Tag Archives | Pop Culture

Living Today With Replicant Memories

arminjar 18-17-23Via OMNI Reboot, Roy Christopher ponders whether total media saturation has programmed our memories:

In his 1999 book Culture Jam, Kalle Lasn describes a scene in which two people are embarking on a road trip and speak to each other along the way using only quotations from movies.

We’ve all felt our lived experience slip into technological mediation and representation. Based on this idea—and the rampant branding and advertising covering every visible surface— Lasn argues that our culture has inducted us into a cult. “By consensus, cult members speak a kind of corporate Esperanto,” he writes, “words and ideas sucked up from TV and advertising.”

Indeed, we quote television shows, allude to fictional characters and situations, and repeat song lyrics and slogans in everyday conversation. Lasn argues, “We have been recruited into roles and behavior patterns we did not consciously choose.” Lasn presents this scenario as if it were a nightmare.

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Destroying Corporate Status Via HyperStyle

Circa 1990, from the monthly VHS-format periodical Dance International Video Magazine, a segment set in the future describes a hypothetical fashion movement known as HyperStyle. Swathed in "barcodes, plastic fabrics, logo wear, Nusilk fabric, virus accessories", HyperStyle adherents destabilize the corporate order by co-opting and devaluing brand identities…including barcode-vision goggles and NASA sweatpants:
Today's crisis can be tracked back to 1990. During one of the first green-house summers, a new fashion appeared, that pirated the emerging corporate culture. Perpet[r]ators of this style hijacking corporate technology graphics and exploited them through wearable clothing. First seen in London, England, c1990. The designers did not vandalize the corporate imagery, but rather reproduced it exactly. The resultant confusion led to devaluation of corporate status.
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“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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Let’s Go To Hunger Games Camp

Between troubled-teen institutions and juvenile incarceration rackets, is there no place where a child can go to enjoy the fascist experience? I know, Hunger Games Camplet’s take them to Hunger Games Camp! In Florida, of all places!

I think it’s great that we’ve embraced a dystopian novel about children fighting to the death on behalf of their proletariat sectors to satisfy a despotic aristocracy.

VIA Tampa Bay Times

“What are we going to do first?” shouted 14-year-old Sidney Martenfeld. “Are we going to kill each other first?”

“No! No violence this week,” the camp’s head counselor was busy telling the children. But keeping the kids from talk of murder would prove difficult. That was, after all, the driving plot point of The Hunger Games — and this was Hunger Games camp.

At the end of the week, the 26 kids expected to compete in a real-life Hunger Games tournament. They’d spend the next few days training.

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The Ugly Truth: What the Drop in Unemployment Doesn’t Tell You.

ratrace

It’s the same game, only harder!

The truth is out.  We are living in a time when a shocking four out of 5 U.S. adults will struggle with joblessness or poverty.  This revelation not only flies directly in the face of another drop in unemployment, but reconfirms what many of us had already known, we’re in trouble.

If you find yourself looking for a job, you’re in an over-crowded market where the young and educated are relegated to jobs well below their intellectual station. This is due in part to the heavy competition at the of the top of the job market among the highly-skilled.  Basically, those left out of the jobs they really want are knocked down a peg, creating what Economist Paul Beaudry calls “cascading.”  The top pushes down on the middle and the middle pushes down on the bottom, burying those who are most vulnerable and under-qualified.

This phenomenon stems from what’s been deemed  The Great Reversal.”  That is, there used to be an over-abundance of high-paying jobs that required skill, intellectual capital and education, but now there just aren’t.  In fact, demand for those types of jobs peaked all the way back in the year 2000.  That’s right, even with all this talk of a “skills gap,” the need for high-skill jobs actually stopped growing 13 years ago.… Read the rest

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Polish Conference Of Exorcists To Focus On Madonna, Body Piercings, Horoscopes

madonna Are today’s youth at risk from the demonic subliminal messages in nineties pop culture? The Telegraph reports:

Madonna will feature on the agenda of a secretive five-day meeting of European exorcists in Poland.

