From the category archives:

Storytelling

This ad is almost universally referred to as “The Crazy Ones” – but I prefer to focus on the actions of creative people rather than the pejoratives applied to them.

I almost titled it: No Respect for the Status Quo.

Thank you, Steve.

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From “I Thought You Were a Poet” by Joshua Mehigan:

It seems to me that narcissism is ineluctably at the heart of poetry, maybe of every human enterprise. One-third of people will think I’m an idiot for bothering to state this. Two-thirds will think I’m repugnant for suggesting that poetry isn’t soul magic. But, however magical your soul, doesn’t its unveiling imply a touch of egotism? In lyric poetry, especially, some degree of narcissism seems unavoidable. Even Dickinson and Hopkins sought readers at some point. Now let us observe a moment’s silence for the Unknown Poets, who have defeated narcissism and won oblivion. Then, since there’s nothing to build on there, let us quickly turn in gratitude to their egotistical fellow poets, who reached through self-regard to give the bitter world a little beauty and insight.

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By Margaret Atwood

 

via The Future of Books

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From Ars Technica:

In June 2010, the government was expressing real interest in social
networks. The Air Force issued a public request for “persona
management software,” which might sound boring until you realize that
the government essentially wanted the ability to have one agent run
multiple social media accounts at once.

It wanted 50 software licenses, each of which could support 10
personas, “replete with background, history, supporting details, and
cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically
consistent.”

The software would allow these 50 cyberwarriors to peer at their
monitors all day and manipulate these 10 accounts easily, all “without
fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries.” The personas
would appear to come from all over the world, the better to infiltrate
jihadist websites and social networks, or perhaps to show up on
Facebook groups and influence public opinion in pro-US directions.
As the cyberwarriors worked away controlling their 10 personas, their
computers would helpfully provide “real-time local information” so
that they could play their roles convincingly.

While hackers get most of the attention for their rootkits and botnets
and malware, state actors use the same tools to play a different
game—the Great Game—and it could be coming soon to a computer near
you.

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Even though he’s already met his goal, I think this is such a great project that I just supported it:

And you still have time to support it, too.

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Egypt Remembers

The faces of murdered Egyptian protesters

via

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Heritage

January 29, 2011

in History,Image,Place,Storytelling

Egyptians form a human wall to protect the history museum in Cairo

Unconfirmed, but hopefully true

Citizens form a human wall around the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to protect historical artifacts within.

via

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Roget Ebert:

As I fell into the rhythm of the words, as I savored the way Dickens was planting his signposts for the development of the plot, as I watched him create unforgettable characters in a page or two, I felt a kind of peace. This wasn’t hectic. I wasn’t skittering around here and there. I wasn’t scanning headlines and skimming pages and tweeting links. I was reading.

What I am going to do, is take some time every day to read. I believe I’ll make it a practice to read in the room without the computer and the Wi-Fi.

I interpret “…the room without” as the rest of the world. My first daily read for the summer: Moby Dick. (It’s my first time.)

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But the present is not a potential past; it is the moment of choice and action; we can not avoid living it through a project; and there is no project which is purely contemplative since one always projects himself toward something, toward the future; to put oneself “outside” is still a way of living the inescapable fact that one is inside; those French intellectuals who, in the name of history, poetry, or art, sought to rise above the drama of the age, were willy-nilly its actors; more or less explicitly, they were playing the occupier’s game. Likewise, the Italian aesthete, occupied in caressing the marbles and bronzes of Florence, is playing a political role in the life of his country by his very inertia. One can not justify all that is by asserting that everything may equally be the object of contemplation, since man never contemplates: he does.

– Simone de Beauvoir, from The Ethics of Ambiguity

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Amy Hillman recently tweeted this photo of the dedication in a book from Bob’s Red Mill:

...a simple, sustaining way of life...

...a simple, sustaining way of life...

Not too surprising that someone who cares about his wife, work and values this much gave the company to his employees on his 81st birthday.

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Attachment

February 1, 2010

in Storytelling,Tools,Video

Whenever I sense that I’m getting too tangled up in a specific process, or overly attached to a particular tool or way of thinking, I often find myself muttering: “My pen! My pen!”

I just recently found the sketch that inspired that little tactic of re-centering, after not seeing it for years:

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From the back cover of Haiku Year:

“In 1996, seven friends agreed to write one haiku a day and mail them to each other. At the end of the year, they realized that their collection of simple, critical observations had given them a new way to look a the details of their lives.”

