Shared posts

21 Aug 09:22

arriving autumn 2014…..

by jjma

English Cut moving towards some made to measure is a go, it seems.


(The Connaught. Classic birdseye wool worsted from our new range)

To everyone who’s signed up for more information on our new service. We’re delighted to let you know that you’ll be able you’ll pre-order soon.

You’ll be able to order a beautiful English Cut suit online. It’s design and concept follows everything we think is important in a garment.

Our made to measure garments are made from fine English Cloth and manufactured to what we believe are the highest standards in the world

If you’d care to be updated as soon as our service is available then please register here.

To introduce our new customers, a short video to capture our bespoke tailoring heritage. The essence of English Cut.

29 Aug 04:41

We Must Risk Delight After a Summer Full of Monsters


An important little article.

Illustration by the author

It's been a summer of monsters.

Last week, the Islamic State released a video broadcasting the execution of James Foley in Syria.

Foley was a photojournalist. He was a brave, handsome man, who, according to people who knew him, was kind under stress. He was a member of a world I've only dipped into—that of freelancers reporting on war. It's a scene bonded over whiskeys in Gaziantep or Beirut. Because they have scant backup, freelancers look out for their own. This might mean sharing tips on fixers. Or it might mean something beyond the job, like raising money for the kids of a colleague killed in the field.

James Foley was kidnapped two years ago near Aleppo. A foreigner (or well-off Syrian) can net a fortune in ransom. Later, ISIS acquired him. They murdered him on the hills outside Raqqa. The voice on their propaganda tape was from London's East End.

I learned of Foley's death via a Skype message from a Syrian media activist. “Have you seen the video?? James :( May god bless his pure soul.” It was 4 AM. I googled, then doubled over in ugly sobs. Behind my eyelids, I saw the orange jumpsuit ISIS forced Foley to wear, echoing Gitmo. How many captives were still locked in their basements? How many Syrians had they murdered? Those names would never trend on Twitter.

I was in Sweden. The country's neat politeness made an obscene contrast to social media, where the stream showed police rampaging in Ferguson, Missouri. A cop had killed a black teenager named Mike Brown. Police would lay siege to the town to protect the man who shot him. Cops gassed an eight-year-old boy, or a woman fleeing in her wheelchair. Despite their sci-fi toys, the police's violence was as old as slavery. With raw courage, Ferguson kept protesting.

Weeks before, New York City police strangled to death a black grandfather named Eric Garner. A week before that, a California cop pummeled Marlene Pinnock, a black great grandmother. Back in New York, police stripped a black mom naked in the hallway outside her apartment, then arrested her entire family. They had knocked on the wrong door. Social media presented a parade of videos showcasing state violence that black people have endured since they were kidnapped to America. 

Weeks before officer Darren Wilson killed Mike Brown, Israel invaded Gaza under Operative Protective Edge. They bombed homes, hospitals, mosques, even UN schools where Palestinians were told to shelter. After six weeks, the IDF had killed over 2,000 Gazans, most of them civilians. Palestinians tweeted photos of the devastation. Israel claims to have the “world's most moral army.” Those photos showed this to be a lie.

During Gaza or Ferguson, I could not look away. These were events in which I, as a white-skinned woman or an American, was unwillingly complicit. But I wondered about the nature of looking. Was it voyeurism, to watch people attacked each night and do nothing but donate to bail funds? Or was it worse not to look, to retreat because one was able?

Journalism often feels like vampirism. Before Ferguson or Gaza, I'd been reporting from Abu Dhabi, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria. Before that, Guantanamo. Sources told me about repression and violence. A journalist on the disaster beat told me to be a funnel for this pain. “Let it go through you. Get it down truthfully. Move on.”

I could not.

Writing about others' trauma bears no relation to living it. Yet I was a ruin more and more. The word “burnout” is dead from overuse. Constant exposure to pain burns in.

Quinn Norton once advised me to write about what I loved. Rage came more easily. I'd make my lines bloody, my words damning. I didn't know how to write about happiness. What did it mean, the night I danced on the street in New Orleans? A brass band howled. I'd woven flowers into my hair, but they dissolved beneath the Halloween rain. My friends and I danced for hours.

It was one night, on one sliver of earth.

We need beauty. But what right did I have, I kept asking myself, in a world so full of hell? 

In his poem, “A Brief for the Defense,” Jack Gilbert attempted an answer. “We must risk delight,” he wrote. Life contains everything. Tear gas in Ferguson. Books read on the grass. Foley's murder. Dancing in New Orleans, till sunrise blots the stars. We're meat—fragile and finite. But joy is survival.

