Valerie send the above suggestion for staying cool in the August furnace.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
When Munz sent over this piece from The Guardian in London, I kinda groaned. Another fucking dissection of 1967? But this one seems to be fairly balanced, and attempts to place the counter-culture in a much broader social context. And the writer quotes me, so it can’t all be bad. For those unfamiliar with the history, Tom McGrath was the first editor of the UK underground paper IT. After IT’s first obscenity bust, Tom took it on the lam, and the paper was taken over by an ad hoc collective of which I was the most vocal and loaded. (I’m posting the story in full because the link has run out.)
SUMMER OF LOVE: The hippies were the most extreme example of a much broader movement transforming Britain into a relatively permissive society.
by Marcus Collins August 9, 2007
In March 1967 Tom McGrath, the editor of the leading countercultural newspaper, IT, sought to describe "the revolution [that] has taken place within the minds of the young" on the eve of the Summer of Love.
He identified its core as permissiveness: the notion that "the individual should be free from hindrances by external law or internal guilt in his pursuit of pleasure so long as he does not impinge on others". He was right, for "doing your own thing" became an articleof faith among his fellow hippies in the 1960s and beyond. Yet, for all their attempts to distance themselves from "squares" and The System, hippies were simply the most extreme example of a much broader movement transforming Britain into a relatively permissive society.
The legal restraints to which McGrath referred had been undergoing wholesale reform during the previous decade, transforming the relationship between state, society and individual. Print censorship was relaxed in 1959 and that of drama in 1968. Citizens won the right to take their own lives in 1961 and murderers got to keep theirs after 1965. Off-course betting became legal in 1960, as did abortion and male homosexuality in limited fashion in 1967. The National Health Service (Family Planning) Act of the same year extended access to contraception regardless of marital status, while the Divorce Reform Act passed two years later dissolved marriages that had undergone "irretrievable breakdown" after two years in consensual cases and five years in contested ones.
The liberalisation of the law was only one facet of permissiveness in 1960s Britain. McGrath's disavowal of "internal guilt" shows how those affected by legal change were no passive recipients of civil liberties. The radical theologian, Douglas Rhymes, duly urged his readers in 1964 to overcome both their guilt and any deference to "priest, Church, politician or parent" when making moral choices. Advocates of permissiveness equated individualism with iconoclasm, described by McGrath as a rejection of leaders and by George Melly (who died last month) as a "cool refusal to pay homage to traditiona bogeymen and shibboleths". Disdain for convention sat uneasily with the pluralistic dimensions of permissiveness. McGrath commended the "international, inter-racial, equisexual" dimensions of the "alternative society", while the anarchist hippie Mick Farren stated that "each and every individual has unique needs and desires that areentirely his own".Permissiveness encouraged people to express and satisfy these desires. McGrath urged everyone to follow their "inner voice in the most honest way possible", gays "came out" and the future politician and perjurer Jonathan Aitken incongruously applauded his generation's "remarkable frankness" in 1967. Self-expression often took creative forms such as the "wild new clothes" and "strange new music sounds" that caught McGrath's attention. The past decade or so had witnessed a cultural efflorescence that rid Britain of its frumpy image. A country producing the Beatles and the Stones, Mary Quant and VidalSassoon, Biba and Habitat soon lost its inferiority complex. Equally significant was the manner in which British culture challenged existing aesthetic standards. It was no longer self-evident that high culture was superior to popular culture or, indeed, how each termshould be defined. British icons likewise redefined female beauty (Twiggy), male beauty (Mick Jagger), artistry (Lennon and McCartney) and heroism (James Bond). Tom McGrath's championing of "the individual's right to pleasure (orgasm)" points to the bond between permissiveness and the sexual revolution. Britain overcame its reputation for prudery by conducting a carnivalesque breaking of taboos in the 1960s. The first C-word in a paperback (1960), the first F-word on air (1965), the first drug reference in a Beatles song (1965) and the first full-frontal centrefold in a soft-core magazine (1971) could be taken to signify liberation or merely titillation, but either way they indicated a weakening of controls. While this process was furthered by the relaxation of censorship, contrary attempts to restore public decency often achieved the same effect. The prosecution of Lady Chatterley's Lover in 1960 made it a bestseller; Christine Keeler's nude bodybecame the defining image of the Profumo Affair of 1963 and Marianne Faithfull served the same role in the 1967 Redlands drugs trial.
The primacy given to freedom, pleasure and sexuality necessitated a rethink of morality and religion, leading McGrath to write of a "new spiritual movement". Some defined the "New Morality" in terms of the abolition of prohibitions; others toyed with moral relativism. The famously liberal Bishop of Woolwich preferred to restructure Christianity around a situational ethics in which "nothing can of itself always be labelled as 'wrong'." But for humanists, permissiveness was inseparable from a process of secularisation thattook off in the 1960s and continues to this day.
McGrath's utopianism became painfully unfashionable once the 1960s gave way to the 1970s and the Summer of Love to the Winter of Discontent. But 40 years later, his vision of a Britain embracing freedom, individualism, iconoclasm, pluralism, openness, pleasure, creativity and a post-Christian morality seems almost prophetic. Britain is now a more permissive society than it has ever been, and hippies deserve their due for assisting in its creation.
The secret words are Oh Wow
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Elvis with Little Junior Parker and Bobby Bland
Elvis Presley died thirty years ago today. I think we can all accept by now that he’s not hiding out in Hawaii under the name John Burroughs. I have written so much about Elvis down the years I have little left to say. Why don’t we just let the performances be the tribute? Here are three tunes from three essential peaks in the man’s career – “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Jailhouse Rock”, and “In The Ghetto.”
We can, however, mark the occasion by laying to rest an unpleasant rumor that been circulating for a half century that claims Elvis once remarked “The only thing Negroes can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes.” The evidence seems to have finally been amassed that this was an early piece of anti-Presley, anti-rock disinformation.
The secret word is Left
It’s hot here at the night computer, and the wee hours could grow depressing, so why not a picture of Liz when she was hot and not in the least depressing? (Also I think the time is right.)
This is another theft from Tom Sutpen. I just can’t help myself.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
And while I post this cover, Dr. Adder writes, “some Ph. D at Oxford catches up to where Philip K. Dick was 40 years ago, and somehow it's a major revelation to the New York Times.” And Dr. Adder is right. The idea that we all might just be part of some third party’s computer simulation, construct, or nightmare has been well known to paranoids, acid heads, schizophrenics, and comic book writers for at least a half century, and the concept is even employed in a Daffy Duck cartoon. How do these fools get tenure while I have to work for a living and call it fiction?
"Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else’s hobby. I hadn’t imagined that the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the heavens and earth could be an advanced version of a guy who spends his weekends building model railroads or overseeing video-game worlds like the Sims. But now it seems quite possible. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation. This simulation would be similar to the one in “The Matrix,” in which most humans don’t realize that their lives and their world are just illusions created in their brains while their bodies are suspended in vats of liquid. But in Dr. Bostrom’s notion of reality, you wouldn’t even have a body made of flesh. Your brain would exist only as a network of computer circuits. You couldn’t, as in “The Matrix,” unplug your brain and escape from your vat to see the physical world. You couldn’t see through the illusion except by using the sort of logic employed by Dr. Bostrom, the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford." (For more of this nonsense)
The secret words are Red Pill
Meanwhile Sky passes along this frightening report that, if this is some asshole’s computer simulation, it is managed worse than the real world.
"The oxygen-poor "dead zone" off the Louisiana and Texas coasts isn't quite as big as predicted this year, but it is still the third-largest ever mapped, a scientist said Saturday. Crabs, eels and other creatures usually found on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico are swimming in crowds on the surface because there is too little oxygen in their usual habitat, said Nancy Rabalais, chief scientist for northern Gulf hypoxia studies. "We very often see swarms of crabs, mostly blue crabs and their close relatives, swimming at the surface when the oxygen is low," she wrote in an e-mail from a research ship as it returned to Cocodrie from its annual measurement trip. Eels, which live in sediments 60 to 70 feet below the water surface, are an even less common sight, she said. The 7,900-square-mile area with almost no oxygen, a condition called hypoxia, is about the size of Connecticut and Delaware together. The Louisiana-Texas dead zone is the world's second-largest hypoxic area, she said." (For more)
Discussion of the possible plans of the hideous Karl Rove continued today like one of his own demon talking points. The theory I liked best and made the most sense was that, instead of attaching himself a single candidate like a strategizing incubus, Rove will actually rove free (pun accidental) as the non-aligned Destroyer of Hillary. Assuming of course that Hillary is nominated. Orca also suggested in an email that Rove is a victim of the Roy Cohn syndrome. (Cohn-- the gay homophobe and anti-Semitic Jew.) “You are well aware, I assume, of the long standing rumors of Turd Blossom's gayness (gives the nickname whole new meanings I'd rather not even go into). Believe he understands that trigger in the American psyche that gets set off by gays because he so fears his own deep-closeted Richard Simmons. Who was Jeff Gannon with during those overnight visits to the West Wing?” And Noudela send another video that certainly demonstrates Rove dancing to be, to say the least, strange.
LINKED WITHOUT COMMENT
Except I wonder when the mine owners will allow the US coal industry at least to make it into the 20th century
Monday, August 13, 2007
"It was a dirty job, but Rove liked to do it."
When I read news (oh boy) I flatly didn’t believe it. “Karl Rove, President Bush's close friend and chief political strategist, announced Monday he will leave the White House at the end of August. On board with Bush since the beginning of his political career in Texas, Rove was nicknamed "the architect" and "boy genius" by the president for designing the strategy that twice won him the White House. Critics call Rove "Bush's brain." Yeah right, that sonofabitch, known to his boss as Turd Blossom, is about as likely to ride quietly off into the sunset as Sauron would be to trade the Dark Tower for a Florida timeshare. So what’s the deal here? Is he bailing ahead of subpoenas and even indictments? R. J. Eskow in HuffPo today seemed to be of that opinion…
“Rove is facing a Congressional subpoena. And let's not forget his role in the Libby scandal. In what was probably a public threat/negotiating ploy, Libby's lawyers threatened to submit evidence that Scooter's actions were part of a broader criminal plot to protect Rove. It apparently worked, since they suddenly reversed themselves and offered only a token defense. Then, in what was an extraordinary exception even for cases of Presidential pardons, Scooter never served even a single day in jail. Funny, that. So Rove is either leaving now because a) he wants to write that book, b) he wants to spend more time with his family, c) he thinks this will lower the pressure to have him testify before Congress, d) somebody said "we'll fix it with Scooter but when the heat dies down you have to leave town," e) all of the above, or f) there's something else going on we may never know.”
But then again I wonder. I could easily see him trolling the slime trails of the Republican primaries whoring out as a kingmaker-for-hire figuring which wannabe might have a prayer in this shambles of America that Rove helped create. This evil motherfucker is about the most wholly amoral political manipulator since Joseph Goebbels. This is the bastard who ran the Bush 2004 election on insinuation and homophobia, and I’m telling you, citizens, we do not, for a moment, want to turn our collective back on this very dangerous, slithering scumsucker.
The secret word is Wormtongue
(But check this video clip Noudela just sent in which Rove jokes about being president.)