Category Archives: culture

Ayahuasca – The Vine of Death

Art by Alex Grey — Please visit alexgrey.com

It’s obvious that the war on drugs is not about protecting people from harmful substances. If it was, then alcohol, cigarettes, and maybe even coffee (can you imagine an office in Western society where you can’t get coffee?), would definitely be illegal. Those are highly addictive and harmful substances, but they’re still very much promoted by society. Nothing wrong with that, really, since we should be able to decide for ourselves what to do with our bodies, but the hypocrisy is fascinating, and the anti-drug propaganda is still as mindless as it’s always been. So, the war is clearly about controlling the cash flow, and ultimately controlling what people think. In other words, it’s about capitalism.

I’ve been following The Joe Rogan Experience podcast off and on since 2010, and some of the most interesting shows have been about exploring the human mind with the help of meditation, floatation tanks, weed and hallucinogens. It’s basically dealing with how little we really know about ourselves and the universe. Then there’s the Ayahuasca experience, which is taking it to the next level.

The Ayahuasca experience seems to be most rewarding when it comes to getting to terms with yourself, but it also seems to be extremely challenging and scary as hell. This is not something you do for fun to spice up your boring party, and it’s certainly not about fake new age imagery either. Faking to be spiritual is actually preventing you from being spiritual, as Chris Marcus says in episode #127 of The Joe Rogan Experience, and Ayahuasca will make you feel like shit for real, so no use in faking there.

Art by Alex Grey – alexgrey.com

The big problem, as with anything that gets exploited and hyped up, seems to be to find the real deal. People are keen to take your money, but they might have no interest in the plant or the experience, and according to those who know, this could be disastrous. Ayahuasca tourism has been in full effect for a couple of years already, and it’s probably getting worse as more and more people discover its potential.

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There’s a vast amount of information about Ayahuasca on the internet, of course. Here are some of the resources I’ve found particularly useful when trying to figure out what it’s all about:

Documentaries
Manifesting the Mind (2011) – A great introduction to psychedelics.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010) – A film based on Dr. Rick Strassman’s book with the same name, where he explores the effects of DMT. His research was approved by the U.S. government.

Video podcasts
The Joe Rogan Experience #127
, August 3 2011 – Part 1Part 2
The Ayahuasca experience of Aubrey Marcus, who went to Peru for the real deal with the shamans. I’d been reading a bit about Ayahuasca before, but this is what got me really interested.

London Real, March 18 2012Ready to Die
A really cool video podcast inspired by The Joe Rogan Experience.
“Brian Rose & Nic Gabriel talk about their upcoming retreat with Ayahuasca, the controversial hallucinogen and ‘Plant Teacher’. After spending 10 days on a rigorous diet of no sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, wheat, red meat, dairy, soy or spices, they discuss their anxiety and anticipation about the upcoming experience and how it will change their lives.”
While Joe Rogan totally rule, he might be a bit too talkative, interrupting his guests a bit too often and straying away from the subject only to return twenty minutes later, which kind of annoys me at times. Brian and Nic are quite mild in their approach, and their show is about an hour long (The JRE may last up till three hours). London Real is well worth watching!

London Real, March 28 2012 – Back from the Dead
”Brian Rose & Nic Gabriel talk about the fear, anxiety, anticipation, and excitement of their first Ayahuasca retreat in the UK and how they felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually before, during, and directly after ingesting the “Plant Teacher.” They detail the logistics of the actual ceremony and describe the sensations felt hour-by-hour as the medicine traversed their bodies and conclude with individual life lessons drawn from the experience.”

Graham Hancock on Ayahuasca and Consciousness
The great writer and journalist Mr. Hancock is hooked on Ayahuasca. Here he tells his story to Sonia Doubell.

The Joe Rogan Experience #195, March 13 2012
Aubrey Marcus again. This time he’s been to Costa Rica, getting crazy with Ibogaine, which is even tougher than Ayahuasca.

London Real, April 30 2012 – The Secret Bliss
Brian and Nic talking to the above mentioned Sonia Doubell about her Ayahuasca experience, meditation and more.

Wellcome to Hell

Executioner’s mask.

So you think you’re a collector? You ain’t got shit compared to Henry Wellcome (1853–1936).
I spent a few days in London recently, and on Euston Road I came across the Wellcome Collection.

