vostoklake: (otterly)
I think I've said before that I have a similar allergic reaction to 60-something ex-hippies as I do to 50-something ex-punks/post-punks/Industrial Music aficionados.

The ex-hippies, on one hand, tend to be egocentric to the point of solipsism, and brain-dead swallowers of every kind of woo and conspiracy theory, somehow managing to turn liberal/libertarian politics into the most selfish kind of conservatism, even Trumpism.

The ex-punks/Industrials, on the other hands, tend to be CULTURE SCOLDS.

What I mean by "culture scolds" is people who read off your politics, your morality, even your worth to the world based on what kind of popular culture you consume. They started off this way fighting the hippies in the Glorious Punk Wars of 1977, tearing down the Boring Old Farts and the music they dug.

In 1982, if you dug the Clash or the Specials you were a Comrade; if you dug Hawkind or Marillion, you were a free target, no better than a Tory. The long-term success of the Punk Wars can be summed up by modifying an old Peter Cooke line - let's hear it for the post-punk, indie and Industrial scene which did so much to stop the rise of Thatcher and Reagan.

The punk crusade against "rock stardom" led, in the end, to freakin' Bono. The style of music was never the problem with prog-rock. Prog-rock suffered from the intersection of young men with fragile egos and TOO MUCH MONEY AND DRUGS - and nothing changed after 1977. The record companies assimilated the punk/gothic/industrial challenge, and life went on as usual.

Not that I don't LIKE 80's post-punk, far from it; but the point is that the culture scolds did not achieve their stated ends, and they can get off their freakin' high horse.

I had a very good friend of that particular vintage who disturbed me the other day by going off on a rant about how the popular culture consumed by those dastardly Millennials is naught but "hopelessly passive distractions which have helped create the developmental vacuum in which evil fucking shitehawks like Breitbart, Infowars, and more or less all of our current political pantheon have been able to flourish". I.e., the "THIS IS WHY TRUMP WON" meme, applied to... bronies and CHVRCHES. And MST3K, for some reason, which is much more of a GenX thing, surely?

It's not the freakin' millennials who voted for Trump, my friend. It was mainly relatively well-off white folks in their 40s-70s. I.e., a distressingly large number of not only the ex-hippies, but the ex-punks. The last time popular music was really revolutionary was when the boomer generation was on the way up - which ended in 1971 at the very latest, more probably 1969. Ever since then we've been fighting the long defeat.

Culture scolding assumes a position of "superior taste" on the part of the scold which comes uncomfortably close to the kind of "degenerate youth" attitude which all conservatives and fascists have in common. But I suppose the post-punks, like everyone else, like to relive their youth, when someone's record collection showed you whether they were the enemy in a Culture War that they like to think they won.
vostoklake: (wayne)
What with the recent revelations about many popular content creators being what is technically described as "rapey bastards", you get two major reactions.

1) "I am no longer consuming content by that rapey bastard, that makes me complicit in rape."
2) "Separate the art from the artists; love the art, hate the rapey bastard."

At this point, I want to challenge both points of view, in favour of the following formulation:

The art comes from the same place as the foul behaviour of the artist. They are both reactions to psychic conflicts based on the artist's gender/class/racial position.

Let's take everyone's problematic fave, H. P. Lovecraft, master of cosmic horror and racist about whom it was said even in the 1920s, "DAMN that guy hates on the darkies." What's unique about HPL's world? I think it's because his monsters - Cthulhu, the fungi from Yuggoth, the Elder Things and their shoggoths etc. - aren't "evil". They just don't belong on planet Earth / their presence here shatters the fundamental basis of human civilisation or even perhaps indigenous life on this planet.

In Lacanian terms, it's all about the irruption of "The Real" (that which cannot be depicted in images or designated by symbolic language) which threatens the very basis of the psyche. In political terms, it is also the basis of modern racism - in which the various "Races of Man" are fine in their own places, it's only when they start mixing and mingling and having sex with each other and making damnable half-caste babbies that it becomes an inexpressible outrage.