To remind myself, every summer I visit Coney Island. My mother used to visit, as did my grandmother. I love Coney's tattered glamor. I love the animatronic Grandma spitting fortunes, or the monsters Chico airbrushed at The Spook House. I love the dizzy minutes when the Wonder Wheel freezes. I'm above it all. Alone with the sky.

For a hundred years, Coney Island's been a symbol for working class pleasure. But New York lacks space for such darlings. In 1964, Fred Trump (Donald's father) bought Steeplechase, Coney's grandest park. He intended to raze it for apartments. Though he failed to push through the necessary rezoning, he destroyed Steeplechase anyway. On the night before the bulldozers, Trump threw a party.

At the party, bikini models presented bricks to Trump's friends. The moguls hurled the bricks through Steeplechase's stained-glass windows. They must have giggled as the glass broke.

Every year, Coney Island faded. In the early 2000s, Thor Equities bought up much of the boardwalk. They expelled a culture as sparkling as the glass crushed into Times Square's sidewalks.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged Coney Island. No one even repainted the signs.

When my friends and I visited Coney Island this summer, the old parts had shrunk to bones. As we watched the storm come off the water, Coney's lights seemed fainter than ever.

I thought of Fred Trump as he hurled bricks through Steeplechase's windows.

Spaces of joy are always threatened. Blink, and they've been destroyed.

I thought of the gunships blocking Gaza's sea from fishermen, or the Islamic State smashing ancient statues, or the New York cops who would choke a black man to death for little more than being outside in the sun.

I thought of the roses laid in the street where Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown. 

Power seeks to enclose beauty—to make it scarce, controlled. There is scant beauty in militarized zones or prisons. But beauty keeps breaking out anyway, like the roses on that Ferguson street.

The world is connected now. Where it breaks, we all break. But it is our world, to love as it burns around us. Jack Gilbert is right. “We must risk delight” in the summer of monsters. Beauty is survival, not distraction. Beauty is a way of fighting. Beauty is a reason to fight.

Follow Molly Crabapple on Twitter.

01 Sep 03:48

William Rees - The Dangerous Disconnect Between Economics and Ecology


A bit long, but very important.

The world economy is depleting the earth's natural resources, and economists cling to models that make no reference whatsoever to the biophysical basis that ...
06 Dec 02:37


01 Sep 13:16

Rather Be Alive - Resiliència

by (Max Rotvel)

I am kind of required to like a metal band named "Resilience". Also lots of good genre smashy stuff happening in here. via multitasksuicide

Written by Justin C.

Way back in the late 90s or early 00s, when I was still living in NYC, I saw one of the strangest, avant garde guitar performances I've ever experienced. A relatively unassuming man came on stage with just an electric guitar and one amp, and he treated us to 90 minutes of squeals, feedback, pick scrapes, plinking the strings above the nut, and all manner of other tomfoolery. There was almost no melodic or harmonic structure to hang onto at all. After the show, I went to the men’s room and heard this brilliant summing up from some random drunk dude: "That's art. It's not music, but it's art."

That pretty well sums up how I feel about mathcore bands. Before hordes of Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge fans accost me, I don't mean that as an insult. When done well, I appreciate bands that play in that general territory, including Dillinger. But the unrelenting assault of dissonance, jagged rhythms, and general whatthefuckery engage a part of my brain that's adjacent to, but not directly connected, to the part that engages with music in general, so it's not a subgenre I revisit very often.

Enter the Barcelona-based band Rather Be Alive and their EP Resiliència. They self-identify as mathcore on their Bandcamp page, and I think that's a fair description. The vocals are hardcore bellows, the music is intricate, and there are plenty of quick-change shifts both melodically and rhythmically. But in spite of that, I find Rather Be Alive to be insanely catchy instead of mildly exhausting. The vocals are the perfect level of abrasiveness. When the vocals kick in the opening track, "Acaba amb Mi," I actually sing along with the line, "observa al teu voltan!" That's in Catalan, and I have no idea what it means, but the energy is so infectious that I still sing along. (A quick trip to Google translate gave laughably and obviously bad English translations of the lyrics provided on Bandcamp.)

The instrumental performances are all top grade as well. Check out the jazzy bass solo in "Acaba am Mi"--and when I say jazzy, I mean legitimate, high-quality jazz, not just a half-hearted attempt. The guitar solo that breaks out immediately afterward is a study in simplicity and catchiness. And that nuclear-powered-freight-train riff that opens up "Sense Fugir"! All of this is over drumming that's deceptive in its complexity, intricate without sounding like it's being done by dome futuristic drum-bot.

The EP is just a quick blast of three songs, offered for free download, but here's hoping we get a full length some time in the near future.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

01 Sep 03:51

vortexanomaly: metal windmill construction…


This must have been very satisfying to make. via willowbl00.


metal windmill construction…

01 Sep 05:01


by Ian

More on playing games with Death, and what it means to be a 'gamer'.