Mr. Wellcome was a pharmacist, entrepreneur, philantropist and compulsive collector. At a very early age, Henry’s village was attacked by Sioux Indians, and Henry helped out taking care of the wounded people. This event sparked an interest in other cultures (usually, it’s the other way around) and already as a child he began collecting objects from other worlds.

At the time of his death he had more than a million archeological artefacts, etnographic specimens and objects of medical history, all packed in warehouses all over London. Most of the collection was sold off at various auctions, but lots of stuff was up for grabs. For example, thousands of weapons were given away, and more than six tons of helmets, shields, spears and guns were just put in the trash. Wellcome had over 600,000 volumes in his library, and more than 100,000 paintings and photographs, all donated to the Wellcome Trust.

Henry’s vision was to create a massive space to house his collections, where scientists and other professionals could come to learn about the development of medicine and such. This was supposed to be a museum of man, rather than a cabinet of curiosities.

This funerary reliquary, or container, for the bones of the deceased was made in Upper Ogowe in Gabon between 1870 and 1920. The reliquary was designed to protect ancestors from evil forces and to help the living communicate with them and to win good health and success in hunting.
This walking stick, made from whalebone with an ivory skull pommel and green glass eyes, belonged to Charles Darwin. It was made at some point between 1839 and 1881.
This German gas mask dates from the first world war.
Fifty glass eyes stare out of this case, made around 1900.

Chrisopher Turner writes in his review of An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World (Frances Larson):
”Burroughs Wellcome & Co, the business that paid for this magnificent trove of historical bric-à-brac, sold malt extract, cod liver oil, cocaine and other dietary supplements in the novel form of compressed tablets (their cocaine pills, labelled ‘Forced March’, were ‘to be dissolved in the mouth every hour when undergoing continued mental strain or physical exertion’). These revolutionary gelatine-coated ‘tabloids’, were ‘so attractive in appearance’, one customer marvelled in 1885, ‘that they might almost be mistaken for sweets’ – and they sold almost as fast. The two entrepreneurs built a factory in Kent, with machines capable of churning out 600 pills a minute. The pills were then aggressively marketed to doctors and pharmacies all around the country by salesmen in frock coats with crocodile-skin bags.”

>The power of P2P

>As The Pirate Bay trial — one of the biggest trials of the Internet age — continues, the power of P2P grows stronger for every day.
About a month ago Ordfront Publishing House released the book Piraterna — De svenska fildelarna som plundrade Hollywood (The Pirates — The Swedish file sharers who pillaged Hollywood). A couple of days ago projO uploaded the audiobook version at The Pirate Bay (thanks mom, for letting me know!). The thing is there is no official version of the audiobook — projO decided to make her/his own version simply by reading the book out loud and recording at the same time and then making it all available via trackers. A perfect example of the power of file sharing!

Me, I’ve been a pirate for as long as I can remember.
Commodore 64, Turbo 250 by Mr.Z, Jan Listerud, the demoscene, Paradox, hundreds of games on one c‑90 tape, floppy discs, swapper, Amiga 500/1200, BBS, StarNet, US Robotics HST, The Final Cartridge III, hiphop, double cassette decks, mixtapes, copy parties, the library (!), VHS piracy, Hong Kong movies, graffiti, Foucault, the concept of hacking, trades, death metal, punk, tape trading, IRC, anarchism, Chomsky, Flashback, Napster, CD‑R, Audiogalaxy, slsknet, DC++, torrent sites, mp3-blogs, private trackers, and last but not least: Google — the very best tool the world of piracy has ever known… Sort of.
I give thanks to piracy for my huge interest in music, movies, art and literature. Piracy is the reason for my quality collection of records, DVD:s and books (not counting piracy material, of course).

Information wants to be free.