What else was happening in the 1920s? Modernist poets T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound were shaken by the decay of high-capitalist-imperialist civilisation, culminating in the fratricidal horror of World War I, and sought refuge in the classical certainties of a previous age (classical Europe for Eliot, classical China for Pound). They both sought to "purify the dialect of the tribe" (Eliot's words), in Pound's case through an Orientalist misunderstanding of how Chinese logographs worked. Where does this lead you politically? Ha ha, of course Pound was an actual Fascist. Eliot was just a high-Tory Anglo-Catholic with some not-nice things to say about our Hebrew Brethren. (The Jewish people always figure in racist-modernist discourse as an infection, an impurity, the Irruption of the Real that threatens the symbolic order. Oddly enough, Lovecraft married a Jewish lady. Go figure.)

We can make a huge leap from here to Frank Zappa, who, like Eliot, wanted to repackage the high modernism of Stravinsky, Varèse, Webern etc. for the unwashed proles. He actually wrote in the early 1960s that there was an untapped market between "classical" and "pop" music that he wanted to get exploit. Combine this with a lower-middle-class background in exurban California as the "smart loner" in high school, and you get to the roots of a strong resentment in his music towards the forces of conformist society (big government, big business, and ...sigh... union thugs) holding the Noble Artist down. (Funny how this kind of individualism tends towards the misogynistic.) It was probably only his preternatural sense of the absurd which stopped him becoming a dumbass like Ayn Rand. And it was definitely only his ability to wheel and deal like the classical Adam Smith/Robinson Crusoe small capitalist (which he learned in part from his 10 days on the job as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman) that enabled him to keep going in the face of systematic sabotage by the music industry.

The thing is that I freakin' love Lovecraft, Eliot and Zappa (Pound I can take or leave). Their art is not their politics (except when Lovecraft starts going on about "half-castes", Eliot about "the Jew underneath the lot or Zappa about AIDS being CIA germ warfare). But it comes from the same place as their politics.

Next time you find out some gross, even criminal, biographical details about one of your beloved artists, it would be good to try to relate them to what you know of their art. You can do this without declaring that (for example) enjoying the Pisan Cantos means you love Mussolini, or that if you like Rosemary's Baby you want to anally rape a 13 year old in a hot tub.
vostoklake: (wayne)

My old 2010 model ebike is on its last legs. A good new one - self-locking, double the range - will set me back up to 3 grand. As I am reliably informed by puzzled people, I could get a good used car for that. Let's look at the pros and cons of buying a car over an e-bike:


  • More comfy in wet weather
  • Much longer possible trips
  • Can carry musical equipment


  • Petrol, WoF, registration, parking and insurance running costs
  • Can't fix it myself
  • Can't take shortcuts on cycleways / through reserves
  • Makes me part of the worst thing about Auckland - polluting traffic congestion
  • Getting STUCK in polluting traffic congestion
  • Massively increases the risk of becoming an asshole

The last one is vital. A Disney cartoon starring Goofy I saw as a child makes the point that people's personalities change for the worse when they're behind the wheel. Some of the nicest people I know, saints in daily life, become grumpy and unkind in traffic. And that's not even taking account of the resentment motorists feel towards cyclists (see this article about a driver in the Wairarapa chasing and pwning a cyclist for no reason at all).

On my way home tonight, I slowed down and pulled over to let a car pass. Far from being appreciative, the driver shouted USE THE FOOTPATH at me as he screamed past. (Fun fact: that's illegal in this country.)In contrast, cycling in traffic teaches you situational awareness and respect, because you may quite literally die without them. So, considering how aggressive my basic personality is, best not to risk worsening it by regular driving.

vostoklake: (pterry and neil)
It's a funny thing. I've been an evangelical Christian, a neo-Pagan Witch, some kind of half-baked Indie Scientologist, a dogmatically-correct atheist, a follower of R. A. Wilson's Crowleyism-lite and now a member of a Sufi tariqa, and believe you me I've had some religious arguments in that time. I've had Thelemites tell me I was clueless, New Agers criticizing my prickly aura, fundamentalist Christians be passively-aggressively bitchy, orthodox Muslims just "blanking" me, and my Catholic grandma yelling that she could see the Devil his own self sitting on my shoulder.

