Western values? They enthroned the monster who is shelling Ukrainians today
Indeed more than that, London and New York are not just guilty of hosting oligarchs – giving them visas, selling on their most valuable real estate and famous businesses – they helped create the oligarchy in Russia. The US and the UK funded, staffed and applauded the programmes meant to “transform” the country’s economy, but which actually handed over the assets of an industrialised and commodity-rich country to a few dozen men with close connections to the Kremlin.
“The record is meant to be listened to in one sitting and you can't appreciate it totally unless you do that,” Hollis told Steve Sutherland in an interview with Melody Maker. “I don't think it's asking too much to expect people to at least concentrate on what's there, actually listen with a totally open mind. I'm not in the position where I need to make the sort of album other people want any more, I can decide what to do and how those ideas get developed, but I hope in the end to be understood for the music I do decide to put out and meaning and sense the music has.”
Russia never could have become such an oil and gas superpower without the help of western oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP, which owns a 20% share of Rosneft, Russia’s state owned oil company. Back in 2014, when Rosneft’s oil and gas production was largely flat, ExxonMobil partnered with Rosneft to help them modernize operations and expand production in the Arctic. The partnership went so well that Putin awarded former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia bestows on foreigners.
Stoker and Murnau ensured that the idea of the vampire would be infected with antisemitism, and vice versa, for many years to come. Adolf Hitler in 1925’s Mein Kampf refers to Jewish people as vampires and bloodsuckers, and calls them “that race which shuns the sunlight.” In the 1931 Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, the titular vampire first appears wearing a large star of David necklace, identifying him as Jewish, and/or comparing the undead, blood-sucking monster to Jewish people. The vicious 1940 Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew, picks up numerous tropes from Nosferatu, according to scholar Eric Rentschler. That includes most vividly its equation of Jews with vermin and rats, and its charges of sexual predation (The Eternal Jew makes the outrageous false claim that Jewish people controlled 98% of prostitution worldwide.)
Here’s the odd thing—26 years on, he hasn’t stopped. He’s been playing about 100 shows annually ever since, growling through a set of songs old and new with a small band. It’s an endeavor that for a good chunk of each year keeps him on a private bus and, in the U.S. at least, in relatively crummy hotel and motel rooms. (He’s said to prefer places that have windows that open and allow him to sleep with his pet mastiffs. Beyond that, they are places fans wouldn’t expect to find him.) The shows at first may have been a tonic, but over time they revealed themselves to be a panacea. It must have struck Dylan: How could he look foolish if he just kept doing the same thing? If he were an artist, he would continue to create and show his art publicly. If he were a celebrity, he would appear in public. And if he were a seer, a prophet, or even a god, well, he would let folks pay and see for themselves how mortal such figures actually were.
Spotify used the financial model of arbitrage to obtain a cheap if not free product—digital music—and resell it in a new context to realize profit. In other words, Spotify’s profit requires that digital music have no value. Spotify continually talks down the value of music on their platform—they offer it for free; they tell musicians we are lucky to be paid anything for it; they insist that without their service, there is only piracy and zero income.
Lindsay Ellis’ video “Mel Brooks, The Producers and the Ethics of Satire About Nazis” argues convincingly that a seemingly lightweight approach can be more subversive than treating Nazis as demonic villains with a coherent ideology that need to be fought on its own ground. She makes a case that the apparent bad taste of depicting neo-Nazis as laughable buffoons in The Producers has proven resistant to co-option by fascists, while the way Edward Norton’s neo-Nazi character is framed by director Tony Kaye and the articulate nature of his racist arguments in American History X upend its intended message, leading it to find a cult following among contemporary fascists. Raiders is shallow by design, with no reflection on how Indiana might share elements of the ideology he’s fighting, but it cedes no ground to the aesthetic of “fascinating fascism.” Named by Susan Sontag in a 1974 essay, the concept suggests, in films like The Night Porter and The Damned, that Nazism was a playground of kinky sex.
Critics such as Alison Willmore suggest that Zhao’s multinationalism (born in Beijing, educated in the UK and now living in the US) has lent her a new, authentic insight into American life – Zhao has commented that the America she encountered is “not what I saw in the movies.”
Gorra argues that the racism and the failures in moral reasoning that characterized Faulkner’s life refract brilliantly in the work: “They speak to us of a riven soul; of a battle in which the right side doesn’t always win.” Rather than separating the artist from his art, Gorra suggests that the two are entwined; Faulkner’s racism informed his devastating portrayals of it.
Com profundo pesar sentei-me à margem de tudo, à beira do mundo, onde até Deus termina.
