Tag Archives | Counterculture

“Unschooling:” Less Factory, More Garden

schoolsucksUnschooling takes to heart the old maxim that one should never let one’s schooling interfere with one’s education. This article from CNN describes unschooling in a formal setting, but it is more commonly practiced as a form of home-school:

Six-year-old Karina Ricci doesn’t ever have a typical day. She has no schedule to follow, no lessons to complete.

She spends her time watching TV, doing arts and crafts or practicing the piano. She learned to spell by e-mailing with friends; she uses math concepts while cooking dinner.

Everything she knows has been absorbed “organically,” according to her dad, Dr. Carlo Ricci. She’s not just on summer break — this is her life year round as an at-home unschooler.

“It’s incredible how capable she is,” Ricci said in a phone interview from his home in Toronto, Ontario. “And I think that all young people are that capable … if you don’t tell them they can’t or they’re not allowed, they surprise us in a lot of ways.”

Ricci is professor of alternative learning at Nipissing University and an advocate of unschooling, a concept that’s gaining popularity in both Canada and the United States thanks to frustration with the current public education system.… Read the rest

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Daniel Pinchbeck Launches Mind Shift: A New Kind of Talk Show

Daniel Pinchbeck, just launched a new kind of talk show called “Mind Shift.” Think Real Time with Bill Maher, but with a guest panel of mystics, countercultural philosophers and psychedelic artists. The first show rounded up Michael Muhammad Knight, Alex Grey, Howard Bloom and Jay Michaelson. Sounds good to me!

The FB page says:

“This is not a talk show about politics, and this is not a talk show to plug the latest books or movies. This is a talk show about the big ideas that aren’t talked about in the mainstream media. Big ideas that may scare some people but will inspire others.”

Take a look at what CULTiE writes about the first show.

From CULTiE.com

I’m highlighting Michael Muhammad Knight’s discussion here because of his unique subject: Islam and psychedelics. He has a new book out called Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing. That’s my favorite writing recipe right there!… Read the rest

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The Explosive Pop Art Cinema Of Pramod Pati

Avant-garde filmmaker Pramod Pati created luscious, poetic, beautifully-scored short films on behalf of the Indian government (sometimes with social-educational purposes such as promoting family planning). Highlights include Abid, below, and 1968's symbolism-rich Explorer. The Seventh Art provides some background:
Pramod Pati, who died an untimely death at the age of 42, worked for the Films Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India, which commissioned feature-length and short documentaries as well as short animation films for the purposes of cultural archiving and nationwide information dissemination. The documentaries generally consisted of profiles of artistes practicing traditional forms, educational films for adults, and simple moral tales and basic literacy courses for children. Although there was an obvious restriction on the type of subjects filmmakers can choose, the Films Division, like the Kanun in Iran, was free from commercial concerns and thus presented a higher scope for formal experimentation for directors.
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Landmark CCTV Case in Australia: Government Seeks to Change Law to Resume Surveillance

This sign is under surveillance
Image by lonely radio

Last week (2nd May), in the midst of Privacy Awareness Week [1], an Australian campaigner, Adam Bonner won a landmark decision against CCTV cameras in New South Wales [2]. The decision did not rule that the cameras in the town of Nowra should be switched off, but instead ordered the local council to stop breaching the Information Protection Principles of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act. Remedies were suggested by the Privacy Commissioner but suffice to say Shoalhaven council has switched the cameras off whilst deciding its next move.

The decision of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal New South Wales ordered that:

1. The Council is to refrain from any conduct or action in contravention of an information protection principle or a privacy code of practice;

2. The Council is to render a written apology to the Applicant for the breaches, and advise him of the steps to be taken by the Council to remove the possibility of similar breaches in the future.

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The Art of Harvey Kurtzman

Cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993) founded the satirical MAD magazine in 1952 and forever altered the way young readers experienced the media and consumer culture around them. As the late film critic Roger Ebert explained, “I learned to be a movie critic by reading MAD magazine. I learned a lot of other things from the magazine too, including a whole new slant on society. MAD‘s parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin–of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same dumb old formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe.”

After MAD, Kurtzman worked with a team of artists including Al Jaffee, Jack Davis and Will Elder on a series of short-lived but influential publications, including TRUMP, HUMBUG and HELP! At HELP!, a fortuitous nexus of nascent sketch comedy and underground “comix,” Kurtzman worked with then unknowns Woody Allen, Gloria Steinem and R.… Read the rest

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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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