01 Sep 01:33

Go Pac Yourself

facebook messenger
01 Sep 03:49

William Rees on Environmental Economics

Ecological footprint is an idea originated by William Rees, an environmental economist from the University of British Columbia. If you need a primer in envir...
31 Aug 06:53

Issue 17: Enemies Within

by Christopher Wright

New Curveball. If you haven't read it, you should start with Issue 1, but it's quite good.

Story: Christopher Wright
Cover: Pascalle Lepas
Logo: Garth Graham

25 Aug 08:56

worldofthecutestcuties: I took my cat on his first walk...


I have occasionally been on the end of the leash.


I took my cat on his first walk yesterday

My first girlfriend used to take her cat for a walk, and this is what would happen every time. She’d just be left there, holding a leash up a tree. Contending with smartarses driving past yelling ‘just talking your tree for a walk eh?’. I found it endlessly amusing, but was not game enough to laugh. 

28 Aug 00:24

Swans "Just a little Boy" @ Primavera Sound 2013


In case you need some Swans. (You do)

Swans "Just a little Boy" @ Primavera Sound 2013
25 Aug 14:22

Monday Matchup #11: Monteverde Jewelria in Brown with stub nib and Stipula Sepia

by Rachel Goulet
Fall is just around the corner (and, we’re really excited here!) and today’s Monday Matchup is the perfect combo to start you off of the right foot for a new season. We’ve paired the brown Monteverde Jewelria with stub nib and Stipula Sepia ink. The golden browns that these two pour out are sure to get you excited for leaves changing and cooler weather. The Jewelria feels nice and light in the hand, plus, with the stub nib, you’ll get a smooth and diverse writing experience. Put the Stipula Sepia ink in there and you’ll be oohing and ahhing for days at the shading and luscious tones.

Joe O. created some lettering and fonts to show you what the ink is capable of. Alex R. used the combo to create writing samples so you can see how the two really work together.

What’s your fall matchup? What do you think of this week’s match? Tell us about it! Hope y’all have a fabulous Monday.
25 Aug 05:01

User Engagement

by Ian


User Engagement

21 Aug 08:06

If you can't tell editorial from advertorial, there's a browser plug-in for that

by Mariella Moon

Spread the word. via Arnvidr

Google product engineer Ian Webster believes sponsored articles should be more easily identifiable (as they should be!), so he built the AdDetector plug-in in his spare time to make that happen. More and more publications turn to sponsored content or native ads these days (even Tumblr does it), but some of them just add disclaimers at the very bottom of the page or small, easy-to-miss bylines. Webster says the problem is that bad native ads depend on you, readers, not knowing that they're, well, sponsored. So, he designed the plug-in to plaster large red banners on paid article pages whenever it detects unfortunately small sponsored disclaimers, in order to boost transparency on the web. He also hopes that by making paid articles more obvious, sponsors would make an effort to put out better content. You can install AdDetector (and make sure this post wasn't sponsored) for Chrome and Firefox from Webster's website.

Filed under: Internet


Via: The Wall Street Journal

Source: AdDetector

18 Aug 14:35

Monday Matchup #10: Sheaffer 300 Metallic Grey and Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same

by Rachel Goulet

This one is almost Bacon-esque.

It’s dull and grey here this morning, so today’s Monday Matchup fits the bill! We’ve coupled the classical Sheaffer 300 in Metallic Grey fountain pen with Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same fountain pen ink. These two were made for each other. This is a sturdy and reliable duo that is bound to dazzle and impress your peers.

Joe O., using the Kiri-same ink and some correction fluid, created the drawing below. He was inspired by a study done by his favorite portrait artist, Ann Gale.

You’ll also notice we’ve included some writing samples. We’ve decided to incorporate these with our Monday Matchups so you can get an idea of how the pen truly writes and operates with the ink. Alex used the Sheaffer 300 with Medium nib to create this written portion.

What do you think of this week’s matchup? What do you currently have matched? Let us know! Happy Monday, folks.
19 Aug 10:02

gailsimone: badguyshavetheworstaim: a comic done by...



a comic done by christianne benedict, posted on the womanthology art forum. brilliant!

YES. Jesus, thank you.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had to point out what the audience at conventions actually LOOKS like to people in the industry. They can do signings in a booth full of every kind of person all day long, every color, every size, every orientation and more, and STILL go online and talk about how only white straight males read comics.


19 Aug 22:47

Art of the day: pass the fish!


I don't really understand what is happening here.

Art of the day: pass the fish!

20 Aug 23:12

Body Count - Cop Killer


Dan writes about "Cop Killer". Mayhem ensues.