>White of the living dead

>

When there’s no more room in Hell the dead will walk the Earth

The most boring of colours – black and white – seem to generate a lot of interest when it comes to skin colour. I’m not that interested in the meaning of colours, really, but I like to provoke and question ”established truths” to call for an open debate about sensitive subjects. For example, I may enjoy stereotype jokes just to see the reaction of the politically correct and the easily offended.
As for the colour of the skin, it is – whether you like it or not — an ideology tied to social status and racial thinking (racial paranoia?). Skin colour – the looks of a person – determines how we judge people. That’s just the way the human mind works — we tend to judge the book by its cover. Then we turn to cultural heritage: where does this person come from? We need to put a label on this guy. Nigger? Albino? Spick? Gringo? Whitey? Afro-Saxon? And only then we care to examine how that person is acting and thinking – features that are way more relevant when forming opinions about people. But of course, it’s easier to cluster people and to speak in broader terms. In discussions it’s often necessary, assuming that people understand that there are always exceptions to the rule. Still, it should be obvious that race is not defined by skin colour…
And that is changing rapidly due to globalisation, unrestricted mass immigration, liberalism, whatever… Fact is that white people in America will become a minority in a near future. Among Americans under the age of 18, blacks and Hispanics, East Asians and South Asians who currently are categorized as racial minorities, will by the year of 2023 account for a majority of the U.S. population (of people under the age of 18, that is) according to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau. How will we judge people then? What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? Fear of a black planet, anyone?
Read more about that discussion here:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200901/end-of-whiteness
Oskorei discusses the article (in Swedish) from his perspective here.

But what I really wanted to talk about is the way that whiteness is connected to death, emptiness and abscence. You know, blackness has always been associated with evil, bad stuff (the simplifying Judaeo-Christian use of white and black always comes down to good versus evil (which of course is fucked over by Lucifer, since he’s the bringer of Light!)), meaning that this has become the constructed norm. When studying non-dominant groups the sense of oddness and exceptionality of these groups rules how they are represented: odd and different. That’s why this odd representation has become norm. Also, those studies of dominance are often carried out by the dominant: a person who is either ridden with the guilt of being white (most of the times) or is a single-minded racist with a clear goal. Yes, I’m exaggerating, but I hope you get the point and see the problem — a problem that relates to another problem that always arises when discussing sensitive subjects: Which side are you on? People always assume you have to pick between two opposite sides. I think that by doing so you’re clearly limiting yourself.

That’s why it’s interesting to examine when established truths are turned upside down, relentlessly questioned and inverted. The replacement of stereotypes. I found such an example the other week when reading the book Film and Theory and watching Night of the Living Dead (1968), by many considered to be the best horror movie of all times (I do not agree, but to say it was highly influental is almost an understatement. It’s great, but not the best…).

It’s often easy to cluster black people and blackness. Whiteness is harder to put in one category. Look at the movies: The Godfather is not about white people, it’s about Italian Americans. Brief Encounter is not about white people, it’s about the English middle-class. The Color Purple, on the other hand, is clearly about black people before it’s about poor, southern U.S. people.
Now check out Night of the Living Dead: it’s got a black person cast as the hero, not portraying the typical black male stereotype. Duane Jones, starring as Ben, instantly made history since this was the first time a black actor was cast in a lead role in a major motion picture that did not specify the part had to be played by a black actor. ”It never occurred to me that I was hired because I was black. But it did occur to me that because I was black it would give a different historic element to the film”, said Jones when interviewed about the role.
Ben’s blackness in this movie is clearly there to set him apart from the other characters and their norms, the norms of a white-dominated society. The message is that whites are the living dead. All zombies in the movie are white, and all living whites are portayed as ”dead”: check for example the end of the film where an aerial shot ”looks down on a straggling line of people moving forward uncertainly but inexorably, in exactly the same formation as earlier shots of the zombies. It is only with a cut to a ground level shot that we realize this is a line of vigilantes, not zombies” (Film and Theory, p.746). Living and dead whites act pretty much the same, hence the connection whiteness/death. The film ends with the white vigilantes (acting like zombies) killing Ben, the representative of life.

The sequel, Dawn of the Dead (1978), released ten years later, has the same cast: the black hero Peter (Ken Foree) and the white villains. Same thing with the third movie, Day of the Dead (1985), where Terry Alexander stars as the black hero disassociated from both zombies and white male values. Richard Dyer writes in his essay White: ”The point about Ben, Peter and John (the heroes) is that in their different ways they all have control over their bodies, are able to use them to survive, know how to do things with them. The white characters (with the exception of Fran, Sarah and Billy) lose that control while alive, and come back in the monstrously uncontrolled form of zombiness”.



