Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Digital Futures: The Untested "Third Way"

This interview with Jaron Lanier, author of "You Are Not a Gadget" asks deep and controversial questions about the accepted "nature" of the Internet and how decisions made at its inception have become ingrained and continue to shape its function and potential. That is, decisions made that essentially reward the gate keepers and facilitators of the system but don't materially reward users who add "their hearts and minds" to the Internet, and how this has limited the growth of the middle class. Therefore, the job losses resulting from automation and globalism are not being sufficiently replaced by the enormous amount of work done each day on the Internet, which offers more psychological (status, creative satisfaction) than financial rewards.

"But in this case we have this idea that we put all this stuff out there and what we get back are intangible or abstract benefits of reputation, or ego-boosting. Since we're used to that bargain, we're impoverished compared to the world that could have been and should have been when the Internet was initially conceived. The world that would create a strengthened middle class through what people do, by monetizing more and more instead of less and less. It's possible that that world could have never come about, but that was never tested. If we are absolutely convinced that this third way is impossible, and that we have to choose between "The Matrix" or Marx, if those are our only two choices, it makes the future dismal, and so I hope that a third way is possible..."

The full text of this important and controversial interview here

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Enough Fundamentalist Hooey -- America is a Land of Freedom -- and Joy

Rosario Dawson leading the dancers in Kevin Smith's Clerks 2 (2006): Yep,that's joyful.

"Satan has his sights" on the USA..and off goes GOP Candidate Rick Santorum providing the framework for a frightening new form of American theocracy -- now good Americans, products of the Enlightenment, after having weathered the demise of the totalitarian Soviet Union, need to not only worry about an international front of renegade Islamic religious extremists seeking to destroy secular and Enlightenment freedoms and restore some totalitarian international caliphate, but also a home front of home-grown Christian religious extremists seeking to destroy secular and Enlightenment freedoms and create some frightening vision of a totalitarian  theocratic government. The GOP casually throws around accusations of "socialist" Democratic government,so  let's label what many GOP candidates seem to be striving for -- un-American religious dictatorship right out of Margaret Atwood's A Handmade's Tale.

The NY Times' Maureen Dowd took issue with some of the latest Santorum fear-mongering:  "Why is it that Republicans don’t want government involved when it comes to the economy (opposing the auto bailouts) but do want government involved when it comes to telling people how to live their lives? In a party always misty for bygone times bristling with ugly inequities, Santorum is successful because he’s not ashamed to admit that he wants to take the country backward." More from Ms. Dowd here

Don't give up the struggle for freedom, creativity, science and enlightenment -- and never stop singing and dancing.

Friday, February 17, 2012

No Middle Ground: China's Way---or the Highway?

Author David Sirota asseses the conundrum faced by the US: "President Barack Obama admitted it when in his State of the Union address he said jobs are returning because “it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China.” Economists at the Boston Consulting Group underscored it when in August they said employment growth is happening because rising Chinese wages are “eroding China’s cost advantages” while the United States “is becoming a lower-cost country” as American wages decline. And GE Consumer & Industrial CEO James Campbell reiterated it when he recently told the New York Times that “making things in America is as viable as making things any place” because domestic labor costs are now “significantly less with the competitive wages” — read: far lower wages — now accepted by American workers...Now that this consensus is finally out in the open, the real question for America is simple: Do we accept an economic competition that asks us to emulate China?"

Six-day work weeks, no environmental or workplace regulations, extremely low wages... or if, "alternately, we reject this dystopian future, then it requires us to more seriously consider things like tariffs, industrial policy, tax incentives for domestic investment and Buy America laws for government procurement. In other words, it requires us to declare that access to the American marketplace is no longer free — that corporations who want to sell things to Americans must play by our wage, environmental and human rights rules no matter where they make their products."

As Mr. Sirota explains, at this point, there ain't no other way. Read the full Salon article "Is China Our Future?"  here

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Jean-Michel Basquiat "Ultraviolet" Work Uncovered

LONDON — Graffiti pioneer Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Orange Sports Figure", which was recently found to be signed in invisible ink, sold for over £4 million at a London auction on Wednesday.
The 1982 work, which depicts a figure emblazoned with Basquiat's iconic crown motif, eventually went under the hammer for £4,073,250 ($6.2 million, 4.8 million euros) at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
Experts at the auction house on Tuesday revealed they had discovered Basquiat's signature in invisible ink after viewing the painting under ultraviolet light.
Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York City, in 1960 and began as a graffiti artist in the late 1970s before evolving into a Neo-expressionist during the next decade.Full article here

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fagen on Friday: Counter Moon & Teahouse on the Tracks

Donald Fagen performs "Counter Moon" and "Teahouse on the Tracks" from his solo album Kamakyriad, 1993 Steely Dan Tour, Nashville, TN

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On The Road Again

Ofer is a traveling man. He describes himself as “a Nomadic Entrepreneur who was born and raised in Germany, lived in the US for over a decade, moved to Israel four years ago, and who succumbed yet again to his overriding urge to experience new places, people and adventures.” Currently in Penang, an island in Malaysia, he was in George Town, the capital the other day, when he was walking down the street and he happened to see a fellow traveler, from New York as it so happens, who was cruising along in a local form of transport, a rickshaw. 
Although his camera battery was nearly empty, “running on fumes” as we say, and his subject was in motion, Ofer managed to snap this great photo of his fellow traveler doing what he does best, being Anthony Bourdain. Although DITHOB's efforts to photoshop it into greater clarity were not successful, you can see Mr. Bourdain doing his thing, like Ofer, on the road again.
Photo by Ofer Mog (c) 2012

Thanks for sharing the photo, Ofer.

