Intertextuality- is the shaping of texts' meanings by other texts. It can refer to an author’s borrowing and transformation of a prior text or to a reader’s referencing of one text in reading another. The term “intertextuality” has, itself, been borrowed and transformed many times since it was coined by poststructuralist Julia Kristeva in 1966. -Wikipedia
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The Obama administration utilized the internet effectively to run a successful campaign for Barack that ultimately succeeded. His virtual campaign was run with the assistance of some of the most powerful social media platforms in the world Facebook and through his Google SEO analytics. For the lamens, SEO is the search engine optimization that ensures you are lead down a pathway that is given to the highest bidder, or in this case the favored candidate.
The campaign presented two ideas about the use of the internet in campaigns for any office, or the marketing of any product: 1. It is the most effective way to reach the widest possible audience (251,290,489 internet users in North America alone), which is about 74% of our population. 2. The content can be controlled and data can be manipulated, which means that no one’s identity is safe unless protected by a serious technology security force like the tech task team Obama recently put together. That’s right, do you think it was just coincidence that he is beefing up his team of internet security advisors?
Considering the administration currently had the company Twitter postpone updates to keep open the channel for Iranian protestors, I can only imagine the next time the government wants Twitter or for that matter Facebook to hand over private data about its users. If all of our information is now in cyberspace, and the government is attempting a massive increase in the size of government, what do you think those new employees jobs will be? Perhaps, identifying revenue opportunities amongst certain demographics, ethnicities, and races? The administration may choose to takeover one of these internet companies and utilize their tools and data to generate a program that runs itself based on our inputs. A system that uses us as test subjects, where leverage comes from personal correspondences, data analysis, and outcomes of new laws are no longer left to chance. Is this a more efficient system, or an opportunity to solidify control of the country by controlling the information?
So when you receive the friend request from a government employee, or are followed on Twitter by some unnamed WH222 user, just remember that it was inevitable.
Internet User Data Source:
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Today has marked a complex juxtaposition of foreign political affairs and justice being performed domestically. Yes, the two colliding forces between the Council of Guardians in Iran confirming the victory of Ahmadinejad and the conviction of Bernie Madoff for a sentence of one hundred and fifty years. Iran may be doomed for the same amount of time if the elastic rubber band of Ahmadinejad’s hatred returns with a catastrophic backlash of hatred.
Identifying monsters, tyrants, and thieves has been an art form practiced by law enforcement agencies, mystics, and paranormal mediums. There is no typical bad guy anymore. There is no John Wayne to ride in on a white horse and stop the aggressors from hurting our families and friends. The next white horse we see may be one of those belonging to the four horseman of the apocalypse. If we have no definition, no profile for what evil is then how can we begin to contain its reign over the world.
The problem is; our government and we as a society rely on physical profiles to assess the potential for wrongdoing. When a person wearing a bandana and baggy jeans walks into a convenience store, we immediately (based on physical appearance) think that they are going to rob the convenience store. The truth is we do not look at context. Is that convenience store located in South Central, Los Angeles, or on Park Avenue in Manhattan? The context may determine the predator that inhabits that domain; it then becomes their cultural and social instincts that are ingrained in them since birth, which determines the outcome.
The outcome is studying over and over by psychologist attempting to trace the roots of evil from the act of evil and into the developing mind of those people or person that committed such an act. We determine the source of their evil and attribute it to some abuse or action against them as a child. I believe this lack of foresight and obsession with the past psychological effects of childhood abuse to be a philosophical farce. It has grounded itself in the last century as predominate way of thinking, but it will not fulfill the demand of evil in the modern world.
Evil has many faces and one man such as Madoff, sentenced to 150 years; does not vindicate the victims of his scandal. The confirmation of an iconic dictator by a corrupt ‘Council’ under the behest of the Ayatollah does not liberate the hundreds of thousands of people who fought for freedom over the last month. There is no face of justice anymore besides our own subjective view of those around us. May that view not be clouded by material corruption and lead our mind’s astray. Let the victims who have lost their freedom, whether material or cultural, serve to remind us that evil has many masks that are less apparent to the eye than they are to the mind.
