Some Interesting Links 04.19.18

Rebecca Solnit on how the white male narrative is always privileged in media.

More Americans work in museums than work in coal, but coalminers are treated as sacred beings owed huge subsidies and the sacrifice of the climate, and museum workers—well, no one is talking about their jobs as a totem of our national identity.

This amazing collection of Russian experimental music from the 1920s can be streamed here. I’m particularly fond of the first piece by Arseny Avraamov

This Nerdwriter mini-doc on Lauren Hill connects the dots between Nina Simone and Cardi B:

Does It Matter If I Read The News? (in The Age Of Drumpf)

Does it matter if I read the news? (in the age of Drumpf)

By October I’d had enough. I wasn’t sleeping. Or if I was, it was fitful. This narcissist, this black hole of empathy and decency, this drivel-spewing idiot had taken over way too much real estate in my head. I’m talking about the *president, of course, and his blundering towards that which must not be named, the big one, the NW, the Final Countdown.

Now, we may not be safe from any of that yet, but around October, I started to see that nobody else was freaking out like I was inside. Seriously, I could be tootling along merrily during the day and then at the end the night see the headlines and then spend pulse-pounding hours lying in bed thinking the unthinkable. This was ridiculous. Not only that, but I hated hated hated this person for making me feel this way.

So I made a decision. I woke up the next morning and decided to erase the news.

Yes, this is the height of solipsism, but it was the remedy I needed. I went to my RSS feed (I used Feedbin, if you care) and unsubscribed to every single political blog I was on. I abandoned Twitter (if you see me on there, it’s through a IFTTT routine). Any email list I was on detailing the latest outrage–I hit the unsubscribe button. (Most of these emails use outrage and scare tactics to gather funds, of course.) And I look askance when I bop onto Facebook, heading straight to my page in order to avoid its “Trending” column.

I used to think it was important to be plugged into the now, to the current, to the debate. But now in the CheetoFascist Era, this is not the case. This foul man had made me rethink my entire ideology of engagement.
Does it matter if I read the news?

I liked to think I was politically engaged. But apart from the occasional march (like in January, which was fun), I don’t engage. I don’t take part. I don’t write letters to my representatives. I do what the majority of people do, which is slacktivism–signing online petitions. I vote, when we get to do so. And I get angry. A lot.

But I’m not a political writer. I’m not an advisor. I’m not a speaker or an agitator.
I’m *supposed* to be an artist, a filmmaker, a teacher, and, yes, a writer, but not of politics.
For my sanity, I pressed the eject button.

A day after I felt ten times better. I slept better. I was relaxed. The anxiety left.
Should you do this? To quote the web: Your Mileage May Vary.

Caveats
I still check in on YouTube, where I can see the late night hosts dissect the latest idiocy from a safe time distance. (I still try to keep myself away from gazing on his hideous visage). I still listen to Chapo Trap House, because they seem to keep away from the daily-outrage-stream and dig in to the historical mulch below.

But also
Look, I spent way too much of the Bush and Obama years reading blogs, articles, essays, sometimes even whole books (usually Chomsky) about our current state. My own impact on events? A perfectly round zero. Maybe ignorance is bliss.

And please mention
That my situation is also the result of white male privilege. Others are living thru this much more intensely. The events of this time are written on their skin and psyche. I can pretend to “opt out” for a while, others can’t.

In (temporary) conclusion
I’m telling friends “I’m on a news diet.” I’m happier…and one of the reasons you’re reading this now!
The new mantra, when I call a particular friend to check in on the world: “Is he in jail? Has he resigned? Is he dead?”
Just asking.

17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai draws sellout crowd

 The Arlington Theatre was sold out Saturday for a talk by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls. NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS


The Arlington Theatre was sold out Saturday for a talk by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls.
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

“I didn’t want to be known as the girl who got shot by the Taliban. I want to be known as the girl who fought the Taliban and who fought for children’s’ right to education.”

At 17, children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai speaks with the force and authority of someone twice her age. She stood up to the Taliban in her home country of Pakistan when she insisted girls be given a chance to go to school.

Read More

Rock against injustice: The Last Internationale marks a return to political rock

The Last Internationale, from left, guitarist Edgey Pires, lead vocalist Delila Paz and drumer Brad Wilk (also of Rage Against the Machine) BB Gun Press

The Last Internationale, from left, guitarist Edgey Pires, lead vocalist Delila Paz and drumer Brad Wilk (also of Rage Against the Machine)
BB Gun Press

Race riots in the summer. Natural disasters. An endless war that keeps sucking us in. Political turmoil. While the state of the world has a late ’60s/early ’70s vibe to it, what’s missing in this comparison is the music. Where’s the rock and pop to match the times? Where’s our Sly Stone or our Marvin Gaye? Is it just about being “Happy” like Pharrell Williams says?

