"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Holy Crap!

Both Sasha and my Sister had been telling me about some web toon called Home Star Runner. So tonight was the night I actually visited. F'ing brilliant! It's the first on-line sitcom. At first I thought it was bullshit and stupid-cute, just some jackass "story" about a king and his sheep. And then I hit the "commentary" section and met Stong Bad. To understand this will take you about 15 minutes: approxomately the same time as it would to get you into a situation comedy.

Consider the universe of programming out here. We've got ROMP.com our own (NC-17) version of 90210 -- or Girls Gone Wild, depending on what level of sarcasm you can deal with. And there's Broken Saints, the long-running flash-toon dark/sci-fi saga. Plus a million smaller, one-off or small-run gigs. For instance the delightful Strindburg and Helium, who will be at Cannes along with iconic Odd Todd. There's an ever growing world of content out here. Someday it could rival TV.

So there are maybe a few hours total of prime-time-ready content, great, but the most amazing thing is that it's almost all free-range shit. No well-known corporate players. No congolmorate-financed weekly-updated series for $2 a month. Enjoy it while it lasts, because there's money to be made out here. As usual, sex is first, but soon others will arrive. Commercials. Product placement. Interactive interweaving of content and advertising. Brave new world; could go either way at this point.

But good or evil, it's the new medium people. The new medium will accept what you know, but it demands flexibilty of form for success. Your art will evolve. Your culture will evolve. Your customs will evolve. Your business will evolve. Your politics will evolve. You will evolve or else you will fall behind those who do. Not to say that all this is dark or orwellian. We don't need to be crap-hungry consumerists living in ever growing metropolises. We can still go back to the trees. But if we do we're taking the internet -- and most importantly the idea of the internet -- with us.

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I found some old performance text I'd not posted yet. Velocity High was the last collaboration I did with fun-loving Vermonter Johnny Nichols, who helped me develop The Best I Can, which is one of my more proud creations. He didn't actually play guitar with me, but he helped me work on it, and I think wrote a song based on the text later on when he was living up in Platsburg. Wonder what become of him...

I was about to post something about the new face of fascism in America (and apologists for McCarthy's inquisition to boot), but then dear old Capodice sent me this from McSweeny's. Lost audio commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chompsky on The Lord of the Rings. Chuckles all around. Eggers may be a pretentious ass, but he's got a good eye for good writing.

Finally, the USA Flag Balloon team emailed me again [context], this time with a long and kindly letter. Better than I deserved, in truth. I'm working on responding in kind. Maybe some useful dialogue is possible.

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Freak Power

I wrote in my little private paper journal a while back, writhing in a fit of angst and doubt about whether We will turn It around, "...and where's the Hunter S. Thomson of my generation? Probably off somewhere blogging..." I long ago fell under the sway of the Duke's particular brand of morality and truth-telling. He gets at the secret bloody crevaces of the human condition, sinking into the stinking realm of sweat and violence and fear. He's a dowager for the good kind of righteousness, a human divining rod for peace and honesty. He's an old man now, and probably too tired and burnt to take another tour on the front lines -- though God love him he's sure to try. Hence my intuative sense that these times demand a new incisive firebrand of Personal Truth and The Best Way Of Living, someone decidedly outside the fucking box and committed to driving forward like a scandalous addled cannonball. Sigh.

Hunter S. Thompson's latest, Kingdom of Fear, is a semi-auto-biography that blends little-known tales of the Gonzo Doctor's upbringing with current (circa summer 2002) observations and well-loved recollections from everywhere in between. There's something to be said about Hunter, something that's often lost in the lurid honesty about sex and drugs and power, and that's that the man can turn a phrase. His style is easily recognized, in truth even formulaic at times, but anyone who trots out the line that he's "become a parody" of himself if just player-hating. More than any of the excesses or eccentricities of his life, Thompson is a widely known and loved public figure because he has got game with words and ideas and the human spirit. If he were less of a Freak, he'd probably still be a best-selling novelist (or perhaps a successful politician). Instead he's what every lefty blogger wishes they were, someone who took the notion of first-person reportage to the limit and emerged with shining gems of quality and insight.

