Tag Archives | Pop Culture

Pete Seeger As Media Maker and Critic

Pete Seeger NYWTS 2Pete Seeger, my American idol, was a great singer, songsmith. Troubadour and progressive voice. His death was celebrated with tributes in leading newspapers the world over.

What’s less well known is that Seeger wanted to be a newspaperman, but thanks to his unique skills, deep talent and incredible artistry, he actually “covered” the world in ways that went above and beyond what appeared in much of the media.

He was ahead of the News with the Times never quite able to catch up. He touched hearts as well as heads.

At the same time, he sang about the media with an edge that didn’t win him many friends in outlets that treated him as an eccentric, not a major cultural voice.
Here’s a song he liked to sing, written by Vern Partlow, and reported on by the Guardian, safely outside the USA.

“Oh, a newspaperman meets such interesting people
He knows the lowdown (now it can be told);

I’ll tell you quite reliably off the record,

About some charming people I have known.

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The Psychedelic Christian Radio of Pastor John Rydgren

rydrenFeel the need for some old time religion on this Christmas Day? The best delivery method may be the bizarre late-'60s psychedelic Christian radio programming of John Rydgren. WFMU writes:
Heading into the Summer of Love, Pastor John Rydgren was the crafty head of the TV, Radio and Film Department of the American Lutheran Church. The straight-looking Rydgren created a daily radio show called Silhouette in which he became the reassuring, resonant-voiced Hippy for God. Rydgren wrote, announced and programmed Silhouette, taking his musical and cultural cues from The Electric Prunes, Herb Alpert and the cover of Time (Is God Dead?), with a vocal delivery that was straight out of the school of breathy baritone radio seduction. New York's WABC-FM picked up Silhouette on a daily basis, but Rydgren and the American Lutheran Church aggressively syndicated the show beyond New York, and in that effort, they issued a double LP in 1967.
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Examining Natural Disasters

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 7th, currently stands at 5,500 people.  Haiyan was the fourth strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded and is the deadliest in Philippine history (the second-deadliest was Tropical Storm Thelma, which killed around 5,080 people in 1991).  To compare, here are some mortality figures from other large-scale natural disasters that have taken place in recent history.

Typhoon Bopha, Philippines, December 2012 – 1,146 dead
Hurricane Sandy, U.S Eastern Seaboard, October 2012 – 286 dead
Earthquake and Tsunami in East Japan, March 2011 – 15,800 dead
Earthquake in Haiti, January 2010 – 159,000 dead
Hurricane Katrina, Gulf Coast, August 2008 – 1,833 dead
Earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan and India, October 2005 – 100,000 dead
Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, December 2004 – 250,000 dead

In addition to the number of victims, there are certainly many other factors to consider when assessing the impact that natural disasters have on humanity.  The magnitude of a disaster can be measured in absolute terms, such as the aforementioned mortality rate, as well as the physical extent of the area affected, the volume of infrastructure destroyed, and the financial cost of reconstruction.

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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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