Thursday, July 29, 2010

PFC Bradley Manning, A True American Hero

By releasing 92,000 classified military field reports from Afghanistan to WikiLeaks, PFC Bradley Manning is living proof that there is a spark of rebellion within the American Empire. Manning's courageous action goes to show what it means for a soldier to refuse illegal and immoral orders. And for this reason, PFC Bradley Manning is a true American hero.

Naturally, Empire is very upset for what Manning did in order to protect his comrades who are dying in foreign lands to scratch Obama's imperial itches. In true doublespeak, Empire tells us that Manning's action put the lives of our soldiers at risk. But in reality, we all know that it is Barack Obama, the commander in chief of the armed forces, who is putting the lives of American soldiers at risk every day.

If you would like to show your support, you can write PFC Bradley Manning at this address:

Inmate PFC Bradley Manning
TFCF - Theater Field Confinement Facility
APO AE 09366 USA

Thursday, July 8, 2010

High Art

High art, the kind we see displayed in museums, awarded at film festivals, literary prizes, or acclaimed by music critics is the kind of art the serves to set the boundaries of what is proper and admissible. It is how the elites, the wealthy and the insiders, decide what the rest of us should watch, read, and listen to. It sets the 'reasonable' boundaries of discourse. If we agree, if we accept what passes for high art, we can feel a certain sense of belonging even though we don't get the privilege of deciding what high art is. Or maybe, if we strive to be some music, or film critic, we can participate in picking the winners and loser who litter the history of art.

Since no human system is infallible (ask British Petroleum!), when something slips through the cracks, when something truly subversive makes it all the way to the top, all the better. Such 'glitches' in the system reinforce the illusion that we live in a free and democratic society, a society in which we are all supposed to be active equal participants (or so the myth goes). The true free market society believer, might say something like: "How can you possibly say we don't live in a free society when someone like Noam Chomsky is free to spew if anti-American bile?" And while true, I wonder why a person considered one of the leading living public intellectuals by the intelligentsia is rarely, if ever, featured in the corporate media. But mine is a rhetorical question, and this very fact demonstrates Chomsky's own propaganda model.

In a recent development, film festivals have been boasting the democratizing effect of their audience awards. Wow, We the people get to decide! Until I ask myself what kind of people can actually go to Cannes, or Venice's Lido, the most exclusive places on earth, to attend such events. I once attended the Venice Film Festival, when I was young and I thought that art was something more than egotistical people making a living by entertaining the elites, by making them feel they too have a soul, as well as entertaining distracting the rest of us, from the least to the most discerning. But all I could see were tuxedos and refined talk, Armani suits chatting with de la Renta gowns while sipping french bubbly champaign. Beethoven is famous for having once exclaimed: "I don't write for the galleries!" And so it still is, because that's where the money is and we all know how much Paul David Hewson (aka Bono) is really concerned about Africa.

As a side note, I just discovered that Giorgio Armani and other fashion designers are proudly designing the uniforms of italian troops in Afghanistan, as well as the uniforms of the police and carabinieri (who pays for that, I wonder?). I am not sure what this has to do with high art, but it sure has something to do with the suits worn by the elites at high art gatherings. And it may just be me, but these uniforms have an eerie resemblance with black shirts. Maybe this is supposed to remind me of something ancient, something that happened almost a century ago somewhere in Europe, a war of some kind, but I just can't remember what that was. Maybe it's because I had entrusted my memory to an iPhone and now I've lost it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

You Can Judge A Magazine by Its Cover

The world's economic standard bearer The Economist has been caught manipulating a Reuters photo of President Obama in order to convey the message of a 'damaged' presidency. The question that the magazine's editors should ask themselves is this: if people can't trust what's on the magazine's cover, how can they trust what's inside?

Another corporate media outlet caught red handed in the act of manipulating its readership for political purposes. You can address your complaints to The Economist here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

To breathe

I wish, like a dolphin, I could choose to stop breathing; not because I want to die, but because I want to feel that life is a voluntary act to be repeated every few seconds: I want to live, I want to live, ...


vorrei, come un delfino, poter smettere di respirare; non perché voglio morire, ma perché voglio sentire che la vita è un atto volontario da ribadire ogni pochi secondi: voglio vivere, voglio vivere, …

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ghana Advances to World Cup Semifinals

In a world where sports were supposed to symbolize fair play and healthy competition, Ghana would now be the first African nation to advance to a Fifa World Cup semifinal. Unfortunately, as yesterday's game between the African nation and Uruguay demonstrated, such a world is simply a figment of our imagination. The game was a reminder that the world we live in is a place where greed, selfishness and cheating are good.

In this world, our world, two players other than the goalie can stand in front of the goal both trying to stop the ball with their hands. In this world, scumbag player Luis Suarez of Uruguay who got expelled for denying Ghana its rightful place in the semifinals exulted once he realized that his feat had had the intended results:

"This was the end of the World Cup. I had no choice. I have the 'Hand of God' now. I did it so that my teammates could win the penalty shoot-out. When I saw Gyan miss the penalty it was a great joy."

And so, the message that our so called role models in the world of sports and their corporate sponsors are sending is that it's good and just to sacrifice oneself for the team, and that victory can and should be achieved at all costs. It just goes to show how far we have gone from the Olympic Creed:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

In a different world, Fifa would have forfeited the game to Ghana.

In the end, and as the 2010 Fifa World Cup turns into a sad spectacle of corporate greed and decadence, we can still rejoice in the fact that in some more just parallel universe Ghana has become the first African nation to advance to a world cup semifinal.