You can visit Ofer’s site, “Marco Polo East My Dust” here

 --Anthony Napoli for Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn

Monday, February 6, 2012

Poetry as Survival: Gregory Orr at the New School

Poet Gregory Orr will be discussing "Poetry as Survival" in a conversation presented by Arts in Mind at the New School on Wednesday, February 8, at 8 PM.

“Poetry is a way of surviving the emotional chaos, spiritual confusions and traumatic events that come with being alive." - Gregory Orr

Gregory Orr is the author of 10 collections of poetry, a Guggenheim and NEA fellow and a longtime professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia. Arts in Mind at the New School is hosting this presentation and conversation with Dr. Donald Rosen, medical director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center.

Informed by tragedies of his own childhood, Mr. Orr came to battle his way from meaningless to meaning through creative work. He is the author of 10 collections of poetry, a Guggenheim and NEA fellow, and a longtime professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia. “I wrote a poem one day,” he writes in his book Poetry as Survival, ”and it changed my life. I had a sudden sense that the language in poetry was ‘magical’ … it could create or transform reality rather than simply describe it.”

This event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at The New School, Arnold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor.

More information on Arts in Mind and future presentations in this series on the arts and mental health here 

A Poem by Mr. Orr here and another here; lyrical and mysterious.

Always in Vogue: Madonna at the Super Bowl

Great Half Time photos of Madonna, Niki Minaj, MIA, Cee-Lo-Green, and LMFAO, plus dancers, acrobats, and endless pomp and glitz. And, oh yeah, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots, 21-17.

Photo - (c) NBC

Article and Photos here

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Super" Alternatives: FusonArts

Art by Shalom Neuman
For anyone not lured by the prospects of hot wings and taco chips in front of the HD, as the New York Giants and New Engand Patriots battle it out on the gridiron under the generalship of QB's Eli Manning and Tom Brady, and entertained by Madonna and those multi-million dollar TV commercials, there are more creative, countercultural alternatives:
FusionArts will be presenting a Super Bowl Be-In - "An afternoon of action art for the sports-culture challenged!" on "Super Bowl" Sunday, February 5, 2012, 3- 6 PM,  Hosted by  Lambert Fine Arts, at FusionArts, 57 Stanton Street,
NYC 10002.  Back with another fun-filled afternoon of action art, FusionArts and Lambert Fine Arts invites you to "Rebel against the sports culture establishment and join us for a good old fashioned Super Bowl Be-In."

Featured are FusionFriends: The Unbearables, Carrie Beehan, Peter Grzybowski, Brett Zweiman, Kika von Kl├╝ck and Shawn Butler.

Gallery Artwork by SHALOM NEUMAN (with soundtracks by musician/composer Brett Zweiman) and TERRENCEO
Exhibition dates January 20 - February 12, 2012

For more information contact:  212-353-2787 or

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dreamers, Hackers and the Securities and Exchange Commission

The Facebook S.E.C. Filing (from S-1 Registration Statement Under the Securities Act of 1933) here

David Choe, the Skeptical Grafitti Artist Who Gambled on Facebook and Stands to Win Big here

The Official Mark Zuckerberg Facebook biography indicates that he considers himself an atheist and a computer hacker here  :

Excerpt here: "In 2010, Stephen Levy, who authored the 1984 book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, wrote that Zuckerberg "clearly thinks of himself as a hacker."[16] Zuckerberg said that "it's OK to break things" "to make them better."[16][17] Facebook instituted "hackathons" held every six to eight weeks where participants would have one night to conceive of and complete a project.[16] The company provided music, food, and beer at the hackathons, and many Facebook staff members, including Zuckerberg, regularly attended.[17] "The idea is that you can build something really good in a night,” Zuckerberg told Levy. "And that’s part of the personality of Facebook now ... It’s definitely very core to my personality."[16]

Again, all mindful of the visionary book by Sol Yurick, Behold Metatron: The Recording Angel, who wrote "...the old philosopher's stone could convert base metals into gold. now humans, real estate, social relations are converted into electronic signs carried in an electronic plasma. the dream of magical controll has never been exorcised. perhaps, after all, modern capitalism is a great factory for the production of angels."

...which this site discussed previously here . Published by Autonomedia (Foreign Agents Press) here

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Don Cornelius: Creator of 'Soul Train' Dead at 75

The Soul Train Line dances to September by Earth, Wind and Fire

Don Cornelius, creator of Soul Train, the show that revitalized music on TV beginning in the 1970s is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot would in Los Angeles at age 75. More here

Don Cornelius

David Bowie on Soul Train performing Golden Years

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo