mazer: What is the alternative to appropriation?
kotaku: I don’t know.
mazer: The alternative to appropriation is a world in which artists only reference their own cultures.
kotaku: That’s an oversimplification of the issue.
mazer: The alternative to appropriation is a world where white European people make art about white European people, with only white European references in it. Swap African or Asian or Latin or whatever culture you want for European. A world where everyone is blind and deaf to any culture or experience that is not their own. I hate that world, don’t you? I’m terrified of that world, and I don’t want to live in that world, and as a mixed-race person, I literally don’t exist in it.
I finished two books this week. The first one was Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin. The above quote is from that book. It’s quite a page turner, that book, + I really enjoyed it.
The other book, finished this morning, is Doppelganger, by Naomi Klein. Robby gifted it to me. It’s an amazing book. It’s like a piece that was missing in my understanding of history. Once unpacked + understood, it clicks in with a satisfying sound + then your focus becomes so much clearer. Already gifted the book to several people. Very good.
Ozone Depletion versus Climate Change
In 1987, a United Nations summit in Montreal brought global leaders, scientists, and industry representatives together to address the problem. The treaty they ratified, known as the Montreal Protocol, was ultimately a success, pushing chemical companies to invest in profitable alternatives to help save the ozone. Earlier this year, scientists announced that Earth’s ozone layer was starting to recover.
The Montreal Protocol has been recognized as a template for encouraging science-based policy and global cooperation to address environmental challenges. Today, as global warming caused by burning fossil fuels has become the most pressing climate problem, will the world be able to duplicate the Montreal Protocol’s success?
The Ozone Hole Showed Humans Could Damage Earth and That We Could Heal It – Scientific American
The experts try to analyze this in terms of politics—because they analyze everything in terms of politics nowadays. But the hot cultural tone is larger than any political agenda, and cuts across party lines.
Politics does not shape the culture. Culture shapes politics. You can hear the future in hit songs long before any campaign slogan grasps the new reality.
Why Is Music Getting Sadder? – by Ted Gioia
How about that? Politics does not shape the culture. Culture shapes politics. You can hear the future in hit songs long before any campaign slogan grasps the new reality. And thanks to the streaming economy, culture becomes a feedback loop. Artists are depended on streams and will research what is popular in order to copy it in order to get more streams, which will keep the culture going in the same direction…
Sad and angry songs have flourished in other times and places—and we can learn from this. Songs about melancholy or even suicidal lovers were popular in the early days of German romanticism, and you find similar themes in the British folk ballad tradition. Folk ballads almost demand bloodshed and conflict, even if they also tell a love story.
Time to make a different kind of music. I’m on it…. :-)
I’ve gained a steady distrust of landscapers. Some of them are my friends, but regardless, I distrust the entire profession. If anything, this is based on the attributes of what the general public wants and what the entire market is geared towards, more than it is based on any individual themselves.
The landscaping industry – like much of the entertainment industry in this country – is its own negative feedback loop where the public wants the unthinking, hideous lowest-common-denominator shit and the industry is forced to respond because that’s what sells. So the industry starts to produce even dumber, uglier shit, and the public eats it up, and so we are left with the unimaginative paint-by-numbers approach to landscaping “design” : blocks and swaths of color with no mixing, far too much (and eerily equal) spacing between plants. We end up with plants looking like products on a shelf at Walmart as opposed to a recreation of nature or or habitat restoration.
Midwest Landscaping Death Cult — Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t
from my current read:
As the mesmerizing broadcast from the Martian surface appeared on my screen, I thought about all the engineers and scientists at NASA whose decades of devoted work had produced the technology that allowed us to send Curiosity to Mars. It was the same thrill I had back in 1969 as a ten-year-old watching the black-and-white TV broadcast of our lunar landing. Pondering the individual and collective creativity of those scientists, now as then, left me inspired and in awe. My heart swelled with excitement and pride in the possibilities of human scientific achievement.