I take to heart Thompson's words about, "not endorsing my lifestyle for anyone else." I've seen many people who went after the HST tao of chemestry. It's not all that difficult. All you need are a few underworld connections and some ready cash; ask around at your local bar and someone will know someone who can hook you up. There's a phone number to be shared for whatever you're in the market for. What's far more rare are his mastery of language, heart-rending frankness and committment to personal ethics. These are his sources of value, not LSD or anything else.

It's common wisdom now that we're headed into another radical period, and in many ways the Establishment (The Man) is far more thuggish and well-equipped than last time around. Hew to the ethos.

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Image Overload

Here's a thought: everyone can tell you that JFK was the first TV-elected president. Without those debates and Nixon looking like shit while Kennedy shone like a god-child, it would have been a very different election. That was back when television was our symbol of progress. Today, the use of TV trickery has been mastered to its utmost by the Bush administration, but there's a new thing brewing. The TV is on it's way out, and the net is on it's way in.

The growing adoption of personal publishing via the internet is leading to a substantial shift in how people make decisions. Bullshit it harder to pass off, whether you're a corporation trying to cook the books or a politician trying to pull a fast one. Too many people are watching, pointing out the man behind the curtain. Mark my words, the net is going to have as much impact on American politics as TV did, and it should be a very good thing. I don't know how this election will go -- though since my man Howard Dean is the internet candidate, I hope this is the year the net breaks through -- but when today's teenage bloggers and community-makers are taking up the reins of state, the political landscape will be vastly different than it is today.

Hopefully the bi-directional and participatory nature of the internet will have an invigorating effect on civic life. Hopefully the core tennants of transparency, open-source and best-practice standards will penetrate the collective consciousness, replacing the current paradigm of stagecraft, chicanery and celebrity-worship. Hopefully we're going to see a positive, global, people-centric information revolution and not a feudal, big brother info-lockdown in the future. A lot of that depends on which direction this country is led over the next decade. Total information awareness or total information freedom. It's also about the soul of the political process: when you've consistantly got less than 60% voter turnout, democracy is ailing as a viable system.

There's a strong sense of purpose about these things.

Serindipity! As I post this, I find my original internet role-model Justin Hall is also piqued by Dean. Something big is going to happen. Radiohead says it in the best song on their new album, so at some point the kids are going to believe. "We don't want a monster taking over." Indeed.

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Here's some great amateur streaming video. I ain't talking porn here, either. It's the adbuster epiphany winners: an annual contest for culture-jamming videos. Some interesting stuff.

Here's a scary letter to the editor. A choice excerpt:

President Bush should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. This award has been given to undeserving recipients in the past. So it is highly unlikely it would ever be given to "W." He has certainly gained respect for and people's confidence in the manner in which he has conducted himself throughout the world.

If the grammer weren't so clunky, I'd say it came straight from the bowels of GOP Team Leader, the online astroturf (fake grassroots) generator that backs Bush.

Anyway, I found that while searching for a subscription-free (googleized) link to Krugman's latest for ya, which is here, and which you should read.

It's no secret that right-wing ideologues want to abolish programs Americans take for granted. But not long ago, to suggest that the Bush administration's policies might actually be driven by those ideologues ? that the administration was deliberately setting the country up for a fiscal crisis in which popular social programs could be sharply cut ? was to be accused of spouting conspiracy theories.

Scary stuff. I remember Steve talking about how he'd overheard a Rove interview where he hinted at this strategy. It's almost too Maciavellian to contemplate.

Finally, The Matrix takes a nosedive at the box office. The law of sequels reigns supreme.

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Memorial Day

Won at scrabble today:

Sasha: 226
Josh: 357

Bayback is a bitch.

Spent some much needed time with the lovely lady yesterday/today. All I had for the weekend was a little closeout manual labor arranged by my man Sam, yesterday evening down at the Clambake -- a meeting of theatrical design people so fucking invitation-only that it doesn't even have a website. After that bit of heavy lifting it was all gravy. Had girlfriend time and also time to fiddle with Kevin's new/used copy of Vice City, what a time-consumer that could become.

Best quote of the weekend comes via Archie, the EMT dispatcher and vetran of some 17 years ambulence driving who's a regular at my corner bar. "There's more to saving a life than just making a heart beat." Amen to that.

Heavy moments here and there, and few furtive, nervous, project-seeking urges; but it was sublime idle pleasure for the most part. Today was Jeremy's 24th birthday. Much debauchery at the Lyric. I am now committed to getting him and his damn website up and running.

