“Working- and lower-middle-class citizens should not have to fund through their taxes and the lottery arts organisations that deny opportunities to their children. One of the most admirable men I know is Martin Bright, who threw in a career in journalism to found the Creative Society, which gives working-class teenagers the same opportunities in the arts that their middle- and upper-class contemporaries receive. Diversity creates uniformity, he says, because it ignores class. As a result, projects for women or the ethnic minorities are colonised by the middle class.”—The privileged few are tightening their grip | Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer
Here’s the slide deck [PDF] from a Michael Dearing presentation called “The Five Cognitive Distortions of People Who Get Stuff Done.” As Kottke points out, a lot of context is missing, but what’s there is fascinating — an enumeration of the blind spots of “people who get extraordinary stuff done in Silicon Valley,” based on interviews with 4,515 founders from 2,481 companies.
“Our thesis, however, is that the circulation of capital transforms, sustains, and even resurrects, certain social infrastructures at the expense of others. It is hard to get a handle on exactly how. But the general line of interconnection is clear enough. Social infrastructures have to be supported out of surpluses, and under capitalism that means out of surplus value production. From this standpoint they can be interpreted in no other way than as superstructures erected upon an economic base. The circulation of value to the support of social infrastructures and the people employed there therefore integrates the material processes of surplus value production in the workplace with the perpetuation of social infrastructures.”—
David Harvey, The Limits to Capital p. 399. (1982)
The way Harvey uses “social infrastructures” is roughly similar to how Althusser uses the term “ideological and state apparatuses.” To simplify, capitalist societies produces a wide variety of different cultural practices and institutions––all of which have a certain life and history of their own––but all of them have to be funded out of surplus values, meaning that they all have to stand on that material base.
“Normcore says, “Screw it. Go ahead: monitor me on CCTVs. Scan the internet with facial recognition algorithms. Have the NSA read my emails like tea leaves. I’m going to be deliberately un-unique. I am going to punish the world with my blandness, and if you scan my metadata, you’ll fall asleep before you find anything good.””—Douglas Coupland, ‘Atomised' (2014)
We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.
From our families bleeding in streets of Gaza, Hebron, Jenin, Jerusalem; from the Zionist prisons overflowing with our political prisoners; from our endless refugee camps, ghettos and Bantustans; from our indigenous people living as second-class citizens in what became “Israel” in 1948, and our dislocated diaspora: We send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.
We understand your moral outrage. We understand your hurt and anger. We understand your impulse to burn the infrastructure of a racist capitalist system that systematically pushes you to the margins of humanity; we support your right to rebel in the face of injustice.
And we stand with you.
The disregard and disrespect for black bodies and black life is endemic to the white supremacist system that rules the land. Your struggles through the ages have been an inspiration to us as we fight daily for the most basic human dignities in our own homeland against the racist Zionist regime that considers us less human. As we navigate our own struggle against colonialism, ethnoreligious supremacy, capitalism and tyranny, we find inspiration and strength from your struggles and your revolutionary leaders, like Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Kwame Ture, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale and others.
We honor the life of Michael Brown, cut short less than a week before he was due to begin university. And we honor the far too many black lives who were killed in similar circumstances, motivated by racism and contempt for black life: John Crawford, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tarika Wilson, Malcolm Ferguson, Renisha McBride, Amadou Diallo, Yvette Smith, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnston, Rekia Boyd and too many others to count.
With a Black Power fist in the air, we salute the people of Ferguson and join in your demands for justice.
”—Rinad Abdulla, professor, Birzeit University Susan Abulhawa, novelist & activist Linah Alsaafin Rana Baker Budour Hassan (via shiseido-red)
The worst part of outfitting our police officers as soldiers has been psychological. Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he’ll reasonably think that his job isn’t simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger. Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying.
If officers are soldiers, it follows that the neighborhoods they patrol are battlefields. And if they’re working battlefields, it follows that the population is the enemy. And because of correlations, rooted in historical injustice, between crime and income and income and race, the enemy population will consist largely of people of color, and especially of black men. Throughout the country, police officers are capturing, imprisoning, and killing black males at a ridiculous clip, waging a very literal war on people like Michael Brown.