Cop Killer - Body Count

by Body Count
album Body Count

150 Favorite Songs: #65, “Cop Killer,” Body Count (1992)

The thing about “Cop Killer” that’s so remarkable is that even 22 years later, it still sounds positively dangerous. It wasn’t the first song to suggest that maybe the singer would support violence against law enforcement, of course—that dates back from “Fuck Tha Police” to “I Shot The Sheriff” to “Policeman.” But “Cop Killer” is the one that still sounds like something that you shouldn’t be able to get away with singing about.

I mean, “Fuck Tha Police” is arguably the more important song, but it is nowhere near as unapologetic and unequivocal as “Cop Killer.” The conceit of “Fuck Tha Police” is that the cops are on trial for the way they’ve treated young black men like Cube, Dre, Ren, and Eazy-motherfucking-E (Yella’s voice and name are absent on the recording). “Judge Dre” presides while the others give their impassioned testimony: Cube talks about the violence he’s endured, the indignity of being searched and touched inappropriately, the way that black officers react toward him when they’re with white cops, etc, etc—it’s a detailed argument for why the police are fucked. By the time he promises that “when I’m finished / there’s gonna be a bloodbath / of cops dying in LA,” you can understand that he’s justifiably angry. 

"Cop Killer" makes "Fuck Tha Police" seem downright polite by comparison. Ice-T doesn’t fuck around at all here. It’s less a "this is why I hate cops" and more a "how-to" power fantasy. It’s all "I got my black gloves on / I got my ski mask on" and "I got this long-ass knife / and your neck looks just right." Even in the preamble to the song, he lays out his position—that police who brutalize the people they’re supposed to protect are committing such a violation that he’d be happy to "take a pig out here in this parking lot and shoot him in his motherfucking face." He’s not even picky which cop it is. 

That’s the other thing about “Cop Killer”—there’s no equivocating here. One of the most interesting things about the song is the fact that Ice-T, like, acknowledges the shared humanity of the police officer. It’s in the fucking chorus! “I know your family’s grieving—fuck ‘em!” That is some harsh shit. If “Fuck Tha Police” is about how the rage against the police that the NWA guys felt is justifiable because of how they’d been treated, “Cop Killer” takes for granted that police are the enemy. And that, as the enemy, they need to die. 

I mean, shit. That got this record pulled 22 years ago, and it’s still hard to believe he got it on the shelves in the first place. It’s so transgressive even after two decades that it feels like you’re doing something wrong if you sing along (try it with the windows down!). 

But, of course, Ice-T demands that you sing along. That’s the other genius of “Cop Killer”—it’s participatory. After the “fuck the police!” breakdown near the end, he starts calling you out: “Have some motherfucking courage,” he commands, punctuating it with a “fuck the police” before imploring the listener to sing along. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Cop killer!” the listener is supposed to shout. “Good choice.”

There’s something fascinating about taking a sentiment like that—a sentiment that got his record yanked off of shelves, that still has police angry with him (cops are still pissed that Ice-T is on Law & Order: SVU), and demanding it become universal. 

Because that’s the other thing about “Cop Killer”: it was on the Body Count record, which was Ice-T’s heavy metal crossover album. That was a record that he knew would be played by an awful lot of white kids. Demanding that a largely-white audience sing along about the very specific ways that they’d go out and kill some cops (with the headlights turned off and a twelve-gauge sawed-off) is scary as hell. Of course they banned this shit.

At the same time, there are only a few times that rock and roll actually felt dangerous. There was a time when people rioted to “Rock Around The Clock” (at least, that’s the myth), when Elvis’ hips threatened to impregnate all of the teenage girls in America, when kids suddenly had hairstyles and clothing that their parents could never understand. 

That power left most music a couple decades ago, though. These days, the Public Enemy logo has a Beats By Apple logo on the other side; “dangerous” artists are more likely to prove their bonafides by not showing up for their gigs than for saying something provocative. Maybe “Cop Killer” was the last truly dangerous rock song—and that alone makes it powerful enough to keep talking about.

6 plays

18 Aug 15:58

Pen and Cape Society: Super Choice Adventure Chapter 2

by Christopher Wright

The next chapter of the Pen and Cape Society's Super Choice Adventure is up. This chapter is written by R.J. Ross, author of the Cape High books. I discuss her stories a little on this site in Introducting the Pen and Cape Society.

This installment gives you the chance to vote me in as the next author up to bat. Read through the latest installment and choose which power you want Willow to use next. If you choose "fire manipulation" then I'll need to figure out exactly how the the heck I'm going to work fire manipulation into the storyline. If you're not interested in fire manipulation, that's OK. I'll get my turn eventually.

16 Aug 21:44

Fair and Balanced Philosophy Brad Gyori / Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy | Flow


Mind the Giant Picture of Roger Ailes.

O'Reilly mash up Bill O’Reilly “mash up” illustration provided by author.

