Author Archive | James Curcio

Patti Smith’s Advice to Creative Youth

The ‘kernel of wisdom’ type speeches are usually a dime a dozen, but this one really hits the nail on the head. Everyone’s a poet, a musician, a painter in college. Those that are still at it a decade later may not necessarily be more talented than the ones that gave it up, or made a hobby out of it. No. They’re the ones that are hooked. Also, was there any irony in Burroughs suggesting to keep your name “clean”?

From Laughing Squid:

“You don’t do your work and say ‘I only want the cool people to read it’…”

In August 2012, punk’s grand dame Patti Smith was interviewed at the Louisiana Literature festival and doled out some fantastic advice to young creative people (truly it’s an inspiring listen for all creative types).

Video.

Patti Smith: Advice to the young from Louisiana Channel on Vimeo.

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Apocalyptic Imaginary: Best of Modern Mythology eBook

best-of_2011-ebook-frontThere is a limited time offer over at Modern Mythology: a free PDF of the 2011 “best of” anthology. It’s available as a direct link on the right sidebar of the site, and doesn’t require your email address (as many “free” eBooks do.)

More about the book:

This book captures and expands upon the unique commentary and analysis that has helped define the Modern Mythology project in 2011. Through the voices of many contributors, we collectively take a hard look at the blurred lines between narrative and truth, philosophy and literature, personal history and cultural memory. All of this is done with an eye towards the imagined apocalypse that is always just around the corner.

It’ll only be up there until the end of June, so nab it now. (Print edition.)

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Monsanto vs The World

001-monsanto-dmMonsanto—one of the largest agriculture and biotech companies in the world—creates genetically engineered seeds and food, or GMOs. They’ve also brought the world toxic chemicals like DDT, PCBs and even Agent Orange.

But who is Monsanto really? Why do many see them as one of the most evil companies on the planet—and why did 2 million people worldwide just stand up and march against this single company?

Monsanto vs. the World puts to rest the myths and shows the shocking reality. In this meticulously researched, short ebook, which cites nearly one hundred scholarly journals, books, studies, articles, WikiLeaks and even Monsanto’s own documents.

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Russia Warns Obama: Global War Over “Bee Apocalypse” Coming Soon

From the ‘don’t believe everything you read on the internet dept,’ Eutimes: warning of impending bee apocalypse? :

The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.

According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.

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Murdered Soldiers and the Mythology of Terrorism

From Mr VI on Modern Mythology:

Wednesday 22nd 2013, 1421  – Woolwich, South London.

That’s when the call was placed to police – that’s when the authorities became aware that two men were hacking another to death with machetes. But there were witnesses to this act – it happened in broad daylight. Bloodstained hands were caught on camera-phones, tweets going viral while the perpetrators explained why they had done it, to passers by.

They didn’t run, they waited for police. Fourteen minutes later, armed police showed up, and were charged by at least one of the perpetrators. They promptly shot him. Both perpetrators are now in hospital, under guard.

The dead man was a serving soldier. The perpetrators were young black men, who were Muslims. Media makes much of them shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic, and their statements that the reason for this is Western troops in Muslim countries.

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The Myth of the Lazy Youth

As we have seen time and time again, one of the challenges of modern myths is their relative invisibility. It is the outsiders of any age, those who are alien to their own times, that make the best artist shamans, and the same goes for mythic explorers. If you are too close to a culture, you will very frequently mistake the truisms of culture, the myths, as a fact. This is true with “human nature” (as we have seen), and it is also true with our myths of labor and work.

Let’s consider the example presented when one generation judges another,

“Twenge and Kasser analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked the views of a representative sample of 17- and 18-year-old Americans since 1976. They compared the answers to key questions given by high school seniors in 2005-2007 to those provided by previous generations.

To measure materialism, the youngsters were asked to rate on a one-to-four (“not important” to “extremely important”) scale how vital they felt it was to own certain expensive items: “a new car every two to three years,” “a house of my own (instead of an apartment or condominium),” “a vacation house,” and “a motor-powered recreational vehicle.” They were also asked straightforwardly how important they felt it was to “have a lot of money.”

To measure their attitudes toward work, the seniors rated on a one-to-five scale the extent to which they agreed with a series of statements, including “I expect my work to be a very central part of my life,” and “I want to do my best in my job, even if this sometimes means working overtime.”

The researchers found a couple of disturbing trends.

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Cultural Illness and the Curse of Shifting Sands, DSM V

Cultural Relativity

In evaluating dysfunction or illness, we have long followed the seemingly straightforward model of diagnose, treat, evaluate, iterate.

However, diagnosis has long been the secret — or not so secret — Achilles heel of the psychiatric establishment. Many philosophic issues arise, issues of cultural relativism, ethical issues of financial interests in pharmaceuticals, to name a few. These are issues that ‘by the book’ psychiatrists frequently dismiss as ‘merely philosophical.’ Indeed, it’s been a relatively long time since Freud or Jung were taken entirely seriously by the establishment doling out the meds. “By the book.” What is “the book”?

Since DSM-III (American Psychiatric Association 1980), disorders have been defined in terms of syndromes—that is, clusters of symptoms that covary together (see the section following, titled “Need to Explore the Possibility of Fundamental Changes . . .”). …

The major focus of field trials for DSM-III was establishing the reliability with which multiple clinicians could come to the same diagnostic conclusions when presented with a patient’s expressed signs and symptoms.

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Sinister Yoga

From Modern Mythology:

“Breathe in, hold in, breathe out, old, focus on purifying the mind and body with white light” — how many of you have heard this before? (Quite possibly while internalizing thoughts of lighting the teacher on fire as they use words like “sensation” as code for “agonizing, excruciating pain” as they twist you into a pretzel.)

Here at Modern Mythology we are often looking at the origin myths behind what has become rote practice. This may involve delving into etymological history or just conjecture about the possibilities that have since been forgotten. However, in this case, it seems that our work has been done for us. If you’d like to check out an alternative perspective on yoga and the myth of the yogi, check out David Gordon White’s “Sinister Yoga.” (This is not to say that alternative myths are not myths themselves.)

This approach challenges many of the preconceived Western notions of yoga.

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