"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Very Funny

I love remix culture, not just because its fresh and the toast of my generation, but because it often produces such great stuff.

Case in point, did you know that Garfield (the old comic strip about a cat) becomes hilarious if you remove the parts where Garfield talks?

Thank me later.

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Secretary Gates

I'm not paying real close attention, but my scan of the news reveals two big statements by Secretary of Defense to-be Robert Gates:

1) We're not winning in Iraq.

2) We're going to be required there for a "long time."

Does that seem nonsensical to anyone else? How long do we have to keep losing (killing and dying) before we meet our "requirements?"

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Why The Internet Is Good For Politics In The Long Run

The internet is good for politics, a welcome addition to aging machine organizations, broadcast campaigning, a moribund press corps and the "infotainment" of 24-hour cable news. Even though many lament the "coarsening of the discourse" and the sharpness and vitrol you can find in the online "fever swamp", it's not as if this is actually new. Talk radio is famous for this, and countless other subcultural media -- mostly on the right, but some on the anarchist or communist fringe -- have been at it for years. It's just out in the open now, which, if you want to address the problems of divisive politics, is a necessary first step.

The internet is good chiefly for two reasons:

  1. Lower Barriers to Entry and Decentralized Authority: basically anyone who meets a minimal (and increasingly ubiquitous) set of requirements can take part. This widens the circle of participation, prevents or at least counteracts stale and unhelpful assumptions (aka "conventional wisdom"), and creates more competition to deliver good results. Win win win.

    Also, the open playing field means that authority -- and by that I mean both who's "an authority" on something as well as who's the boss -- becomes decentralized and harder to work for. You're an authority because you put out something that builds a community of consensus, and in an open system it's hard to do that without transparency and hard to build a consensus around lies if you can't be opaque. Again, people will and are using this for evil as well as good, but the good is far more prevalent, and net/net it's a much better ecosystem for civilization than the Hurst empire.

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Art Idea

Fresh home from LA and posting this more or less straight from my journal in a brazen attempt at intentional reification.

An idea for new artistic process:

  • Workshopping text online, possibly backed with quick audio recordings of readings.
  • Workshopping performance for small intimate trusted live audiences.
  • Creating finished artistic product for online video (YouTube, etc) distro.

A lot of what I did for Axiom, spoken-word pieces directed at the audience, would adapt well to this form I think. It fits with a lot of my thinking, both about what will work and what I feel like doing. I also think that creating a process for this will help me actually do it, and to produce a high-quality result when I do.

Any comments from the peanut gallery?

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Every Speed On Our Knees Is Crawling

It's coming on the turn of the year, a time to draw up to my full height and survey the scene. I've been going around and seeing people I've not seen in a while, which has revealed that I really don't have a good 30-second explanation for myself these days -- you know, the kind of quick encapsulated "elevator pitch" of what's new and exciting in your life. It's not a particularly great or important thing to have in the can or spring on lots of people, but it's usually something I've got down pat, and the absence of this trusty bit of performance is indicative, I think, of the larger ennui with which I grapple.

Intention is a tricky bitch. It's hard line to walk between trying to force yourself upon the world and taking a back-seat role in your own life. One wants to be an active participant, to listen and respond in conversation with the universe, but at some point you've got to pull the trigger; and it sucks being wrong, to gamble and lose. It burns rare and precious soulful fuel taking these shots, runs down some energy reserve that seems to take an aeon to recharge.

I haven't done too well with decisions over the past four years. Most of the big things I've set myself towards doing intentionally -- personally, professionally, creatively -- have ended up going bust. In spite of this, or probably because i've had the good fortune to have so many fine at-bats, I've landed amazingly well: poised on the brink of a the best jobby-job ever; living the neobohemian dream; penetrating the global power-elite seemingly without even trying.

It's an old story. "...And I stumbled to safety" was designated the title of my autobiography years ago.

So I don't lament my lot in life. I am lucky and blessed beyond knowing, and everyone seems convinced that I'm bound for some sort of glory or another, an opinion I don't necessarily dispute even if it can get to be a bit of a weight to carry at times.

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Bank of America Sucks Ass

Part of the fun of being a web application professional is bitching about crappy online services I'm stuck with on my work blog.

UPDATE: Wes schools me. B of A and MBNA ROCK!

UPDATE TWO: In the spirit of fairness, and because this blog post is apparently somewhat popular, I should mention that many of the points in my post have been addressed in terms of BofA's user experience.

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Bloody Moustache

Glenn Greenwald just fucked Thomas Friedman up:

Tom Friedman is a morally bankrupt narcissist whose only devotion is to the self-love of his own genius. He emphatically advocated the war beforehand but included every caveat possible so that, no matter what happened, he could claim to have been right, which is exactly what he has been doing.

But tragically, there is nothing unique about Tom Friedman. What drives him is the same mentality that enabled the administration's invasion of Iraq and, so much worse, it is the mentality that is keeping us there and will keep us there for the indefinite future. We stay in Iraq in pursuit of goals we know are fantasies, because to do otherwise requires the geniuses and serious establishment analysts to accept responsibility for what they have done -- and that is, by far, the most feared and despised outcome.

This all seems true to me, and it's going to change very slowly if at all. Totally depressing. The hope is that as the current crop of individuals who comprise the current "Establishment" begin to retire or finally lose relevance, they are not replaced by more of the same, but rather by something structurally different.

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LA Notebook

This is the first time I've been down to LA under my own power. Previous trips were at the outset of Vagabender and way back in 1994 when my dad took me and the step-fam down for the Rose Bowl.

It's an interesting place. Lots of bright colors, flash, sizzle, spectacle. It's structurally totally distinct, but reminds me of NYC more than any other city I've been in lately. Something about the international diversity, the smell of a liquor store/deli, the type and tone of affluence...

Tonight I hung out with Julia and my sister. We chatted it up, watched a little Wheel of Fortune, had two beers (one at a depressing bar, the other judgemental) and told some old stories. It was nice. I'm totally beat from the 4am wakeup for the 6am plane ride down here.

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