“Part of the conference is dedicated to the hidden subliminal message in communication, and this choice was inspired by the woman who dares to call herself Madonna,” said Father Andrzej Grefkowic, an exorcist and one of the organisers of the conference. “We’ve been worried about her concerts.”

Father Grefkowic also warned of a growing risk from Satan, highlighting the increasing popularity of tattoos, body piercing, horoscopes and magic shows as ways evil could corrupt people.

About 300 exorcists are expected to attend the five-day conference, which is held every two years, at the Jasna Gora monastery, the most holy site in Poland. Along with analysing the apparent risks posed by modern fashions and trends, the exorcism conference will also discuss ways to deal with possession.

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Sharknado: Return of the B-Movie

Sharknado_posterB-movies are back with a vengeance, thanks to social media sensation Sharknado, reports the Guardian:

Sharknado, pundemic on Twitter, has restored the B-movie back to its rightful place in American life: cult summer blockbuster and universal inside joke. To join in you don’t need a TV or even to have seen the movie. You only must appreciate absurdity (and tolerate portmanteaus).

In case the title left anything to doubt, a quick summary of the film: a tornado spews sharks into Los Angeles. One lands in Tara Reid’s pool, another bounces off a barstool. Helicopters throw bombs at the weather. A character named ‘Fin’, played by a Chippendales dancer, leaps into the open jaws of a projectile Great White and chainsaws his way out of its rubber belly, screaming. The tagline reads: “Enough said”.

SyFy only pulled 1.4 million viewers – below average for their original movies and over 6 million fewer than watched The Big Bang Theory on CBS that night, yet as Vulture put it, “Sharknado won the Internet Thursday”, with over 5,000 tweets a minute at the height of the online frenzy.

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Rift Amnesia– How Close Are We to Inventing the Matrix?

(Image Credit- theverge.com)

(Image Credit- theverge.com)

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Oculus Rift reaction videos floating around the Internet.  In case you haven’t— Oculus Rift is essentially the first accessible, high quality set of stereoscopic virtual reality goggles.  Typical reactions to trying the goggles include awe, disbelief and mild confusion about voices in the room, due to the user’s brain being tricked into thinking they’re actually in the virtual space they’re perceiving.  If our brains are so easily tricked into accepting a new reality within minutes, it seems plausible that we aren’t too far from a virtual world so real, seductive and full of sensory stimulation that we might actually forget we’re in it, or just not want to leave it.

Admittedly, adorning a nice VR headset is not enough to seamlessly integrate us into an electronic world, but coupled with a technology known as a BCI (brain-computer interface), it might be.  The idea of a brain-computer interface may sound like straight up Science Fiction, but scientists have actually been experimenting with, and researching BCIs thoroughly since the 1970’s.  Animal and human subjects fitted with BCIs have been able to manipulate cursors, games, implants, objects and yes, three-dimensional VR environments in a shockingly wide variety of ways just by thinking about it.  How is this possible?  As it turns out, the human brain has quite a knack for changing and figuring things out on the fly, often with basically no learning curve.  Scientists call this phenomenon “neuroplasticity.”  Take, for example the case of 14-year-old teenage boy fitted with a subdural (beneath his skull) BCI.… Read the rest

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Bret Easton Ellis on the ‘Reign of the Gay Magical Elves’

EllisBret Easton Ellis, author of modern classics Less Than Zero and American Psycho, writes about the lionizing of celebrities who announce they are gay for OUT:

Was I the only gay man of a certain demo who experienced a flicker of annoyance in the way the media treated Jason Collins as some kind of baby panda who needed to be honored and praised and consoled and—yes—infantilized by his coming out on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Within the tyrannical homophobia of the sports world, that any man would come out as gay (let alone a black man) is not only an LGBT triumph but also a triumph for pranksters everywhere who thrilled to the idea that what should be considered just another neutral fact that is nobody’s business was instead a shock heard around the world, one that added another jolt of transparency to an increasingly transparent planet. It was an undeniable moment and also extremely cool.

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