Adorno on Fascist Propaganda

January 31, 2017 at 10:56 pm (Uncategorized)

“It takes people for what they are: genuine children of today’s standardised mass culture who have been robbed to a great extent of their autonomy and spontaneity.”

And furthermore, the Fuhrer must be a “Great little man”  who poses “as a composite of King Kong and the suburban barber”

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Music Notes January 2017

January 31, 2017 at 10:21 pm (Uncategorized)

Lots off stuff, so let’s get to it.

1 Teenage Fanclub – Here

Their first album in six years, and it’s lovely. Effortless pop music.

2 Angel Olsen – My Woman

2014’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness stunningly good: Ballads and crunchy rockers galore. My Woman is quieter, though the odd rocker is there, but no less intense. A terrific album.

3. Lou Reed Coney Island Baby

After the debacle/artistic triumph of Metal Machine Music (you be the judge), Coney Island Baby  was a massive change in pace. and both a critical and commercial hit. Lovely extended cuts like “She’s my Best Friend” and the title song on this lend an effortlessness to the album. . On this edition, there are half a dozen demos or alternative mixes, but you can see why they were not selected. The final versions are superior.

4 The Chills – Kaleidoscope World

Must be something in that New Zealand water;  another slice of NZ pop-psychedelia. Kaleidoscope World was a 1986 compilation, expanded by 10 songs on CD and finally as a 2 CD set. Clever little pop classics. Worth finding.

5. The Undertones – “Get over you” (Kevin Shields Remix)

OK, I have to admit to being vaguely disappointed by this. I might have expected a My Bloody Valentinification of the Undertones second single, and while it’s certainly more of a garage sound, it’s just OK. (In other words excellent) That said, any excuse to hear the Undertones…

6. Anton Corbijn -1,2,3, 4

A collection of mostly black and white rock photographs by Corbijn. Lots of Stones, U2, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, REM and Siouxsie Sioux. There’s also a section on the Slits touring America. Very cool.

7. Various artists – C86

C86 began life as an NME mail-in. Now it’s a 3-CD box set with a rather cool essay attached. 72 songs on this comp ranging from indie pop to more avant-garde sounds. Very nice.

8. John Parrish and Polly Jean Harvey – Dance Hall at Louse Point

A bluesier Polly Jane. But three songs in, you know it’s her. Fantastic except for the somewhat disappointing cover of Peggy Lee’s  “Is that all there is.”

9. A Tribe Called Quest – We’ll Take it from Here

15 years is too long between Tribe Called Quest  albums. Just listen to the thing.

10. Viv Albertine – Clothes, Music, Boys

Rather cool autobiography by longtime Slits guitar player. Great read.

Till next time.



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Walter Benjamin and the Ideas of the Ruling Class

January 22, 2017 at 10:36 pm (Uncategorized)

“The ideologies of the rulers are by their nature more changeable than the ideas of the oppressed. …For not only must they, like the ideas of the latter, adapt each time to the situation of social conflict, but they must glorify that situation as fundamentally harmonious.”

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project 

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New Internationalist Perspective web site

January 20, 2017 at 2:50 am (Uncategorized)

Oops. Should have mentioned this a while back.


IP has a new site. We’re making an effort to have a more interactive site than the old one. This will allow readers to comment directly on articles as opposed to writing to us or putting something on the blog.  The new site also has all of the back issues; something we’ve been promising to do for years (mea culpa!)

So point your browsers to Internationalist Perspective’s new site 

The old site is still functional and will remain for for an undecided period of time. Go now.


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Post One Thousand

January 20, 2017 at 2:44 am (Uncategorized)

Hmm. It feels as if this should be something more profound, being the one thousandth post and all, but this is what it is.

After I wrapped up Red & Black Notes when I joined Internationalist Perspective, I still felt a need to write something. Sure I wrote articles for IP, but sometimes you want to write things that wouldn’t fit there. Notes from Underground is the name of a story by Dostoevsky, btu I think I got the idea during a conversation with Loren Goldner. Just liked the sound of it.

While there are about 30 subscribers to this blog (the number fluctuates), the number of daily “hits” is down from a few years back. The peak was around 30, but not it’s about 10 – 20 a day. Most popular post? My reprinting of Margaret Atwood’s “Song of the Worms.” Followed by an essay I wrote on Goya, and then a reflection on Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language. ”

So that’s a thousand.  A new issue of IP will likely be coming along, and that will generate some posts. I also have Netflix now (Daredevil and Jessica Jones are taking up increasingly large chunks of my free time) and I’m sure Trump’s reign of error will provoke something.


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The Allure of Social Media

January 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm (Uncategorized)

First post of the year.

I’ll be honest, I’m not much for social media. Sure, I’ve run this blog for a while, but beyond that…I had a Face Book account for a while, but I almost never updated it and had no friends. My reasoning was that there was probably a reason I was no longer friends with people I went to high school with.  Occasionally I used the account to enter contests, or to promote an article or review I written here, but it never really grabbed me. After a year or so, I deleted it.

I do have a Linked-in account though (the boring business version of Face Book). A few years back,  I ran into an old girlfriend from university  at a show. We talked, exchanged email addresses (followed one a single ‘how are you doing’ email), but a few days later, I received a request to add her to my Linked-in network. The novelty of it intrigued me, so I created an account. It’s pretty much dormant though I do update it now and then. What is interesting is the “are you friends with” suggestions. Man, some people use inappropriate pictures – this is a business site after all! A guy I was friends with as a teenager in England did look at my page a while back, so I checked his. He’s a cop now.

In November, my old cell phone died. The screen went black. It was eight years old, and it had a good life. So, I upgraded to a smart phone.  the new phone came with a bunch of fun things including Twitter. After some hesitation i activated that account. Initially, I just  followed celebrities I liked (and then unfollowed just as quickly), but after a while, I began to tweet:  Observations, announcements, pictures, re-tweets. Nothing profound, and to a very limited audience. Still, when you click on the app. and “See new Tweets” pops up, it’s exciting. There’s a thrill when someone retweets you, likes your tweet or follows you, along with a sense of disappointment when someone unfollows. Terrifying.

I’m not on instagram or snapchat and it seems unlikely that I will join. Still, here’s a thing. A friend of mine was able to track down a person who works in a store within minutes just by using social media discovering all sorts of details about their life. suddenly the warm and fuzzy aspect takes on a potentially sinister side. Especially when you hear the stories of cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying courtesy of some of the loathsome trolls on the net.  When I was in school, bullies could be avoided by careful strategies and simply by going home. Social media means that the bullies can follow you home.

A few years back, a friend of mine was convinced that the next waves of struggles could be coordinated by social media and was very much enamored by the flash mob phenomenon. Well, the allure faded. But maybe, we can use the master’s tools. And not just to continue a streak.


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