But only when arguing with those people I call missionary atheists have my opponents been downright rude and personally abusive to me. I would call them "fundamentalist atheists", but last time I did that I got dogpiled by snot-nosed punks informing me that that was an oxymoron. Nevertheless, they certainly act like dogmatic, self-righteous bigots; as do many Marxist or anarchist activists, and they don't need a god other. (Funny thing, though, they all tend to end up worshipping idols of one kind or another, dead, alive or fictitious...)

Now why is that? If you descend into the sludge that is Traditionalist Catholic ("Pope Francis is a COMMIE HERETIC") comments boxes, you will see pompous bigots snarl and sneer at women, minorities and anyone different to and hence lesser than them. But some dude will occasionally say "Hey, tone it down, fellows! Charity to our fellow man is a Catholic virtue, remember?" But where is the reflex for an atheist who sees no higher authority than their own rational mind to not be an asshole?

That's slightly unfair, I know. Most atheists that I know subscribe to a Humanist form of ethics, which I have no problem with. Those guys won't be assholes because there is an inherent moral code in human nature which deprecates assholery.  But ... who was that atheist woman who was sleazed on by Richard Dawkins in an elevator? Anyway, she said that she had always seen atheism as a "social justice movement". Indeed, in places like modern Iran, the "red states" in the USA and of course Tsarist Russia, religion is a major prop of the ruling elite and deserves to be critiqued to hell and back. But, unless you're specifically a Humanist or have some other form of ethical structure in mind, there is nothing in atheism per se that will make you a nice person.

And you try telling this to those rude assholes who call me braindamaged because I use the language of God, and they don't get the point.

vostoklake: (commie)
This morning, my yoga instructor addressed the subject of ANZAC Day. Because she's from a German-speaking country, she explained that she had always had no interest in war or its commemoration. But because she's a yoga instructor and thus an awful hippie, she had realised that it's right to fight for good causes, for the things you love. Therefore, "this day is about love", apparently.

She's absolutely right that fighting to defend your people, your family, the Earth and its creatures, and basic decency is a noble thing. I've been working through a text on the New Zealand Wars, and those Māori who fought for their land, their people and their tikanga; and those Māori who fought against them, sometimes out of old feuds, sometimes out of sincere belief that being part of the BRITISH EMPIRE was the best safeguard of all those things. It made no difference after the wars, of course, all the "damned Natives" got their land confiscated alike.

But what did the ANZACs "love"? It wasn't a love of New Zealand. New Zealand wasn't a country, it was a Dominion of the mighty BRITISH EMPIRE, by Gad. Many of those young men joined up in a passion of excitement and love for an Empire which ruled a quarter of the globe and had decided to pick a fight when A CHALLENGER APPEARED in the shape of the Second German Reich (and its Ottoman and Hapsburg buddies). The Germans were NOT going to sail south from Apia and Zeppelin-bomb Auckland. No, Winston bloody Churchill sent my trusting, naive, loving great-grandfather out to a beach in the Dardanelles to catch a load of shrapnel in the back from Turks who were defending their homeland. (And of course their general, Mustafa Kemal, loved his country so much as to overthrow the Ottoman monarchy after the war.)

People fight for love, true. Sometimes we love things that are not worthy. Can we honour the love while despising the object?

vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1CXOtl4 at February 22, 2015 at 08:47PM
Auckland Pride 2015Auckland Pride 2015:

Tonight was Pride. For the first time in the history of pride, the police were allowed to march in their uniforms. We didn’t think a violent racist colonial heteropatriarchal institution like the…
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/16WGBXS at February 12, 2015 at 09:13PM
August Never EndsAugust Never Ends:


It’s a head splitting cognitive dissonance to be fielding requests for help from friends who have just gotten swatted at the same time as giving someone else numbers on the harassment and abuse perpetrated by GamerGate because someone he’s talking to thinks it’s over and never had a big impact on…
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1BQbnhu at January 19, 2015 at 09:31AM
whedonesque: dracofidus: If you EVER think Anthony Head is...


