This post continues with things I wrote back in April 2015. My newsletter that month was quite long! Some few details may have changed since then; the principles expressed remain the same, as always.
Cultural news:—good or bad? —as usual, a bit of a toss-up, really.
I love to say, “any creation of cultural works—art works, etc.,—is good.” And in a way that’s (probably) true. But there’s good art and trash art (even evil art!), good culture and junk culture; and so much of what gets produced and put out into our society is just junk. Some is downright evil.
Occasionally I find a bright spark or flash of something in the arts I think particularly exciting: someone “drops” a new album of good music, a volume of prescient poems, a mildly intriguing novel, or collection of astute essays. A new upliftingly tragi-comic movie. A mind-shaking show of new paintings. Or some such. But not all that often. Not often enough. Of course I never hear of probably most of the cultural works being created in a given month or year. There might be many of these unnoticed things I would love. Cultural works I would consider real culture, real art. Humane art, humane culture. Hopefully I’ll keep discovering more & more of them from time to time. So keep sharing your own notes & notifications with me on what you find of value and what you are creating! Such note-exchanging is a core part of the adventure of “intentional tribal community-growing”, of life lived in a day to day creative cultural adventure. Global village life adventure.
“We have to create culture! —Don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space & time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, & if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are dis-empowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, & what is real is you & your friends & your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that’—& then you’re a player. You don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind & get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”
― Terence McKenna (1946-2000), 1999
I’m still thrilled that Citizenfour received an Oscar. I went to its local opening & I thoroughly enjoyed the film. (A local opening night which sadly, but predictably, was not celebrated by the theatre or community here in any way! I was almost the only one there in the near-empty theatre.)
Sure, I suppose it’s just possible Edward Snowden is in truth still operating as an active government agent, & all this whistleblowing stuff is just a government false flag black-ops decoy scheme, but I can’t see how that’s really likely in his case. Some people suspect the same false flag things of Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning, & even of Daniel Ellsberg, still, for that matter.
But none of those possibilities makes much sense to me. Taken at face value, Chelsea, Julian, Edward, Daniel, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, the folks in charge at the Guardian, these are all great heroes, in my opinion. Even if they all were to be exposed in future as govt agents, what they are doing with their whistleblowing & investigative journalism is exactly what dozens, thousands, of undoubtedly genuine citizen whistleblowers & journalists should be doing!
And they all state that this is exactly what Ed Snowden & the other say they are hoping to see happen as a result of their own risk-taking. So unless the government is deploying or exploiting them in an effort to try to flush out more reluctant real potential whistleblowers so it can get its dirty hands on such persons, I think it makes the most sense to assume Snowden & all these other whistleblowers are sincere & “legit” — Robin Hood-style morally legit, because of being info-leaking outlaws).
Chelsea is rotting in prison, not due to be eligible for release until 30 years will have passed. Ed Snowden is stuck in Russia, which can’t be great, and even if he had made it to Ecuador as he had planned, chances are the CIA would have put out a kidnap hit on him. Julian is stuck in a tiny room in the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Laura Poitras is self-exiled in Germany, Glenn Greenwald self-exiled in Brazil. I don’t think this looks like the lifestyle situation of government hacks or plants.
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