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The Public Ineffectual

For entertainment purposes only.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Can anyone recommend a dentist on the plateau?

Monday, April 03, 2006

What do Exlax, George Soros and Bill Gates have in common?

I see a lot of myself and the people I know in the "liberal communists'" Ten Commandments:
1. You shall give everything away free (free access, no copyright); just charge for the additional services, which will make you rich.

2. You shall change the world, not just sell things.

3. You shall be sharing, aware of social responsibility.

4. You shall be creative: focus on design, new technologies and science.

5. You shall tell all: have no secrets, endorse and practise the cult of transparency and the free flow of information; all humanity should collaborate and interact.

6. You shall not work: have no fixed 9 to 5 job, but engage in smart, dynamic, flexible communication.

7. You shall return to school: engage in permanent education.

8. You shall act as an enzyme: work not only for the market, but trigger new forms of social collaboration.

9. You shall die poor: return your wealth to those who need it, since you have more than you can ever spend.

10. You shall be the state: companies should be in partnership with the state.

This the answer to the question above that drew you in, in the first place:
There is a chocolate-flavoured laxative available on the shelves of US stores which is publicised with the paradoxical injunction: Do you have constipation? Eat more of this chocolate! – i.e. eat more of something that itself causes constipation. The structure of the chocolate laxative can be discerned throughout today’s ideological landscape; it is what makes a figure like Soros so objectionable. He stands for ruthless financial exploitation combined with its counter-agent, humanitarian worry about the catastrophic social consequences of the unbridled market economy. Soros’s daily routine is a lie embodied: half of his working time is devoted to financial speculation, the other half to ‘humanitarian’ activities (financing cultural and democratic activities in post-Communist countries, writing essays and books) which work against the effects of his own speculations. The two faces of Bill Gates are exactly like the two faces of Soros: on the one hand, a cruel businessman, destroying or buying out competitors, aiming at a virtual monopoly; on the other, the great philanthropist who makes a point of saying: ‘What does it serve to have computers if people do not have enough to eat?’

If only we could feed the world on good intentions.
Thanks Setare!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dispatch from the Desk

I'm going to Korea next week for a week to visit my Grandma for her 88th Birthday. Been thinking about the particularities of how difference is created in such a "racially pure" and "homogenous" country. This passage reminds me of how difference is sustained:
In Wilhelmine Germany there were no formal disqualifications attached to being of the Jewish faith, much less to being Jewish origins. As early as 1812 Berlin Jews had achieved citizenship (such as it was in early Prussia), and some residual limitations on the related rights had been set aside in 1848. Yet, "after centuries of official discrimination against Jews, the juridical act of emancipation could not effectively bring about their equality of entitlements in social terms. Through what has been called the 'suppression of the constitution by means of administrative practices,' Jews were still largely excluded from state offices, judicial positions, academic chairs and military careers, and remained second-class citizens through to the end of the Wilhelmine era."

-- Gianfranco Poggi on the liability of Georg Simmel's Jewish heritage in spite of his family's Protestant conversion, his baptism and avowed secularism, , Money and the Modern Mind, 1993

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It is currently 8 degrees outside...

There is a girl sitting across from me...
at the library...
"making sense of social theory"...
in a tube top...

A Dispatch from the Desk

Georg Simmel on Retirement:

"Because the majority of modern people must focus on the acquisition of money as their proximate goal for most of their lives, the notion arises that all happiness and all definitive satisfaction in life is firmly connected to the possession of a certain sum of money; it grows inwardly from a mere means and a presupposition to an ultimate purpose. But when this goal has been attained, then frequently deadly boredom and disappointment set in which are most conspicuous among business people who retreat into retired life after having saved up a certain sum. After the loss of the circumstances which caused the consciousness of value to concentrate on it, money reveals itself in its true character a mere means that becomes useless and unnecessary, as soon as life is concentrated on it alone - it is only the bridge to definitive values, and one cannot live on a bridge."

-- Georg Simmel, "Money in Modern Culture"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Henry, Philosopher King

Henry answering questions
Originally uploaded by steveyb.

The first words to my mind today were those of Henry Rollins in a spoken word performance:

Just because someone tries to hand you a big pile of horse shit, doesn't mean you have to take it.
So true isn't it?

Thanks to stevey for the image!

Monday, March 13, 2006

It's Official....."Winter Warmest Ever on Record in Canada"

Thank you, chlorofluorocarbons. Thank you, carbon monoxide.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Cheering, Jeering and Beering

Remember the World Cup in Japan/Korea in 2002? Yeah, that was the shit. Running around town all hours of the night, jockeying for position in any kind of establishment - coffee bar/sports bar/bistro - for a whiff of a game whose rules I barely understand. Cheering, jeering and beering.

For the first time in years, I plan on sitting down to watch the Oscars aka Academy Awards and would like to recapture some of that World Cup spirit. The thought of watching in from home is utter tedium and like the Elections or the Olympics, these types of television events don't motivate me to turn on the telly. But neither of the aforementioned have the advantage of featuring John Stewart or that yummy Jake Gyllenhaal.

Does anyone have any suggestions from around town where I might do this? Copacabana would be nice, I thought.

Another related thought: Elections Canada should have gotten John Stewart to do live elections coverage and announced it up front. People might have felt invested and we might not be in the shit, as we are now.