Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sweet Nothings

If anyone actually reads this blog regularly, you'd be wondering why I haven't posted in awhile. For one thing, I've been reading and playing video-games too much, but for another I haven't really found that much that is interesting right now in contemporary politics. Thats not to say there aren't important issues: we're now in the 3rd year of the Iraq war, the Terri Schiavo case, the hornet's nest of issues brought up in Fast Food Nation (which I just finished reading), etc.

Terri Schiavo deserves a side note, I don't know how it got to be that the media has framed the whole issue as a religious conservative vs. atheist liberals issue. I for one, support keeping her alive, while still being a radical and an atheist. It doesn't tie into the abortion debate (no matter how much ideologues would like to try), it instead boils down to this: If she's aware enough to suffer from her condition, then she is certainly aware enough to suffer from starvation by having her feeding tube removed (essentially the only "life support" shes on), if shes not suffering and responds physically and emotionally to close family members with a wide range of emotional reactions (which seems to be the case), why not exhaust every opportunity to try and help her?

We're having to take her husbands word that she wanted to die if brain damaged, a man who stands to gain money from her life insurance, and who is wanting to remarry with a woman he is currently sleeping with.

A sincere conflict of interest if there ever was one.

The Iraq war? People are dying, the government isn't pulling out anytime soon, and is currently haphazardly on the edge of political and military fallout should any one of the various nations that its turned into diplomatic powderkegs decide to call the governments bluff. There's still the looming propensity of the draft, the possibility of functional democracy in Iraq being more or less anyone's guess right now (but I temper my inherent cynicism on this issue with a wide degree of hope), and a very real possibility that the conflict could still spill over throughout the entire middle east.

As for Fast Food Nation....I'm done eating meat (excepting maybe organic meat slaughtered under Kosher supervision). Our meatpacking industry hasn't changed fundamentally since Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. Yes, its really that bad. You should read the book yourself.

But primarily why I'm bored with most of these issues has little to do with their importance, but rather the importance of the things I've been mulling over privately.

Mostly I've been thinking about heirarchies, control, coersion, the way physical landscape helps foster social alienation or inclusion, new urbanisim, and how to revitalize actual civics. That is, the social underpinning of civilization, right now we have a poor parody of it carefully tailored by various ideological interests for mass manipulation and infotainment.

And while certain activist groups and such have made headway, its been inconsistant. When you win or loose a battle on an issue, you don't suddenly dissolve. Also your singular issues do not exist in a vaccum, and often by being too singular you end up appearing extremist. Although, by appearing too broad you end up appearing out of touch. The point is, create a common social element consisting of specific leagues of change/protest, what have you. I don't mean stereotypical ones either, I mean we should actively be trying to impliment social change: founding communities, focusing on how to impliment technologies in ways that fit into society, rather than being an imposition on them. In other words: You want to change the world? Put your money where your mouth is. Network, work to change society by creating a new model. I'm not talking utopian, just better.

Its important to look at classic entrepenurial capitalist myth (I say myth, because even in the old days they were the exception, not the rule, but even back then they were more common than now): The man who has nothing, crawls up from the gutter, risks everything on a new idea, and profits from it hence. Quite frankly, thats also how new culture is formed. You want a world that is more free? Start a community that is more free, more together, and more alive. Risk it, do it. I think if activists spent a bit more time trying to create a new community that was ethnically diverse, low crime, ecologically sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing, I think change would be rapidly forth coming.

Move your ass, and their minds will follow.

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