The Intellectual Insurgent
in·sur·gent (n-sûrjnt) adj. One who acts contrary to the established leadership (as of a political party, union, or corporation) or its decisions and policies
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Wisdom In The Fog
My point about "work ethic" is one I've argued many times. It's called an ethic because it benefits employers and we tend to make a virtue out of anything that makes us exploitable, like patriotism and piety. Real ethics tend to cost money and get in the way of exploitation and are, as we see every day in the news, ignored.
Friday, June 22, 2007
"It's not Americans I find annoying; it's Americanism: a social disease of the postindustrial world that must inevitably infect each of the mercantile nations in turn, and is called "American" only because your nation is the most advanced case of the malady, much as one speaks of Spanish flu, or Japanese Type-B encephalitis.
Its symptoms are a loss of work ethic, a shrinking of inner resources, and a constant need for external stimulation, followed by spiritual decay and moral narcosis.You can recognize the victim by his constant efforts to get in touch with himself, to believe his spiritual feebleness is an interesting psychological warp, to construe his fleeing from responsibility as evidence that he and his life are uniquely open to new experience. In the latter stages, the sufferer is reduced to seeking that most trivial of human activities: fun.
As for your food, no one denies that the Americans excel in one narrow rubric: the snack. And I suspect there's something symbolic in that."
Friday, June 15, 2007
Everything IS Political
In response to a post on The StateOf blog about Harold Ford Jr. and his cliche-ridden, shallow analysis of foreign affairs, the following exchange of comments came up and it is typical of the sand in which most Americans choose to bury their heads:
Here's the problem, and here's why i generally dont comment on this type of crap. Although I know intellectually that all of the points Ford touched on do and will impact my life, they nevertheless maintain an abstract, obscure quality, because very little of "this" (read: the war, politicians, bin laden, iran, the saudi royal family, skooter libby, halliburton, hamas.....the list is endless) with the exception of gas prices, has any effect on my life from day to day. Ford et al does not factor into my considerations re: getting to court on time, meeting with clients, billing hours, visiting with grandmother with regularity, trying to mold my wayward brother into a responsible man, helping mom, paying rent, getting my car serviced, going out on a date, watching my weight, getting some exercise, responding to emails, scheduling home repairs.....I offer those lists to illustrate that even the so-called educated upwardly mobile cant and arent interested in getting their arms around the impractical, non-sensical, bullshit double speak.So forgive me Justin, I'm just being honest, I got other shit to do.
Robyn's post epitomizes the American dream: the luxury and arrogance of not giving a damn about anyone but yourself and, among more considerate Americans, your immediate family. It also offers a very bright window into American engagement on the world scene: 'what's in it for me?' To be that indifferent and callous towards the ongoings of the world, ongoings which we know produce massive amounts of misery and despair for the world's most vulnerable people is both a privilege and a curse. It's a privilege to not have a 20min stairmaster workout interrupted by, oh say, the thought of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children dead and dying from the actions of the American government. And yet it's a curse to live life that blindly (and content to do so).Lucky for the world, not all Americans share Robyn’s views. I leave you with the words of Sabina Virgo:
“If we don’t make it clear how the system we live in affects each and every one of us each and everyday, if we don’t make it clear why we care about politics, why we care about the system, people can hear what we say but not care because it seems irrelevant to their daily lives. What that means is that we must find a way to tell the truth about the system in a way that is meaningful and that helps to explain the life experience of the people we work with. Because the reality is most people in America don’t believe they are involved in politics. We’ve been taught to believe that most of the problems in our lives are personal not social and certainly not political. We’ve learned to define politics as elections and under ordinary circumstances most people see elections as irrelevant to their daily lives. We need to redefine the term and show our friends and the people we work with that saying that they’re just not interest in politics makes no sense at all. It’s an illusion. It’s as if they are all fish in the ocean and they just stood up and said they weren’t interested in water. Because the truth is that politics defines who works and who doesn’t; who lives on the streets and who doesn’t; who goes to school and who goes to jail; who takes care of the baby and who helps. Because politics is simply a word defining power relationships in society and economics is a word defining who makes decisions about money in society. Most of us don’t know that decisions by a few rich white men affect our lives each day and that decisions based on corporate profit are the reason behind lost jobs, toxic pollution, and the decreasing quality of human life. And interestingly enough, the men who make decisions that affect our daily lives are as invisible as the two policemen who killed John Daniels.”
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Keep dreaming of a home like this.
Keep worrying that you have no self worth unless you live in this community, protected from those people" by the iron gates of civilization.
Keep taking the corporate-approved, overpriced, legalized drugs that dull the effects of the boredom and lack of purpose from which you suffer.
Keep consuming your way to eternal dissatisfaction with what you have.
Keep destroying the planet because you cannot live without the various trinkets that define your existence.
Keep talking on your cell phone and listening to your iPod, drowning out the sounds of the world around you.
Keep believing that your God is better than every other God that exists or that has ever existed.
Keep ignoring that nagging feeling inside that reminds you that you are still human.
Keep following the sheep to the slaughterhouse.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Army Of One
It was only after I paid this man for my cola and biscuits that the U.S. Army tag on his jumper caught my eye.
There I was at a rest stop in the middle of the sandstone valley of Petra, Jordan, eye to eye with a Bedouin nomad wearing the uniform of the world's superpower. There was something oddly mismatched, yet natural, about an Army uniform and a traditional Arab "kefiyeh" headscarf.
I knew I had to photograph this man.
As a side note, I am going to enter this photo in a competition and the rules require that I tell the story behind the photograph. If what I wrote above just doesn't do it for you and you think it can be improved, please, please let me know. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.