George A. Romero, creator of the Dead trilogy (I’d like to leave out Land of the Dead (2005) and Diary of the Dead (2007) as well as the remakes of the original Dead movies, since I simply haven’t seen them yet) has this to say about blackness and politics in the first film:

We had cast a black actor in the lead of that film, never having been fully aware of the implications of that. In those days, the news was all shot on film, they didn’t use videotape. So, there were film labs in cities the size of Pittsburgh and we had just finished the film. We had an answer print, threw it in the car and drove it to New York to see if anyone would want to show it. And that night in the car we heard on the radio that Martin Luther King had been killed. Now, all of a sudden the whole ending of Night of the Living Dead takes on so much more resonance because of that.
I believe that we received a lot of undue credit, due to the fact that the black guy gets shot at the end of the film. That was written in the script long before the character was ever cast, be it a white actor or black actor. It was only the last few minutes of that film that we wanted it to look like newsreels. We were all ’60s people and we were angry that peace and love didn’t work. And the world looked like it was in a little worse shape: the Vietnam War, the riots in the streets, the frustration, etc. I just wanted the end of that film to look like newsreel footage.
http://www.popentertainment.com/romero.htm

Somehow I find it hard to believe that the facts I just pointed out (there are many more in Dryer’s essay) — themes that reappear in the two following movies — all happened by coincidence.
But you never know…


More thoughts about race and the hypocrisy surrounding the colour of the skin is to be found in the posts I’ve written about Jim Goad:
The redneck speaks
Jim Goad — Till truth do us part

>ABOUT PORN!!!!!

>

Diego Beyró, Orgasm series 2008 (oil on bed sheets)
Click the images to enlage

What about porn? It’s an established culture, deeply rooted in today’s modern consumer society. Porn is everywhere, and since the arrival of the Internet it is everyfuckingwhere — and people are fucking everywhere too! There’s no escaping porn. And people wouldn’t really want to escape porn, because then it wouldn’t exist, right?

I’d say most of us get sexually aroused by watching (some kind of) pornography, there’s no shame in that. It’s a combination of that suggestive attraction and our simple biological needs, I guess. Still there are people trying to ban porn and inflict censorship. I can understand that to some extent, but no porn ban will ever last. Porn is in the mindset of just about everything and it’s all over the mainstream media (MTV, Sex And The City, commercials, fashion…). Big cable operators offer adult channels and giant hotel chains offer porn on pay-per-view (as well as the mandatory Bible!).
However, to me porn is more honest than hypocritical shit like Slitz, Café and Moore (Swedish equivalents to Esquire, GQ etc); auteur maestro Micke Eklöf’s olden goldies are definitely the most honest porn films in existance… Jesus. Christ. Spermafesten.
Some might argue that that kind of men’s magazines are sensual, leaving a lot to the imagination… Hoho. Fuck that shit. Please.
This is a consumer society (stuff you can put a price tag on is real, the rest is uninteresting) and pornography is big fucking business (and thus very real). The attitude in Slitz is just plain braindead and awfully sickening.


Here’s what I’m worried about, though. It seems like today’s extreme sides of porn are becoming norm. Degeneration is at hand when humiliation, throat gagging and ”forced sex” (a term I stumbled upon just recently) is what’s expected in commercial porn. This is what bothers me. Where’s the style and intelligence? All I see is commercialized crap. People making money off the humiliation of other people. To each his own, you might say, but of course it affects society in the long run. If rape sex and stuff like that isn’t forbidden fruit anymore — if it has become your everyday treat that you’re bored with — then what’s next? Commercial child porn? Yeah, I know it sounds sick, but society is grotesque and respect is nothing but a seven letter word. It lost its meaning a long time ago. This will show as porn is driven to new extremes…
I have nothing against porn per se, but when degenerating extremes become commercialized norm… Well, I guess it’s a sign of the times. Zeitgeist.


René Magritte, The Lovers 1928 (oil on canvas)

To finish this off I’d like to quote a brilliant essay written by Lou Reed, an essay that might skyrocket this blog’s visitors count by millions. ;) Lou shows what commercial porn is all about: exploiting humiliation. I just love his take on that porn spam shit that contaminates our mailboxes every hour (thank God for Gmail, the best spam filter ever. Who reads these mails anyway?).