You would expect him to have been a terror on set, and Tarkovsky had his tyrannical moments. In Michał Leszczyłowski’s 1988 documentary, “Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky,” which chronicles the making of “The Sacrifice,” assistants can be seen walking into a meadow muttering, “Everything yellow must go.” For the most part, though, Tarkovsky’s crews became swept up in his quixotic passions. The director’s son Andrei recalled how Sven Nykvist, Bergman’s longtime cinematographer, who shot “The Sacrifice,” described the prevailing mood: “We were giving totally for Bergman because we were afraid of him, and we gave everything to Tarkovsky because we loved him.”
But Melville, though born the same year and in the same area as Whitman, looked the other way—not forward to the democratic apotheosis but backward to Calvinism and its dark negations.
When I was a kid and Martin Luther King was trying to enlighten people, Blowin’ in the Wind personified the future. That opening line, “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?” is amazing. That song helped me as a person of colour and the things Dylan was singing about are still happening, from hate crimes and attacks on Asians to the George Floyd situation. We’re still walking those roads, because that’s the only thing the common man has against power. We come together, we protest and hopefully build up enough momentum for things to change.
We’re also celebrating Dylan’s epic resilience. We live in times where everyone jostles for attention, for approval, for applause. Conversely, Dylan’s attitude of supreme indifference to the press, or to public opinion, or even towards the Nobel prize committee, seems somehow stirring, comforting even. It’s not so much that he annoys his critics every few years, it’s more that he simply doesn’t think about them. He follows his muse. Down the decades he has been Little Richard electric, Woodie Guthrie folk, his own folk, his own electric, imperious, stoned, quasi-biblical, country, crooning, pastoral, comeback, Gypsy, despairing, Christian, biblical-biblical, Jewish, nowhere, drunk, back again, lost, finger-picking, back again, mighty and unbowed, Santa, Sinatra, and at the last … transcendent. And you feel when you listen to his work as though you are partaking in some part of his mighty endurance. Like he’s sharing some form of heroic tenacity or stoicism. Quite literally, you are given strength.
At 80 Dylan has lived a third of his country’s history, becoming both cultural titan of modern times and shaman from “the old weird America”. He once claimed “the Dylan myth wasn’t created by me - it was a gift from God”, but he has been a willing accomplice, a magus distilling his personal gnosis as much from religion as from music or art, one steeped in Judaism and Christianity, though ancient Rome is a surprisingly consistent strand. Women remain the other element in the alchemy, but despite a trove of love songs, variously tremulous, ardent or betrayed, Dylan remains an old testament prophet, forever promising “A wave that can drown the whole world” or warning “You gotta serve somebody”. Apocalypse is always imminent, but first, he’s heading for another joint on the never-ending tour.
Yet at the same time, Melville’s book subverted those ideas. It tacitly addresses slavery and struggle; it is not a coincidence that one of its most extraordinary chapters, “The Whiteness of the Whale” overturns a notional purity. “It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me,” Melville writes, and cites images of the “higher horror in this whiteness of . . . woe”. Among many contemporary artists inspired by the book is the internationally celebrated Ellen Gallagher – New England-born, of Cape Verdean and Irish parents – who subtly interrogates the implicit themes of race in Moby-Dick through her Watery Ecstatic series. Add to this Melville’s astonishingly overt homoeroticism (not least the “marriage” of Ishmael and the tattooed South Sea islander Queequeg, one of the first persons of colour to appear in western fiction), and you have a book almost postmodern in its elegant ellipses.
Four years under Trump has also taken its toll. “It’s been a terrible atmosphere to live in,” she says. “You try to do your work and not let [politics] permeate your consciousness daily but it does. It’s very insidious.” She notes that she and the outgoing president are about the same age. “I have encountered him in New York through the years and found him a horrible, narcissistic person and just a bad businessman. I’ve seen the debris of his deals. I think the damage he has done is going to be felt for a long time. It’s not going to be so easily healed because globally he has empowered people of a like mind.”
Vemos algumas pessoas defenderem a manutenção da atividade econômica, dizendo que “alguns vão morrer” e é inevitável. Esse tipo de abordagem afeta as pessoas que amam os idosos, que são avós, pais, filhos, irmãos. É uma declaração insensata, não tem sentido que alguém em sã consciência faça uma comunicação pública dizendo “alguns vão morrer”. É uma banalização da Vida, mas também é uma banalização do poder da palavra. Pois alguém que fala isso está pronunciando uma condenação, tanto de alguém em idade avançada, como de seus filhos, netos e de todas as pessoas que têm afeto uns com outros. Imagine se vou ficar em paz pensando que minha mãe ou meu pai podem ser descartados. Eles são o sentido de eu estar vivo. Se eles podem ser descartados, eu também posso.
