Goodbye 2018

December 31, 2018 at 9:26 pm (Uncategorized)

Oh 2018, will we miss you? The Trump show continues, though one senses, something big is about to happen. In Ontario, the election of Doug Ford was not exactly the triumph of a junior league Trump, but the parallels are there. This year saw losses of people I respected but didn’t know, as well as people close to me. Still, we go on. these are a few of thee things that made in a little easier to do just that.

 

1 Iceland

I spent  a week in Reykjavik this summer. Lovely town with amazing scenery, and everyone speaks English. Did a couple of bus tours around the island, and if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, make this trip. Start saving your pennies because it’s not cheap. Oh, and bring a jacket. Even in summer. It’s cool at best.

2. France

You know, Air Iceland offers an amazing deal: you can buy a ticket to anywhere they fly, and then have a stopover in Iceland for up to a week at no additional charge. That’s what we did. We bought a ticket to Paris, and stayed in Iceland too. So, France. It’s been two decades since I was there, and the city feels a little more under siege. (not entirely a surprise given the way the world has changed in those twenty years), but it’s still Paris, the city of lights. Beautiful architecture, great food , and the people are marvellous. Best stop on the trip:  Père Lachaise cemetery.

3. N.K. Jemison

I think I read a piece about her in The Guardian and decided to check out one of her books. I’ve only read the first volume of  The Broken Earth trilogy, The Fifth Season, but it’s a truly wonderful series. Well-written with engaging characters and a creative story.

4. The Royal Ontario Museum

I went to the ROM twice this year. Saw the spider exhibit in the summer, and just recently, two exhibits: Zuul, a dinosaur discovery, and Wildlife Photographer of the Year In past years, it’s been the Art Gallery that has drawn me back, but this year, The ROM

5. My dog Lester

I’ve written here, and elsewhere on the greatness of dogs. I see no reason to change that belief. Lester tore the ACL in his right hind leg this year (he did the left one two years back), but if we could experience even a fraction of the love my family has shown toward him in his recovery,  we’d all lead happier lives.

6. Jeff Lemire

2018 marks Jeff Lemire’s second year on the list. This year for Gideon Falls,  a truly creepy horror story.

7. Work

Sitting near the top of my “to read” list is David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs. So why celebrate a job? Actually, I enjoy my job, but after years of working contract and part-time, I finally got a full-time position.

8. Live Music

Some of the faves: Waxahatchee, second time to see them and just as enjoyable. The Strypes, blistering set at the Mod Club. Frightened Rabbit, their tenth anniversary tour, and sadly their final one. Mitski, probably the best show I saw this year. Live music will never die.

9. They Say Never Meet Your Heroes, but…

This summer, as usual, I went to Fan Expo with my son. As we were walking around I said to him, “Isn’t that the guys from Kim’s Convenience.” It was. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (“Mr. Kim”) and Andrew Phung (“Kimchee”) were wandering the floor. They weren’t guests, they were just there having a good time. We stopped, shook hands and chatted, and took a picture with them. Genuinely nice guys, on a really lovely show. New season in the new year. Made my Fan Expo.

10. Kensington Market and College Street

The one in Toronto. It’s my favourite part of the city. Yes, it’s true there’s a lot of places I like to shop, but there’s just a great vibe about the place.

11.  Louder Than War 

I’m not a regular reader of LTW, as its a little pricey, but the punky focus is a bit more to my taste that the sometimes classic rock focus of Mojo and Uncut (How many more features on the Stones, Beatles or Floyd can we expect in the coming years?) Worth a look.

12. Crossword puzzles

I’ve been doing the Globe and Mail crosswords for years. Enjoyable enough, but this past year, I’ve gotten into the New York Times ones. They get harder as the week goes on, peaking on Thursday, and then the remainder are a little easier. My wife and I both do them (she’s better).