”Welcome Lou” by Lou Reed

Hey Lou! These chicks will do anything for a Buck. Horny bored Housewifes are waiting for you. Watch these Bitches be ANALLY DESTROYED. Big Black cocks! How do they do it! Insane Penetrations. A Fucking Baseball Bat. No B.S. These horny women will do Anything. Why Be alone. Japanese Hardcore Anime and Kentai Art. Nasty! Over 25000 xxx by today’s best Asian Artists. These women will moan for you. The Fleshpussy. Tighter and better than the real thing and they won’t TALK BACK! Order now Mr. J. Watson of Akron writes, ”I increased the lenght of my penis by 3 in. in one week. Girth by 2 in. My wife is delighted and so am I with your invaluable product. Bigfuckin African Bros put it to the white bitchin Ho’s. What these sluts won’t do. Facial Cum Shots and our Famous Cum Shake. Yes that’s Right – I want it – I have a HARD time saying NO! Check out my home tape collection from me and my HORNY girlfriends right now! I like it in the bumbum. LOU!
See the girl next door being POUNDED! Ron wanted to shoot his wad all over MY BIG BOOBS! I finger myself at the same time. Watch The Glory Hole. These Bitches don’t care who they suck. Watch this Bitch vomit all over herself! Hear her gag and beg for MERCY! Facial Fantasies caught On Film! Sex Without Strings! Defanged and Declawed Gerbils For you Anal Ecstasy. Captain Croaker’s Anal Adventures on the Open Seas! Me and my crew go out on the open seas on the SS Stabem and find some Backdoor Virgins for your video/dvd delight. A millionaire a yacht and some sluts. INSANE PENETRATIONS! This guy said he loved my ass so much he would LICK IT! Hunting down Moms Across America. Watch these mature bitches take the Big Pony! This slut sucks a fuckin horse off till HE BLOWS IN HER MOUTH. what won’t these horny wives do for money. Why Be Alone. There out here waiting for YOU. College Chicks or their mothers, Lou. See celebrities caught on tape with their pants down. See your favorite stars. Morgue and mug shots. What did they REALLY DO?! Piss Place – watch them make a SPLASH! You’ll never miss a single drop. Live Web-Cam. On command – these sluts will DO ANYTHING YOU WANT! TABOO INSERTIONS! KINKY LADIES TAKING IT DEEP. See the Space Shuttle Booty! Thelma Tounge – Tight Asses Pounded Hard. Wet Teens. Homeless Black Women! Instant Access. Extreme anal Sex! More Extreme! Crazy! Wild! Ruining Rectums since 1998!
Her first Lesson. Real Home Blowing! Young Sluts on Wheels. Watch what she does to that Bentley! Dirty Anal! Nasty Anal! My Body wants your body Lou! 1000’s of porn clips free free free!
She put it in her mouth for the very first time, These BABES are waiting for you! Panty staining Teens! Cute young Babes with FARM ANIMALS! Smile your on Fisty Camera. My name is Young but I’m 18 and Horny! Women doing men Women doing Women! What’s Left. It’s Insane. Garbage mouthed pigs squirting cum shots and cooking pancakes at the SAME FUCKING TIME. Goddamnit get Loose. How does an ungly pig like me get the beautiful Bitches! I don’t know MONEY MONEY MONEY! Watch this Mom put AN ENTIRE REFRIGERATOR UP HER BUTT. It don’t get Better than this Jonesy. Latin Asian Greek chicks waiting for you!!!! Respond for Chrissake. Do you need Viagra – cheap cheap cheap. Horny dogs and their masters. Wowee! Waiting for you Waiting for you Waiting for you! Sex Crazed Whores with Big Tits! Respond! Respond! Snatch Party! They’ll Hunt You down To Suck you Off!
Screwing Machine! Come See Huge Dicks pounding their tight Little Pussies as these Sluts Scream for more! Woman with PHD’s Taking it up the Dung Basket. Hear them BEG IN 5 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. My God! Respond Please! Respond Please! These woman are Waiting For you. Fornicating Giraffes. Erect Baboons. What are you Waiting for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quoted from the book XXX 30 Porn-Star Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

>Watchmen — Illuminating reality

>

Yeah, you know, that old graphic novel (i.e. comic book) by Alan Moore (writer) and Dave Gibbons (illustrator) which is now being adapted to the screen. I love that comic. It’s kind of Ny Moral in a nutshell.