The core Budd sound of yearning piano motifs and reverb-laden impressionism is often called minimalism. But compared with the cyclical craft of Steve Reich and early Philip Glass, his low-key, expansive forays felt deftly maximalist. This has made Budd’s craft synonymous with the dreamworld. An heir to Satie and Debussy, his music was treated and poetic, never kneejerk nor incautious. The disembodied mantras of 1986’s Lovely Thunder, for instance, have guided countless listeners through the nebulous no man’s land between consciousness and sleep.
Faced with such unbridled flagrancy, the US establishment has never been keen to accept the idea that Melville may just possibly have been gay. And it must have rankled to have the brilliance of his book pointed out to them by a bunch of British queer writers. When a modest Everyman edition appeared in London 20 years after Melville’s death in 1891, DH Lawrence declared it a work of futurism before futurism had been invented; EM Forster and WH Auden extolled its queer nature. Virginia Woolf read it three times, comparing it to Wuthering Heights in its strangeness, and noted in her 1926 diary that no biographer would believe her work was inspired by the vision of “a fin rising on a wide blank sea”.
Every time I pushed through another mental barrier, I grew more certain of a philosophy that was slowly taking shape in my mind. Fear is never a good reason not to do something. Up to this point, I think I’d believed that if you were afraid of something, it meant it wasn’t good for you to do that something. But as each challenge was overcome, I started to experience the immense rewards of using fear as a catalyst for action, rather than a deterrent. Fear can give us rational boundaries that protect us from excess. But it can also be crippling. The trick is figuring out which fears are worth keeping and which fears are worth pushing past.
If Heaven’s Gate epitomizes the excesses of the 70s film-brat boom in Hollywood, then it should also represent the revolutionary spirit at its core – a determination to reject the myths and traditions that studio film-making had stodgily upheld. It’s an anti-western, for starters. It’s also just anti-west, in that it’s about how the civilizing forces that tamed the country in the mid-to-late 1800s were, in fact, the villains, violently suppressing the dreams of immigrants and other unfortunates. Immigrants may have built America, the film suggests, but only the few could take ownership of it.
As palavras importam. São carregadas de conotações, referências. A escritora argentina Luisa Valenzuela, cuja obra é um exercício linguístico de desconstrução de mitos e enunciados, diz que “a linguagem é em si mesma uma forma de máscara: cobre e desvela ao mesmo tempo”. A língua é resultado das relações de poder na sociedade. Seus enunciados, no nosso mundo, refletem o poder que homens exercem sobre as mulheres, brancos sobre negros, europeus sobre indígenas, aqueles que têm sobre os despossuídos, héteros sobre os gays, e daí por diante. Termos racistas como “judiaria” ou “meia-tigela” se perpetuam, pois esquecemos sua natureza e os normalizamos.
The Laughing Stock reissue sounds amazing, as good as the album's ever sounded, in any format. Which is crucial, because on some level Talk Talk's later albums are all about sound. How startling, isolated moments of sound, or a formless wash of sound, can wring emotions out of listeners as powerfully as any conventional melody. How the ambient sound of the room in which an album was recorded can be used almost as instrument in itself, and how the studio can be used to create a sense of environment in the listener's mind that has nothing to do with recording booths and control decks. How far the sound of a rock song can be pared back and loosened up and still be "rock," or even still be "a song." And especially how sound can become all the more powerful when surrounded by silence, great gulfs of which are all over the later Talk Talk albums, especially Laughing Stock, captured here in a remarkable vinyl mastering job on Ba Da Bing's part.
“He caught something that was in the air,” says the writer Colm Tóibín, who has known him for almost 30 years. “A sort of paranoia, a sense that things were ending, an idea that nothing was not connected, and that much was a kind of illusion. The illusion interested him, and he set about finding a tone that would match an undercurrent in the world, a secret energy, that had replaced reality and had become a reality that was more like echo than sound.
I kept that principle of mobility. It is improvising by itself all the time. In some way it is improvising itself.
I like them because they’re from this era where the technology is imperfect, just because of the way it was at the time. It’s not like they were trying to make them unstable or whatever, but they had no choice. I think it works in favor of the type of music I do because having those instabilities brings all sorts of interesting overtones and psychoacoustic effects out. But I think those instruments in particular, they create the kind of sound world that I’m looking for. They’re instruments the same as a violin is an instrument – each one is unique.
I have to admit that, after all these years, it remains something of a mystery to me what it is exactly that Fahey does that so mesmerises, despite having had it explained to me by several accomplished guitarists and Fahey enthusiasts. For me, the obvious dexterity and seemingly effortless technical brilliance of Fahey's playing is only one part of the equation of his greatness. His songs often work on me like a spell through his use of those strange tunings, his reliance on repetition, dissonance and layered melody as well as the way he constantly introduces slightly different variations on a single pattern. Put simply, his playing just draws me in every time and takes me somewhere else: a place approaching the realm of attentive daydream.
“Para Borges, o âmago da realidade estava nos livros: em ler livros, escrever livros, conversar sobre livros”, escreve Manguel, e continua: “De maneira visceral, ele sabia que dava continuidade a um diálogo iniciado havia milhares de anos, o qual ele acreditava que nunca terminaria. Livros restauravam o passado”.
Yet his pioneering role in the digital music adventure deserves recognition. For Allison, the spirit of music33 lives on in Bandcamp, not iTunes. “Because they’ve worked out a way for artists to keep their work and still turn a profit. Such business thinking didn’t exist at the time. Wilson was way ahead but there was no structure for his ideas. He was like Nostradamus.”
The obvious way to mitigate the shortages of food that the UN anticipates is to throw less away. After decades of plenty in some parts of the world, about one-third of the food that is produced each year, or about 1.3bn tonnes, goes to waste. The proportion of the budget of the average British household that goes on food has come down from more than 30% in the 60s to below 10% today. (After Singapore and the US, Britain has the cheapest food “basket” of any country.) It is little wonder that a commodity that people buy so casually, and with such little regard for the natural resources and human ingenuity that have gone into its production, should be discarded in such quantities.
Nevertheless, Gray is right to point out that linear progress is a kind of default way of thinking about history in the modern west and that this risks blinding us to the ways in which gains can be lost, advances reversed. It also fosters a sense of the superiority of the present age over earlier, supposedly less “advanced” times. Finally, it occludes the extent to which history doesn’t repeat itself but does rhyme.
It’s all so stupid. Commercial fishing is by far the greatest cause of ecological destruction at sea, but produces less income and employment in the UK than the industries it wrecks. Recreational angling alone, which is perpetually threatened by the absence of fish, generates more jobs and money than commercial fishing. Whale and dolphin watching, diving and snorkelling would, if allowed to prosper, greatly enhance the livelihoods of coastal people. And this is to say nothing of the immeasurable improvements in the lives of everyone connected to a thriving, abundant living system.
Manzarek and Krieger’s lawyers tried to paint Densmore as a dangerous communist – even citing a piece he wrote that was published in the Guardian as evidence for this – but eventually, and spectacularly, he won. He wrote a book about the case, published in 2013, and donated the profits to the Occupy movement. “Money is like fertiliser,” he says. “When spread around, things grow; when it’s hoarded, it stinks.”
O Brasil é a Amazônia, mas a Amazônia não é o Brasil. Não existe comércio nessa relação. Não há paga, não tem ciclo do valor, trata-se de uma irredutível ecologia da dádiva, num sentido tão puro que chega a ser perturbador. Toda economia da dádiva de que tenho notícia inclui a reciprocidade, a obrigação de dar, receber, retornar e até iniciar uma outra dádiva, sob pena de uma profunda violência. Até mesmo no sistema cristão do sacrifício de si absoluto existe a noção de um retorno, ainda que em outro reino.
Os conhecimentos e práticas dos povos indígenas têm sido reconhecidos em foros internacionais, como ficou patente no Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC, na sigla em inglês), criado em 1988, e na Plataforma Intergovernamental sobre Biodiversidade e Serviços Ecossistêmicos (IPBES, na sigla em inglês), de 2012. A arqueologia brasileira tem posto em evidência que o enriquecimento da cobertura e dos solos da floresta – as fertilíssimas “terras pretas” – é fruto das práticas de populações indígenas desde a era pré-colombiana até hoje. E sabe-se agora que na Amazônia foram domesticadas dezenas de plantas, entre as quais a batata-doce, a mandioca, o cará, a abóbora, o amendoim e o cacau. Um artigo publicado recentemente mostra que até mesmo o milho, originário do México, passou por uma segunda domesticação na Amazônia.
Moreover, billionaires’ extravagant wealth is by and large not spent, as Zuckerberg suggests, on cutting edge research and philanthropic efforts. After they’ve bought up enough yachts and private jets they mainly invest in making themselves richer through casino-style financial speculation and in luxury real estate in starkly unequal cities like San Francisco, Miami and New York, where mostly vacant homes act as safety deposit boxes to shield wealth from taxation. Their money might also end up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, where it can sit undisturbed by the long arm of the state. Very little of that ever trickles down to the 99%, where inequality has skyrocketed and wages have stagnated.