That is what makes The Last Internationale stand out in a field of abstract or commodity-based lyrics, and they are set to rock Velvet Jones this Tuesday. That title — the name of the French left-wing anthem — should give away their political stance and when they took the stage last month at “Late Night with David Letterman” they brought tasty licks from guitarist Edgey Pires, solid beats from Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine), and the growling, authoritative vocals of Delila Paz. The song was “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Indian Blood” the lead song of their debut album “We Will Reign.”

Read More

Still Going Strong – The OUTrageous Film Festival returns for a 19th year

'STONEWALL UPRISING' Bettye Lane Photo

‘STONEWALL UPRISING’
Bettye Lane Photo

After 19 years, Santa Barbara’s LGBTQ film festival, OUTrageous, is back and bigger than ever. Things have come a long way from the festival’s first year, which organizer Mashey Bernstein remembers well as featuring just three films… total. It’s a lesson of tenacity and vision, and the four nights of shorts and features by and about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer alike offer something for everybody.

This festival, Bernstein says, is one of the top three gay community events in Santa Barbara, including the A.I.D.S. Walk and the Pacific Pride Event. And, because Santa Barbara still does not have a gay bar, the festival offers a well-needed chance to socialize, as well as see some great films.

Read More

Henry Rollins spoken word tour screamed into SOhO Restaurant & Music Club Wednesday

The many faces and opinions of punk rock icon-turned-spoken word artist Henry Rollins were on display Wednesday night at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Mr. Rollins tackled a vast spectrum of issues and topics, including but not limited to South Africa, President Obama, persecution in the South, a confrontation with the dictator of Myanmar, as well as his own travels and experiences. THOMAS KELSEY/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS

The many faces and opinions of punk rock icon-turned-spoken word artist Henry Rollins were on display Wednesday night at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. Mr. Rollins tackled a vast spectrum of issues and topics, including but not limited to South Africa, President Obama, persecution in the South, a confrontation with the dictator of Myanmar, as well as his own travels and experiences.
THOMAS KELSEY/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS

Henry Rollins inspires in many ways. There’s his work ethic, or rather his workaholicism, which sees him taking in hundreds of cities a year for his spoken word tour — Wednesday’s SOhO gig was one of them — then “bouncing” all over the world during his down time, and basically saying yes to any work offer. It’s his pure energy, which glows icy blue hot, a flame that hasn’t died down since his days as the frontman of the seminal punk rock band Black Flag. Seeing he couldn’t hold a tune or keep time, according to him, spoken word was his calling all along. At three hours, there’s no punk band that could keep up.

Without even a stop for a drink of water, Mr. Rollins held the SOhO audience in thrall the entirety of his storytelling. Part of that was from the power of his words, his charisma, and the feeling that terrible things might happen if, heaven forbid, one checked a text message or left for a toilet break. “This is going to be like the longest Jet Blue flight ever,” he said, referring to the cramped seating and his foreknowledge of our asses falling asleep.

Read More

THE BIG SCENE : Oliver Stone visits with Hugo Chavez and other Latin American leaders in new doc at SBIFF

Director Oliver Stone during an interview with the President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo.

Director Oliver Stone during an interview with the President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rides a bicycle in his grandmother's backyard in the Oliver Stone documentary "South of the Border."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rides a bicycle in his grandmother’s backyard in the Oliver Stone documentary “South of the Border.”

Film director Oliver Stone first dealt with South and Central America in 1986, with his breakthrough political drama “Salvador.” He didn’t return to the region as a subject until recently, with two documentaries on Fidel Castro (2003’s “Comandante” and 2004’s “Looking for Fidel”). Now he’s taken on another American bugaboo, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in “South of the Border,” playing this weekend at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Stone’s thesis is that Chavez has been demonized in the American press because he hasn’t gone along with business interests, especially when Chavez nationalized the oil industry.

The film then uses Chavez’ success as an opportunity to discuss other socialist revolutions that have followed in Chavez’ wake — in Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador. The short doc may lack in nuance, but it will introduce many to the leaders in the region, and to countries that never turn up on the nightly news.

Read More

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, etc. World — ‘In the Loop’ introduces one of Britain’s best satirists

Armando Iannucci’s bitter and barbed satire “In the Loop” presents global politics — in particular Washington and some pokey little failed empire called Britain — as a continuation of high school culture. There are bullies, cliques, pranks, bad behavior, badder behavior and worse behavior. There are egos to be stroked and personalities to be torpedoed. By the end, we come to feel that while Iannucci’s vision may be jaded, he may be closest to the truth.

He’s also a deft and clever wordsmith, and “In the Loop” — which features some of the characters in his BBC series “The Thick of It” — is zipitty-spit 90 minutes of hilarious and profane dialogue. This film will probably be many Americans’ first exposure to the Scotsman’s writing, but since the early 1990s, Iannucci has penned some of the UK’s greatest television and radio comedy, starting with “On the Hour” and “The Day Today,” precursors in tone and style to the sharp satire of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” on this side of the pond.

Read More