In dirth or in excess
Both the slave and the empress,
Will return to the dirt I guess,
Naked as when they came.
Montezuma – Fleet Foxes
As usual I failed to notice comments on my blog. Which is really a shame because there were some great links.
CB James refers to this:
And this from Nicola:
I also refer you to my last post. I love the poetry PJ has based her songs on, and I love the films. Then again the songs seem to be about how we should stand against man’s destruction, and how destruction is inevitable and cyclical (man as he should be/man as he is).
Watching all of these things makes me wish that I lived a more creative life.
This blog is becoming a little fragmented, because I am devising a new way of blogging for me which I intend to start on 1 July. It’s not in anyway revolutionary but it suits my style quite well.
Anywho, going back to Nicola’s comment on the previous, previous post:
In my short experience of these things I find that there are two kinds of ‘projects’. One where it is largely set up and driven by local communities who take ownership of the project and have agency over it. The other seems to be a ghost of ‘the white man’s burden’ whereby the hopes and dreams the ‘rich’ have for the ‘poor’ are laid upon them- they pick a poor place and go there and ‘do good’ (apologies for the mass of inverted commas). With the alleyway, they seem to have just picked it, decided to clean it up with the assumption that people will use it more, and crime and pollution will drop, and by cleaning it up they hoped to draw out some of the residents to tell them about their project. It just makes me wonder what that alleyway looks like now, over two years on. A cynical view I know.
Yeah, I know what you mean. But. At least he, you know, cleaned up the alleyway. Definitely the Mexico project was fantastic and quite inspiring. In some ways I think it might be tougher to do a local, western project because you are dealing with a dislocated usually poor and disenfranchised cultural group within a Euro-centric definition of what a community is. Hard to get buy in.
Which is what I think is the fundamental problem with indigenous peoples being educated within a European education system. Various programmes are trundled out with nice names but all they represent are new window dressing. When someone says, “why don’t we run and alternative system altogether?” then we get hand wringing about separatism and special treatment.
As for All Watched Over… there is always far too much in this guy’s documentaries for me to process. I might be able to get back to you in a month. This man is so provoking. A friend introduced me to his series on advertising which is exactly the same: powerful and depressing and stimulating. About halfway through the first episode of All Watched Over Curtis mentions someone called Carmen and quotes from her article about the internet. I was intrigued and went and looked it up. You can find the article here, called Pandora’s Vox. Interesting. Stimulating. Depressing.
[cyberspace] is a black hole; it absorbs energy and personality and then re-presents it as spectacle…. i have seen many people spill their guts on-line, and i did so myself until, at last, i began to see that i had commodified myself. commodification means that you turn something into a product which has a money-value….
Is this clip not unrelated (he means related when he says that BTW),
What connects these things loosely in my head is the idea that the right and left are both dreaming the same dream: freedom and a perfect society. Which is a contradictory dream involving on one hand the individual and, on the other hand, community. Ayn Rand or crackpots like Jesus. Each side led by their own deluded leaders, each seeing past the other, or treading them underfoot. So a series like E2 appeals to the right wing idea that we can use technology to avoid an environmental holocaust, and to the left wing idea that we need to change our paradigm (man).
On a good day I have the idealism of the Goethe quote (“if we take man as he should be we make him capable of becoming what he can be”). Problematically, fanatical maniacs also tend to be extremely idealistic (which makes them appealing). Hence Yeats’ great lines about the best lacking conviction while the worst… well, you know the rest.