Tag Archives | Counterculture

Slab City, CA: A Tourist Spot You May Have Missed

The Good German’s post on hobos and riding the rails reminded me of something I found last year. I had been watching a video about ridin’ the rails when my roommate mentioned this place to me: Slab City, USA:

The winter home for many ‘bago bums and trailer tramps, the slabs evidently heat up too much in the high summer. But each fall this becomes the destination of many former wage slaves who have slipped the shackles of the prized 40 hour work week. Just don’t mind the sounds of occasional explosions on the other side of the hill.

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William S. Burroughs Interviews David Bowie: Beat Godfather Meets Glitter Mainman

BurroughsIn 1972 counterculture legend William S. Burroughs interviewed David Bowie for Rolling Stone. Thanks to Teenage Wildlife, the resulting article by Craig Copetas is once again available. Here’s a small excerpt:

Burroughs: Only politicians lay down what they think and that is it. Take a man like Hitler, he never changed his mind.

Bowie: Nova Express really reminded me of Ziggy Stardust, which I am going to be putting into a theatrical performance. Forty scenes are in it and it would be nice if the characters and actors learned the scenes and we all shuffled them around in a hat the afternoon of the performance and just performed it as the scenes come out. I got this all from you Bill… so it would change every night.

Burroughs: That’s a very good idea, visual cut-up in a different sequence.

Bowie: I get bored very quickly and that would give it some new energy.

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The Underworld of the Periphery: Countercultures of the Future

From Modern Mythology

Those that just don’t fit, the underclass or outcast, those of the periphery, the counter-culture — these are popular topics around here, and for good reason,

“Peripheries are often border zones where peoples or things are thrown into unexpected contact, hybrid spaces yielding new possibilities for social and cultural organization.”

Think of the musical genres, poetic innovations, and linguistic creoles of the Caribbean; or think of the social “margins” or the “queer periphery,” where disenfranchisement and stigmatization give rise to relatively free experimentation in social practices and cultural life. Though centers may seem more advanced or more privileged than peripheries, decisive change and innovation often begin at the fringes. Yet the very tendency toward difference and transformation out on the margins often meets with a violent reimposition of norms from the center: Soviet tanks rolling into Prague, or the Janjaweed and Sudanese military sweeping through Darfur, or the police descending on Stonewall.

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The Manufacture of “Surveillance by Consent”

“the CCTV proposals in the Protection of Freedoms Bill are really about manufacturing consent”
No CCTV article ‘The Freedom Committee, CCTV / ANPR and the Manufacture of Consent’ (2nd May 2011) [1]

One nation under CCTV
Image by T.J.Blackwell

It’s not often that you get to witness the birth of a new philosophy but that is what we are told is at the heart of the new Surveillance Camera Code of Practice published by the UK’s Home Office this month [2]. Drum roll please, here it is, the new philosophy – “Surveillance by Consent”.

Now as new philosophies go it’s not the best and it’s not really new, nor is it a philosophy. In fact it’s more of a slogan, or more precisely a propaganda slogan. And what it contains a ready-made judgement to save you the trouble of thinking about the issue at hand, in this case surveillance. Surveillance you are told is by consent.… Read the rest

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The Parts Left Out Of The Patty Hearst Trial (Part 2)

[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on June 10, 2002. Continues from Part 1]

Before the trial, Bailey’s associate, Albert Johnson, had protested that, “contrary to what Sheriff McDonald says, [Patty Hearst and Sara Jane Moore, attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford] have not exchanged cordialities . . . I don’t want any inferences drawn from any conduct of the two of them simply because they are in the same institution, because there is absolutely no connection between the two cases.”

But there was a missing link–the murder of Wilbert “Popeye” Jackson, leader of the United Prisoners Union. He had been killed, together with a companion, Sally Voye, while they sat in a parked car at 2:00 in the morning. I learned from impeccable sources that the hit was known in advance within the California Department of Corrections, the FBI, the San Jose and San Francisco police departments.… Read the rest

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The Parts Left Out Of The Patty Hearst Trial (Part 1)

Groucho Marx said during an interview with Flash magazine in 1971, “I think the only hope this country has is Nixon’s assassination.” Yet he was not subsequently arrested for threatening the life of a president. In view of the indictment against Black Panther David Hilliard for using similar rhetoric, I wrote to the San Francisco office of the Justice Department to find out the status of their case against Groucho. The response:

Dear Mr. Krassner:

Responding to your inquiry of July seventh, the United States Supreme Court has held that Title 18 U.S.C., Section 871, prohibits only “true” threats. It is one thing to say that “I (or we) will kill Richard Nixon” when you are the leader of an organization which advocates killing people and overthrowing the Government; it is quite another to utter the words which are attributed to Mr. Marx, an alleged comedian. It was the opinion of both myself and the United States Attorney in Los Angeles (where Marx’s words were alleged to have been uttered) that the latter utterance did not constitute a “true” threat.

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23 Ways

[disinfo ed.'s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on December 21, 2001. Some links may have changed.]

23 Ways to Tell You’ve Read Too Much Robert Anton Wilson:

1. You like to dine on golden apples and lasagna that has flown over Bologna.

2. You have Lawn Gnomes of Zurich out front on the porch.

3. You sign your name with “fnord” at the end.

4. You got into a heated argument with the staff of Dictionary.com about the correct way to spell “coincidence”.

5. You wish you were shorter so you could change your name to Markoff.

6. Is that a reefer I see in your hand? Yeah, I thought so.

7. You can say “sumbunall” without hesitating or blushing.

8. Whenever you put off cleaning for too long you get the feeling that dust bunnies are conspiring to use mind control on you.

9.… Read the rest

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The Internet and Counterculture (A Retrospective)

As all the chatter about the “2012 end of the world” dissolves back into the white noise from whence it came, we are still presented a unique vantage point. We can look at once backward and forward on cultural trends, cresting and falling so quickly that in mere decades we can see patterns emerging that may have taken hundreds of years to arise before the advent of digital communication.

Of course, there’s no way a thorough investigation of any trend is going to happen here in the length of an introduction, within the time it takes me to sip my way through a mocha. But that is telling of these times as well. As Palahniuk observed through the mouthpiece of Tyler Durden in his seminal book Fight Club, we are all “single serving size friends, here.” (And is it also a sign of counter cultural mentality that a reference to a book and movie just a decade out of the gates might be considered hackneyed or out of date?) Our observations must also be single serving size, crammed into a 140 character tweet, or a 350 word blog post.… Read the rest

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Inside the Deep Web

Chris 73 (CC)

Shawn Wasson at The News Junkie describes his journey into the other Internet:

The Internet has evolved quite a bit since I first logged on to CompuServe in 1994. I’d spent a few years tooling around on BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) connections throughout the country at that point and the most visible portions of a forming World Wide Web were quite innocent in appearance. But as I ramped up my father’s 4600 baud modem and looked around at the fringes of online existence, I unknowingly caught a glimpse at the Web’s early underbelly. From there, pornography, craziness and illegal activities were easily accessible. There weren’t many people logging on so, naturally, there weren’t many people to police this new digital space. Eventually, as AOL, Prodigy and other ISPs became more mainstream, the more nefarious outlets vanished into the shadows. But where did it all go? I recently took a plunge into the ‘Deep Web,’ a sub-surface area of the Internet not indexed by search engines and only available to those on the forefront of technology, namely people connected to the Tor Network.

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