondly, the replacement of class solidarity with institutionalising diversity and identity politics, with the narrative of suspicion and at times outright hostility towards its traditional constituency.”

and to point out the pressing need to dismantle the middle-class drive

“to culturally reform the masses along middle class hairshirt lines”

Yes – it is high time to abandon that moralising sermonizing class and tone – the very middle-class hairshirt which is so beloved of moaners of many stripes. It has always been a less scratchy version of hairshirt than usually imagined. I mean, it seems like it comes in a whole variety of designer styles, slinky, sexy, never take it off, dom-fem versions, versions approved by your valet, gortex and microfiber outdoor hiking versions and more. Suits you sir, they say. Wearing political t-shirts with a 800 thread count. That hairshirt comes tailored and home delivered in Rugby and Superdry options. Nothing should be moist. They for sure aren’t taking it off for a proper scratch anytime soon.

Care – a Christmas Carol

gates

The inadequacy of charitable care as an international cure is evidenced despite the widespread propagation of philanthropic intervention. Bill Gates dedicates millions towards eradication of less glamorous diseases, and receives favourable blanket coverage across BBC World and other outlets. All manner of charitable organisations leech goodwill from the small-scale individual touristic concern through to huge Christian institutions with administrative apparatus and sans frontiers bureaucracy. Newspapers give support to campaigns to outlaw genital mutilation or to screen for trachoma, but a general inability to scale-up to the required distribution of universal well-being is structurally implied in philanthropic effort, even among those who would reject the injustice of global inequality. All very well-meaning and caring for sure, but fundamentally inadequate as a ‘cure’, dealing in a terminology of medical symptom and unable to confront the epidemiology of capitalism itself.

Here is a grotesque let them eat cake image – it shows the three billionaire amigos: Bill Gates, Akilo Dangote, Mohammed Ibrahim, and 2 women. The women are not named in the first five paras of the Forbes article I could read before the paywall closed on me. Erm, paywall? These are the richest guys in the world, and we all know no-one earns a billion dollars – do the math – you need to get $4578 per hour working ten hours a day every day for 60 years to ‘earn’ a billion. Of course, if you had $100 billion to invest in shares that rose 1% you would earn a billion in a day. Its nabbing that first $100 billion that is the trick. Anyway, instead of stealing all that money, there could be a global health service run by Governments rather than the discount Gates love-in reported here. Gates claims he pays more tax than anyone, at 10 billion on 106 billion, that is still a lower rate than I pay on my not even $1500 a month, and even as he says he’s given away $35 billion in charity, he is still ‘worth’ $106 billion (after tax? = good accountants). How can anyone be worth that, when clearly – do the math – they are still stealing the money, and asking you to smile at how generous their gifts are. Take a hike Bill. I mean, instead of thanking Gates for his self-aggrandising alibi donations in favour of a spot of science research, he could without fanfare pay proper taxes and that science x 10 could be funded by Governments without any of us having to see these cake-cutting bloated egoist philanthropists that even Charles Dickens would have mocked at Christmas.

The counter-revolution in Venezuela, by Saleh Mamon

Indexing

The requirement imposed upon untenured ‘early career’ scholars to target only alleged “quality” publications is academic narrowcasting. Zines fall between the cracks of experiment and necessity. Over time necessity produces conformity. A conformity encouraged by pressures of dubious provenance, a consequence of the new privatisation championed by parasite aggregator companies like Elsevier, academia.edu and Taylor and Francis that prefer not to employ many people (as is the way of platform capitalism) and so engineer elite sector data compliance through simplification and regularity of product – electronic proletarianisation, insofar as this enables algorithmic automation (full luxury uniformity, replicant writing and dalek alliegences)….

An export industry in ‘defence’ is a croc of shit – Turnbull comes the raw prawn.

