Picks of the Week

“Obama’s victory is a sign of history in the triple Kantian sense of signum rememorativum, demonstrativum, prognosticum. A sign in which the memory of the long past of slavery and the struggle for its abolition reverberates; an event which now demonstrates a change; a hope for future achievements. The scepticism displayed behind closed doors even by many worried progressives : what if, in the privacy of the voting booth, the publicly disavowed racism will re-emerge? : was proved wrong. One of the interesting things about Henry Kissinger, the ultimate cynical Realpolitiker, is how utterly wrong most of his predictions were. When news reached the West of the 1991 anti-Gorbachev military coup, for example, Kissinger immediately accepted the new regime as a fact. It collapsed ignominiously three days later. The paradigmatic cynic tells you confidentially: ‘But don’t you see that it is all really about money/power/sex, that professions of principle or value are just empty phrases which count for nothing?’ What the cynics don’t see is their own naivety, the naivety of their cynical wisdom which ignores the power of illusions.”

— Slavoj Žižek

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • London Review of Books: Slavoj Žižek on Obama, the Financial Crisis, Capitalism. The rockstar philosopher provides a humane critical perspective on the financial crisis and demonstrates that even hardened leftists with no illusions can weep at the promise, if not the reality, of the recent American election. Must read.
  • Topspin Media. Ian C. Rogers on the music industry and the transition to digital media. If you’re interested in digital media and how they’re going to affect intellectual property, this is a thoughtful — and hopeful — piece. (Thanks Dirk).
  • New York Times: On the Obama campaign’s use of social networking. While we’re at it, let’s combine the subject matter of the two previous links, shall we? This is a fascinating short piece on the Obama campaign that not only goes some way towards explaining its success, but offers interesting perspectives for the future of the democratic process.
  • Tokion: Panter’s Playhouse. Fine interview with artist and cartoonist Gary Panter, conducted by cartoonist CF. Great for its focus on the artist’s creative processes.
  • Horn Blowing Section: Andreas Gregersen’s Ph.D. Dissertation Approved!

    Today, highly-esteemed friend of the Metabunker, Andreas “Chewie” Gregersen defended his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Copenhagen. Entitled Core Cognition and Embodied Agency in Gaming: Towards a Framework for Analysing Structure and Function of Computer Games, the subject is video and computer games, and the approach employs cognitive theory as well as behavioral and phenomenological philosophy (more here, alas!, only in Danish). The three members of the Dissertation Commitee were all very pleased, so no problems for well-dressed Chewie. Congratulations from the Bunker!

    The Listening: Young Jeezy

    I was waiting for this video to drop to hype one of the albums that’s been in heavy rotation here for the last couple months — Young Jeezy’s The Recession. Releasing the album earlier this year, Jeezy smartly picked up on the coming recession as the underlying theme for the everyman-as-a-drug-dealer thematics that he has been mining since his beginnings, and defined on his major label debut, Thug Motivation 101. This not only seems particularly auspicious right now as the financial markest are in a tailspin, but also works surprisingly well as hip hop music — he ends one of his songs, the street business anthem “Don’t You Know”, which repeatedly stresses alienation between buyer and seller, by saying “America is me.”

    Komiks.dk 2010 — Interview med Mads Bluhm

    Den danske tegneseriefestival Komiks.dk blev som bekendt afholdt for tredje gang i sommers. Arrangementet var en succes på snart sagt alle planer og det virkede derfor på mange som om festivalen var kommet for at blive. Det håber vi alle fortsat, men arrangørerne har meddelt, at de har behov for flere hænder hvis det skal lade sig gøre igen at holde festival i 2010 som det er planen. Derfor har de indkaldt til generalforsamling søndag d. 23 november kl. 14.00. Her kan alle interesserede komme og give deres besyv med, og forhåbentlig også melde sig til en eller flere af de arbejdsgrupper festivalarbejdet er organiseret omkring. Mere information kan fås her, og på festivalens Facebook-profil.

    I anledning af dette tog jeg mig en kort snak med festivalens formand Mads Bluhm om situationen som den ser ud nu, de umiddelbare planer for den næste festival og den desværre stadig overhængende risiko for, at der ikke bliver en festival.

    Reads: Chris Ware

    The latest ACME Novelty Library (#19), which is the latest instalment in the greater story of Rusty Brown, is a somewhat frustrating experience. It combines two stories that reflect on one another. An science fiction piece detailing the colonisation of Mars by four people and two dogs, and a flashback to the youth of what turns out to be its author, Rusty Brown’s father, who once had ambitions of becoming a ‘serious’ SF writer. The first part — the Mars story — is fantastic, but the second is a real disappointment.

    Picks of the Week

    “Chocolate City is no dream, it’s my part of the rock, and I dig ya CC.”

    — George Clinton, “Chocolate City”

    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Parliament: “Chocolate City”. Emphatically the track of the week. Listen to it here, and go here for the classic album.
  • Gore Vidal on BBC’s election night. An unexpectedly surreal appearance by the (in)famous writer. This guy’s a legend.
  • Bob James’ “Nautilus.” One of the most sampled tunes gets its due in this survey of its progeny. It’s been done to death, and it still yields an awesome break.
  • ActuaBD: Moebius interview. This is not exactly news, but still worth checking for — a lengthy, interesting interview with Moebius who’s experiencing something of a comeback to comics at the moment. Parts 1, 2, 3.
  • Superman’s Choice

    “The ‘Oratorio’ is nothing less than the Shazam!, the Kimota! for Western Culture and we would do well to remember it in our currently trying times.”

    Grant Morrison, on Pico della Mirandola’s Oratory on the Dignity of Man

    In the marathon Newsarama interview with Grant Morrison on his and Frank Quitely’s newly-finished All-Star Superman series the writer mentions the Renaissance philosopher Pico della Mirandola’s famous Oratio de hominis dignitate, or Oratory on the Dignity of Man (1486) as central to his take on Krypton’s famous son (go read the interview: parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). He also mentions Leonardo’s even more famous ‘Vitruvian Man’ (c. 1487, detail above) as important to his interpretation of the Superman myth, and as the direct inspiration for this interpretation by Quitely of the character, keeping us all alive by labouring in the heart of the Sun:

    Across the Color Line

    “It is, then, the strife of all honorable men and women of the twentieth century to see that in the future competition of the races the survival of the fittest shall mean the triumph of the good, the beautiful, and the true; that we may be able to preserve for future civilization all that is really fine and noble and strong, and not continue to put a premium on greed and imprudence and cruelty.”

    — W. E. B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

    Photo: The New York Times.