Congress voted yesterday to cease control over the tobacco industry’s ingredients and marketing of their products. That means no more Joe the Camel lighting up in a casino plastered across billboards in America. In fact you might just see billboards of people with tracheotomies advertising Marlboro instead.
The disturbing image is not the death of half a million Americans a year from smoking, but the constitutional liberties that are at stake here. I am a firm believer in write what you want. Today there is no more of a liberal frenzy over media censorship, than there is over social censorship. Here is our country up in arms against Iran saying that we want to liberate their private enterprise and their social freedoms, and yet we are tightening the noose around our own necks.
I am against smoking. As an ex-smoker of 7 years, the pains and filth stained on my body are irreconcilable. Nonetheless, I can only employ the truth that death is caused by household materials such as, detergents, dishwashing fluids, bleach, the list goes on and on. The point is that not one of these companies that have caused cancers in millions of Americans lives are being regulated by the Senate. The Government doesn’t regulate the marketing of these products because special interests are too widespread. The tobacco industry may be the first target, but surely not the last.
Just keep in mind that it could be your company that has the government’s hands in your coffers next year. As your marketing budget shrinks and revenues on advertising are taxed at higher rates, at least you know who is skimming your profits.
The debate in the Middle East is heating up. In fact with pivotal elections in Lebanon and Iran, the entire hub of militant Middle Eastern countries lies in the hands of the voters. I am safely assuming that neither Ahmadenajad nor Hezbollah thought their fate rested in the hands of a voting democracy.
Obama’s recent trip to the Middle East triggered an anxiousness we have not seen among the greater Islam sects since Bush began air raids in Afghanistan. The question this time is? Does Obama have the ability to win the hearts and minds of the Arab nations as he did with America? I would like to believe that his speech in Cairo at least won the favoritism of the majority in Egypt. The Muslim brotherhood that also chimed in to the broadcast may not feel as amiable as the educated classes of Egypt, but at least according to the Financial Times “they watched it.”
I think as long as we have Presidential runner-ups such as John Kerry promoting nuclear technology in Iran, “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose”, we may not have to worry about who wins the election. Considering Iran refuses to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty, it may be a fatal error to allow them to continue to enrich uranium when tensions are so high. We may just have to embrace that power is decided by force. This is an ideology that colonizers have been practicing for centuries. The Arab nations look toward the Christian Crusades for inspiration for their infadas. They to believe that wiping out another country and race is justified by subjective religious interpretation.
If we live in a modern time period, engaging in discussions within the Middle East’s Medieval time period, where judgment is cast by the many on a few, then who will be there for the reckoning… us or them? In the coming days we will witness how the dictators of Iran and the leaders of Hezbollah respond to the rights of their citizens. If they deny the voice of the youth and people of their great nation for their own indulgence of power, will we continue to lay down our arms at this belligerent display of tyranny?
Read More: http://www.ft.com/world/mideast/iran
Is this really happening? Can the best solution to the recession be increased government spending, and expanding control over private industry? Many of my economic heroes who have come and gone over the years say no. Those heroes including Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernake, Reagan, and Ayn Rand, who were all purveyors of the free market system. In Rand’s case, she rejected this dictatorial government attitude after having witnessed the repressed entrepreneurial efforts of her father by the Bolsheviks in Russia. Even she could not brace herself for the current overpowering efforts of the Obama administration and it’s socialist innuendo. Frankly, neither can I.
The free market system saved us in the Great Depression of 1928, and unfortunately we will have to deal with the same feeble government intervention that occurred back when the market crashed in the 20’s, and let the government relearn the lessons of natural laws inherent in the monetary system once again. Arguably, the various forms of capital infusion into the economy have done a sufficient job at cushioning the market free fall that occurred in early 2009. However, was the added liquidity only another new constraint on the markets rebound? In the depression we saw interest rate increases lead to less borrowing, today we see increased credit restrictions that lead to less borrowing. In either case, the Federal debt has ballooned because of the lack of actual cash in the system.