Complexity, however, reveals another, less anthropocentric view. A complementary perspective is one in which we consider that over the last 3.5 billion years, the atoms of this planet have slowly been organizing themselves in order to reach out and touch their neighboring sibling planet, Mars, on the shoulder.
And if, in some undiscovered recesses on Mars or in a far-flung planetary system around some other star, the atoms are still self-organizing into living things, then they might one day reach out to touch us too. Perhaps they already have.
from Notes on Complexity by Neil Theise
SOME OF US who live in arid parts of the world think about water with a reverence others might find excessive. The water I will draw tomorrow from my tap in Malibu is today crossing the Mojave Desert from the Colorado River, and I like to think about exactly where that water is. The water I will drink tonight in a restaurant in Hollywood is by now well down the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens River, and I also think about exactly where that water is: I particularly like to imagine it as it cascades down the 45-degree stone steps that aerate Owens water after its airless passage through the mountain pipes and siphons. As it happens my own reverence for water has always taken the form of this constant meditation upon where the water is, of an obsessive interest not in the politics of water but in the waterworks themselves, in the movement of water through aqueducts and siphons and pumps and forebays and afterbays and weirs and drains, in plumbing on the grand scale.
Holy Water, from the book The White Album, by Joan Didion.
I watched those guys beat each other up. It’s what passes for entertainment in the mountains. :-)
I did read a little bit every day. Novelist as a Vocation by Murakami is excellent. He writes much that seems to match with my experience. I also started to read The White Album by Joan Didion. She has a wonderful writing style. I am really enjoying this book so far.
There are so many great quotes in the Murakami book that I highlighted. Here are just a few:
The narrower and more specialized the field, I have found, the prouder the authorities tend to be and the stronger their antipathy to outsiders.
Don’t I know it!
But since I do happen to have a bit of ability to write novels, and have had some good luck on my side, plus a stubborn streak (or, to put it more nicely, a consistency) that’s proved helpful, I’ve been able, over thirty-five years, to write novels as a profession.
I am quite stubborn myself and I have had some good luck. And it’s been just about 35 years, since 1989.
A writer’s greatest responsibility is to his readers, to keep providing them with the best work that he is capable of turning out. I am an active writer, which is to say, someone whose work is still in progress. A writer perpetually groping to discover what to do next, inching forward through the perils of the literary battlefield. The task set before me is to survive, and to try and keep moving ahead.
The Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert had this to say: “To reach the source, you have to swim against the current. Only trash swims downstream.”
But there’s no secure place for magic or metaphysics in a trillion-dollar marketplace, and such fragile connections run counter to the production-on-demand requirements of any global industry. This is the attitude expressed by the CEO of Spotify when he told musicians that they are to blame for their poor earnings on the platform—because they weren’t releasing songs fast enough. From the perspective of a streaming platform, it would be better (or at least more profitable—which, for them, boils down to the same thing) if AI made the songs. Musicians are just a bloody inconvenience. But how did we arrive at such a dehumanized attitude to music?
Were the First Laws Sung? – by Ted Gioia
(emphasis is mine)
I chose to turn around and walk the other way. Away from what is becoming a race to the bottom… and once that bottom has been reached one can descend even further with the help of AI. No, I am going to make the turn towards art. Scarce, unique, special is what I am aiming for. I have some ideas for special packages, too. They might not be as elaborate as the limited edition La Semana package, that won awards, but they will be personal, home-made and very small, individually signed editions.
In the following months, during trips he sought to undertake as consecutively as possible, the same experience played out in the jungles of Brazil, the forests of Alaska and at a polar station a long way south of Patagonia, leading him to the conclusion that silence does not in fat exist in nature; rather it’s a fantasy fabricated by our culture, a concept we’ve simply dreamed up. And this was something my friend couldn’t understand. Or, he understood it, but he refused to accept it. The last I heard, his search for a piece of silence on Earth was still ongoing.
The Things We’ve Seen – Agustin Fernández Mallo