In 1996, media titan Rupert Murdoch asked a former U.S. Republican Party political strategist Roger Ailes to found Fox News. From the outset, Fox was accused of being little more than a mouth piece for the Republican party, placing a right wing slant on much of its reportage. While this tactic was at odds with existing journalistic practices, it proved a ratings windfall, and Fox soon became the most watched news network in the U.S. Through the years, Fox’s coverage has become even more skewed, regularly trafficking in headlines such as “Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Killed U.S. General” and “Obama loves Gangsta rap.”

Roger Ailes is president of Fox News Channel.

Defending news coverage filled with right wing propaganda has presented a significant public relations challenge for Ailes. To counter critics, he and the Fox team aggressively brand their approach “real journalism,” dubbing the popular O’Reilly Factor a “no spin zone,” and adopting the motto “fair and balanced.” Ailes did not invent this mode of rhetorical white washing. It actually dates back to an equally savvy political strategist: Plato.

Greek philosopher Plato was also a political strategist.

Like Ailes, the founder of the western philosophic tradition once had political aspirations. The son of an aristocratic family, he was an elitist, who believed only a small fraction of the populous possesses the natural endowments to govern others. He was also a moralist, struggling to save society from contamination by dangerous thought. And he was an egoist, who believed that human beings are guided primarily by rational self-interested. Plato sought political office on several occasions with no success. But after his teacher Socrates was put to death for clashing with the authorities of his day, he abandoned political life in favor of scholarship.1 He did, however, go on to write The Republic,2 a work that describes a future utopia ruled by philosopher kings, wise men like him, but with real political clout. In his last and longest dialogue, Laws,3 Plato grows more pragmatic and more reactionary, imagining a future society where those who reject his philosophy are taken to the courts and, if found guilty, given no less than five years solitary confinement in a reformatory where they will be subjected to intensive indoctrination. If this fails to cure them, they should be put to death. Clearly, with such laws in place, it would be illogical to disagree with Platonic “reason.”

Another link between Platonism and Fox News is the use of religious doctrine to support truth-claims. Because Fox frequently panders to Christian right, pundits and correspondents often invoke biblical authority in contrast to that worldly stuff scientists call “empirical evidence.” What’s more, Fox producers often generate stories focusing on Christian themes, such as the perceived “attack on Christmas.”

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In a similar sense, many of Plato’s truth-claims were undergirded by dogma. According to classical scholar E.R. Dodds,4 his philosophy is a cross fertilization of Greek rationalism and various magico-religious ideas gleaned from shamanistic cults. Plato believed in reincarnation and felt that philosophers were uniquely gifted individuals capable of retaining knowledge of ultimate truths glimpsed during their passage through the afterlife.

This ideological component has its antecedents of the Pythagorean movement. Plato’s forbearer Pythagoras was a brilliant logician. He invented the mathematical formula known as “the Pythagorean Theorem.” And coined the term “philosopher.” But he was also the leader of a religious sect and often addressed his devotes from behind a gauzy veil.

Pythagoreans Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise.

Pythagoras claimed to channel the spirit of the late shaman Hermotimus.5 Such invocations were common in ancient Greece. Ritual mediums often conjured spirits of the dead in order to invest their pronouncements with divine authority. Thanks to the advent of the written word Plato was able to invert this process. His teacher, Socrates, does not speak through him. Instead, Plato speaks through Socrates. Likewise, Fox commentators frequently invoke deceased presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and especially Ronald Reagan and speculate as to how they might respond to various current events. No news channel channels the dead as frequently or as overtly as Fox, and for true believers, such mystical invocations appear to lend credence to partisan hype masquerading as journalism.

Paul Ryan Paul Ryan invokes Reagan on Fox.

This act of “textual ventriloquism” has several advantages. Claiming to speak for living authorities is problematic. The living can object when their views are misinterpreted or deliberately distorted, while the convenient silence of the dearly departed offers no such hazard. Also, the dead are no longer capable of contradicting or amending their own views. Posthumous utterances representing an evolving idiosyncratic worldview commenting on issues relevant to a particular place and time are thereby invested with the gravity of immutable truths. In this way, Fox conjures celestial imprimatur via the esteemed ghosts that tirelessly haunt its airwaves. What’s more, a pundit speaking in the name of a dead authority figure is donning a type of mask that partially disguise his own motives and worldview. This ideological camouflage allows him to feign objectivity without actually attempting it.

dialectic Depiction of dialectical method for argument.