In her book Learning From the Germans, the philosopher Susan Neiman observes that the enormity of the Holocaust has forced Germany to address the darkest aspects of its past. But it has also allowed Britain and America not to do so, to avoid thinking too deeply about the history of slavery or of empire, to minimise their horrors in comparison with the Holocaust.
But the greatest facilitator of race-hatred against refugees isn’t a tabloid; it’s Facebook. Researchers at the University of Warwick recently studied every anti-refugee attack – 3,335, over two years – in Germany. They found that among the strongest predictors of the attacks was whether the attackers are on Facebook. The social network aids the dissemination of rumours, such as that all refugees are welfare cheats or rapists; and, unmediated by gatekeepers or editors, the rumours spread, and ordinary people are roused to violence. Wherever Facebook usage rose to one standard deviation above normal, the researchers found, attacks on refugees increased by 50%. When there were internet outages in areas with high Facebook usage, the attacks dropped significantly.
“How much has first to be found, then suppressed, in order to arrive at the naked flesh of emotion.”
Why do we keep telling these stories? Why do our films depict sociopaths murdering to Mozart and not Metallica? Why must master criminals always time their nuclear strikes at curtain time? The answer runs deeper than box-office populism and derivative filmmaking. How a society pictures its villains is a revelation of its own anxieties. Opera-house assassinations, while a familiar trope, still strike a chord of Everyman angst deep in the American subconsciousness: a vein of populist paranoia that suspects the shiny trappings of high society—galas, gowns, orchestras—exist to disguise the brutal source of its wealth. Decorum is an accomplice to depravity. That we imagine secret cabals planning world domination at Tosca rather than Davos exposes something about our unspoken apprehensions, tells us that the public does not fear perversity or power so much as deception. These scenes materialize the phantom suspicion that the real threat to the Common Man is not the raving lunatic in the streets but the polite psychopath in the opera box. We mistake malevolence as sophistication because it’s wearing a suit and a tie.
Indeed, most of us don’t want to live like this, heads bent over a handheld device, twitching from one social-media outlet to another. Insidiously, though, the technologies that mediate our existence provide an illusory sense of mastery, as we tap a screen and summon brightly colored sweaters to our door. “The precise moment at which our needs are met,” Zuboff writes, “is also the precise moment at which our lives are plundered for behavioral data.” We find ourselves in an elegantly designed, frictionless trap.
Opposition to climate change is a symptom of a society that is politically polarised between those who cling to the past and those who recognise the need for a better future.
O bem viver nos inspira para pensar novas formas de viver que superem a concepção produtivista-consumista, depredadora da natureza, que leve em conta as exigências e os limites da Terra, que permita extrair dela meios de vida sem destruir as condições de vida. Não se trata de voltar atrás e todos retornarem à vida no campo. Trata-se de se apoiar nos seus princípios de vida para pensar e organizar a nossa vida social em convivência com a natureza e não em confronto com ela, em harmonia entre nós e não em guerra.
What’s the point of a healthy cholesterol reading and a low BMI if there’s no drinking water?
“For the first time in my life people are talking about class,” she says. “It’s just ridiculous that this was an unspeakable concept for so long – that is why we are in the predicament we are in.”
A maior conquista do novo complexo cognitivo-militar é que a opressão direta e óbvia não é mais necessária: os indivíduos podem ser muito melhor controlados e orientados na direção desejada, quando continuam a se enxergar como pessoas livres e como agentes autônomos de suas próprias vidas.
Human beings, born ultimately of the stars and now for a while inhabiting a world called Earth, have begun their long voyage home.
Near Heathrow airport, I looked up to see the microwaves passing through two huge dishes atop Hillingdon hospital, a pioneering 1960s centre now suffering – like much of the NHS – from a shortfall in funding. For a rent of a few thousand pounds a year, the machinery of private finance perches on the crumbling infrastructure of the welfare state: all that money, flowing invisibly just a few metres above the patients inside. This is how a difference in visibility translates into a difference in power: those who can see, can understand – and thus shape the world to their advantage.
Ecologically, economically and politically, capitalism is failing as catastrophically as communism failed. Like state communism, it is beset by unacknowledged but fatal contradictions. It is inherently corrupt and corrupting. But its mesmerising power, and the vast infrastructure of thought that seeks to justify it, makes any challenge to the model almost impossible to contemplate. Even to acknowledge the emergencies it causes, let alone to act on them, feels like electoral suicide. As the famous saying goes: “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” Our urgent task is to turn this the other way round.