If you EVER think Anthony Head is anything less than an angel then you’d best remember that I have always been a huge fan of his and we’ve always had a little contact over the years and he heard I’d come out as Trans and was having a hard time and that I was kind of sad that the photos I had from conventions with him were of me with long hair and no binder and they were all signed to “Sarah” and so he invited me to spend the day with him at his farm and he picked me up from the station and we just hung out and had lunch and he insisted on paying and took loads of photos and had them printed on photo paper the same day so he could sign them to Jay, along with other photos of him as Giles and Uther and he literally spent five hours chatting with me and got all of the pronoun stuff right every time and then he dropped me off at the station, gave me a final massive hug, waved me through the ticket barrier and insisted I message him when I got home so he knew I got back safe. (More HERE)

vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1AgsENu at December 11, 2014 at 08:39AM
"I went to [Tolkien’s] public lectures. They were absolutely appalling. In those days a lecturer..."
“"I went to [Tolkien’s] public lectures. They were absolutely appalling. In those days a lecturer could be paid for his entire course even if he lost his audience, provided he turned up for the first lecture. I think that Tolkien made quite a cynical effort to get rid of us so he could go home and finish writing Lord of the Rings.””
- Yeah, I always wondered how Tolkien kept an academic job, considering he only wrote one (Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics) and a half (the Gawain translation) academic works worth bothering with.
vostoklake: (wayne)

I'm going to intrude on Cousin War Arrow's shtick for a second here...

The original live-action Black Dynamite film (2009) was the perfect blaxploitation parody, an homage to the genre with a special tip of the hat to Rudy Ray Moore's rhyming kung-fu pimp, Dolemite. But the animated series - currently in its second season on Adult Swim in the US - blasts off into orbit (quite literally, in one episode), becoming a perfect blaxploitation version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - the Alan Moore graphic novel series, not the hideous Hollywood abomination loosely based on the first book thereof.

In LxG, every possible fictional character and situation co-exists, making it cross-over and what-if heaven. In the Black Dynamite animated universe, every Afro-American cultural icon, real or fictitious, is present in a vaguely defined "1970s" - plus era-appropriate honkeys, such as Richard Nixon or Elvis. All right, you might consider a "Michael Jackson is an alien" plots to be vaguely predictable. And the one where Black Dynamite is betrayed by O. J. Simpson on a space mission, where he meets a Soviet space chimp and Black Santa Claus, might be a bit silly. But I defy any man, woman, or children alive to watch the Apocalypse Now parody starring Mr T. and two different versions of James Bond where the MacGuffin is a secret barbecue sauce recipe and try to tell me that they ain't seeing THE GREATEST DAMN ANIMATED THING ON TV SINCE BACK WHEN THE SIMPSONS WERE ACTUALLY GOOD AND SOUTH PARK WAS TRULY TRANSGRESSIVE.

Here, let's just bask in the warmth:


vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1vu4TmW at November 21, 2014 at 10:55AM
vostoklake | Pimpin' posts ain't easy: BLACK DYNAMITEvostoklake | Pimpin' posts ain't easy: BLACK DYNAMITE:

The original live-action Black Dynamite film (2009) was the perfect blaxploitation parody, an homage to the genre with a special tip of the hat to Rudy Ray Moore’s rhyming kung-fu pimp, Dolemite. But the animated series - currently in its second season on Adult Swim in the US - blasts off into orbit (quite literally, in one episode), becoming a perfect blaxploitation version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - the Alan Moore graphic novel series, not the hideous Hollywood abomination loosely based on the first book thereof.
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1vSjdSB at October 10, 2014 at 01:33PM
The Last Psychiatrist: Product Review: Panasonic PT AX200U (Hipsters On Food Stamps Part 3)The Last Psychiatrist: Product Review: Panasonic PT AX200U (Hipsters On Food Stamps Part 3):

I realize Aspirational 14% wants their beloved 90s to be about something more than just bicuriosity and JDSU, but I was there, it wasn’t.  Anyone who thinks the grunge movement was “serious” and “combative” and who thinks feminism “reached a peak” also thinks The Hunger Games was a step forward for women and 50 Shades is poorly written “but still hot.” 