Just in, the BBC misses the opportunity to call bullshit on Australia, which they can’t do of course because they also export ‘defence’ weaponry. Both as daft as can be:

Australia aims to become ‘top 10’ defence exporter

An image of an Australian flag on an army uniform[Image flopyright GET IN THERE IMAGES
Scrimage craption Australia has unfooled a new stranglgy on defiance industry expoarts -as square brackets indicate the pesky klingons are fiddling with my feed]

Australia[‘s puppet PM doing the bidding of his corporate arms dealer masters] has said it plans to become one of the world’s top 10 defence industry exporters within a decade.

The [fat cats of the] nation currently sell about A$2bn (£1.15bn; $1.6bn) in defence equipment each year, making it the 20th largest arms exporter [set blasters to stun]

Manufacturers would now be offered government-backed loans to stimulate the industry, [kiss-arse squib, Guab’gina Gil, you puny earthling] PM Malcolm Turnbull said.

Aid groups [bleated harmlessly as they] said the move would not help global efforts to build peace, an assertion rejected by the government [time warp].

The nation[al embarrassment, doing a mind flip] said it would primarily focus on boosting exports to the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, but it would also target markets in Asia and the Middle East.

“This is all about [killing other people so as to safeguard a half-dozen or so Eddie-level] Australian jobs,” Mr Turnbull told reporters on Monday, adding that “the goal is to get into the top 10”.

The [latter-day colonial wish for federation space] expansion includes setting up a A$3.8bn loan scheme to help Australian companies sell [killing machines, erm um blasters, ] defence equipment overseas.

The government will also establish separate agencies to better [kill] co-ordinate [maim] and promote [murder through] industry exports [and a mass shadow generator of Turnbull’s own twisted design].

‘Price of liberty’

[unable to contain the hypocrisy] Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said prospective buyers would face stringent checks to ensure “[we] don’t get into markets where we don’t want to be” [from the deck of his personal Eclipse Class dreadnought].

Critics said Australia should not deepen its [pockets through yet more corrupt] investment in defence exports.

[in the first somewhat sane voice of the day, we heard on Millennium Falcon radio that] “We should not be getting into the game of marketing weapons which kill, maim, and bring great sorrow and destruction to communities around the world,” Marc Purcell, chief executive of Australian Council for International Development, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

However, Mr Turnbull said nations could not forgo defence spending because the “price of liberty is eternal vigilance” [and other howlers from the cliche songbook of the dark arts, blood money, rogue crazy book of sell your own mother for a poll boost playbook]

“So that is why every nation, responsible nation, including our own, sets out to have the capabilities to defend itself, whatever and however circumstances may develop in the future,” he said [while onlookers gasped at the opportunism, and some choked on the smell of sulphur]

The US is the world’s largest arms exporter, making up a third of all sales, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. [ugh, I cannot even say what it took to get this far. still more smoke, we are not on Dalari Prime anymore, last ticket to Baskerville sells in 4 hours]

The next biggest exporters are Russia, China, France and Germany and the UK [amidst the strange stench a patriotic thought squeezes through the asphyxiation of my last remaining brain cells as the cryo chamber fires up – and I think that really, its the world cup that matters, who is in the play-offs, and did they have the right kind of ball skills? Yes, I watch the football, it distracts me from any recognition that typed cynicism is never going to step up to the level required to defeat these bastards. The possibility that humour might somehow keep alive the slim chance that all this could be wiped away in an angry uprising – canberra in ruins, the national gallery turned into a hospice, Kara Thrace as Joan of a new Ark – is, frankly, not sufficient, but then I stupidly turned on the BBC news channel. Like a fool. All I’ve left is these three tellurian credits. Burn it to the ground, incarnadine …

Turkey.

Gah. Still. No. Change.