Because to me Watchmen is about the delusion and condemnation of humanity. It’s about what happens when we abuse power and responsibility, when ”soft-spoken” fascism dictates the rules of everyday life. When people who think they know what’s best for you tell you what to do. It’s about what needs to be done to save humanity. And it asks two questions:
Who watches the watchmen?
Does the end justify the means?
The solution to humanity is rather dystopic and misanthropic, I’d say.

When Alan Moore unleashed Watchmen in 1986/87 he created a whole new way of looking at comics. All of a sudden comics where of literary value. When TIME Magazine picked the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present, Watchmen was right up there alongside The Catcher in The Rye (J.D. Salinger), Catch-22 (Joseph Heller), 1984 (George Orwell), Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy), Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller), A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess), Lord of The Flies (William Golding), Gravity’s Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon), Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut), The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) – to name my personal favourites — and other novels by William Burroughs, Doris Lessing, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, Salman Rushdie, Virginia Woolf, Graham Greene, Toni Morrison… The list goes on. Watchmen is also the only graphic novel to win a Hugo Award. All this elite stuff is almost hard to believe, but when reading Watchmen you’ll understand. Or else, in a fascist kind of way, they will make you understand, with the help of the written word, commercials, money, capitalism, corruption, chaos – a maximum overload of information. That’s how it works. But constantly being told what to do raises scepticism amongst individuals, and anti-authority works both ways; some like it, some don’t.

Watchmen thrives on the complexities of life, of being human, and adds to that the odd twist of what it would be like if superheroes – or rather masked ” heroes”, devoid of supernatural powers (Dr. Manhattan excluded), acting as vigilantes — really existed in our modern world. What if God all of a sudden walked the Earth? ”Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”, quoted from Genesis chapter 18, verse 25.
Obviously, it’s not that easy.
What Moore does is that he gives coherence to these complexities. In his own words: ”it is possible to think about politics, history, mythology, architecture, murder and the rest of it all at the same time to see how it connects”.


Catching up on Alan Moore, and watching The Mindscape of Alan Moore DVD (watch it here!), I find I really like this guy. Check out what he says about information in this great interview:

Information is funny stuff. In some of the science magazines I read, I’ve found it described as an actual substance that underlies the entirety of existence, as something that is more fundamental than the four fundamental physical forces: gravity, electromagnetism and the two nuclear forces. I think they’ve referred to it as a super-weird substance. Now, obviously, information shapes and determines our lives and the way we live them, yet it is completely invisible and undetectable. It has no actual form; you can only see its effects. Information is a kind of heat. I would suggest that as our society accumulates information, from its hunter-gatherer origins to the complexities of our present day, it raises the cultural temperature.
I feel that we may be approaching a cultural boiling point. I’m not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing; I really don’t know because I can’t imagine it, quite frankly. But I think we may be approaching the point at which the amount of information we are taking becomes exponential, and I’m not entirely certain what kind of human culture will exist beyond that point. Except it will happen sooner than we expect, and the difference between us and the kind of people that will exist after such an event will be vastly different than the difference between us and the hunter-gatherer society we’ve evolved from.

You’re saying we might not be able to recognize human beings of the future that well.

Yeah, it could be a quantum leap, a sudden, massive and unprecedented leap. Boiling point is a good analogy, because what you have before that stage is water. What you have after it is something that does not behave at all like water; it’s a completely different substance altogether. And that’s what I see looming for society — and it’s probably necessary, probably inevitable, probably scary. That’s my prognosis. I suppose, as an artist, one of the obligations upon my work is to try and prepare people for the more complex world, to try and make it more palatable and accessible to them and not quite so frightening. That would seem to be a worthy goal, illuminating reality.

On another note: As for the nobel prize in literature I’d suggest we give it to Cormac McCarthy. Or Iain Sinclair. Or why not Alan Moore? But maybe it would do them and the fans more bad than good, so let’s not make it complicated.

PS. If you’re really interested in Watchmen, you should check out The Annotated Watchmen!
And here’s a Watchmen Wiki
And this blog post pretty much concludes that Rorschach is a Jew…
As you can see, we’re dealing with information overload here as well.

And as for the movies, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V For Vendetta and Watchmen, here’s Alan Moore talking about his disgust for Hollywood, stating clearly that the comics ”were written to be impossible to reproduce in terms of cinema”. He obviously hates them all.

