Jan. 13th, 2017

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Just when you thought the political landscape couldn't get any worse, CrimethInc is back, kickin' it like it's 2001. The third most irritating tendency in anarchism* has announced its return in a typically relevant fashion:

The website is powered by an app built with Ruby on Rails. If you’re a designer, a developer, or an adventurous explorer and want to help us build a better world, send up a signal flare—we’ll be waiting for you. There’s still plenty of work to do (and always will be until we finally destroy empire). Front end HTML and CSS—backend Ruby and Rails—UI/UX design—copyediting—language translation. There’s something for everyone.

I hate to hate on fellow leftists**, but are you shitting me? Whatever made someone wake up and go, "the US has elected to give a racist, sexist, slobbering monument to the Dunning-Kruger effect the codes to the nukes, the climate is permafucked, Syria is no longer a desert because it's basically an ocean of blood, Russia's gone all tsarist again, and the bumblebee just got declared endangered—what the world needs right now is a troupe of edgy anarkiddies declaring themselves post-left all over the internet." The only silver lining here is that practically no serious person will notice this. I mean, I noticed, but I'm not a serious person, and I'm sick of blogging about the fascist orange bezoar. 


I mean, I'll give credit where credit is due—CrimethInc have some sick graphic design skills and catchy slogans, but you know who else had sick graphic design skills and catchy slogans? Maoist China. Aesthetics does not a political ethos make.

Speaking of edgy, though, it's not all doom and gloom out there! U2 have delayed their latest release in the wake of Trump's election, and they might even not push it on your iPhone this time. Nevertheless, look forward to seeing Bono on stage shaking hands with Trump at the next G8/G20 summit. You know I'm right.

* Anarcho-capitalists at number one, anarcho-primitivists at number two, because someone asked. As if primitivists' "let's kill off most of the world's population and also fuck disabled people" excuse for a political ethos wasn't bad enough, Fake Goth Cathy Brennan has emerged as their strange bedfellow—possibly literally? Who knows, who cares? Plus they ruined a perfectly nice couch I once owned.

** Just kidding. That's basically my favourite thing to do.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 or, Against the Romanticization of Artistic Poverty.

Quick, what do the following bands have in common?

The Clash
Gang of Four
The Mekons
X-Ray Spex

If you answered, "Sabs is really into them," or "they're all seminal British punk bands," you'd be correct. But the answers I was going for is that:

1) They all had at least one member who had some sort of post-secondary arts education, and
2) They all formed before Margaret Thatcher's 1979 election, not as a response to it.

One of the things I hear every now and then is that, well, at least we'll have good punk music. The association of loud, angry, political punk music with grim Thatcherite England is obvious, and maybe I've been guilty of that sort of aesthetic Stalinism, believing that as the socio-economic climate grows increasingly bleak, the arts will respond with an explosion of outraged creativity.

Except that this is not how art actually works. Sure, a significant chunk of punk grew out of poverty and squats, led by disaffected dropouts, but this is not the whole story. Art rarely emerges from despair alone. Historically, artists had wealthy patrons, and the image of the noble artist starving to death in a garret is very much a modern notion, presumably invented by capitalists to justify slashing public funding to artists.

I mean, it makes sense. To have the freedom to create, you need to have basic material needs met. That's not to say that artists are inherently wealthy, comfortable people, or happy. But just as it is ridiculous to assume that social change emerges from abject misery—it generally comes from relative, not absolute deprivation, see also the American white working class—it is silly to think that just because things are more depressing out there, a wellspring of cultural innovation will magically emerge to combat it. That shit needs funding, and guess what one of the first things to go is when the hard-right takes power.

So no, we are probably not going to get good punk music again. Sorry about that.


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