Laurie Anderson & Thomas Paine on Empire

“Tom Paine wrote the first best-seller at a dark time in the Revolution when we were losing and all the soldiers were deserting. Giving up. And the book was called Common Sense and it was really just a long list of questions. And one of the questions was: Does it make sense for an island to rule a continent? And everybody kind of went hmm and they signed back up. And today you could ask: Does it make common sense for a country to rule the world?”

Laurie Anderson, “Dark Time in the Revolution” – from her album Homeland. 

A review of that excellent album here.


Chuck Palahniuk on Dodgeball as a Means of Sexual Selection (Satire)

For official record, American education rituals especial efficient at task segregation youth of superior intellect removed from youth gifted superior physical prowess. Best example, ritual label as “dodgeball.” Therein all peer males engage mock battle under witness fertile peer females.

Commencement of ritual, physical superior males select best combatants for accompany into battle, thus ranking all from most-best to least desirable for reproduction during females note close attention. Next then, divided males engage violent assault upon each opposite army, battering with inflated bladders latex rubber.

Over course conflict, males boasting superior musculature inflict injure upon males typical of superior intellect although suffering inferior height-to-weight ratio, body mass index, and stature.

At completion dodgeball ritual, females made full aware which males present most-desirable physical traits. Vanquished males culled by injury, weak reproductive citizens force self-select, redirect, instead impregnate mates, procreate offspring, instead channel aggressions chess club, focus sexual ambitions science club. Debate or forensics. Model rocket association. Granted no access sexual reproduction, thereby liberate superior intellect for indulge in further education. During same, superior physical genetics routed so impregnate superior physical females.

For benefit all society, most crucial segregate intellect out physical fit.

All accomplished in battle dodge of ball.

Dodgeball as a means of sexual selection – from Chuck Palahniuk’s Pygmy (satire)

MLK on Capitalism & Communism

“Truth is found neither in traditional capitalism nor in classical communism. Each represents a partial truth. Capitalism fails to see the truth in collectivism. Communism fails to see the truth in individualism. Capitalism fails to realize that life is social. Communism fails to realize that life is personal. The good and just society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of communism, but a socially conscious democracy which recognizes the truths of individualism and collectivism.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dostoevsky’s Unanswered Question

“Can you understand why a little creature, who can’t even understand what’s done to her, should beat her little aching heart with her tiny fist in the dark and the cold, and weep her meek unresentful tears to dear, kind God to protect her? Do you understand that, friend and brother, you pious and humble novice? Do you understand why this infamy must be and is permitted? Without it, I am told, man could not have existed on earth, for he could not have known good and evil. Why should he know that diabolical good and evil when it costs so much? Why, the whole world of knowledge is not worth that child’s prayer to dear, kind God! I say nothing of the sufferings of grown-up people, they have eaten the apple, damn them, and the devil take them all! But these little ones!”

— Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Chaim Potok on Processing Reality

All of us grow up in particular realities – a home, family, a clan, a small town, a neighborhood. Depending upon how we’re brought up, we are either deeply aware of the particular reading of reality into which we are born, or we are peripherally aware of it.

– Chaim Potok, interview in College People, October 1983

Malcolm Gladwell on Legitimacy

The lesson at the end of the day is that the powerful are judged not by their ends but their means. If you deny people legitimacy then they will come back and defeat you.

Ai Weiwei: Watching the Watchers

Ai’s insistence on the permeability of art and life is more than a principle of avant-garde art, now almost a century old (Duchamp’s Fountain was exhibited in 1914): it is a necessity for the making of responsible art in China today. In Ai’s case it extends even to his constant interaction with the police and other official authorities. The artist and his friends, acquaintances and assistants are under regular surveillance. Just as relentlessly, he and his supporters film those who film them, confront those who confront them (even to the extent of frequently visiting police headquarters to complain about the surveillance and about provocative behaviour by police). Before Ai’s disappearance, these films were placed immediately on his website, along with detailed commentary.

Ai Weiwei’s digital coverage of his own experience as an artist undermines a repressive government and its ideology, offering a point of view, if only temporarily, which simply would have been inaccessible in a pre-Internet age.