>Know thyself! — The criticism of life

>

Matthew Arnold, author of Culture and Anarchy, claimed that art is the criticism of life.

In our society people are viewed through a lens which magnifies wealth, power and bloodlines, where instead it should magnify the moral qualities of character. We tend to praise those who perform great deeds, but neglect those who aren’t that very explicit or ”successful”, the ones who lead their ”hidden lives”. The world only cares about status, and is completely blind to the worlds within us. This dependency on status is all we read and hear about wherever we go.
Art, literature and music may help us notice, understand and appreciate those hidden lives that are waiting to be born. Most of the times, the hidden values being offered through culture are those of most interest to the ones interested in moral qualities. This is where we find philosophy and radical ideas rarely talked about in the mainstream arena. This is where spirit and man collide, as opposed to society where spirit and man collapse.
Society teaches us to judge a book by its cover, to depend on status for credibility and to look up to the rich and famous. Culture might help as a cure to society’s sickness.

I do not wish to see men of culture asking to be entrusted with power; and, indeed, I have freely said, that in my opinion the speech most proper, at present, for a man of culture to make to a body of his fellow-countrymen who get him into a committee-room, is Socrates’: Know thyself! and this is not a speech to be made by men wanting to be entrusted with power.
Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1882)

Earlier posts related to this subject:
Intelligent misanthropy — Part 1
Intelligent misanthropy — Part 2

>Engravings of symbolism into flesh

>Originally posted May 19, 2007.








Look at these tattoos. They surely represent more than just something nice and cool to look at. These engravings speak of something that matters to the one wearing them. They represent death, life and the madness of it all. That ugly truth staring you right in the face.

For me, to have a tattoo inked forever in the flesh should definitely mean something more than wanting to show it in front of your buddies, looking at yourself in the mirror, wearing that tank top wife beater…
The more shit you show off with, the more unsatisfied you are with your miserable life and looks. If you’re happy sporting the latest fashion tattoo, then fine. It’s your choice and you’ll have to live with it. If you’re in it for looks only then you’re just vain. Nothing wrong with that as long as you’re aware of your vanity and lack of confidence.
That’s how I see it. Or rather, that’s how I’d look upon myself if I had tattoos that meant nothing to me.

The tattoos I have are for me, not for somebody else. They represent something I truly believe in. As cliche as it may sound, that’s what matters. Still, to each his own, as they say.


The Public Enemy symbol

First and foremost, I got this made because Fear of A Black Planet by Public Enemy is one of my top five albums of all times, all genres included. It means so much to me for so many reasons, I’ll probably dedicate a whole post to this amazing work of art someday (the album – not the tattoo), even though it deserves an essay, maybe even a book. It’s that good. But it needs to be remastered! The levels are way too low and it bugs the hell out of me everytime I listen to it.
But anyway…

The symbol pictures a man in a classic hip-hop pose, arms folded, caught in the sniper’s crosshairs. This man is about to be taken down by the people in power, because he’s a public enemy and thus automatically an enemy of the state. (Actually, the man is apparently E Love, L.L. Cool J.’s sidekick at the time, and the symbol is drawn by Chuck D. himself, but that’s another story…)

To me this symbol represents rebellion, courage and the will to power – power to the people, to the individual and to the true folk soul, the spirit in man. To never deny your convictions. No comply!
As for the “will to power” concept, as coined by Nietzsche, it does not mean “a desire for and of power” as — for example — the Nazis interpreted it, but rather a display of creative energy put to use. And a whole lot more. Also, Nietzsche’s Will to Power manuscript was extensively manipulated and falsely edited by his fanatically anti-Semitic sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Go figure.

Nietzsche says:
I do not speak to the weak: they want to obey and generally lapse into slavery quickly. In the face of merciless nature, let us still feel ourselves as merciless nature! But I have found strength where one does not look for it: in simple, mild, and pleasant people, without the least desire to rule—and, conversely, the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness: they fear their own slave soul and shroud it in a royal cloak.

It’s about respect — a word that’s been extremely worn out and lost its meaning a long time ago in the hip-hop community, where it is commonly used, thanks to soulless, mindless fucks praising the shit that flows on MTV.
Respect and rebellion. Evolution of the mind.

The PE symbol was engraved into my right arm by Mange at Evil Eye Tattoo, in 2001, I think.

