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Writing in OC Weekly, Dave Barton writes of the new exhibition at UC Irvine of a work by Yoshua Okón, entitled “Salo Island.”

“The Marquis de Sade was rotting away in the Bastille of pre-revolutionary France when he wrote one of his first pornographic novels, 120 Days of Sodom.beach

: “A mind-boggling litany of sexual perversion, the plot is about a foursome of wealthy French elite—a Judge, a Bishop, a Banker and a Cardinal—who kidnap a group of boys and girls, take them to an isolated castle, and then humiliate, rape and murder them. Heinous masturbatory material that it is, it’s also a grimly funny social commentary, with the degenerate Marquis pointing fingers at fellow travelers in his own social class, people who were doing things he only fantasized about.

“In 1975, Marxist Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini used the infamous book as source material for his film Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, considered by many critics the most controversial movie of all time. Changing the setting from France to the last Fascist holdout of Mussolini’s Italy, Pasolini’s film doesn’t have the Marquis’ mordant sense of humor; playing things deadly serious, the bold visualization of the novel’s atrocities turns the political tract into cinema’s first torture porn.

“Shortly before the film’s release, Pasolini was brutally murdered, supposedly by a teenage male prostitute who ran over him with his own car on a desolated beach. Believed at the time to be a sex deal gone bad, the murderer (who had right-wing ties) has since recanted his confession, claiming Pasolini was assassinated for his politics, as well as his open homosexuality. Fascists apparently don’t take kindly to portrayals of themselves as ass-licking, shit-eating, child murderers.

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imgres-2By now, you’ve probably heard people call themselves “slaves” to their phones or their computers. We all know what that means — but why are we allowing ourselves to be slaves to the very instruments of technology we’ve created?

Douglas Rushkoff, who spends his days thinking, writing and teaching about media culture, says it’s time for people to stop chasing every ping and start using technology in a way that makes us feel more free. NPR.org today discusses “Rushkoff’s latest work is called Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. He joined NPR’s Audie Cornish to talk about the book.

“Most simply, ‘present shock’ is the human response to living in a world that’s always on real time and simultaneous. You know, in some ways it’s the impact of living in a digital environment, and in other ways it’s just really what happens when you stop leaning so forward to the millennium and you finally arrive there.

“In my life, it’s sort of the experience of being on Facebook and seeing everyone from my past suddenly back in my present. And the inability to distinguish between who may have been friends of mine in second grade, and people who I’ve met just yesterday, and people who are actually significant relationships. That collapse of my whole life into one moment, where every ping, every vibration of my phone might just pull me out of whatever it is I’m doing, into something else that seems somehow more pressing on the moment.” Douglas Rushkoff founded the Narrative Lab at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, and lectures about media, art, society and change at conferences and universities around the world. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

” ‘Digiphrenia’ is really the experience of trying to exist in more than one incarnation of yourself at the same time. There’s your Twitter profile, there’s your Facebook profile, there’s your email inbox. And all of these sort of multiple instances of you are operating simultaneously and in parallel. And that’s not a really comfortable position for most human beings.It’s interesting — I was at Disney World and I saw this little girl who was looking at one of those signs that said, like, ‘Forty minutes until you get on this ride,’ and she looked up to her dad, and she said, ‘What’s a minute?’ And I thought that, you know, in the industrial age, and in analog clocks, a minute is some portion of an hour, which is some portion of a day. In the digital age, a minute is just a number. It’s just 3:23. It’s almost this absolute duration that doesn’t have a connection to where the sun is or where our day is. It’s this very abstracted way of experiencing time. And what I’m arguing in Present Shock is that that timelessness is very characteristic of living in the digital age, in the age that we’re in. And it’s very hard for us to orient ourselves, to look forward to things, to join movements with goals, to invest in the future, to think about our long-term careers. We’re just kind of in this moment of pause.”

More at: http://www.npr.org/2013/03/25/175056313/in-a-world-thats-always-on-we-are-trapped-in-the-present

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Over the past 40 years, the War on Drugs has cost more than $1 trillion and accounted
for over 45 million arrests.

The U.S. holds 25% of the world’s prisoners, yet accounts for
only 5% of the world’s population.imgres

Black individuals comprise 13% of the U.S. population and 14% of drug users, yet they are 37%
of the people arrested for drug offenses and 56% of those incarcerated for drug crimes.

As America remains embroiled in conflict overseas, a less visible war is taking place at
home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage upon
future generations of Americans. In forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for
more than 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor
communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more
available today than ever before.

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The Punk Syndrome is the title of a recent independent film about musical band made up of people with intellectual disabilities

This attractive Finnish film brings to mind the Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s Leningrad Cowboys Go America, a zany comedy about a terrible Finnish rock group touring the States, reports The Guardian.imgres-2 “The difference, however, is that Kärkkäinen and Passi’s film is a documentary about a real punkquartet called Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day, a genuine punk quartet made up of the autistic duo of Pertti Kurikka (lead guitar) and Karl Aalto (singer), and the Down’s syndrome duo of Sami Helle (bass) and Toni Välitalo (drums).

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 The Invisible War has done something exceptionally rare. Rather than tackling an issue that’s safely in the past, Kirby Dick and his subjects have confronted an ongoing culture of sexual violence and grotesque indifference in one of the country’s most respected institutions, reports todays Daily Beast.“And instead of being dismissed as Hollywood liberalism, or creating a temporary spike in awareness that dissipates shortly after its release, The Invisible War is helping push forward action in Congress and substantive reform in the military itself.imgres

“It’s one thing for a movie in Oscar contention to get snared in politics, or to seek out political relevance as a way of linking a film to a larger narrative. … Since The Invisible War’s release, federal action on sexual assaults in the military has instead accelerated. On January 23, the House Armed Services Committee held hearings on the investigation into Lackland Air Force Base, the site of the Air Force’s basic training: a staff sergeant stationed there was convicted of rape and sexual assault last summer, and 32 instructors are alleged to have sexually coerced or formed relationships with their students that violate military regulations. The New York Times wrote “that they are doing so is in large part a tribute to” The Invisible War, though Dick said he was frustrated that so many congressmen left the hearing to attend a vote, skipping the part of the program where assault survivors testified about their experiences.”

 

Full story at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/07/the-invisible-war-how-oscar-s-military-rape-documentary-might-change-everything.html

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