Crivelli’s Annunciation | J.G. Ballard

Originally posted on Biblioklept:

I am sure that a large part of the enduring mystery of the Renaissance masterpieces in the National Gallery was due to the absence of the explanatory matter that now drains away much of the strangeness and poetry of the Old Masters. I would stare at Crivelli’s Annunciation, charmed by the peacocks, loaves of bread and other incongruous items, the passer-by reading a book on the bridge and the Virgin in her jewel box of a house. I was forced to use my own imagination to stitch these elements into a master narrative that made some kind of sense, rather than read an extended wall caption and be solemnly told that the peacock was a symbol of eternal life. Perish the thought, and let the exquisite bird be itself, and nothing more or less than itself. What could be more natural, and more mysterious, than a peacock and a…

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Workers: no longer needed?

Originally posted on LBO News from Doug Henwood:

Paul Mason has a breathless piece in The Guardian making grand New Economy claims that sound like recycled propaganda from the late-1990s—though he gives them a left spin: postmateriality is already liberating us. I wrote a book that was in large part about all that ideological froth, published in 2003, and so far I’ve been struck by the nonrevival of that discourse despite a new tech bubble. Uber and Snapchat don’t excite the same Utopian passions that the initial massification of the web did.

I’ll pass on refuting Mason’s article, because I already did that twelve years ago. But I do want to comment on one point that Mason makes—one that’s ubiquitous in a lot of economic commentary today: capitalists don’t need workers anymore. As he puts it:

Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. First, it has reduced the need…

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Political cartoon sketched in words after the Greek vote

The Eurocrats, controlled by the banks, have a noose around Greece’s neck – and they’re using it as a leash as they conduct a forced march down the neoliberal road, kicking at the billions of cans of debt littering their way.


“The Lepidopterist”

Originally posted on A Mirror Obscura,:

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Girl with Tilted Head — Egon Schiele

Originally posted on Biblioklept:

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A 20/20 Report on Rap from 1981 [Video]

Here’s a little time capsule: A 20/20 Report on rap. Surprisingly, it didn’t do a bad job talking about its origins. Of course they missed quite a few things, like the dozens, Gil Scott-Heron, and if they were really on it they would have included a toasting clip from a Jamaican sound system instead of the clip they showed, but I was surprised they even generally got the idea. They tried to put it in some historical and cultural context as well, while showing some respect. Usually there is much more condescension in stories like this from sources like this. The reporter also predicted rap would have staying power. Not too shabby considering the source.

In the end, he states everybody can rap. Maybe, but not everybody can rap well. It’s like saying everyone can sing. But he was trying to make the point that the music was accessible to the makers and the listeners.

For the hardcore old school Hip Hop heads: because he went to the epicenter to get footage, there are actually a couple of clips I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Enjoy the time capsule. The discerning viewer will see how much (and how little) things have changed, in all respects.


I just took another look at the beginning of the video and caught the producer’s name: Danny Schechter. That was Danny Schechter the News Dissector, who recently passed away. Now the quality makes sense. This happened to be from the time Danny spent in corporate news, but he was a good ol’ leftie. Like anyone, he wasn’t perfect or always right, but he left a legacy of engagement and activism when he died, from the struggle for South Africa to media freedom. Here is my post on him from 2013:

Danny Schechter The News Dissector


Dr Schäuble’s Plan for Europe: Do Europeans approve? – Article to appear in Die Zeit on Thursday 16th July 2015

21st Century Poet:

This is part of a worldwide neoliberal project. Any citizen of any country who thinks they are immune is ignorant or in deep denial. We are all Greece. The sooner we realize it the sooner we can organize worldwide to challenge our corporate masters and the venal bureaucrats they purchase with their Ill-gotten gains.

Originally posted on Yanis Varoufakis:

Pre-publication summary: Five months of intense negotiations between Greece and the Eurogroup never had a chance of success. Condemned to lead to impasse, their purpose was to pave the ground for what Dr Schäuble had decided was ‘optimal’ well before our government was even elected: That Greece should be eased out of the Eurozone in order to discipline member-states resisting his very specific plan for re-structuring the Eurozone.

  • This is no theory.
  • How do I know Grexit is an important part of Dr Schäuble’s plan for Europe?
  • Because he told me so!

I wrote this article not as a Greek politician critical of the German press’ denigration of our sensible proposals, of Berlin’s refusal seriously to consider our moderate debt re-profiling plan, of the European Central Bank’s highly political decision to asphyxiate our government, of the Eurogroup’s decision to give the ECB the green light to shut down our banks.

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