The solution under Obama is to create a more efficient federal budget and reallocate money into government spending programs. The recent earmark studded bill passed by his administration shows us that the liquidity shortage is only a problem on Wall Street, and for the fed under Geitner he will follow Zimbabwe and print more money. I expect that as long as Obama stays focused on his social programs and spending the taxpayer’s money, Wall Street will come back with a vengeance and usurp the nationalizing of private industry the President has in his sights. As Milton Freedman, the greatest purveyor of the free market system stated, “A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that a group (government) thinks what they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”
Can we blame Obama for relishing in “hope” we instilled in him with our vote based on his popularity… I don’t think so. Every powerful dictator has started with nationalizing the banking system and then moved on down to the auto, energy, and healthcare sectors. It happened in Russia, Cuba, and recently Venezuela. It seems to make perfect sense if you want to control the whole country, to take away the entrepreneurial spirit of America and replace it with unionized labor and a Government department to run your household.
The voyage into psychedelic rock induced trauma started with a dose of Dead Meadow at the Orpheum Theater in the heart of downtown Los Angeles amidst skid row and rotting penny arcades from the turn of the century. Dead Meadow, while unknown in popular circles, is a D.C. based band that is already wrapping up their fourth studio album and touring with obscure acts like the famed cult rock band from Glasgow, Mogwai.
The stage was projected with tie dyed lights, a trippy semblance of colors covering the undulating rhythms of Dead Meadow’s guitar crazed rock. Dead Meadow is lead by Jason Simon’s guitar and vocals through the mystic levels of rock n’ roll psychosis. The addition of Cory Shane on guitar enables the band to develop the sound of the Meadow further into abstraction, producing instrumentation that is on the cusp of experimentation. Driving the tractor for the band through the waves of blues inspired guitar slaying in the likeness of old Hendrix solos, is Stephen McCarty on drums. McCarty is the band’s second drummer. The original beat thumper, Mark Laughlin, left the band in 2002 opening up the Meadow for the pulse of MCarty, who wanders in and out of consciousness with the color of the music, maintaining a mechanistic time on his kit like the Bonham days of Zeppelin. Only McCarty revels in more of rhythmic entropy rather than the overpowered playing of Bonham. Fortunately for the band, McCarty loaned out his grand pappy’s farmhouse for them to record one of their more celebrated albums Howls From The Hills (Tolotta Records).
In the album Howls From The Hills, and in the grasp of the hand painted dirt encrusted frescoes of the Orpheum, the billowing expanse of air was a catechism of misanthropic guitar rhythms and saturated bass lines from loyal bassist Steve Kile. The prominence of the bass is understated in the studio recordings, but within the walls of this theater the low frequency vibration was reverberating through the walls of the foundation. The lines brought continuity to the sound that carried the crowd through the diabolical riffs, and sent people’s minds into a state like an opium bender coated in blotter acid.
Guiding the ears of the audience was Simon’s voice directing their attention into the psychedelic patterns of orange and red light on stage. The Meadow was inviting their listeners to experience the madness of soft death, illustrated by the inundated lyrics and fertile melodies that Dead Meadow as a band uncovers. Signs of distraction toward this purpose were absent, focused on their own cornucopia of wild surreal dreams; exploring Southern fields burned by a desire to reach into the essence of life. The music spanned the devastation and creation of the harvest cycle.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to wander through a burned field of celebrated melodies and dissonant guitar rhythms, then I recommend you diligently acquire the newest release, Feathers, from this cult-creating circle of sedated psych-rock musicians.
Have you ever picked up a book, the dust is jacket worn, the pages are about to crumble, and each of those pages saturated with a yellowish color from years of use? This was probably the experience you had with your first novel. Now picture the same kid, they open a black leather case and remove a silver Mac Powerbook, they slide it onto the table flip it open, and a bright white light illuminates their face as they look at the black and white text from the same novel. Yes, it is the same novel, but an entirely different experience.