The methodological cornerstone of Platonic rationalism is the dialogue, the process of two or more people expressing different points of view in an effort to ascertain truth visa reasoned argument. By allowing the audience to consider more than a single perspective, the dialogue creates opportunities for productive debate in which ideas are asserted, challenged and improved in a dialectic fashion. This process can enhance understanding, but it can also delude. In Plato’s work, it does both. This is because, for him, the dialogue is more than just an objective discussion between equals; it is a rigged game, a rhetorical framing device that persuades by claiming to transcend rhetoric. Socrates appears to meet his opponents on equal footing, while Plato remains off stage and out of view. Meanwhile, Socrates always has the upper hand. Plato covertly controls everything from behind the scenes, and Socrates appears to win every argument. His (Plato’s) wisdom triumphs over all.

socrates Greek philosopher Socrates often portrayed in Plato’s dialogues.

Plato was highly critical of the Sophists, a group of competing scholars who taught the art of rhetoric. He felt that their persuasive monologues were deceptive and inferior to his dialogues, which, he claimed, allowed readers to consider both sides of every argument. Yet, in many respects, Platonic dialogues are simply monologues in disguise. They persuade by appearing unbiased, but the author’s true intentions are always simmering just beneath the surface. This is what makes the dialogues so compelling and so deceptive. The Sophists never claim to be objective, but Plato does and this imbues his works with a sense of heightened credibility.

Fox News has made the dialogue a staple of their “fair and balanced” programming. As with a magician’s sleight of hand, it directs attention away from right wing pandering network executives wish to conceal. Rather than attempting to actually make their reportage less biased, they have constructed highly constrained editorial spaces in which a few handpicked liberals are permitted to express opposing views in an often-ineffectual manner.6 This is what passes for objective journalism on Fox and the illusion is somewhat convincing as long as viewers don’t question the motives of the supposedly neutral moderator, or examine how the show’s producers have chosen to frame the topic of discussion.

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Like Plato, Roger Ailes has anointed himself a sage capable of discerning ultimate truth more effectively than others. Yet at first blush, he appears a somewhat ironic figure, one whose authority is dependent on a means of expression he seems determined to disparage. Ailes, after all, is high power media mogul who constantly disparages the media itself. He wants to convince viewers that this is an act of alchemy, not hypocrisy. The first step involves insisting that the media at large is inherently liberal and thus corrupt. Only then, can the Fox News team perform the feat of magically transforming this base material into something of true value. They do so by fighting fire with fire, using media to transform itself.

In a similar sense, Plato considered the written word corrupt. In Phaedrus, he compares writing to orality. He is critical of the former and praises the latter. For the first time in western thought, two types of media are evaluated in relation to one another and media theory is born. Plato even conflates literacy with a poison (pharmakon) that will cause human memory to atrophy. This implies a counter conflation, namely, that Plato’s dialogue is the cure. Plato, the philosopher, may disparage the written word, but Plato, the alchemist, needs it, as his dialogue is the philosopher’s stone that can insure its transmutation. He is not a hypocrite for using literacy to serve his own ends. He is a redeemer, a purifying filter, distilling away toxic impurities.

In the essay “Plato’s Pharmacy,” Jacques Derrida7 challenges the hidden biases of this supposedly impartial dialogue. He states that Plato’s critique of the written word is a self-serving gesture, perpetuating long-standing patriarchal norms. In Phaedrus, Plato (through Socrates) suggests that truth (logos) committed to words is like a child orphaned by his father. By redeeming the word, Plato strives to return it—and all of us—to the care of a benevolent and all-knowing patriarch. This too, is in keeping with the Fox News bias toward “family values” and patriarchal norms.

In addition to disparaging the written word, Plato condemns poetry and the theater for a tendency to trigger mimetic acts. He fears that uneducated readers and audience members lack the critical faculties to entirely distinguish between reality and stagecraft and might be compelled to imitate the transgressions dramatized in works of fiction. In The Republic, written around the same time as Phaedrus—about 370 BC—Plato suggests that community leaders should supervise poets, and compel them to praise virtue in their poems. Poems that focus on vice are compared to poisonous weeds corrupting souls. Here is the first “media effects” argument.8 Plato insists that society is under threat from nefarious influences eroding social norms. His enemies, the sophists, are deceivers, blinding humankind to the fundamental Truths of existence.

In a similar sense, Fox News host, Bill O’Reilly is a self-described “cultural warrior, determined to protect his audience from harmful images and ideas circulating in the “liberal media.” To this end, O’Reilly often tells those who disagree with him to “shut up” in an attempt to silence perspectives that don’t align with the Republican talking points he is obliged to parrot.

