a quick one.

...about filesharing.
I'm for it, to a degree. I have several gigabytes of music on my hard-drive, and I would say I'm passionate about music. I also buy CDs, T-shirts, patches and pins, and go to shows regularly. I consider music to be 'shareware', I download albums, and if they begin to reverberate emotionally with me, I'll go and buy the album.
If I bother to learn parts of the lyrics, I'll buy it.
If I create a long-term memory that somehow includes that music, I'll buy it.
If I feel a vibration, somewhere in my chest, around sternum-level, or if it feels in one blessed moment that my sinus cavities have turned into cathedrals, then that for me is an emotional connection, and I'll buy your album.

Erm, disclaimer.
By 'buy', I actually mean I'll put it on a short list to buy when I actually have disposable income. Sorry. Also, if I'm living out of a backpack on somebody's couch, I might just procrastinate before I commit to lugging the tangible copy of your song around on my back. Sorry.

Now, I also play music. And I also record music, and that becomes little mp3 files that slowly dribble around teh interwubs. We've given our music away for free mostly. And the whole 'making a living at it' is something that we don't discuss with seriousness.

So how would I feel about filesharing if I was poor old gene simmons?

I doubt I would feel differently about it.

For me, the purpose of music is a tool, to promote community cohesion. My background is punk. In my self-aggrandizing daydreams, I look forward to the day that my music has an audience that is consistent, believes some of the same things that I do, and participates with us in larger projects. Also, it would be cool if there was enough to fill a basement, and they danced. In the daytime, we build our bikes or teach each other strange and wonderful things. We get dirty. At night, we feed ourselves and play music to each other. I know their names, they know mine. We can agree or argue, but never doubt our abilities or intentions. Like I said, it's a daydream, but there have been worse ways to live, no?

Notice how some parts of that daydream are as problematic as the model of music as 'commodity.' As participants in a community that I in some small way define, I expect a certain amount of common interest and participation. I also assume that they would feel compelled to buy a tangible form of the music, rather than to take advantage of the free copies floating around in ether. They, like me, would create an idea of community based on the free-floating and utterly unrealistic poetry of culture. They would commit to participation in said community partly in terms of buying.

Music as definer of community, and music as mere commodity. These two conceptions of music are in conflict, though not always mutually exclusive. After all, we do live in a world with price tags on everything, and I don't think it's purely a commercial act to buy an album or patch, any more than it's a capitalist act to offer your couch to a musician on tour. I don't think turning your back on all forms of tangible music makes you more 'pure' in an anti-consumerist sense. But there always exists a tension, because culture is in some ways a poor substitute for true community, and needlessly divisive, and can quickly become distracting.

I've long since given up thinking that the totality of 'punk' can maintain this semblance of community. They may go to the same shows as I do, may dance to the same words and music, and while for me those words ask questions of the world that demand answers, I might quickly find that for them, those words are a distraction and mean nothing. Or I may play a show, and find that for the audience, the songs were about finding 'pure chakrahs' or that 'masons control the world.' Or that it was a distraction from getting drunk and high. Poof! Back to reality, back to work.

Is it because the consumerist mentality has infiltrated so deeply, that it's difficult for people to really involve themselves in music and culture as anything more than a commodity? Or is it because the punk mentality has taught me to put too much faith in something that, ultimately, really isn't that important?


this may be of interest...

...to punkers and lovers of 'zines.

Archives of Maximumrocknroll, Heartattack, Suburban Voice, etc.!

There goes my free time...




I thought this was good.

Gee, now that the blog has become the default form for most info on the web, what with comment boxes and Digg buttons everywhere, I have new ways of getting myself enraged. For example, I know all I have to do is find an article or opinion piece on Iraq, scroll down to read messages, and there'll be some meathead there spouting the same old crap. I really think somebody is paying these guys.

But wait-

All I want to do is ask how in the hell they expect to be forgiven. But for what? Obviously they're not the ones fighting. They pay taxes, yes. Most Americans do. And what's clear is that public opinion does not matter to those in power. Even overwhelming opposition causes them no obstacles, because Americans are beset by ideas of futility.

Why get angry at someone who's powerless?

They have emotionally attached themselves to the destiny of a murderous occupation. That is a psychological construct, it isn't real. They overcome the truth of their powerlessness this way. Powerlessness is indeed a sickening feeling.

more later, I'm late for work...!



Well, look who finally got caught with their hands in the cookie jar:
Undercover cops tried to incite violence in Montebello

I dunno, is all this Web 2.0 revolution crap finally paying off? When I caught this article on CBC, I was excited. For years they've pulled this stunt.

More likely, however, is that Canadians in general will respond with their characteristic passivity. I was a little disappointed to hear the 'estimated' protest numbers coming from the media. A safe calculation is to take their number and double it. Even so, not very compelling, considering that the SPP is something that presses a lot of nationalist buttons. You can count on Canadians being proud of not being American, and not much else. (Geeze, I'm sounding judgemental... it's because I've away for too long.)

Meanwhile, in Korea, the famous South Korean protester has been keeping a low profile. The media here is even more controlled than in my native land, and I was away during the last big anti-FTA demo. The good news there is that the Korean regime was able to extract some concessions from the Americans, due in no small part to the influence of the street. Still, I've been keeping my eyes open so I can participate in some activist tourism.

I've been pondering a long 'Korea vs. Canada' comparison, but I become all too aware that I probably don't understand either place very much. Every time I come across a 'cultural observation' in a tour guide or messageboard, it gets deflated once I encounter it myself. Countries are only people, fenced off, minding their own business. How do you translate that into thoughtful observations? You don't, obviously. You twist it into shitty stand-up comedy.


exhibit A.

Now, I don't remember seeing goofy pictures like these in the newspaper when the Olympics are on. And yet: goofy faces. Crotch. It's immature to be amused by these. Or is it?

Humanity loves ourselves, and we love the myth of beauty through physical prowess. And it's pretty impressive to drive to drive your meat through the air half an inch higher than anyone else ever. And the natural result of this: funny exertion faces. I'd like to see funny exertion faces sculpted onto all the Greek porno sculptures in all the porno museums.

It stands to reason that pictures with funny exertion faces and crotch contact are censored from newspapers and magazines. Such a trivial thing, isn't it? But it makes all the difference in the world. We're still in love with beauty myths. Editors will say it's to maintain the dignity of 'our brave atheletes.' Dignity is one thing we can't afford anymore.


It's all random, but it's surprising how well they match up.

Family Circus and Nietzsche


R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut

Eerily, just as I was re-reading Breakfast of Champions.