Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Another vote for boundary crossing

"Leaving aside those who simply don’t want to read science fiction, there appear to be two schools of thought about the genre’s relative value. One, that it can (should?) extend beyond its genre boundaries. And two, that there’s nothing wrong with straight science fiction that’s simply for fun, and providing that sense of wonder that originated in the pulps. Here at AISFP we’re debating the apparent decline in adult SF readership, with authors turning to YA, which apparently sells better. Having no evidence to back this up, I suspect that, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “reports on the death of science fiction have been greatly exaggerated.”

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Nostalgia - Born Against plays Springfield, MO February 1993

The band pulled up in its van only to find the place empty — empty, that is, except for a group of hulking white-power skinheads, who apparently chased everyone out. "They were big and had lots of muscles," remembers lead singer Sam McPheeters. "I'm sure they had suspenders and boots, the whole deal."
McPheeters and guitarist Adam Nathanson emerged from the van looking conspicuous, particularly Nathanson, who wore a patch on his jacket of a swastika being crushed by a fist that read, "Smash Racism."
As the band members approached the community center's entrance, the skinheads smacked Nathanson in the face with the door and taunted, "Smash racism, motherfucker? I am racism!"
The pair didn't know if they were being targeted for their politics, or if the skinheads were simply looking for trouble. In any case, there was no time to think about it. They rushed to the van, told the driver to step on it, and headed to the house of a member of a local band called Uncle Fester, where the show was to resume. But the skinheads got there first and began beating the daylights out of fans who'd shown up.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Theme stated

Writing is important. 

 It takes many forms and it inherently can and should take new forms, forms we have not seen even if the underlying structure of written grammar is hard to, possibly incapable of, change. Structure at that level is in the black box, preventing any form of direct observation. 

Of course, confidence in my personal ability to create new forms is elusive, but considering new forms, trying to notice work that could be or could lead to new forms, that's a worthy effort. Considering my own efforts to find a new form is worth something. 

Film, the visual approach to communication, is one area to observe. Script-based or not, film is a sufficiently complicated attempt to communicate that it obviously holds the potential for new forms of writing.  

Any attempt to bring existing techniques from one genre of writing and apply them to another genre could lead to new forms. Bringing techniques from literary fiction and applying them to anthropological writing is where I started with this project. What I learned from that attempt is worth a post or two. 

Looking toward the future, considering the effects of social development and evolution, and hoping for change lead, in themselves, to the possibility. This makes science fiction of abiding interest, even though the participants in the genre itself often despise change as much as anyone else does. 

Comics, another attempt to combine words and images, still retains the promise of new forms of writing, though belief in this potential has ebbed in since the end of the 20th century. 

At the root of the desire to consider new forms of writing is the problem of knowledge. In archaeology, the field works ceaselessly to uncover artifacts. From the fields perspective, this work is incomplete until the material unearthed is rigorously examined, interpreted and results published. The field as a whole publishes at a rate far behind what excavation provides and demands. The field is then at risk of retreating, receding and ultimately disappearing. It's possible that outside, relatively uninformed, interest in the field and desire for its results is all that is keeping it going at this point. A proper appreciation within the field for what efficient publication, and possibly new forms of writing, could do to revitalize it and to put their fate back in their own hands is lacking. How can we articulate this?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Opening Image

It was Wednesday, hands down in a sink of refuse that the thought occurred to me:

It‘s time to open the studio up again.

I know, I know - It’s so far away and the place is likely in total disrepair at this point.

Broken windows. Bird nests in the rafters. Mold in the basement.

And, really, all of the damage and neglect is not on top of a long functioning institution, it’s what’s left of a start up that barely began before it was abandoned. But still my mind goes back the promise of the studio, of what could have been. And I wonder if anything that could have been could still happen.

I put a back pack of supplies together, decide which is my best pair of walking boots and catch a bus to the turnoff south of the highway. It’s a long walk to the studio. I don’t know why I put it in such a remote location. Sticking to my vision I suppose - up where eagles dwell lies the thin air of concentration and clarity. Above and away from the noise and smell of life actually lived.

And maybe that was where things went so wrong. Right at the beginning in the initial design of the place: removing oneself from life to comment on it. Going to an unreachable location to get any work done was bound to be unsustainable.

I’m thinking all of this while I’m still standing at the turn off. It’s a long walk there, so I better get going. Here I go.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Space enthusiast gather to watch the impact at Ames Research Centre at Moffett Field in California
Photograph: Peter Dasilva/EPA from

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dr. Biobrain has a post up about anarchism. After he read a mission statement on anarchism, he came away less than impressed. I encountered anarchism at a young age and still have some affection for the orientation. His post certainly points out why I had to move on once I wanted something beyond slogans.

The appeal of anarchist ideas for me, when I was in high school, is that it discussed political issues from from a perspective that felt familiar. I wasn't well educated about politics or civics when I was young. Almost all of my political education came from reading history, and things where generally much harsher in the past. I knew that I didn't like nazis or totalitarians, but I didn't have a clear set of political values to judge contemporary politicians.

When I started hanging around a music scene, anarchism was kind of a default political position. It had a symbol system, slogans, and utopian ideals. Since, at the time, the political parties didn't even attempt to speak to me, I thought there was something there. It didn't take me long to figure out that all the coherent anarchists thinkers, like Proudhon, were dead and speaking to a different era. Once I figured out that Ron Paul is the most successful politician to espouse views reflective of political anarchism, I knew I had to look at different political orientations for solutions.

Once I paid attention to real political problems, I saw that the Democrats actually fought for helpful practical positions, and I was able to move past the distaste for all elected politicians beaten into me by network news.

Where any political tendency like anarchism or libertarianism works is in articulating politics beyond the parties that are often represented as hopelessly corrupt. For some of us, supporting a major party means learning to hold your nose and look past all of the dismissive rhetoric directed at anyone bold enough to try to do something for real.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Seaching for help wanted postings
The paper turns dryly
The dawn brightens the corner