Karl Ove Knausgård Interview: The Other Side of Edvard Munch [Video]

I’ve never read anything by Knausgard, but this does make me a little more curious to read him. When the cabbage painting came on the screen, my first thought was, death is always out there, waiting. I was a bit surprised when Knausgard then mentioned it and saw the same thing. I guess when you get to middle age and beyond, some things become impossible not to see.

I was lucky enough to see a Munch exhibition in Paris in the late ’90’s. I was transfixed and moved. Munch might as well have been standing there talking to me. The canvases were much larger than I was expecting and they had what I can only describe as an aura. I’ve experienced this a few times with great works of art. It is a kind of magic. Unfortunately, there is no way to experience this kind of work without being in its presence. Fortunately, the same is not true of all art forms, including writing. When writing is magic, it can be reproduced for anyone and everyone to experience – as long as you can read the language in which it was written that is (and sometimes the magic is so powerful it even comes through in translation). In a world where the people in power are fighting against the humanities, it’s important to remember that kind of magic is always around us. We are going to have to fight if we want that to continue to be true.

Jim Morrison Interview (1970) (26 years old)

He was a thinker. I could quibble with some of his thoughts (like getting caught in the focus on the individual trap and not realizing he was surrounded by women artists), but that is not the point. Much of this conversation is sadly relevant, partly because they touch on some perennial questions and partly because there is some prescience in Jim’s thoughts. And remember he was 26. I could post actual philosophers and write 5,000 words on this, but no one would click on it…

@chunkymark made a movie: This is Not a Recession, It’s a Robbery [Repost from 3/10/14 (My & his analysis still stands)]

In the past few years, capitalists (corporations, the filthy rich, finance, insurance, oil, big pharma, big ag, and war mongers, to name a few) have significantly stepped-up their buying of governments worldwide. They have been busy putting the money they’ve stolen from us to use, purchasing politicians and imposing neoliberal policies on us all.

At the core of those policies is privatization. Privatization involves transferring the ownership of public wealth from the people to private for-profit corporations. That, along with the 2007-08 crisis, has resulted in a massive transfer and consolidation of wealth that literally kills, criminalizes, impoverishes, and controls, whilst making the rich, much, much richer.

Another tenet of neoliberal ideology (or tactic if you prefer) is the imposition of austerity. Essentially, austerity takes away critical resources from citizens – especially the most vulnerable. This goes hand in hand with a perennial corporate favorite: deregulation. Deregulation weakens regulatory agencies and gets rid of laws that protect citizens by either weakening them or replacing them wholesale.

The all-out assault on the UK by neoliberal corporate power has been extreme.  It has killed thousands and impoverished many more.  It is remaking the entire society before people’s eyes.   It is difficult to overstate the rapidity and viciousness with which this is taking place.  And if you are an average citizen outside of the British Isles, you probably have no idea it’s happening at all.

Mark McGowan, AKA The artist taxi driver, AKA Chunky Mark, is a working class bloke in London. He has been watching it all happen with shock, horror, and disbelief and is just trying to make sense of it all. He shoots videos in his cab before he starts work in the morning and posts them on youtube. Over the years, he has also managed to interview people from almost every walk of life. This movie is a collection of those commentaries and interviews.

From what I’ve been able to glean, Mark is a concerned citizen, father, artist, activist – and has a pretty good sense of humor to boot. He’s smart, sincere, frightened, concerned, and wants justice. What comes through again and again is his empathy, his humanity. He wonders aloud what many of us think every day: why are the people in power so sadistic and why aren’t the rest of us doing something about it?  He screams and rants and rages quite loudly, and a bit more than occasionally. I’ll leave out any discussion of how much might be performance because I think it is his genuine immediate reaction to what is happening – and because I think it’s appropriate. It seems a much more human response than what I see from most people. He may or may not realize it, but his pauses and sighs have an even bigger impact than the yelling. But I digress…

Though you may not be familiar with UK politics, much of what Mark is covering should sound very familiar. It should be obvious by now that this corporate neoliberal agenda is not unique to the UK. In fact, neoliberalism as we know it was born in the u.s.a. (at the University of Chicago to be exact). While the u.s. doesn’t have an NHS to dismantle, it’s healthcare was given over to corporations long ago.  Schools are another matter.  The neoliberals have been busy here demonizing teachers, attacking unions, and attempting to privatize public schools.  State pensions (which most americans don’t even possess) have been raided (through fees, budget cuts, legislation, and fraud) and everyone who has a pension is funding speculation. That money is at risk of being lost. (For those of you reading this in the future: Yes, the derivatives your pension fund helped inflate into a massive toxic bubble that burst are the reason they’re giving for cutting your pension.)  The corporate neoliberal model is being imposed all over the world: India, Turkey, Brazil – most of Europe…the list is long.  Just look for bought-off politicians selling off the state to corporate “interests” and media imitating the u.s. and the picture should become very clear.

Of course this film and Mark’s youtube videos aren’t the be all end all source for information, but I like Mark’s DIY spirit, his frustration, his sense of urgency, his passion and humanity.  Things sorely lacking from most people I see.

Caveats: For those with delicate sensibilities, there is a lot of swearing in this film. If you’re still living in another century it may be time to travel to the present. As I said in the beginning, Mark is just a guy trying to understand what’s going on. I think he has done a damn good job of zeroing in on root causes, but – as with most people – he is just as susceptible as the next guy to occasionally trodding down the wrong path. For example, Alex Jones makes a very brief appearance in the cab. He is an american “shock jock” who mixes wacky conspiracy theories with facts and dangerous ideas; so, in the end, it’s best to dismiss him totally. There are so many people with sane analyses, there is really no reason to pay him any attention except as comic relief.

Max Keiser also makes an appearance. While Max does offer some good analysis of financial criminal behavior, he is a capitalist and he shares the libertarian utopian idea that if we only had “true free markets” we could have good capitalism (but in the meantime, he is a regular old capitalist). If one knows enough to see through that and can suss out the useful bits of his analysis, have at it – but really, there are hundreds of other more reputable sources out there who aren’t selling their own bitcoins, etc…

So, with those caveats, watch the film to be entertained, see a slice of life, and hopefully get a sense of what’s happening, because whether you know it or not, some version of everything detailed in it is probably happening where you live.

~ Cheers

The Boots Riley interview on DN! you probably didn’t see

Click here to watch Boots Riley’s extended interview on Democracy Now! I’m glad he was interviewed and given time on DN!, but it’s a shame most people will miss seeing this second part, because it wasn’t aired. It’s only available on the DN! website as an extended interview.

The first part was important because it got the story out about his cousin and introduced Boots to people who had had never heard of him. Unfortunately, it was rushed and it didn’t give people a chance to fully see what he has to offer politically or musically. He didn’t choose one of his best rhymes (which, even more unfortunately, he flubbed) and the interview just didn’t communicate enough about Riley’s knowledge and experience.

In this extended piece, he has time to relax and tell his story – and surprisingly, he ends-up giving a great analysis of the left that many on the left don’t want to hear. It’s not a total analysis, but it gets to crux of the problem. He also gives a much better performance of a much better song. And there’s even more good stuff in there. So, as they say, watch and learn…

Chris Hedges and Bob Scheer discuss Scheer’s latest book “They Know Everything About You” [Video]

Chris Hedges and Bob Scheer discuss Scheer’s latest book “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy” and end up interrogating some of the fundamental assumptions underlying their respective political beliefs.

If you don’t know, now you know [#Ferguson][@bellaeiko][Please RT]



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

I recommend watching the whole thing, but if you don’t have the time or the patience, start at 00:49:00. It gets better and better. It’s not about whether you agree or disagree with everything people are saying. It’s about understanding, but there is a whole lot of truth here. And then even if you can’t empathize, you can sympathize – and then you can support and ideally get involved. If you think this doesn’t affect you because you’re not black or poor, you might want to think harder.

Bella had to leave (you can bet she’ll be back), but there are other livestreamers and posters who will probably start broadcasting and posting later today. Here are their twitter handles:

@bassem_masri
@argusnewsnow
@anonopspro
@Rebelutionary_Z
@STLAbuBadu
@stlouisx50

Bella Eiko was responsible for the video and conversation above. If you want to contribute to her efforts, this is her paypal address: Bellaeikomedia@me.com