Thursday, August 10, 2006

Apocalypse a Week on Tuesday, Weather Permitting

I'm not sure how to interpret the "liquid bombers" story yet. It may well be a remarkable feat of counter-terrorism, yet it's also, at the very least, strangely synchronistic that this story broke the day after the Israeli government authorised a full-scale miltary invasion of Lebanon. John Terry's installation as captain of the England football team enjoyed more coverage than the Middle East in the UK media yesterday, but the liquid bombers obliterated the opposition.

At first the news networks seemed to convey the impression that up to 50 terrorists had been restrained from boarding planes bound for USA yesterday morning, intent on blowing them out of the sky. Reflecting this sense of imminent threat, this morning's edition of "The Independent"' ran with a front page boldy proclaiming: "10/8, Was This Going to be the Next Date in the Calendar of Terror?"

However, as yesterday progressed, US Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff informed us that the terrorists weren't ready to go after all, but were merely "getting close to execution phase." "They were not yet sitting on an airplane," but were close to travelling, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official told The Associated Press. Before long, we were getting the impression the terrorists had lost their passports down the back of Condoleezza Rice's couch and, sure enough, Homeland Security were soon speculating that we may have been as "close" as two days away from a "rehearsal" and that the real thing might well have followed "a few days after that". From "Apocalypse Now" to "Apocalypse a Week on Tuesday, Weather Permitting."

Not only that, but early-morning emphasis on the the triumphant anti-terrorist activities of UK intelligence agencies and police forces became diluted, mid-afternoon, by increasingly influential US intervention. Predictably, Bush couldn't be restrained fom crowing about the inexorably-accelerating Islamo-fascist threat and the algebraically-escalating urgency of waging unrestrained war on terror.

By the end of the day it was all about the US: Bush was practically claiming proprietorial rights to a "terrorist plot aimed at US airlines and US cities." He was also, reassuringly, promising to send many more armed US air marshals to patrol our airports and "safeguard" our flights. We can probably interpret this as fair warning that we're on the cusp of being designated, like Lebanon, as a state harbouring terrorist organisations inimical to US interests. Who knows, we might eventually become eligible for fully-fledged "Axis of Evil" status? Future "targeted" bombing raids aimed at destroying our indigenous terror networks (with "minimal" collateral civilian damage) must, logically, follow.

It's hard to deconstruct the news right now. The truth is, presumably, hiding beneath the veneer of propaganda, but it feels like we're in the middle of a "long con." There's a multi-dimensional strategy unfolding, that's for sure. With this much misdirection going on, there's just got to be a con ~ and we already know we're the suckers. Blair's fawning "relationship" with Bush reminds me of a naïve ingenue with a crush on a movie star. Don't play victim when it all goes wrong, Tone. If you get into bed with Warren Beatty, you know you're going to get fucked.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Stanley Crouch ~ MTV, still clueless after all these years


Last week, MTV celebrated its 25th anniversary, marking a quarter of a century after having conceived of the first actually new thing in popular television entertainment since "American Bandstand" and "Soul Train."
The music video became a big deal through MTV and not only updated the old "soundies" once shown in movie theaters to feature singers and instrumentalists. It also revolutionized the making of films by acclimating its audience to the extremely fast crosscutting that had been pioneered in television commercials, where the faster the message arrived, the better. In the process, the MTV audience learned to see much more quickly and recognize what sometimes quite surreal montages were saying or what they were alluding to - no small accomplishment.

Of course, that is not the whole story of MTV, which also came to project the most dehumanizing images of black people since the dawn of minstrelsy in the 19th century. Pimps, whores, potheads, dope dealers, gangbangers, the crudest materialism and anarchic gang violence were broadcast around the world as "real" black culture.

At first, far too many black people were taken in by the cult of celebrity and the wealth that came to these gold- toothed knuckleheads and mindless hussies to realize what was happening. The lowest possible common denominator was seen as the norm. The illiteracy and rule-of-thumb stupidity was interpreted as a "cultural" rejection of white middle-class norms.

It was as if these dregs had the same heroic position in our time as the largely uneducated Southern black poor of the civil rights movement. Those Southern black people, like the marvelous Fannie Lou Hamer, proved to this nation and to the world that they not only deserved their constitutional rights, but had something both noble and soulful to add to our American understanding of the richness of the human spirit. We are a much greater nation because of the success of the civil rights movement. As they emerged from beneath the bloody rock of segregation, those Southern black people brought to our national identity a compassion and a bravery of immeasurable value.

Unfortunately, the crabbed thug culture that was popularized through MTV brought nothing big with it other than some paychecks.

More here

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tone's "Alliance of Moderation" Recruits Piano Player

Tony Blair wants an "Alliance of Moderation" to combat the "Arc of Extremism." Well, I guess that rules Israel out then (the Israelis are to moderation what Ted Bundy was to feminism). Moderation is so last week, Tony.. you know.. back before Qana.

If the "Yo, Blair" episode didn't tell us all we needed to know about the nature of your "special relationship" with Dubya, Tone, the fact that Arnie "I'll be back" Schwarzenegger is the only politician on the other side of the pond prepared to talk to you about climate change, tells us the rest. It seems our PM has eschewed any pretence of statesmanship in favour of hangin' with Snoop Dogg in L.A.'s Sky Bar as Lebanon burns. "Yo, Tone! How does it feel to be Bush's bitch?"

Perhaps Blair was referring to the composition of the international peacekeeping force earmarked for southern Lebanon? If we're going to throw some nice Christians into the buffer zone between the Islamic and Israeli lions, then let's make sure we get the right guys and gals for the job. What good would an "Alliance of Moderation" be without Harry Connick Jnr? We need a piano player; that's a given, and the Vice-Chairman of the Board's gotta be the first name on the list. Laura Dern, she's a sweet girl. A hottie for Hezbollah in exchange for the Israeli hostages? Jim Carrey would be a wild card, a joker to undermine the jihad.

I reckon Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes could solve this dispute on their own. What South Lebanon needs now is Scientology. Hubba-Hubba, Hezbollah, it's Katyusha Katie and the Cruise Missile! Do the El Ron Ron, the El Ron Ron.

Swingin' Sounds for Hipsters vol. 2

I've just completed another iTunes imix, Swingin' Sounds for Hipsters Vol.2. Volume 2 is complementary to Volume 1, but concentrates on modern music with a retro flavour. It's subtitled Nova Bossa, Jazz Joints and Electro Lounge.