In 1985, Neil Postman, an educator and media analyst wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death, in which he stated that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was a more accurate distopia than Georg Orwell’s 1984, because Huxley’s premise was that we in the capitalist world would enslave ourselves. We would become to the pleasures that capitalism gives. No big brother needed.
Huxley didn’t know how social media would addict us. But he anticipated it.
Postman did not anticipate it. TV was the great evil for him. I wonder what he makes of the 2nd great era of Television. I wonder what he makes of Black Mirror.
Postman failed. And when I say this, it’s because everyone I speak to lauds 1984 as THE book, even though our information is not controlled. Wikileaks makes big brother irrelevant. But the people I talk to don’t try to find the information that Big brother would censure. It’s out there. The internet and freedom of information has enabled revolutions all over the world. Not everywhere. But certainly in the affluent West.
Still, most of us spend out time online looking at pictures of cats.
It’s been a very dark year. And I’m not sure how to proceed.
But Maxixmumfun.org has provided me with alternative perspectives and managed to do it with humour, which is an amazing tightrope.
So, because I don’t have time to be an academic, I’m going to try as much as possible to process max fun’s podcasts on this here blog.
some teaching shit may creep in.
so imperfecting offering finds a new life!
It wasn’t an easy lure for me- the 100’s major premise, 100 kids under the age of 18 being sent back to earth nearly 100 after a nuclear apocalypse. The catch- these kids were chosen because they had broken laws of the “Ark station” but were deemed too young you be given capital sentences. What no one told them was that the Ark was becoming unsustainable. This return to the Ground was well ahead of schedule, but the rest of the inhabitants of the Ark were hoping that they might have miscalculated, and that life would be sustainable there.
This show grabbed me from the first episode. At first it seemed liked it could have been a poor man’s Lord of the Flies. A bunch of teenage criminals sent to fend for themselves. And the show clearly sets up that expectation. But it also introduces Clarke, an idealistic young woman who was imprisoned because she supported her father’s discover that the Ark would not be able to sustain life as long as they thought.
Clarke is smart, headstrong and exactly the kind of girl who gets told to “shut up” when others are wanting to luxuriate in their debauchery, when she’s the one thinking about where the next meal is coming from.
And then they realize they’re not alone.
To say more would be to introduce spoilers.
but i’m not done!!!
now I’m done!!!
well, if you can all bear with me for one last time, I’m moving digital house again. And I do promise it will be the last time in a long while. It’s my very own site and my very own domain, back up and running for the first time in over two years, and it’s awful nice to be home. And everything’s paid up for a good five years, so there’s no reason to go anywhere for quite some time.
where are we going? (that is if y’all are still with me. and by y’all, I mean all 10 of you. I may not have a lot of readers, but, as my grandmother always said when she had to get into a bragging rites war with rivals with more procreative prodigy than my mum and her brood of one, we go in for quality around here, not quantity.) since german squatters laid hold of my first digital home, we’re going to the less commerical and more patriotic venue of http://www.meadow4.ca/imperfectoffering. It’s good to be home.
Installing wordpress on my host server wasn’t too terribly difficult, but I did have to ask for some help from my host support crew, who are as quick on the draw and friendly as ever, and who work on the weekends apparently. The only draw back is that although wordpress imports everything and the horse you rode in on from other sites, it’s terrible at importing stuff from its wordpress sites. So I’ve been able to bring only my posts andnot my comments nor my links. There are ways to do both I’m told but they seem very complex and tedious and I hope no one will be too offended if I wait until they develop a better way to do it.
more finds from the digital frontier: the latest edition of firefox has a bunch of new toys called extension (about 1800 of them, in fact) that you can add on at will. Some are more fun than useful, like my Homestar Runner toolbar, thank you very much.
some still need tweaking, like performancing, which is a robust “blog it” kind of button allowing for easy posting, but while it works with my blogger account, it doesn’t recognize my login for wordpress.
some I’m not wholly convinced of their utility, but I’m willling to waste many hours of assessment. Like “jet eye.” You create an account, and the jet eye window sits where your history window might. When you come across a cool page, you can drop the link, or bits of text or a picture or whatever into a “jet pack.” This can then be shown, modified, and shared with others. Kind of like a free floating collective blog/wiki. Something appealing about this to me. Not sure what to do with it yet.
But Diigo! Diigo lets you annotate webpages, among other things. You create an account (all of these accounts are free), and then while you’re viesing a web page, you can highlight a bunch of text and, in effect, leave a permanent sticky note on that site, so whenever you view it, you can view your annotation. You can also make these annotations public to other diigo users.
I have wanted a tool like this for at least five years. This changes everything.
Every time we talk about how splintered the various poetry communities are in toronto, i bring myself to the conclusion that this is a condition of size. if there were only 20 people in the city interested in going to poetry readings, we’d all end up at the same place. if there was only one regular poetry reading series in the city, we’d all go, and take whatever they gave us. heck, growing up in st. kitt’s, there was only one venue for art of any kind: the Niagara Artist’s Centre. In my last year of high school, when I finally found a crowd i truly wanted to be part of, we would go to NAC any time they had something going, no matter what it was. I first saw the surrealist film Un Chien Andalou there. I first heard Kurt Swinghammer play there. I remember some one act play about the Mata Hari. And I have a vague blur of countless art exhibitions. As enriching as it was, I’ve just figured it was a condition of cultural impoverishment.
So, today, I came across the website for The Bowery Poetry Club, in NYC, and see that they’ve got events featuring hip hop, spoken word, slam, and the likes of Brian Kim Stefans, Lisa Jarnot, and Edwin Torres. Is this cross pollination a product of scarcity again? It would seem so, and yet, the BPC is not the only house of poetry in New York. There’s the venerated St. Mark’s Poetry Project, with its roots in the new york school, and associations with the experimental scene, and the Nuyorican Cafe, dominated by slam and hip hop.
incidentally, one of my friends from that high school scene went on to be the artistic director of NAC for a while, and one of my friends from my current life is going to be running a poetry reading there, which makes me all kinds of happy.
I’m in the process of getting my website back online, so I figured while I was at it, I’d see what was out there in the way of blog tools these days. MoveableType lost me when they went all corporate. Not that they shouldn’t have done that- more power to ’em. It’s just that I’m not all corporate, and not overly anxious to pay for my blogging tools. But I did miss those categories. And more than once I’ve wanted some kinda gizmo that would make it easier to update my blogroll, rather than having to go in and muck about with the template code by hand, risking clerical errors. I think I even tried to build one, back when I could do that kind of thing. WordPress has this function built right into its little engine. *AND* you can synch up the categories of your posts with the categories of your blog roll. nice.
One major drawback is that you can’t customize your blog if you’re not hosting it yourself. This is a big bummer, and they are promising to develop this in the future. I’m not personally too flummoxed- I found a theme that’s innocuous enough, and I can live without verdana for a little while longer.
so, here it is. the paint’s still drying. but I know where everything is.