Wow, there are people who loved the 90s? It was my undergraduate career at university and I hated it with the blinding heat of a thousand suns. It was the era of Cool Kids, Smart Drinks, Everyone Reads Aleister Crowley and Thinks They’re a Witch or Neo from the Matrix… The era when we believed that the frivolous consumerism of the 80’s could have 60’s-style social ramifications, rather than an escape from the fear of nuclear annihilation. Which didn’t end until 9/11/01, so thanks for that Osama and Dubya.
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/Z8lfDU at September 22, 2014 at 06:04PM
POEM: The Starved Heart
the starved heart beats

till it can no more

in ashes on

the cutting floor

while all around

its maker’s mark

glows sullen, leaden

in the dark

this darkest wine

this nameless vow

the one release

from ‘I’ and ‘thou’

can liberate

from liberty

the thingless face

we dare not see

the evidence

we can’t permit

the crime on which

all others sit

the sin from which

All others start;

to feed the belly

starve the heart
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1m9vCfw at August 18, 2014 at 09:37AM
Existential depression in gifted individualsExistential depression in gifted individuals:

This article by James Webb discusses existential depression among gifted young people. He examines what it is, how it may manifest in a gifted child, and what a parent can do to help their child through these difficult feelings. He points out that gifted young people are more likely to have this type of depression because of their more highly developed sensitivities.
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1pYNVot at August 07, 2014 at 09:10PM
Goth Club Fliers DecodedGoth Club Fliers Decoded:


“All ages" = as if telling someone’s age in zombie inspired make up and near dark conditions weren’t difficult enough already
“All night long" = or until 2 a.m. when the city’s bar closing ordinance kicks in, which ever comes first
“Blisspop" = we made up…
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/UQu2YA at August 05, 2014 at 10:06PM
On threats and attempts to intimidateOn threats and attempts to intimidate :


I always wanted to take on the prevailing dogma on both domestic and foreign affairs. I knew that this could only ever be a limited and modest contribution, because it’s not individuals who change the world, but people grouping together to exert pressure through collective action. Neither did I…
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1kmfE0A at July 14, 2014 at 09:08AM

I have to say, the more I learn about the DashCon fuckupery, the more clear it is that this is EXACTLY what Tentmoot would have been if Turimel hadn’t pulled out funding the moment she did. O. M. G.

Andy Blake: L. Ron Hubbard for fangirls.
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1ohW9HA at July 09, 2014 at 11:59AM

"The less the group’s principles and objectives stand on their own merit the more emphasis is put on remaining ever vigilant for signs of enemy encroachment and upon destroying perceived enemies. Conquering the enemy can become the group’s raison d’etre. Sometimes the highest level of ‘reason’ you will hear from some cult members is a rant about the evils of this or that nemesis as the answer to virtually any tough question. "
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1lP4YXQ at July 08, 2014 at 11:37AM
Leverage Meme » 9/9 quotes↳ We provide leverage. Still so...

Leverage Meme » 9/9 quotes
↳ We provide leverage.

Still so sad we never got to watch the Leverage team as a trio. Hopefully it would be less embarrassing than Genesis as a trio. (Which would make Nate Peter Gabriel and Parker Phil Collins?)
vostoklake: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1lP4XDp at July 08, 2014 at 11:28AM
cavalorn: saladinahmed: Handling harassment, 1940. (from...


Handling harassment, 1940. (from PLANET COMICS)

Why isn’t this a poster?