Day 410: We are the WTO

I just saw a great documentary on an anti-globalization, anti-capitalist, anti-corporate greed group calling themselves “The Yes Men.” Here their website–really worth checking out.

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Day 384: World Pillow Fight Day 2008–Chicago Event

March 22, 2008 is World Pillow Fight Day. A number of cities around the globe are organizing events you should definitely attend. Pillow fighting is a recent phenomenon that emerged out of flash mob culture and has become increasingly popular. Most major cities have local “Pillow Fight Clubs” and organize events regularly. Some of the most popular events are the annual Valentine’s Day pillow fight in San Francisco (video below), or the biannual pillow fight organized by Columba University as a means to relieve stress before finals week.

On World Pillow Fight Day all events are synchronized and should start at the exact same time. Here the website and a list of events in major cities:  http://www.pillowfightday.com/index.php.

Join me and many others at the Chicago event:

March 22, 2008 @ 2 p.m. in front of the Art Institute of Chicago (Monroe & Michigan)

Bring a feather pillow, a trash bag, and lots of peace and love. Spread the word (without using paper).

If there need to be wars in the world, this is what they should look like!

Here the 2008 SF Valentine’s Day pillow fight:

and one of the early ones in SF:

Day 338: Mediations Journal

I will also quickly do my part to advertise the grand inauguration extravaganza of the second series of Mediations, the journal of the Marxist Literary Group. Issue 23.1 is a dossier of contemporary Marxist thought from Brazil. Mediations is published bi-annually. The Fall issues are dossiers of non-U.S. material of interest; the Spring issues are open submission and peer reviewed. Mediations has circulated in various forms and formats since the early 1970s, and is now available free on the web. Both a web edition and a print edition, downloadable in pdf format, can be accessed at http://www.mediationsjournal.org. Featured authors in the current issue include Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, Paulo Arantes, Ina Camargo Costa, Francisco de Oliviera, Milton Ohata, and Roberto Schwarz (!).

Day 289: Don’t Forget the Writers on Strike

Just to make sure this doesn’t happen, this is me doing my part on what has come to be referred to as the “viral picket line.” Solidarity!

Here the writers of The Daily Show:

This, of course, triggered a Colbert Report response:

P.S.: I hear Jon Stewart is currently paying the writers of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report out of his own pocket.

And here some massive star support:

Day 287: Brian K. Wood’s _DMZ_

I’ve posted about and expressed my admiration of Wood’s latest graphic novel DMZ before. I just read Vol.3 “Public Works,” which strongly underlines the status of this graphic novel as one of the most daring, politically progressive contemporary cultural works. Instead of writing about the text itself (which, since it is a graphic novel, should really be read/looked at individually) I will provide you with an interesting (angry) section from Cory Doctorow’s introduction to Vol.3:

(…)

A few Islamic fanatics who thought of Saddam Hussein as the devil incarnate are delighted to use his toppling as the excuse to inspire another generation of jihadists. Just like the shitkickers who wouldn’t have pissed on Manhattan if it was on fire are nevertheless proud to stick a yellow ribbon magnet on their Hummers and proclaim ‘Never Forget’, even as they forget that the 9/11 attacks were directed at Sodom on the Hudson, a city filled with gayers, women in bifurcated garments and brown people who smell like curry.

DMZ is a special kind of angry comic, the kind of angry war comic that tells the story of the other side of the war. Non-combatants aren’t just cannon fodder or collateral damage. We’ve got every bit as much agency, as much control over our destinies, as the guys with the guns and the satellite photos. But you wouldn’t know it from how we’re depicted in the press–instead, we’re the bodies blown apart on street corners, the shoeless sheep having our hemorrhoid cream confiscated at the airport.

DMZ is an inspiration to we who refuse to be dismembered and unshod. It’s a wake-up call to stop letting greedy profiteers sell fresh wars to cement their authority and profitability.

If I had my way, this comic would be required reading in every civics class in America.

Day 279: No Underwear

After a few weeks that were very busy again (and after another weekend spent at a conference–this time here at UIC) I took a close look at my apartment today, something I haven’t done in a long time. Result: I really need to do some cleaning and a LOT of laundry (since it is getting too cold here to keep going commando). After this conference, I was actually looking forward to having some time for other kinds of writing again (i.e. an article I have to finish, as well as further revisions to my dissertation). It seems, though, that I will first have to devote some time to housekeeping and grocery shopping (which will probably also be good for my health, since pizza by the slice and other forms of takeout, the only food I have been eating for the last few weeks, probably does not contain the nutrients my body needs at this point).

Quick report on this conference: my argument that biopolitics is an analytical paradigm utterly unsuited for the analysis of contemporary power structures (and the ways they are exercised) did not keep people from giving papers on contemporary power/political issues that were based on an uncritical use of this very concept, there were some scary talks fetishizing empiricism and reducing issues of power in governmental information gathering to a problem of trust and informed consent, and some male participants insisted on being referred to as “she” (which I sadly could not consider as revolutionary an act as I was apparently supposed to). Overall, it was a good conference, however annoying the overall praise of a politics of diversity may have been (which too many people still seems to think results in some form of liberation, not realizing that it is actually the politics of neoliberalism).

I will now go grocery shopping and buy some healthy things that will hopefully help me finally get over my cold, which, per Anna’s suggestion (my favorite this far), means: brandy. cheers y’all

Day 227: Colder Than Eskimo Nipples

No, I’m not talking about the drop in temperature over here. Finally, Chicago has left the 90s and dropped to a more sane temperature level for this season (I actually haven’t been outside, but the internet tells me it’s cold–how’s that for 21st century digital boy subjectivity?).

What I’m really talking about, however, is Warren Ellis’ latest graphic novel called Fell.  It’s fantastic. You can get some basic info about it here. I am mostly interested in it, since I write about, well, for the sake of brevity: the return to nature (and the ideological forces behind this).  The graphic novel is really worth reading (and it’s visually quite appealing as well). Additionally, I am spending my day writing about neo-tribalism and movements such as urban tribalism, or anarcho-primitivism and their critique of technology (which also brings me back in interesting ways to Ted Kaczynski–and, this is the kicker, to Marcuse). You can find info on the movements here:

http://libcom.org/thought/anarcho-primitivism-anti-civilisation-criticism

http://www.eco-action.org/dt/primer.html