And now to stare at my celing for a while. 4am, just waiting for sleep.

Enough with the coy realisms, let's be honest. I'm fucked up here. You are getting the locked on shit straight from the monkey-brain. I'm high on a few drugs, So realize what an effort it is to type and what it all means. I'm plugged into the mainline direct via my asshole, open to connections so you don't have to be. Honest.

  • Doc is right: the matrix is marketing. You be energy-providing meat, we entertain.
  • Got an email from Kayla van Allen. Gotta update that page.
  • Try to move Axiom to Friday the 6th of June.
  • Sasha as a NPR talk-radio hostess. The topic: sex as a general anesthetic.
  • Get in touch with some theaters about hosting Fray Day NYC.

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Insider Information

Here's something from below the newsmedia radar on Iraq:

I just got off the phone with my daughter who is stationed with the US Army in Germany. She spent the invasion of Iraq (or a good part of it) in Turkey, then returned to Germany.

Her unit was officially notified last week that it is moving to Iraq in July.


...Her first sergeant has told them that the place to which they are going periodically receives mortar and small arms fire.

The whole post is here at To The Barricades. Definitely a different perspective than what one would get from CNN or Faux News.

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The Guy Behind The Guy

Markos, proprietor of the Daily Kos, which I think is probably one of the premere sites for Democrat/liberal/progressive political news and discussion, has at long last revealed a bit about himself. I find the biography to be fascinating, to say nothing of his paino playing (mp3's are there as well as a list of accolades). It's always interesting to find out who's behind something. While this effort here is fairly egocentric and autobiographical, Kos has thus far been quite a bit more enigmatic. Fascinating how identity is revealed in this crazy online context, how much more it means to listen to someones music as oppposed to just a simple curricula vitae.

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Bday Photos!

Birthday photos are up:

Click here for the whole lot.

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More on Young Republicans

I'm actually reading the NYT piece on the New Young Republicans, and I think it's a mistake to simply deride these people for their "conformist" views and the fact that they probably don't get laid all that much. The truth is, they're exposing a dangerous weakness in the Left: the Liberal establishment. Leftism has become a dominant norm at many colleges, creating a political environment weak in critical thought or individualized reasoning. In short, one ripe for upheval.

The paper has published an annual ''Penis Monologues'' rich in sophomoric humor (''My man-hammer has not clubbed a single baby seal. . . . ''), and each year it sparks anger in the college's various women's support groups. ''Did we print that piece knowing that the feminists would blow a gasket?'' Boland says. ''Yes. But we did it anyway, because it was fun to write and the response allowed us to show how intolerant and intellectually lazy some feminists had become.''

And you can find examples for every sort of left-wing nexus. Part of the problem stems from the factional echo-chambers and conflicting entitlement corruptions that identity politics inspire, and part of the problem stems from people being afraid of loosing what they have, of not really thinking forward. The left is a haven for anti-positions; as of late churning out little in the way of new dreams.

This isn't really a revelation for me. I've been harping to people lately that the Democrats are the real conservatives these days, in the sense that they're really trying to conserve the status quo. They havn't put forth much in the way of their own big ideas since Clinton's health care plan went down in flames and the Republicans swept into congress with 1994's contract with America. Since then, the Dems have been the conservative party; trying in vain to hold the line against the advance of big right-wing notions, often simply forced to grudgingly accept the new political realities, beginning with Clinton's "the era of big government is over," running up through the Gore campaign and reaching it's highest note yet with October 2002 war resolution and subsequent electoral disaster.

Youth mirror these trends, consciously or not. They are attracted to progress and can sense weakness of belief. The left needs to inspire people to believe in something again, to break new common ground, to grow, all of which is why I'm so fired up about Howard Dean. I still believe that these turbulent times can lead us to a brighter future. If you want to resist "Liberal Indoctrination" in higher education, reduce class sizes. I do believe that open and contentious debate is a positive more than a negative. It is through adversity and necessity that great things are created: that's the whole notion behind competition as a spur to progress. I buy it. I think now is an exciting moment, one pregnant with challenge and opportunity. I'm generally not one for lazy days. Perhaps the appearance of these new Young Republicans will breathe more vitality and life into the left. Let's get it on.

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