American democracy is much like the the Alice in Wonderland that never got published. You know the one where Alice tries to step through the looking glass but it shatters leaving her destitute and with the only option of ideological conformity? Yeah, America is like that. Except it doesnt know that that’s the story it has become. That it has fallen victim to its own inability to see it flaws. With phrase like: America is the greatest nation on earth, we can only surmise how hard the fall will eventually be. Dont get me wrong, I hope we can make it through, but America cant afford to be the center of the universe any longer. We need more voices, especially in this pluralistic postmodern society – we cannot afford to believe that the Lone Ranger can be without Tanto. We need equilibrium in global interrelationships. We need to share platforms rather than deman them. Otherwise, much like Rome, in its demise, America will fade to the history books of lore. When Obama sounds his battle cry, the one that illicits a necessitated response, our reply should be (i.e., can we do it?!): yes we can, but not alone…
And fake it
I’ll take what I can get
Knocking so loud
Can you hear me yet
Try to stay awake but you can’t forget – Maroon 5, Album: Hands All Over
in our society we have this [sometimes unspoken] philosophy that secretly burrows its way in and through our psyche: fake it till you make it.
in other words: the simulation, the proxy, the stand-in, the thing that takes the place of the real thing – is now, the real thing.
theorist slavoj zizek said the following [following after another contemporary voice, Jean Baudrillard, they shared the following claim: the image is reality. the false is now the true. the fake is now the real. the mannequins are really humans masquerading as mannequins.
is this not, in one sense the perverse inability to say ‘no’ to something? meaning that we feel the pressure to maintain the mirage of reality rather than giving it up? that we must somehow give in to the desire to never lose anything. and the only way to do so is to maintain the facade. is this also not what is implied in the vulgar swansong of the capitalistic ‘american ‘nightmare’ [some know this as: the american dream] of consume more and maybe after obtaining a wife/husband/partner, car, children, dream job and so on happiness then will ensue? that due to the dangling carrots that are not there [i.e., the mirage that has yet to materialize in reality] that we must somehow keep trying to obtain them? that the striving is the actual doing. so in essence nothing is ever accomplished accept the feeling of accomplishment.
this is akin to someone going to bathroom and never actualizing in any faeces. the strain, the effort is there, but nothing happens. the only thing that remains is the frustration of constipation. the hope for something to arrive when it does not. this is not hope, it has nothing to do with the waiting, but rather the kinetic movement of materialization or quite simply: if you have to take a shit, then take a shit, stop talking/hoping about/for it.
one major thread in maroon 5’s album is the notion of a love that is not perfect, but rather something quite broken/fragile/needy. now, today under the gaze of idealistic love [thanks to the over-saturation] of the hollywood image,
more and more seek out what isnt there. it is the attempt to find some sort of ‘true love’, a love that when experienced will make feel complete and the birds are singing and poems are written. dont get me wrong, i like a sonnet or two and write poems for my wife, but in reality, love is in fragments. love only occurs in moments, not one perfect moment. is this also not selfish? to enter into relationship expecting/demanding a perfect kind of love and imposing it on the person we are with? is that then not about the outcome more [i.e., getting the picture-perfect love at the risk of consuming/losing the person]?
this is not some depressing, cynical view on love, but rather one that resists the temptation to consume someone at the expense of them or one’s self.in the lyrics we find an all too important honest, not found in today’s cinema – one that demands fragility, one that anticipates it and loves not despite it, but rather in embrace of it. is this not love? the kind that will let someone hurt your feelings and you still return? the kind where the death of intention draws us closer not to our perfect image of the other, but rather violently pushes us away from it?
this is a great album. if anything, its a good reminder that love is not perfect, and if anyone is selling that juice that are making money off of the most unromantic ideology to hit the market – romance is the ability to fight against our temptations to consume the other, and to love them in the midst of their flaws, scrapes, bruises and still remain [and vice-verse]…
If you haven’t read the book Mutiny! by author, teacher, speaker Kester Brewin. Then you need to!
This isn’t one of those: ‘I know Kester so everything in this review will be nice’ – sure the book is quite creative, and employs a variegated palette of voices (i.e., Zizek, Lacan, quotes from actual pirates!,Max Weber, greek tragedies the bible and a plethora of other sources). The one small critique is that, at times, Brewin repeats himself. However, this does not have to be viewed as a negative, because [and I am sure as a teacher Kester is very aware of this] repetition enhances memory [i.e., the ability to remember things]. What i really like, because this is the field I am in, is it resonates with, critiques, and offers alternatives to sociological and cultural issues (i.e., the castration of the feminine voice, epistemology and etc.). This isnt just a book about pirates, but it is a book about a revolution and becoming a pirate. Against the cyclical nature of culture (a book I am working on at the moment!), against the smokescreen of capitalism, and into a new kind of ‘commons’….
However, do not let that overshadow the journey he will take you on visiting wide-open oceans, to encountering radio bombs [i.e., pirate radio vs. the BBC],the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Somali pirates and so on. This book is for the one who is not okay with the status quo, this is one of the strongest points that comes out. One of the most intriguing aspects of this book is the entrancing library of information about the lives of the pirates, like a favorite of mine, BlackBeard.
And even the mysterious/mystical place of Libertatia (Captain Mission and a rebel religious leader helped create/discover). I love how the prose drips with creative license that resists the typical narrative cliche – this is a gift that Brewin has….the ability to draw the reader into the story he has to tell. Much like a campfire orator, Kester melodically invites his reader to be a participant in the very points he is making here – which is the point exactly that we no longer afford to sit back and idylly allow injustice to have the last word.
This book is a must-have, whether you’re a pirate-lover, dissident, religious heretic or you want to become one of the above. Grab a copy of this, you wont’ be let down,at all!! ARRRRGGGHHHHH