“In a short essay outlining the vision behind Internet.org, Mr. Zuckerberg says one of its goals is to offer credit and identity infrastructure “that is still nascent in many developing countries.” Such services might be of some help in developing countries.”—Facebook’s Gateway Drug - NYTimes.com
“Libertarians tend to think the economy can totally close its own loops, that you can get rid of government. And I ridicule that in the book. There are other people who believe that if you could get everybody to talk over social networks, if we could just cooperate, we wouldn’t need money anymore. And I recommend they try living in a group house and then they’ll see it’s not true.”—Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class - Salon.com
“A decade ago, in his book No Collar, sociologist Andrew Ross described how tech start-ups borrowed art’s cocktail of work, play and personal life to create a new corporate culture around “self-actualization.” When young incorporated artists borrow this mix back—along with a toolbox of networking strategies—the result is a feedback loop. Business is branded by art and vice versa. What appears to be art is basically business. Nothing else feels possible.”—Young Incorporated Artists - Magazine - Art in America
“Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.
When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t ‘mean anything’ because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.
The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.
Say thank you.”—
Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
The useless days will add up to something. […] These things are your becoming.
“If you want ideas for startups, one of the most valuable things you could do is find a middle-sized non-technology company and spend a couple weeks just watching what they do with computers. Most good hackers have no more idea of the horrors perpetrated in these places than rich Americans do of what goes on in Brazilian slums.”—How to Start a Startup
“Maps that show the world to be wholly divided among sovereign countries, each with meaningful boundaries and a central government, reflect an organizational model that has never been practical in many places and now seems increasingly obsolete. Globalization, communication, fast transportation, and the easy availability of destructive technologies have something to do with this, as does the fact that all systems eventually tire, and the future cannot be thought up in classrooms. For whatever reason, the world everywhere is getting harder to manage, and governments are increasingly unable to intervene.”—Meet G4S, the Contractors Who Go Where Governments and Armies Can’t—or Won’t | Vanity Fair
“If you want to read about myth don’t read Joseph Campbell, read about convulsive religion, read about voodoo and the Millerites and the Munster Anabaptists. There are hundreds of years of extremities, there are vast legacies of mutants. There have always been geeks. There will always be geeks. Become the apotheosis of geek. Learn who your spiritual ancestors were. You didn’t come here from nowhere. There are reasons why you’re here. Learn those reasons. Learn about the stuff that was buried because it was too experimental or embarrassing or inexplicable or uncomfortable or dangerous.”—Bruce Sterling. The Wonderful Power of Storytelling
“But the thing about the new literary theory that’s remarkable, is that it makes a really violent break with the past…. These guys don’t take the books of the past on their own cultural terms. When you’re deconstructing a book it’s like you’re psychoanalyzing it, you’re not studying it for what it says, you’re studying it for the assumptions it makes and the cultural reasons for its assemblage…. What this essentially means is that you’re not letting it touch you, you’re very careful not to let it get its message through or affect you deeply or emotionally in any way. You’re in a position of complete psychological and technical superiority to the book and its author… This is a way for modern literateurs to handle this vast legacy of the past without actually getting any of the sticky stuff on you. It’s like it’s dead. It’s like the next best thing to not having literature at all. For some reason this feels really good to people nowadays.”—Bruce Sterling. The Wonderful Power of Storytelling
“I don’t think you can last by meeting the contemporary public taste, the taste from the last quarterly report. I don’t think you can last by following demographics and carefully meeting expectations. I don’t know many works of art that last that are condescending. I don’t know many works of art that last that are deliberately stupid. You may be a geek, you may have geek written all over you; you should aim to be one geek they’ll never forget. Don’t aim to be civilized. Don’t hope that straight people will keep you on as some kind of pet. To hell with them; they put you here. You should fully realize what society has made of you and take a terrible revenge. Get weird. Get way weird. Get dangerously weird. Get sophisticatedly, thoroughly weird and don’t do it halfway, put every ounce of horsepower you have behind it. Have the artistic *courage* to recognize your own significance in culture!”—Bruce Sterling, "The Wonderful Power of Storytelling" (1991), on how computer game designers might hope to achieve a lasting impact beyond the temporal boundary of their obsolescing platforms (via notational)