The second rendition of the reader’s virtual experience is becoming more and more common as the great novels written throughout history “go digital”. The prominence of the digital lifestyle has been thwarted in the age of convenience that we live in today. We are always looking for easy access all the time. What would we do without our “crackberrys”? I myself am uncertain if I could go on if this lifeline was cut. It always seems easier to send a bbm than actually pick up the phone and talk to someone who is seemingly my friend. Hmm… Have I ever really talked to them, and are they my friend? This may be the same attitude that the next generations will take with literature. It may become as impersonal as a bbm, yet containing valuable words that have shaped our perceptions of the world throughout history.
The idea of transforming books into digital copies is gaining steam in both the academic and more importantly the corporate world. One such global corporate giant has decided to take advantage of the digital age, Google. In fact you can look up almost any piece of literature post 1940 and they will have a digital copy of the full text, scanned and ready for your viewing pleasure. They recently settled a 125 million dollar lawsuit with multiple publishers and authors who were fighting to retain their copyrights, and prevent Google from providing their library to the entire world over the internet for free. Sure, the writers are no rockstars, so we don’t exactly look at the infringement as relevant as piracy cases may be with the latest Rolling Stones record. Google is going to be able to provide the content, or at least a certain amount of the pages, such as the first twenty pages, and then offer viewers the option to “buy-it-now”. Google will then give the money to the publishers and authors of the original work, but not without wrapping their virtual arms around 37% percent of the profits. It appears they truly have mastered a way to make a profit from our reality as well as our virtual reality, and it shows in their massive profits and share price.
What remains to be discussed is the experience of reading itself. When we sit down and engage in a novel or other literary work we open our senses to experience every word on the page. We may move our hand differently as we read over a text and use our finger to hold our place, as we stop and look up to contemplate the meaning of the phrase. The parallels we draw in great novels, the images in poetry, and the meaning that we gain are taken not only from the words on the page, but also from the actual experience of reading them. Computers continue to govern our entire existence in the modern world. They are now taking over even the most enjoyable intellectual leisure activities, reading. If they have their way with us, we will never be able to take a book with us out into nature or to the beach, where the environment influences our perception of the literature. If computers continue to infiltrate our leisure experiences, it is a wonder if we will ever be free to do anything in our lives without them.
Well, we may as well introduce ourselves to the future of reading, and allow the bright white background and the pungent black text to burn through the back of our retinas. In fact reading a book digitally may put us in a similar state of hypnosis as watching television. In which case, we may as well let Google and the other Silicon Valley cronies that are sure to be on their coat tails, program us, take our money, and ensure we never again hold an original hardcover copy of any great novels written throughout history.
There is an island off the coast of Florida that has been lost in our biased American eyes, a little place called Cuba. The island’s colorful cultural history and struggle for mere existence cannot be ignored, and needs to be preserved. In fact, aside from the Buena Vista Social Club, Fidel Castro, and Cohiba Cigars what do you really know about Cuba?
It has been a fascination of mine to explore Cuba for many years. When living in New York I planned on buying a sailboat with what little money I had from working as a videographer in Manhattan, and sail from Florida to Cuba. Reflecting on this moment I am grateful I was not one of the American’s who was killed amidst the political violence that has flared up again in recent years on the island. With the recent fall of Fidel Castro that grim reality of never visiting Cuba has started to fade into a distant consciousness and Cuba has become my next destination. The question becomes if in Fidel’s place his younger brother Raul will open the flood gates of trade that have been in a stalemate since the embargo acts of the 1960’s where the United States ceased trade with the Cuba and forced many of it’s other trading partners to do the same. Raul lead the military under his older brother Fidel, and to some people is seen as more ruthless, but to others a hope to finally free the Country. The ambiguous nature of this perception will be contested over the coming years when Cuba becomes a primary focus of our nation to reinitiate trade with this lost valued resource.
Since, Fidel seized power of Cuba from Batista in 1952 he has successfully severed ties both economic and social with the United States. At the time Fidel took power through a coup d’etat, much in the same way Batista had ascertained power and the population of Cuba stood firmly behind his leadership. The United States at this point persisted to reengage with Cuba, only behind the iron mask. We wanted to continue trade with Cuba, but in order to do so the U.S. wanted not only trade with Cuba, but control of it. Our final attempt to overthrow the Castro regime was during the CIA’s big fiasco known as The Bay of Pigs. At the time our intelligence thought that if we initiated a revolution against Castro all of the native people to Cuba would join the cause and remove Castro from power; we were sadly mistaken. The support for the young dictator was still healthy, even as his country slipped further and further into an economic depression. Living conditions plummeted and the tension in the social climate was ready to be ignited by the match of a new vision. No individual has been able to take the iconic Castro’s position of power at the helm of this sinking ship… until now.
Over the last twenty years we have seen a large amount of refugees leave the impoverished Cuba to come to the United States. These refugees, in desperation, sometimes swim all the way to Florida. Once they have been liberated from Castro’s repressive dictatorship, these people have cried endlessly for the rest of their family who is still on the island. The transition from Fidel to his brother symbolized a glimmer of hope that flashed across these refugees faces, many of whom have now established themselves in America and become citizens. They continue to watch closely and pray that Raul opens his eyes or his pocketbook to the United States and reengage our relationship to become more of an open door policy. The uncertainty is clear, whether or not Raul will allow his pride and loyalty to confuse his judgment at the sacrifice of the Cuban people; in much the same way as Fidel had ruled selfishly for the last thirty years. I perceive an ongoing power struggle where negotiations between Cuba and the U.S. will continue for the next couple years, or until Raul himself is usurped of his power and the cycle of Cuba’s regime change continues endlessly into the future.
Either way, it is only a matter of time before America and the Russians start a bidding war to purchase control of the precious island. If Raul is as promising as the Cuban people believe, then I think they will favor a U.S. partnership over any relationship that resembles the agreements reached previously under Fidel with the Soviet Union. Although, those agreements did protect the country at the time of the nuclear arms race, this is a different world, where the Cuban people swim miles to get into our Country and would welcome resorts to the island in exchange for access to America’s resources.
I know that my sailboat idea sounded risky, but as a modern day Cold War ensues over Cuba, I will be negotiating for beach front real estate on the West of the island as it looks promising for a vacation rental.
The venue for many great indie band successes, Spaceland, birthed another incredible act on Tuesday: Beach House. The Baltimore, Maryland duo has recently released their second album “Devotion,” which is gaining a significant “hipster” following. The Spaceland venue is known for giving performers such as Beck, Foo Fighters and The White Stripes their start. Beach House is on their way to becoming yet another great band to play within the walls of Spaceland. They recently returned from a tour in Europe, and carried a flavor of ‘60s to their performance, which was nothing less than a full psychedelic trip.
Beach House is lead by female vocalist Victoria Legrand. Legrand’s lyrics were immersed in the sweeping harmonies of her voice, often sounding more like incantations. She also played on a vintage keyboard that sounded like a church organ. The organ echoed through the melancholy world of Spaceland, resonating with the audience of this sold-out show. The pre-choruses of Legrand’s songs were simplistic, sometimes consisting of only two words repeated in unison. The words projected a refreshing taste of unconsciousness. Legrand fronted the band incredibly from behind her organ, making remarks about prosperity and politics in between songs. Her accompaniment consisted of Beach House’s co-creator Alex Scally on guitar. Scally’s oscillating slide guitar and Legrand’s meditative vocals culminate in a genre called ‘narcotized rock’.
Beach House is reminiscent of The Velvet Underground’s seductive pulses and trailing guitars. Legrand’s voice is reminiscent of Nico, who sang with the Underground in the presence of Andy Warhol and the gritty downtown Manhattan music scene of the ‘60s. Beach House was backlit by low blue lights throughout the show. You could only see the outline of the band, until they started waving black lights on stage.
At the end of the hour-long set everyone in the audience fell silent, like they were truly in a trance. An hipster blond whispered, “I have never taken acid, but I would imagine this is what it feels like.”
Steer clear of the substance, and take a listen to Beach House instead.
- ▼ 2009 (9)
- Michael Dennis
- Years of living on commissions, measly company draws, and driving to downtown Los Angeles make me as good of an expert as any to tell the story of recruiting like it is. From boiler rooms to plush office suites overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I've seen this business get the best of them. So, if I can share a few tips, tricks, a.k.a. advice this would be it.