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Plato tells us Socrates was the wisest man because he claimed to know nothing. But perhaps, Plato was the shrewdest man because he claimed to lack an agenda. The apparent parallels I have sketched between the methods of Fox News and the traditions of Platonism unsettle familiar notions of objective journalism and unbiased philosophy. They also raise concerns regarding the long-term credibility of a two party democracy. Whenever two parties—individual or collective—converse, their dialogue is not occurring in a value-free vacuum. Some unseen philosopher king, or collective of like-minded stakeholders is limiting and guiding what can be spoken and heard. Yet acknowledging that all public debates are inevitably framed and distorted by private interests is not the same as accepting that all accounts of the so-called “objective truth” are equally biased. The US may always have a two party system, but that ongoing political dialogue need not become as right leaning as Fox News’s narrowing circumscribed rhetorical universe. And even Fox, devoted as it is to carrying out neo-conservative marching orders, will never be an entirely closed system. This is because no dialogue, however carefully constrained, is ever entirely predictable. Discourses are living things comprised of complex individuals who share similar ideological commitments, but are not perfectly in lockstep regarding all issues. Thus even in a tightly controlled discursive space there are opportunities for legitimate debate and even dissent, not necessarily been the straw-man liberal pundits, Fox sets up and knocks down for sport, but between the Fox correspondents owe varying degrees of allegiance to different groups: The Tea Party, the Christian right, the NRA, Republican politicians and big business. Those same reporters are also committed to different ideological agendas: nationalism, capitalism, neo-conservatism, elitism, populism, patriarchy, jingoism, heteronormativity, militarism, and, yes, even journalistic ethics. These competing commitments and perspectives complicate their ability to present a perfectly united front.

As public discourse becomes more multi-centered and complex, we are required to think, not of the public sphere, but of the public spheres—plural. Even a dialogue between two people draws on a number of competing discourses. This means, the producers of Fox News can never perfectly contain and control what occurs on their airwaves. And indeed, many liberal pundits including Cornel West, Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton have successfully challenged the Fox News team on their own turf, undermining the republican party’s ability to always bring its favorite media lapdog perfectly to heel. While it is in the best interest of moneyed elites to make it appear as if the motives and beliefs of various right wing discourses are perfectly aligned, the general public benefits more when their contrasting perspectives are exposed and some semblance of actual debate is generated within the Fox News universe. This is the best hope of keeping Fox News a little more honest, and perhaps even remotely “fair and balanced.”

Image Credits:

1. Bill O’Reilly, Plato, Parthenon
2. Roger Ailes
3. Plato
4. Pythagoreans
5. Paul Ryan
6. The Dialogue
7. Socrates

Please feel free to comment.

15 Aug 07:00


by Dylan

This shirt is very fine.

Hello, my dears! Thank you all for your patience last week. My computer is back up and running (and so am I). I can’t wait to finish this chapter!

News news news…there’s a new t-shirt designed by me (suitable for D&D nerds) up in the PvP/TableTitans store on WeLoveFine. It’s all about the big news in the fantasy healthcare world; the Affordable Cleric Act. (I had fun.)

It was originally a GenCon exclusive but people went so bonkers over it on Twitter that they’re releasing it early in men’s sizes. Perhaps you’d like one!


15 Aug 05:31

The Pen and Cape Society Introduces: Super Choice Adventure!

by Christopher Wright

This sounds like a good time.

Did you like "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories back in the day? Do you like stories where the ending hasn't been figured out yet? Do you like those crazy stories where multiple authors take turns pushing it forward? What about all three smooshed together?

Introducing Super Choice Adventure: the adventure that's sort of like Choose Your Own Adventure but not close enough to violate any copyrights that's being written by multiple authors who haven't figured out the ending yet!

Various members of the Pen and Cape Society (including yours truly) have banded together to tell the story of a heroine with the ability to mimic the powers of fictional characters. It updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at the end of each update the readers get to choose which power she mimics next -- and which Pen and Cape author tells the story.

15 Aug 04:48

Valérie Inertie & Cico Fly


Not a huge fan of music, but Valerie is great.

When cyr-wheel and breakdance meet on the same stage, when talents & charisma are equally present, when enthusiasm and creativity overpass tiredness, fire ar...
14 Aug 12:41



To all my weirdo peoples.

13 Aug 10:37

thecypherstones: swankshaman: 9 Black butch lesbians share...



9 Black butch lesbians share their stories in The Butch Mystique (2003)

The last one!!

"It hurts me so much when men look at me in a way of hatred. They only hate me because I’m not making myself available to them."

13 Aug 11:26

stickfigurefairytales: Suicides go up when a famous person...