>Subject: Call for solidarity for the academics for peace on trial

Dear colleagues,

Our colleagues in Turkey are facing incredible repression under a populist leader. This is part of a wider, global trend where academic and speech freedoms have increasingly been stifled due to neoliberalism and authoritarianism. I hope you can spread this call below widely and show your solidarity by following and publicizing peace academics’ court hearings that are scheduled to begin soon. Kind regards.
Call for solidarity for the academics for peace on trial

Violations of academic freedom and freedom of speech in Turkey have reached a dire situation.  The intimidations from Turkish government and its affiliates toward academics have escalated to legal action, whereby peace signatory academics face 7.5 years’ imprisonment if convicted for “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

In January 2016, 1128 academics signed the Peace Petition, titled ‘We Will Not Be A Party To This Crime’ in order to draw the public’s attention to the brutal acts of violence perpetrated by the state in the Kurdish regions of Turkey.  Immediately after the release of the petition, many signatories were prosecuted, dismissed from their posts, and their citizenship rights were seized. A large number of academics including Nobel Prize laureates and members of major science academies around the world initiated a support campaign nationally and internationally. People from different professions, such as journalists, artists, screen actors and actresses, and writers voiced their support for the persecuted academics. More people signed the petition, yet the suppression on the signatory academics got fiercer; hundreds of more academics were dismissed with statutory decrees, their passports were confiscated, they were banned from public sector employment, and criminal investigations were launched. Many of those academics had to leave the country and are now facing extreme difficulties in resettling their lives and professions. One of the signatory academics –Mehmet Fatih Traş– could not stand this injustice and committed suicide. The declaration of state of emergency in July 2016 after a military coup attempt further blurred the distinction between criminal investigations and political punishment, and opened an arduous and painful avenue for not only the academics but also for journalists, writers, teachers, artists and others who demand freedom of speech in Turkey.

The signatory academics abroad have recently initiated a targeted boycott towards the Turkish higher education system, and its complicit universities. The aim of the academic boycott is to ensure that all dismissals are revoked and the persecution of academics, exacerbated under the state of emergency regime, is ended. To this boycott, and continuous struggle of Academics for Peace, the government recently responded by a harsher strategy: signatory academics are sued on an individual basis based on the accusation of terror propaganda according to the Law on Struggle against Terrorism, Article 7/2. The public prosecutor proposes imprisonment extending to 7.5 years. The number of academics with indictments is increasing day by day, and their trials start on December 5, 2017.

Since the petition, one of the most important acts of support for the academics who demanded peace has been the solidarity from colleagues who are not content with Turkey’s oppressive regime and its fatal actions on freedom of speech. In this new turn, we are well aware that we will need a stronger voice of resistance and call for justice! This solidarity can be through standing by us in the court hearings starting December 5, 2017, sending monitoring teams, observers, and news-makers; spreading the word and raising the awareness for what is happening now in Turkey regarding the academics.

In order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted academics, we, the peace academics from North America, call on you to:

1. Share and spread this call for solidarity; show your solidarity by following the trials,
commenting on them in your blogs, social media and/or writing a news article. For more
info on the latest attacks on academics in Turkey, please visit <https://barisicinakademisyenler.net/English>
https://barisicinakademisyenler.net/<https://barisicinakademisyenler.net/English> or http://mesana.org/pdf/Turkey20171017.pdf
2. Contact bakuluslararasi@gmail.com<mailto:bakuluslararasi@gmail.com> if you want to attend the trials as an observer, or
write to a human rights organization to send a delegate;
3. Sign the petition https://academicboycottofturkey.wordpress.com/petition/ to support the
targeted boycott on complicit universities in Turkey;
4. Inform your professional organizations and university senate to take action against
complicit institutions, such as The Scientific and Technological Research Council of
Turkey (TUBITAK; www.tubitak.gov.tr/en<http://www.tubitak.gov.tr/en>);
5. Support dismissed scholars financially by donating to the education union that supports
them https://www.youcaring.com/academicsforpeaceinturkey-763983

This call can also be accessed via this link for posting on social media: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ktAwJ6tS5xVZa6uKqXu1rH843u7NDj5aj0OwGvPv7bo/edit?usp=sharing