Examples:

Tom Gilroy:

The Smiths on
Starbucks’ sound system
another dream over

Rick Roth:

Bitter stamp taste
Licked for a letter
that will get no reply

Jim McKay:

People in cars
telling life stories
in red light glances

Tom Gilroy:

the father pushing
the kid on the tricycle
when it’s easier to tell him to pedal

Anna Grace:

at dawn
we fall asleep
mid-sentence

You can even post your own to their guest book.

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I’ve been meaning to post something by Anis Mojgani since I first started this scrapbook. And while I feel there’s something in Mojgani’s work that these videos don’t quite capture, there’s no use waiting for perfection.

As a representative of the night-time cereal eaters, among several other characters listed, I give you “Shake the Dust”:

And be patient with this one — it really unfolds in the last minute or so, from the moment he says: “Because every breathe I give…”:

“…and the answer comes:
Already am,
Always was,
And I still have time to be…”

To learn more about Anis Mojgani: LiveJournal | MySpace

Listen to audio from IndieFeed’s Performance Poetry channel:

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I went to a lecture by Kenneth Goldsmith last night about UbuWeb, and it was a great reminder of the riches available there. I scribbled a few fragmentary notes.

(All quotes are 99% accurate, though I have re-ordered them a little bit.)

  • UbuWeb can be construed as the “Robin Hood” of the Avant Garde. Only a handful of artists have given explicit consent to be featured.
  • “If we had to ask permission, UbuWeb wouldn’t exist.”
  • “We don’t really fuck with economies — because there’s no economy for this stuff.” (This stuff meaning, the music of Marcel Duchamp or Jean Dubuffet, for example.)
  • “We respect legitimate economies.”
  • UbuWeb features five terabytes of work from 5,000+ artists.
  • When he was working on his collection of Warhol interviews, Goldsmith went to the offices of the Warhol foundation to get permission, and they “laughed him out of the office.” In their view, Warhol’s words are valueless.
  • “Download everything you possibly can from UbuWeb — it won’t last forever.”
  • “The outsider stuff is becoming the inside.”
  • “There’s so much stuff on UbuWeb that I don’t know what’s there.” (Editors help him by managing different sections.)
  • UbuWeb is not a democracy: The collection is “highly curated, highly selective.” Most submissions don’t make it on the site.
  • UbuWeb has a Facebook page, created by his students, but Kenneth Goldsmith was unequivocal: “I hate Facebook.”
  • “I have problems with the idea of quality in Web 2.0.” And donation buttons make him sick.
  • From time to time, he gets offers — up to US$50,000 — for the domain ubu.com, from companies who want to sell products that “help you be you!” etc. And he takes great pleasure in replying: “Fuck you: This is reserved for poetry.” (I instantly pictured an orange traffic cone with this response, embossed on a metal plate, sticking out of the top. And the entrepreneurial part of my brain thinks it would make a great embroidered fishing hat…or maybe stickers that could be placed wherever logos lurk?)
  • UbuWeb may look institutional, but “it’s made of toothpicks and tissue paper.”
  • “I’m not an art historian…there are holes…it’s a horribly-flawed fanzine…the taxonomy is atrocious…it’s an art historian’s nightmare!”
  • “We’re in the Summer of Love for the web right now, and it’s not going to last…We’re in the midst of a revolution that’s so large we don’t even recognize it.”
  • “Old hippies are the worst in the world” in terms of copyright, control, permissions and sharing. “It’s generational.”

A few gleanings from a look around the site this morning:

  • A film about Poême électronique, the collaboration between Edgard Varêse and Le Corbusier at the 1958 World’s Fair
  • John Cale — Loop (1966) (links directly to mp3)
  • Canntaireachd — “Dating back to the sixteenth century or earlier, canntaireachd developed as the art of “chanting” pibroch (piobaireachd), the classical form of Gaelic bagpipe music.”
  • They have a podcast, in collaboration with the Poetry Foundation.

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MacArthur Fellow Heather McHugh, in a recent Newshour profile:

“If you look around, the surface of the water is never the same any two moments, much less any two days. Any skyscape is never the same thing. You can’t possibly see it all.

We narrow meaning to make our meanings of it.

For me, the whole point of poetry is to liberate the larger sense. The great paradox of poetry is it’s the smallest unit of language you can make that releases the greatest number of readings.”

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