Suicides go up when a famous person dies after losing their battle with mental illness. If you’re thinking of suicide, call 800-283-8255. (x)

Just wanted to add these links for hotlines in countries other than the US, too (taken from this post):

Argentina Suicide Hotlines

Armenia Suicide Hotlines

Australia Suicide Hotlines

Austria Suicide Hotlines

Barbados Suicide Hotlines

Belgium Suicide Hotlines

Botswana Suicide Hotlines

Brazil Suicide Hotlines

Canada Suicide Hotlines

China Suicide Hotlines

Croatia Suicide Hotlines

Cyprus Suicide Hotlines

Denmark Suicide Hotlines

Egypt Suicide Hotlines

Estonia Suicide Hotlines

Fiji Suicide Hotlines

Finland Suicide Hotlines

France Suicide Hotlines

Germany Suicide Hotlines

Ghana Suicide Hotlines

Gibraltar Suicide Hotlines

Hong Kong Suicide Hotlines

Hungary Suicide Hotlines

India Suicide Hotlines

Ireland Suicide Hotlines

Israel Suicide Hotlines

Italy Suicide Hotlines

Japan Suicide Hotlines

Liberia Suicide Hotlines

Lithuania Suicide Hotlines

Malaysia Suicide Hotlines

Malta Suicide Hotlines

Mauritius Suicide Hotlines

Namibia Suicide Hotlines

Netherlands Suicide Hotlines

New Zealand Suicide Hotlines

Norway Suicide Hotlines

Paupua New Guinea Suicide Hotlines

Philippines Suicide Hotlines

Poland Suicide Hotlines

Portugal Suicide Hotlines

Russian Federation Suicide Hotlines

Somoa Suicide Hotlines

Serbia Suicide Hotlines

Singapore Suicide Hotlines

South Africa Suicide Hotlines

South Korea Suicide Hotlines

Spain Suicide Hotlines

Sri Lanka Suicide Hotlines

St. Vincent Suicide Hotlines

Sudan Suicide Hotlines

Sweden Suicide Hotlines

Switzerland Suicide Hotlines

Taiwan Suicide Hotlines

Thailand Suicide Hotlines

Tobago Suicide Hotlines

Tonga Suicide Hotlines

Trinidad and Tobago Suicide Hotlines

Turkey Suicide Hotlines

Ukraine Suicide Hotlines

United Kingdom Suicide Hotlines

United States Suicide Hotlines

Zimbabwe Suicide Hotlines

13 Aug 11:33

art-and-fury: The World Beyond - Caitlin...

13 Aug 03:50

Marvel's Newest Villain


"Psychic Assholes" has great potential in the band/album name world.

Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.

I will be at DCAF in Dartmouth, NS this weekend!

12 Aug 14:41

Paths to Better Futures

by bl00

Thoughts from Bl00 on the problem of needing to somehow provide social training to awkward weirdos in order to separate them from genuine assholes.

We’ve started telling people how they are expected to act. That’s a phenomenal start. We’ve started making it clear that there are paths to justice, in the case that those expectations are not met. Also great. But I don’t feel like it’s enough. Often, issues are forced into a boolean framing, with only a boolean response. Either something is dismissible, or scorched earth. And so many things go unaddressed, and the few things that aren’t are either viewed as “how did we wait so long?!” or “that seems like overkill.” The former continues to vilify the perpetrator, and the later vilifies the person(s) on the receiving end.

If we simply kick out anyone who messes up, we end up with empty communities, and that’s not a new future.

If we don’t hold people accountable for being abusive, we end up with rooms filled only with those who love their pre-existing power, and that’s not a new future.

League of Legends is the best example I know of how to deal with this properly, or at least better than usual. If you are an asshole to someone, you go to Tribunal. They do this because there are rarely “problem players,” but most incidents are “players having a bad day.” And if you got rid of all those players, you wouldn’t have anyone left. If you put a bad mark on “problem players” or some other permanent thing, people simply recreate accounts, and are pissed off while they play in the beginner brackets, and then you have a toxic environment for the newcomers, only the toxic stick around, and then the whole place sucks.

Let’s bring this to issues of gender and sexual advances specific to our geek communities. It cannot be fun for most of the people who are causing these problems. Just think – you try to make a pass, it either isn’t well received or seems to be but then later it turns out wasn’t, and no one is telling you what is actually expected. Except sometimes that you’ve done something wrong. Of course yes to consent! Yes to enthusiastic consent! But women especially are also socialized to give what is seemed to be desired. For safety. For society. Etc. And so consent is the first essential step along a path, but is not the end-all-be-all.

What I’m proposing is this: if someone violates a safe space agreement, or continually makes people in the community feel squicked, or whatever else… we need to have a path laid for them to get better. And if they’re not willing to take that path, we know they’re doing it because they’re an asshole, and not because they’re socially awkward. Awkwardness can be because of a commitment to consent, and is no excuse for many of these issues. Just ask someone I’ve dated. I am not smooth.

So what are those paths? Restorative justice seems to be a useful alternative for urban communities with generations disappearing into the legal system, but which has been co-opted by the privileged to avoid accountability. I’ve asked around about programs for people who are abusive to “get better,” with little luck. Are there paths already out there? Do we need to create them? Please do comment here, let’s have a discussion.