“The conditions of labor must always be obscured,” she said. “Work is good, work is noble, work is disciplining, work is what gives you social meaning in your life, so you can’t say, ‘Oh, this job is killing me.’ And they certainly don’t ever want you to talk to other people and realize this is structural, this is planned, we are the effects of other people’s choices and perhaps we should have a bigger voice here.”—The Teaching Class by Rachel Riederer - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
“I saw one really amazing game at GDC that stood out from the rest. It had all the players instantly smiling and laughing. It was fun for kids and adults. It created a feeling of group affinity. Everyone around wanted to join in. It was even beneficial to the body. It was an inflatable ball.”—Charles Bloom, Some GDC Observations (via maxistentialist)
“When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them,” Musk wrote. “And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors.”—Tesla Release Electric Car Patents To Public | IFLScience
“A profitable DIS might not do much to hasten the demise of capitalism, but it could have a salutary effect on the art world. If we take the magazine at its word, part of the purpose of creating consumer-facing “diffusion lines” is to liberate emerging artists from hyper-rich collectors. While many take for granted the entanglement of the art world with the ultra-elite, there was a time not all that long ago when close association with the very wealthy was a source of embarrassment for respected artists. The promise of the diffusion line is that it could allow artists to trade an alliance with the .01 percent for an art practice supported by the middle class. The idea is that artists could become a little more like Red Bull, which makes its money from the masses.”—shopkeepers of the world unite - artforum.com / slant
“You have to find it now. And so really, the aim of education is to teach people to live inthe present, to be all here. As it is, our educational system is pretty abstract. It neglects the absolutely fundamentals of life, teaching us all to the bureaucrats, bankers clerks,accountants and insurance salesmen; all cerebral. It entirely neglects our relationships to the material world. There are five fundamental relationships to the material world: farming, cooking, clothing, housing and lovemaking. And these are grossly overlooked.”—FROM TIME TO ETERNITY By Alan Watts
“Because in this country college fulfills a different role. Even if those peaceful campus quadrangles were originally laid out by Quakers or by the egalitarian Thomas Jefferson, we all know what they signify today: They are the central symbolic device for explaining inequality. College is where money and merit meet; where the privileged learn that they are not only smarter than everyone else but that they are more virtuous, too. They are better people with better test scores, better taste, better politics. College itself is the biggest lesson of them all, the thing that teaches us where we stand in a world that is very rapidly coming apart.”—Colleges are full of it: Behind the three-decade scheme to raise tuition, bankrupt generations, and hypnotize the media - Salon.com
Let’s talk about how our internet infrastructure has been designed in such a way that there are real and calculable costs to delivering more data through the pipe.
Let’s talk about how it didn’t have to be this way, but it is.
Let’s talk about how every other public/semi-public utility is regulated and metered.
Let’s talk about how awesome it is that the internet is still mostly unregulated and unmetered for consumers. (Admit it, us developers lost this battle when we jumped ship to cloud computing. And we’re not going back.)
Let’s talk about startup costs and how internet access could and should be an unalienable right.
But for pete’s sake, let’s stop comparing the internet to something that has never, ever existed: an endless stream of resources that is available to everyone, on demand, as much as they want.
Comcast is considering imposing monthly usage limits for all of its Internet customers.
David Cohen, executive vice president of America’s largest cable company, predicted at a conference Wednesday that in five years’ time, the company will have “a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint.”
That means Comcast customers could only consume a certain amount of data before facing extra charges for going over their limits.
Internet should be delivered like water. Can you imagine your water utility deciding that it’s going to deliver a certain amount of water to your home, and then shut it off after an arbitrary limit, unless you pay more? What about delivering water faster or at better quality to people who pay more for it? It’s unthinkable.
Companies like Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon and AT&T are using publicly-funded infrastructure (in addition to whatever the companies have built themselves) and should not be allowed to act in a way that’s counter to the public interest.
But actually, have you guys heard of a water meter?
