Posted 1 year ago

normal governance or abuse of power?

elledark:

Orwell or Huxley ?

In his book ‘1984’ George Orwell’s vision of the future was of an authoritarian government that rules by brute force and by restricting the flow of information and communication. Aldous Huxley, on the other hand, envisaged a society in his book ‘Brave New World’ where people are distracted into passivity by a constant flow of trivial information and entertainment.

So who got it right ? Well personally I think they both did. Kind of.

Most of the time you can clearly see Huxleys vision prevailing in our society. We float along unthinking in a world of constant, 24/7 distraction and entertainment. Music and movies and the internet and social-networking and American Idol and celebrity gossip and shopping and advertisements and all of the shiny gadgets and sound-bytes of disinformation leave very little time to either think about or question the state of our society. We’re too busy consuming to revolt.

But what if, rarely, a few people manage to unplug themselves from the distraction for long enough to take a serious look at the way we live ? What if they understand what is going on and rebel against a society where the majority is exploited for the benefit of a tiny, privileged minority ? What if they understand the harsh truth that there’s no hope of fundamental change through the present deeply corrupt political system and instead challenge the status quo with direct action ?

That’s when it can switch in an instant to Orwells vision of the future. That’s when we see the force of militarized police and a legal system that works for our rulers. If you ever cease to be a good consumer and actually look like you’re threatening the system you can expect to be met with clubs and pepper-spray and dirty tricks and smears and even jail-time. Orwell said “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face forever.” Not forever, just when there’s any real challenge to the status quo. Then you see the ugly face behind the mask.

Between them, I think Orwell and Huxley were scarily accurate in predicting the future but what neither foresaw was that we would end up with the worst of both worlds. Being squeezed relentlessly by an iron fist disguised in a velvet glove.

Still, what can you do ? I wonder whats on TV tonight ?

Ellie

(Source: e-writing)

Posted 1 year ago
Posted 1 year ago

Jerry Garcia’s 70th. birthday

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pafY6sZt0FE

(Source: Spotify)

Posted 1 year ago

Bloody Friday, Belfast 40 years on.

Tomorrow will be almost 40 years exactly since “Bloody Friday” in Belfast, when the I R A cynically targeted their fellow citizens, ordinary workers, shoppers, families (no military targets or personnel were involved) with 22 car bombs on a Friday afternoon, executed in 80 minutes around the city center. Perhaps first minister Robinson (a former loyalist rabble-rouser and self proclaimed democrat), and deputy minister Maginnis (I R A army council, maybe 2nd. in command, at the time), will give the victims a thought when they shake hands on decisions affecting the people of N. Ireland while the assembly is in recess for summer (so there can be no debate or discussion). And we thought bankers were users.
 Watch this. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kxsxn

Remember the victims this afternoon!

Posted 1 year ago
Posted 1 year ago

1949 B&W film, with Woody Guthrie soundtrack

This seems to strike so many chords at this time and socio-economy state. 

Posted 1 year ago
Time for the meek to organize, and re-take the earth.

Time for the meek to organize, and re-take the earth.

Posted 1 year ago

elledark:

Superman Was an Illegal Immigrant

‘Illegal immigration’ is a hot topic in American politics today, an emotionally charged subject where politicians are cynically trying to score points and boost their popularity. Its one of the issues that will characterize the 2012 election and bitterly polarized positions often seem to owe as much to belief as to reason.

It’s interesting, therefore,  to reflect that one of America’s greatest fictional heroes, Superman, was an illegal immigrant. Yes indeed. He entered the USA covertly from the planet Krypton as a baby, bypassing legal border controls. The kindly Kents took him in and brought him up as their own but the true circumstances of his entry to the USA were not reported to the authorities.

Superman  grew up leading a double life, wearing disguises, and hiding his true identity from officialdom in a way that today would have made Homeland Security very twitchy and might even have resulted in him ending up wrongly on some terrorist watch list as many innocent people do. Put bluntly, from the point of view of our modern surveillance state, Superman behaved suspiciously.

Of course there wasn’t really an option to repatriate Superman anyway because his home planet of Krypton had exploded so he’s pretty safe I think. Which is just as well because there’s certainly no shortage today of evil-doers and criminals to fight, although unfortunately many of them seem to be active in American politics.

Former president Andrew Jackson once said .. “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Those on the far right who want border fences with Mexico, families split up, and draconian expulsions might usefully reflect on those words. Mr Jackson probably wouldn’t have minded Superman at all. 

Posted 1 year ago

elledark:

Plato, Shadows, and the Internet

So what do they have in common ? Well probably not a lot really but its a boring, rainy Thursday so maybe you’ll indulge me for a few minutes ? One little story I’m quite fond of is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. It goes something like this.

A group of people have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. They watch shadows projected onto the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. Plato then goes on to mutter a bit about how philosophers (like him) are better able to discern reality but then he would say that, wouldn’t he ? Leave that for the minute though and stick with the image of the prisoners in the cave trying to discern reality from shadows.

To me the internet seems a lot like Plato’s cave. Here we sit, chained to our computers and peering at the shadows. Its not reality we see. Its just a representation of reality and one that’s often quite opaque or distorted. Very little can be taken at face-value and much needs to be interpreted. That’s true of the news we read, the images we see and the people we meet online. It’s all shadows we turn into a reality that makes sense to us but isn’t necessarily true. Whether philosophers fare better on the interwebz than the rest of us is unclear. Somehow I doubt it although I’m sure they manage to be more philosophical about it all.

Or is this just me being a bit whimsical again ? Probably. Still, it whiled away a few minutes on a rainy Thursday ..:)

Ellie

Posted 1 year ago