13. Masala Dosa

It might not be an official New Year’s Resolution, but my plan is to eat more dosa this year. (and to find a place close to me to get it)

14 The Good Place

I do enjoy philosophy (see next point too), but it’s rare you get to see discussions of ethical philosophy name-dropping Nietzsche, David Hume, Kant and others on a regular basis on network TV. Really, quite a lovely distraction.

15. The Outsider

A few months ago, a friend asked me my favourite opening line to a book. I told her the opening to Albert Camus’ The Outsider, “Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.” I was motivated to re-read it recently, and it was just as good as I remember. Life’s what you make it.

16. Life in Pieces

A friend at work recommended this little comedy as “sort of like Modern Family.” The first couple of episodes didn’t grab me, but its charms appeared soon after. In many ways, a rather traditional comedy, but well executed. New season in January.

17 Killing Eve 

Half way through this. It’s brilliant. When TV is done right, it can be one of the greatest joys.

18.  The Chap tie

The Chap is a British lifestyle magazine devoted to, well, Chappishness. Bought a tie from them this year, and always feel smart when I wear it (I like ties quite a lot). Makes the man.

19 The Yellow Vests

The Yellow Vests seem to mean different things to many different people. A few weeks ago, there were opposing demonstrations in Toronto over less and more immigration with both sides adopting the uniform of the Yellow Jackets. Still, despite confusions, the notion that struggle is not quite dead, warms me.

20. For the Future

“There is a legend about a certain species of caterpillar that can only cross the threshold of metamorphosis by seeing its future butterfly. Proletarian subjectivity does not evolve by incremental steps but requires non-linear leaps, especially moral self-recognition through solidarity with the struggle of a distant people, even when this contradicts its short-term interests, as in the famous cases of Lancashire cotton workers’ enthusiasm for Lincoln and later for Gandhi. Socialism, in other words, requires non-utilitarian actors,whose ultimate motivations and values arise from structures of feeling that others would deem spiritual. Marx rightly scourged romantic humanism in the abstract, but his personal pantheon – Prometheus and Spartacus, Homer, Cervantes, and Shakespeare  – affirmed a heroic vision of human possibility that no longer seems to have any purchase in our fallen world.”

Mike Davis Old Gods, New Enigmas 

Happy 2019

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Movement of the Yellow Vests

December 30, 2018 at 6:55 pm (Uncategorized)

(The article below is written by a comrade of the ‘Cercle de Discussion de Paris.

Not so long ago it was often said that the class struggle was practically doomed, if not almost extinct. In fact, this reflected above all the reality of an exploited class which for decades has been under the steamroller of “neo-liberalism”, that is, the policy driven by the systematic and violent search of lower labor costs, the policy which uses unemployment and the threat of unemployment to impose social submission. It was as if the working class was laying on the ground with the foot of the ruling class planted on its neck. The movement of the Yellow Vests appears first and foremost as an awakening, a massive refusal of this situation. Everyone agrees today: the rising fuel prices were only the trigger.

Like virtually every major social movement under capitalism, it was born spontaneously. It was neither foreseen nor organized by the political and trade union apparatus that are usually charged with “commanding their troops”. What’s more, the rejection of any control by these institutions has not only been clearly, repeatedly and loudly claimed from the onset, it remains a major feature of its DNA nearly a month later. The May 1968 movement in France also started well outside and against the will of the union apparatuses, but the latter and their associated “workers’ parties” finally gained control of the mobilizations through, among other things, the need to formulate demands and negotiate with the government. It has often been said that the 1968 movement had its greatest momentum as long as it did not allow itself to be confined within the limits of “realistic claims”. The movement of the Yellow Vests, like that of Nuit Debout  1(some speak of the current movement as a “proletarian Nuit Debout”) and like the movements of occupying public spaces (Occupy in the USA, Indignados in Spain, etc ..) is characterized by a strong mistrust of all these systems of representation, of the appointment of delegates who speak and negotiate without control on behalf of others. It is a rejection of the “democratic” spectacle, of the electoral and union circus that for so long has pretended to represent the population while signing the agreements that submit it to the imperatives of economic realism, to the cruel necessities of the dominant system.

In the hundreds of roundabouts and other places where road blockades and other actions of struggle are organized, bonds of solidarity are discovered, people get together with others from their neighborhood whom they used to ignore. A unity is created, despite the sometimes significant differences between the participants (on the issues raised by immigration, for example) and quite naturally the question comes up, what the society could be like, if it would be organized differently. We re-imagine the world. We are stammering but we talk about “direct democracy”, “elected and revocable delegates”, the need to reorganize everything, to change the system. See for example “The Call of the Yellow Vests of the city of Commercy to popular assemblies everywhere!” 2 or the experiences of “The House of the People” in Saint Nazaire 3

It has been said that the Yellow Vests movement is only concerned about the “end-of-the-month” problems, the lack of wages, while the increase of taxes on fuels, described as ecological, was imposed out of concern with the “end of the world”. But the meeting in Paris between the Yellow Vests and the “March for climate” showed the opposite. A big banner said: “End of the world end of the month – change the system not the climate”. Both types of problems result from the same market logic which turns labor power into a commodity and makes the profit of capital the only objective of any productive activity.

The heterogeneity of the movement

One of the characteristics of the movement is the diversity of its participants. It includes diverse social strata and disparate concerns. In some regions there are anti-immigrant aspects, for example. However, extreme right-wing expressions remain a minority, contrary to what was put forward by the government at the beginning of the movement or by those who reject the movement because it does not identify with any left-wing party.

The social composition is also varied. But this is not a coalition between rich and poor. Even if we can see amongst them small bosses or shopkeepers, peasants, retired executives alongside workers, employed and unemployed, in its overwhelming majority it is a movement of the “poor” against economic measures of the government for the benefit of the rich.

And, if we look further, if one day a general uprising (of the 99% of which Occupy was talking) would come about, it will not only result from the struggle of “proletarians”, those who are directly exploited by capital, but also of a whole set of non-exploiting layers. It will not always be easy to hold meetings and make decisions together. But learning to do so is the first characteristic of a true revolutionary self-transformation.
The revolutionary movements of our time can only triumph if they are undertaken by “the immense majority for the benefit of the vast majority”.

The breakers

The government is doing everything to highlight the action of “thugs” and the spectacle of their destruction. This is an old tactic of governments facing mass movements. To achieve this they do not hesitate to throw oil on the fire sometimes introducing provocateurs. That way they seek to minimize the importance of all other aspects of the movement, to divide the participants, to justify the development of the repression and to frighten those who would like to join the movement.

But after a month of clashes, including four particularly violent Saturdays in Paris and most major French cities, the popularity of the movement remains intact in the population (according to polls, nearly 80% support it) and the number of participants does not decrease.
Most of the participants do not support the kind of violence of the “casseurs” (“breakers”) amongst the yellow vests, and sometimes try to limit it, but they know it is almost inevitable and say that at least they understand it. They also know that the actions of slowing traffic by filtering barricades, blocking fuel depots, letting cars for free on toll roads, are also violent actions that attack the established order. The interventions of the “forces of order” to prevent those remind them of that quickly. It is a movement of struggle and inevitably it contains forms of violence.

 

How far will this struggle go? What meaning can the phrase have that the participants say and repeat: “We will go to the end!”? Hard to say. But, for having raised its head, for having begun to dream again, the movement of the Yellow Vests has already brought a new breath to social life in France … Nuit Debout Square occupations in France in 2016, comparable to the Occupy movement in 2011 perhaps in other countries.

Raoul Victor
December 10, 2018

 

  1. Nuit Debout: Square occupations in France in 2016, comparable to the Occupy movement in 2011
  2.  Appeal of Commercy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfLIYpJHir4&t=8s ; English translation: https://pastebin.com/SdAVc4MA

  3. St. Nazaire: https://lundi.am/Les-Gilets-Jaunes-de-St-Nazaire-et-leur-Maison-du-Peuple. See also, in English: Call of yellow vests Saint Nazaire 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Dialectics of Christmas

December 25, 2018 at 11:43 am (Uncategorized)

Enjoy this old chestnut courtesy of Verso Books – Enjoy the Holiday

Dialectics of Christmas

Santamarx-

From earliest childhood we know the stereotypes of Christmas—gifts, turkey and pudding, decorations, snow, festivity and drink. Yet the very familiarity of Christmas and its yearly occurrence tend to preclude a critical and full understanding of its role in our society. Moreover it might appear excessively morbid to lay the cold hands of analysis on what is par excellence the occasion for lighthearted enjoyment and alcoholic oblivion.

But this very universality and magnitude of Christmas make it the major communal festival of late-capitalist society, lived by all and understood by none; and the festivals of late-capitalism, no less than those of feudal and tribal societies, serve important functions in preserving the cohesion and unity of those societies. They are occasions of exuberance in a world of repression, and so they are both festivals in spite of repression and festivals of repression. The release of counter-repressive feeling in social ritual reinforces the power of oppression as society marshals spontaneous feelings of freedom in order to reinforce its own unfree ideology and structure. At the same time these festivals are a recurring proof that it is possible to overthrow repression if the liberating forces in society are released in a different way and the yearly return of Christmas is a yearly reminder of the possibility of overthrowing the society we have and replacing it with an other. Herein lies the dialectic of Christmas.

The cultural forms now surrounding Christmas are the result of thousands of years of accumulation of myth and symbol, and as each epoch bequeathes its symbols to the next the meaning is transformed and shaped by the new social systems which adopt them. In the case of Christmas all kinds of pagan, Roman, Persian, Jewish, Celtic, Teutonic and Christian elements have been mixed up to produce the festival as we now know it. Although to day we are oppressed by the weight of Christmas as fixed tradition, its form is determined by a long historical and social evolution. Yet its very origins are based on myth and falsehood. Christmas is alleged to be a Christian festival, celebrating the birth of Christ, the son of God, on December 25th in the year 0. The historical Christ was not born in December, but in June or July; he was not born in the year 0 but just before, or just after; and Christmas is a pagan festival used by early Christians as a means of diverting pagan loyalties in to following the new religion.

Christ was born in Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown, where his parents had gone for a census, because people in the Roman empire had to go to their home towns to be registered when there was a census. Roman censuses were conducted in the summer—when it is easier to travel —and there were ones just before and just after the year 0, not in that year itself. The celebration of a festival of festivity and rebirth in late December is found in many pagan societies. The basic astronomical factor involved is the winter solstice—around December 22—when the days start to get longer. The Romans celebrated the period December 17-24 as the Saturnalia, an occasion for feasting, dancing and dressing up. In the north, including Britain, there was a more sombre festival of Yule when fertility rights for the coming year were celebrated; part of this consisted in the making of special rich food s—the origin of the modern turkey and plum pudding. In ancient Persia, the sun-worshippers celebrated the feast as that of the rebirth of the sun, invincible and a saviour.

Although Christianity itself is obviously the product of previous religions of the ancient world, the early Christians them selves did not celebrate Christmas as a major festival until the fourth century. At that time two oriental religions, Christianity and Mithraism —a sun-worshipping cult—, were competing for the following of the suppressed classes and peoples of the decaying Roman empire. The leaders of Christianity decided therefore to adopt the pagan date and to celebrate it as the birth of Christ and an occasion of rejoicing, hoping thereby to win followers of Mithraism and Roman religion. Instead of the celebration of Saturn or of the birth of the sun as saviour, they worshipped Christ as saviour. (This adoption of pagan symbols for Christian purposes was common. The halo was also taken straight from Mithraism as a symbol—the sun—of divinity; and the crib was borrowed from the cult of Adonis, also alleged to have been born in a stable.)

Sex and Class

Since this early tactical move in the politics of conversion, Christmas has picked up all sorts of other cultural symbols, and has served different functions of the different societies in which it has flourished. The Jewish festival of lights, Hanukkah, led to the practice of putting up coloured lights at Christmastime—although the fact that it is dark a lot at that time of year must also have helped. Another addition came from the feast of St. Nicholas, celebrated on December 6th. St. Nicholas was an early Christian bishop, patron of scholars, sailors and children—as well as of Czarist Russia. His patronage of children and relation to giving gifts are derived from two grossly ideological legends about him. According to one, some little rich boys were killed by a wicked butcher who chopped them up and pickled them; St. Nicholas stuck them together again and returned them to their parents alive and well. Another story concerns a merchant who was suddenly thrown into poverty and was going to sell off his daughters as prostitutes, when along came St. Nicholas in secret and gave them the dowries they needed to marry according to their station. The latent sexual and class content of these legends is obvious. However, in the Anglo-Saxon world at least, the giving of presents was transferred from December 6th to Christmas Day, while St. Nicholas himself was banalised and secularised in to Santa Claus—an American corruption of his name in Dutch.

Christmas as we now know it took shape in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The eighteenth century coaches and houses on cards reflect its early congealment; the growth of cards with the expansion of the cheap post in the 1860s, and the popularisation of the Christmas tree by Prince Albert are later additions. What we now have is this complex totality of myths and symbols, but their varied origins are subordinate to the function which Christianity serves for the preservation of late-capitalist society. It is not merely cultural inertia or human nostalgia that enables Christmas to be celebrated each year—but the inner dynamic of capitalist society itself.

Ideology

First of all Christmas serves to reinforce certain crucial ideological ties in bourgeois society. The two central figures of feudal society—monarch and Pope—are both given special billing at Christmastime, this time in the service of capitalist mystification. (The cancellation of the Queen’s message this year is only a result of over-exposure earlier in the summer.) Their messages stress the unity of Church and Empire. Christmas may be experienced as a predominantly secular occasion but religious ideology is trum­peted through the radio and TV programmes, carols and culture of the period; and the once yearly visits to Church to witness the spectacle serve to blunt materialist consciousness in young and old. The boosting of monarchic ideology is also an intrinsic part of Christmas. The myth of “Christ the King” is found in a plethora of carols and cards, and if this is not enough there is always Good King Wenceslas, tossing crumbs to the Bohemian peasantry. The temporary and mystified resolution of social relations in the Wenceslas carol is found in all kinds of festivals of this period. In ancient Rome slaves were temporarily freed during the Saturnalia; landlords in Russia would give their serfs presents at Christmastime; and this ideological suppression of class relations finds its modern drunken embodiment in the office p arty and the factory dance.

More generally Christmastime is characterised by the ideology of “peace on earth” and “goodwill to all men”. How ­ ever genuine and deep these aspirations are they also serve to displace the need for change on to an abstract wish, or on to a spiritual saviour. They obscure the need for conflict if peace and goodwill are to be possible. A universal awareness of crisis is dissolved in to passive fatalism, and benign idiocy.

At the same time as the public structures of mystification are reinforced, the private structure of the family is strengthened. However antagonistic the relations of parents and children, how ever real the differences between them, Christmas is a time to forget them. The violence of familial relations is drowned in a quagmire of nostalgia and maternal cooking. The Christmas dinner witnesses a crescendo of bad faith and deceit forced on the individual by the pressure of familial ideology and introjected guilt at any violation of the tradition. This is helped by the definite return to childhood relations in this period —a reinfantalisation that both serves to protect the myths of the family, and m ore generally prevents the individual from winkling out the liberating potential of Christmas. While a false celebration of man’s salvation takes place round the spiritual altar of the Church, a real celebration of his repression is found at the material altar of the Family—the Christm as dinnertable. As he reaches out to a non-existent spiritual liberator, he is stabbed in the back by the knife that carves the family turkey.

Money

A second major function of Christmas is quite simple: it is good business. The first signs of approaching Christmas are the tinsel and decorations in shops. The period before Christmas is colloquially measured in the idiom of the market as “x shopping days before Christmas”. 12.5% of all retail trade is done in December alone. By mid-November the media are full of advertisements urging people to buy their wares, and one MP recently urged the President of the Board of Trade to ban the advertising of toy manufacturers because “it causes embarrassment to lower paid workers and widows with families” (The Times, 27.11.69). Instead of gift-giving being a spontaneous act it is surrounded by capitalist pressure; the value of gifts is often measured by how much they cost; and the up-tight nature of relations between parents and child is perhaps reflected in the fact that they can only give at one institutionalised period, and even then they often have to divert the giving through a mythical Santa Claus.

The third aspect of Christmas reflects the repressive channelling of the liberating emotions and forces in society. Christmas has inspired some of the greatest works of western music and painting, and no one can deny that Christmas expresses the deepest aspirations of suffering men—a longing for peace, happiness, good food, social equality and free giving of commodities. In the deepest winter and at the end of the year all these forces are annually released. The expression of these liberating emotions is how ­ ever controlled by social ritual as it has been since pre-historic times. Far from finding their fulfilment in a liberated society they are diverted to reinforce the structures of oppression. The function of myth is to provide diverting solutions to real problems, and the function of ritual is to provide a controlled way in which human emotions can be resolved without destroying the structures against which they are reacting.

The liberation of Christmas is controlled by the very institutionalisation of its expression. People should be able to choose when they rave it up and give presents and love each other: yet Christmas ordains and ritualises them. One is pressured in to celebrating these at one date in the year to stop one from expressing them for the rest of the rest of the year. The expression of freedom in this form is an expression of unfreedom. The happiness of Christmas masks the misery of society. The infantilisation of Christmas time, and the torrents of gross ideological gibberish put out at this period, also serve to blunt any awareness of critical content and revolutionary potential.

The critical creative and aesthetic faculties are assaulted by the awful level of Christmas decorations, cards and other paraphernalia; yet one is blackmailed into submission by the very “traditionality” of it. The lights across Regent Street sum this up—linking Soho to Mayfair: instead of suggesting the end of the class relations on which the shops of central London are based, these decorations attempt to cover them in a meretricious adornment. The overconsumption and frenzied drunkenness of Christmas also serve to divert critical awareness of what is involved. Moreover the social implications are reinforced by the fact that Christmas is experienced in an atomised and enclosed manner. Everyone is at their family lunch. The streets are never so empty as on Christmas Day. The real social unity of the nation and its common acceptance of this extraordinary ideological festival are concealed; the only unity is via TV. Church, the Queen and Billy Smart’s Circus are the focuses of external attention. Hence while all are socially unified in this observance of Christmas, its conscious unity is projected on to the most absurd actors of late-capitalism —Gods, Queens and clowns. Last year the Americans gave us an added spectacle by sending men round the moon, but this fitted neatly in to the general pattern.

Transcend

Here lies the dialectical significance of Christmas. Jesus Christ was once seen as a militant saviour. Christianity was once a revolutionary ideology, but has long been the tool of oppression and myth, and except in the case of revolutionary priests in Latin America it serves to reinforce capitalist society. The desire for happiness is marshalled to defend the instruments of misery and the ideological symbols of myth are carefully used to drown the critical and liberating content of the Christmas festival. To smash the institutionalisation of happiness is to release m en from myth, from the need to displace salvation on to Gods or charity, and to realign man’s hopes on conscious historical action.

Within the apparently innocuous shell of Christmas is found both oppression and the longing for liberation and revolution. The Puritans banned it; the Cubans postponed it; we can transcend it. This involves the release of the revolutionary potential now marshalled by late-capitalist forms. In the meantime, we can, of course, enjoy it.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Music Notes: Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

December 22, 2018 at 12:04 pm (Uncategorized)

Well, it’s too late for Amazon (or is it – they keep introducing new methods of exploitation, er ways to get stuff to you sooner), but you still have choices. If you live in Toronto SoundscapesRotate This and more will actually sell you vinyl , CDs and other music related stuff. Come on down and support your local record store. All of your friends will thank you.

1 The Goon Sax – We’re not Talking 

If you’re looking for the next thing from Australia, this might be a contender. Lovely indie-pop.

2.  Rod Stewart – Reason to Believe: The Complete Mercury Recordings 

I know Stewart has the rep of being a tired old sell-out (he’s had that rep for decades now, and it’s totally deserved), but in order to sell-out, you must have stood for something . Listen to these early recordings and you’ll see why the betrayal is so much crueler. Fantastic stuff.

3. Various artists – Harmony in My Head

A three-CD tribute to British New Wave and Power Pop. As with any comp, some hidden gems and some filler, but loads of stuff which will sound fresh and exciting. Either a memory or an introduction but worthwhile in either case.

4. Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady 

A letter perfect singles compilation, and maybe the best way to remember the passing of Pete Shelley

5. Squeeze – Singles 45s and Under

The other great British pop band of the New Wave period.

6. Various Artists – Nuggets 

Yes, the single volume comp is still easy to find, but if you can track down the 4-CD box set with the booklet, your friends will love you forever. Amazing look into the world of sixties garage rock

7. Van Morrison – The Authorized Bang Collection 

A 3-CD compilation of Morrison’s Bang material. Over 60 tracks including alt-versions and rarities. Magic.

8. Joe Strummer –Joe Strummer 101

Yeah, I mentioned this earlier on one of these lists, btu if you have a Clash fan in your life, this is for them.

9. the Beach Boys – Ultimate Christmas

All of the stuff from The Beach Boys Christmas Album plus unreleased stuff from the abortive follow up. Even the grinchiest will dig it.

10. Mojo, Uncut, The Oxford American

And if your friends like to read, you can’t go wrong with these three. Mojo and Uncut are reliable British magazines and both have rather lovely CDs with them, and the Oxford American’s annual music issue has profiles of many of the artists of their genre-spanning CD.

 

Happy listening

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

What the Fox is Going On?

December 22, 2018 at 11:26 am (Uncategorized)

And here’s the lazy Trump post.

For the length of Trump’s presidency, Fox news has been reliable in its efforts to twist itself into any pretzel shape possible in order to justify whatever Emperor Trump has said – no matter how ridiculous or hypocritical it has been.

So this week, judging by previous standards, is mystifying.

  1. Judge Andrew Napolitano schooled Maria Bartiromo on what entrapment is and why it doesn’t apply in the Michael Flynn case.
  2. Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends, one of Trump’s favourite shows, accused him of making the same mistakes as Obama (ouch!) and of “Re-founding ISIS” in his decision to pull troops out of Syria.
  3. John Roberts (once the host of CITY TV’s New Music as J,D. Roberts) pointed out Trump’s hypocrisy  of accusing the Democrats of causing the government shutdown when, on live TV days earlier, Trump said he wouldn’t blame them and he would be “proud” to own the shutdown.

If you can’t rely on the right wing news channels to be consistently , um,  right-wing, how are people supposed to know who is an enemy of the people and who isn’t?

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Events in France

December 22, 2018 at 11:14 am (Uncategorized)

This last month, personal events have had an unfortunately negative impact of recent decisions to post more frequently on this blog. (I’m likely unable to resist the temptation to make quick lazy posts about Trump though.)

The events in France have proven to be so significant that to say nothing is unconscionable. These two texts will serve as an introduction, to be followed by more commentary I hope.

Grand Large – A Propos Des “Gilet Jeunes”  (Grand Large is the project of several former members of Internationalist Perspective)

Crimethink – Contribution to the Rupture in Progress  (Note, the text is not by Crimethink, but is translated by them and hosted on their site)

 

More to come soon.

 

 

 

 

Permalink Leave a Comment