“The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.”—Marx and Engels - The Communist Manifesto 1848 (via timecubeofficial)
“Yesterday afternoon at Christie’s, however, I saw collectors, sellers, and auction-house swains and dames actually sweating, worrying about something that might have been undermining their cash machine’s operation. On Instagram! Wade Guyton’s smallish but beautiful black, blue, and red Untitled is estimated to sell for between $2.5 and $3.5 million tonight, and rumor has it that there’s a guarantee of $4 million. Guyton makes his art on inkjet printers and photocopiers, and last week, he began printing scores of new paintings from the same 2005 file that produced this one, perhaps an attempt to erase the singularity of this painting and torpedo its price. He took pictures of this process and posted them on Instagram. You can go to his account (@burningbridges38) and see copies of the painting rolling out of his printer and spread out all over his studio floor. These images have gone viral. Suddenly the piece at Christie’s is identical to dozens of others. The uniqueness has gone away. Or not. Christie’s has already tried to spin this to its advantage and offset collector skittishness by posting Guyton’s Instagram pics on its site. On Sunday, an auction official told me that she thought that what Guyton was doing was “fun.””—Wade Guyton May Be Torpedoing His Own Sales — Vulture (via notational)
"For his 2012 retrospective at the Whitney Museum, Guyton created walls inspired by temporary partitions Marcel Breuer had made for the building in the 1960s" —Wikipedia
“Television is the most direct prefiguration of this and yet today one’s private living space is conceived of as a receiving and operating area, as a monitoring screen endowed with telematic power, that is to say, with the capacity to regulate everything by remote control. Including the work process, within the prospects of telematic work performed at home, as we as consumption, play, social relations, leisure. One could conceive of simulating leisure or vacation situations in the same way that flight is simulated for pilots.”—Baudrillard - The Ecstasy of Communication (1987)
Justin Rosenstein of Asana walked into the lion’s den of Techcrunch Disrupt yesterday, and tried to raise the topic of purpose and meaning to a tech crowd obsessed with material and social success.
His talk was an appeal to building your life’s work on helping others to ‘thrive’, and making…
What I like about this talk is not so much the message about being happy (although I think there’s truth there). What’s really interesting is that he’s totally honest about his desire and capacity to make “opinionated design decisions” and apply them to the world..
“Capitalism has a strange religious structure. It is propelled by this absolute demand: Capital has to circulate, to reproduce itself, to expand, to multiply itself. For this goal, anything can be sacrificed — up to our lives, up to nature, and so on. Here, we have a strange unconditional injunction. The true capitalist is a miser, who is ready to sacrifice everything for this perverted duty.”—Slavoj Zizek (via thepoorinspirit-extras)
“A huge precondition for the sharing economy has been a depressed labor market, in which lots of people are trying to fill holes in their income by monetizing their stuff and their labor in creative ways. In many cases, people join the sharing economy because they’ve recently lost a full-time job and are piecing together income from several part-time gigs to replace it. In a few cases, it’s because the pricing structure of the sharing economy made their old jobs less profitable. (Like full-time taxi drivers who have switched to Lyft or Uber.) In almost every case, what compels people to open up their homes and cars to complete strangers is money, not trust.”—The Sharing Economy Is About Desperation (via azspot)
“We are witnessing and sometimes personally experiencing a sharp de-classing of intellectuals. Our precious credentials are increasingly useless for generating income and — let us hope — social prestige, too. This should mean that most intellectuals view ourselves as sinking, economically, into the lower-middle or working class, and that “meritocratic” markers — the contents of our bookshelves and iPods; our degrees — accord us less and less social status in our own and others’ eyes. Not to say there won’t remain a self-protective cultural elite hoarding its prestige: the hostility to criticism among mutually appreciative writers, artists, and academics — an aversion to meaningful disputes — is contemporary evidence of such a siege mentality. But we can also hope for something else: perhaps intellectuals’ increasing exposure to socioeconomic danger will give a new political dangerousness and reality to what some of us produce. Might the continuing commitment of de-classed left intellectuals and radical artists to their vocations, in spite of withered prospects and eroding prestige, give our work an antisystemic force, and credibility, it has lacked?”—n plus 1: Cultural Revolution (via celaenoo)
“Unlike a rusting highway bridge, digital infrastructure does not betray the effects of age. And, unlike roads and bridges, large portions of the software infrastructure of the Internet are built and maintained by volunteers, who get little reward when their code works well but are blamed, and sometimes savagely derided, when it fails. To some degree, this is beginning to change: venture-capital firms have made substantial investments in code-infrastructure projects, like GitHub and the Node Package Manager. But money and support still tend to flow to the newest and sexiest projects, while boring but essential elements like OpenSSL limp along as volunteer efforts. It’s easy to take open-source software for granted, and to forget that the Internet we use every day depends in part on the freely donated work of thousands of programmers. If open-source software is at the heart of the Internet, then we might need to examine it from time to time to make sure it’s not bleeding.”—The Internet’s Telltale Heartbleed : The New Yorker (via new-aesthetic)