To be continued…

>American Splendor

>Originally posted March 24, 2007.


Comics, that’s kids stuff, right?
Well, that’s what I thought as well for quite some time.
As a kid I was kind of obsessed with Spider-Man for some years, but by the time he’d went black I was out there riding my skateboard and listening to records instead. I guess I wasn’t into comics that much after all. I still find Spider-Man among the coolest of superheroes, though. He’s metal, you know, the way he shoots his net making the sign of Satan:


However, I didn’t quite realize that there were “adult” comics (except for the crappy “erotic” shit) until I got hold of some anime movies (which I bought from the drummer in Sator, by the way! This was in 1990…). Those movies made me rediscover comics in a way. But since the style still was that wild and crazy shit it didn’t make any lasting impressions. It was fun for the moment and then forgotten about.

In 2003 I saw American Splendor. Yeah, I’m one of those late losers who discovered Harvey Pekar through that movie. I really loved the film, so I bought Our Cancer Year, one of his and his wife’s comic books that they based the movie upon. And it fucking touched my soul, I tell you!


American Splendor is all about life, death and the things that matters – things and thoughts that at first may seem pointless, but after some consideration may turn into mindbending visions. It did for me.
I spent a lot of time thinking after reading Our Cancer Year, the same kind of thinking that may occur after reading a really thick, good book or seeing a mindfucking movie. I just love the way that a few strokes and a few lines can get your thoughts going.

Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff
. That’s probably the best and most accurate summarization ever, even though it’s become quite a tiresome cliché since the movie hit the charts.

Harvey’s life is drawn by a lot of different artists (Our Cancer Year excluded, which is fully drawn by Frank Stack), and that in itself makes this comic really interesting. Here’s just a few examples of how some artists perceive our man:








And of course I identify with Harvey. He’s just an honest and literate guy with a sense for politics and music. Him being a Jew and just being so goddamn tired of the exploitation of the Holocaust is a revelation. This strip is from 1994:


And the cover of The New American Splendor Anthology has the coolest quote:

When I was younger I thought about women constantly… I was always running around looking for a good time… Now I’ve matured, my priorities have changed. I’m aware of what’s really important: CRUSHING MY ENEMIES.

The fact that I discovered American Splendor so late bugs me. I’ve missed so much. Harvey’s been doing his comics since 1976! Bah…

Harvey Pekar — homepage and blog
American Splendor — The movie
A list of some of his comics

Other adult comics that’s touched my soul lately:



>The return.…..

>Originally posted March 08, 2007.


It’s been a long while since B‑Girls got down.
T‑Love said it, and she said it ten years ago. So where the fuck are all the ladies at? Being a woman in the rap scene is definitely not the easiest of tasks, but every once in a while it’s time for one of them to step up and shine.
I’m talking about MC’s who can rock the mic and spit lyrics that kill, and who’s got skilled producers to back them up.
We’ve got Lady Luck, What What, Sonja Blade, Leila K (!) and sadly not that many more (in my opinion and to my knowledge). Sure, there’s always underground female MC’s ready to pop, but they rarely show their skills. Too bad.
And please, don’t give me crap like Missy Elliot. She’s just super wack.
Lady Sovereign? Eh… Well, for fun maybe.
Lil’Kim? Hmm… Every once in a while. At least she’s portrayed really cool in this photo:


There’s probably some really cool female grime artists as well, but that’s not my kind of rap really, so I can’t speak about that.

So it was back in ´97 that T‑Love made this super dope track Return of The B‑Girl. She was supported by Kool Keith, one of the most sexist dudes in the whole rap industry, but also one of the very best. How awesome then that this amazing collaboration turned into one of the fattest hip hop joints ever.
Listen to the song and fall to your knees pissing. It’s that good.
Download the Return of The B‑Girl mp3 here! Do it. Now.

And listen to the lyrics:

There’s a lot of girls rhymin on the mic with no direction
Don’t know why they flexin, forgot rules and lessons
The essence: beats and rhymes and shit
I’m about to show these bitches that I’ll die for this

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you
Sorry for the wack shit you slept through

Yeah, it’s been ten years of wack shit. Where are you now? Please, I’d love a re-return of the B‑Girl. Hear me now, T‑Love.

—–


And get this book: