"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Alma Mater

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On My Way Out

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I Love You America. You're Crazy But I Love You

It's nice to have a bloodless revolution every once and a while. It looks like America's cool with the Black President, wants to smoke pot and uneasy about queers marrying. That last bit is disappointing, but is still just a matter of time.

Still counting ballots in lots of races. I'm pulling for Carolina and Missouri, and I do believe that Merkeley will blow past Smith in Oregon, as it's a few thousand votes and Multnomah and Lane counties are only half in. Those are both the big population centers, and most strongly Democratic areas, so we should be good.

Anyway, working the day away. It was a big party in NYC. Hopefully a big party everywhere else too.

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Bold Moves

I believe the Black President is wrapping it up in terms of the election. This is looking a lot more like 96, 84 or 76 than 2000 or 04. That's good.

So now there's this: Obama campaign buys 30-minute time block on Oct 29th. My guess/hope is this will be a Perot-style policy demo. Our debt-based economy is rapidly collapsing, and as clever as Zack's "25% hit on 401(k): five grand. President Obama? Priceless" line is, there's a reality that shit's real fucked up right now and it's going to start hurting regular people, and badly, quite soon.

For my part, I agree with Zizek that we need a new theory, and I'm young and dumb enough to go one further and venture some guesses.

The sketchy wind-up:

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Radiohead Pioneers

Score one for the revolution:

bq.. I didn’t pay anything to download Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” last Wednesday. When the checkout page on the band’s Web site allowed me to type in whatever price I wanted, I put 0.00, the lowest I could go. My economist friends say this makes me a rational being.

Apparently not everybody is this lucid, at least not in matters related to their favorite British rock band. After Radiohead announced it would allow fans to download its album for whatever price they chose, about a third of the first million or so downloads paid nothing, according to a British survey. But many paid more than $20. The average price was about $8. That is, people paid for something they could get for free.

p. That's $8M that the band just pocketed. Very nice. Considering most artists make between $1 and $2 per CD sold (and that's after the label recoups their contracted recording costs), it's a safe bet that this will shake up the industry. You can download yours here.

I paid for mine, the first time I've paid for recreational music in close to a decade. In the above-linked article, much is devoted to the "crazyness" of this notion, although the author seems to grasp the reasons why fans respond generously:

bq. Some economists suspect that what is going on is that people get a kick from the act of giving the band money for the album rather than taking it for free. It could take many forms, like pleasure at being able to bypass the record labels, which many see as only slightly worse than the military-industrial complex. It could come from the notion that the $8 helps keep Radiohead in business. Or it could make fans feel that they are helping create a new art form — or a new economy.

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The New [Cultural] Freedom Movement

So, as regular readers will know, I write occasionally under the subject of revolution (older posts here). What do I really mean by this?

Mark and I have started discussing again an old idea of ours, The New Cultural Freedom Movement. It's a terrible phrase (though developing) as far as marketing is concerned, which reflects the state of our thinking. After more than a decade it's still pretty vague; but it's the best idea I've got going, so here's the shot.

Early on in teenagerdom, those halcyon years when you were immortal and unfettered and when the idea of pure raw rebellion ala ¡la reveloucion! was a lot more plausible, we hit upon a pretty good insight: our ability to individually drive change through direct acts was pretty limited. The real action was in inspiration and empowerment -- in turning people on -- and maybe the real _real_ action is in inspiring and empowering people to inspire and empower _other people_, making waves and ripples and shit like that. I turned on to movement politics early.

This never took any concrete shape for Mark and I and our peers, but the idea lives and animates many of the things we and other people do in life. My politics has largely been driven by this kind of stuff -- inspiration and empowerment -- and Mark's work serves many of the same ends also.

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We Are All Outlaws In The Eyes Of America

I've been noodling around with this script concept for the past couple weeks, the first purely creative writing in quite a while. The gist of it is a disillusioned political operative raising cash money from black-market sources and carrying on an outlaw lobby campaign in DC. Thinly-veiled autobiographical content abounds, but they say you write what you know. My goal here is to start with that, and fill the rest in with what I dream.

The general concept can be exciting and sexy I think, and the rough plot arc I have sketched out should be a satisfying narrative, but I need to fill in some details before I can really finish a treatment. I need to learn more about the specifics of lobbyist culture, find out where and how Republican operatives party, and maybe investigate the rampant rumors about how the Humbold County DA raises money. I want as much authentic texture in the surroundings as possible; I think it will free me up to be more fantastical with the plot.

One of the big questions is "what's the outlaw lobbyist's agenda?" I think getting into the wonk zone would probably kill the writing, so the idea here is to sketch out something in broad strokes that has mass appeal, and then find something really specific that can be part of the primary dramatic conflict (e.g. what are the good and bad guys/gals facing off over?).

I'm not sure about this yet, but kicking the whole idea around with Franz, he gave me his wish-list, which actually seemed to be pretty decent:

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Better Culture, Better Future?

Well, I've been stewing, and now I'll be spewing.

We of Cinema
City of MenA while back I got this great DVD from Brazil called City of Men, something of a follow-on to the brilliant film City of God, which delves into the lives of children in a particularly infamous favela.

The series is significantly more positive than the movie. It doesn't shy away from grit or violentce, but it does manage to pull out a lot of beauty by taking a wider angle and showing the holistic culture and community. It's really fantastic. You can buy it from Amazon if you like.

One of my favorite aspects of the series is the way in which many episodes include "live" camcorder shots of/by the kids, archival footage (which may or may not be real), and also documentary-style interviews. This form represents next-gen postmodernism at it's best: a reconstructive narrative. One of the more humorous moments comes in an episode where the two protagonists take a trip to Brazillia to hand-deliver a letter to President Lula, under the auspices of an NGO who's director has the kids film things in the favela. They're riding on the bus with the camcorder, talking about how important it is to get on tape so the director can "make her gringo bosses happy."

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Quick Begging Hit

Well, it looks like two of my favorite peer-level politics organizations are making a run at financial independence. This is a great thing, as one of the major lessons I've learned over the years is that the Revolution cannot progress on an allowance from daddy.

I'll write a real blog about this for Future Majority at some point soon, but for now here are some links if you want to get on the bandwaggon:

First there's Chris and Matt from MyDD, who provide some of the most diligent, honest, insightful and inspiring political blogging around, and who I sort of think of as comrades. I just sent them $50.

Then, a bit more ambitious, Living Liberally, an organization which has build real social capital all over the nation, is turning pro and running as an LLC. I like the enterprising angle, and will be giving them money as soon as I figure out how deep I'm in hock to the IRS and what I can affort.

If you feel moved, you can give as well. I'll also post a link to my piece on FM explaining why this matters whenever I get around to writing it.

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