Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Wait

The hours are truly perplexing
In the wait for better things to come
And while we wait for the answer
It feels like we shall soon come undone

Yes, some waits are brief and some waits are long
Some make us joyful and some make us sorrow
But whatever the outcome and whatever the trial
Keep in mind that there's always tomorrow

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dubsetters

Deep in the heart of the city
An echoing resonance rumbles through the streets
For those attuned to the vibe and rhythm
You can follow the sound rippling through the concrete
2-step, dubstep, soundsystem party
Spread the word: dubsetters are back!

And the heralded roots of reggae
Are merged with the electronics of the future
This is music for an age both bright and bleak
Visionary and cautionary, these are songs made to move the streets
With killer basslines, bip-bop melodies, and echoing rhythmic offbeats
Spread the word: dubsetters are back!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Infosaturation

blinded by video screen only two minutes not evil vampires but bad directors drain me now no sight to see bad cuts blinding me and then all words and images agony retreat to dark room of shadow infosaturation blackout play music of soft streams even in black room media effect me no asylum no sanity only quivering eyestrain agony and everyone demand writing but can barely see half rejuvenation return to me play song more energy Alien Sex Fiend on the radio singing about information overload ting ting ting ting listen to the mad martian sing shadows for eyes antennas for ears and global village is nothing but thievery write content with muddled mind and sour patch candy so nice teacher give grade me and much too Skinny Puppy is insanity but little now again is good for me

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Moon

(Dedicated to Alphonse Mucha)

There she waits, seated in the night sky
Illuminating the paths of all and sundry
And though she shines her light for all to see
Yet still she is renowned for her modesty

Covering the land in pale moonlight
Where indeed is the man who cannot but admire her flight?
Veiled with darkness as she waxes and wanes
Yet still we shall all see her again

Ageless comfort to those in love, and those who are lonely
All nations and every generation admire your eternal beauty
O' Moon, forever so distant, and yet so near
Whenever thy countenance shines upon me
I know there is nothing left to fear

But oh, what terrors fill my heart
When shadows fill your face
Visions of horror fill my mind
And I fear that I too have fallen from grace

Yes, every woman has a dark side I know
But please remember after hiding again to grow
And though great distance separates my gentle caress upon your face
Someday I hope to visit you in outer space

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Into The Labyrinth

(This poem is based upon "An Ancient Gesture" by Edna St. Vincent Millay at the request of my instructor, and was inspired by The Shining)

I thought, as I was living at the Stanley
Ariadne did this too
Into the labyrinth he descends, clip-clap typing all the day
And falling deeper and deeper into himself

And he never seems to notice, my heartfelt gestures of humanity
And no one knows wherever he has gone, though always he is here

Suddenly it hits you,
He may now have nothing left to lose

And so you sit there, with only imagination and your son for company
This is a timeless tradition, ancient, contemporary
Yes, Theseus did this too

But only as a gesture, -- a gesture which implied
That as a good and kind man he would never betray
The love that she had taught him,
The love he would turn to hate

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Doll's Lament

I am a glass doll
Born to a concrete world
My body is brittle
And my skin is cold

Awkwardly I fumble
Bumbling through the halls and streets
And if ever I should tumble
There would be nothing left of me

And all the real people
Live lives I can neither understand
Nor can I perceive
And all my days are confined
To artificiality

There's no in point asking
If and when I'll ever be a real boy
For now and forever after
I will only be an unwanted toy
Lost and abandoned in some forgotten room

And none will ever stop to listen
Whenever I sing out my silent tune

Must always I remain motionless?
And must always I be misused?
Forever feeling far from home
Never suited for earth but always for the moon

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Grey and Misty Easter Morning

A grey mist covered the land
On easter morning
Neither birdsong nor bright sun
Could anymore be seem or heard

Where do we go when our vision
is obscured, and darkness covers
The face of the deep?

What do we do when we lose sight
Of things that matter, of things we need?
Dare we descend so far we fall underground
And never return?

Arise, O' sleeper, wake from the dead
And God's anointed will shine upon you
Is it good to sell away your birthright
For ash and clay?

Though many hours are spent weak and weary
Yet still will all be renewed
Though shadows still descend upon this forlorn land
Yet still the holy sleeper has risen from his tomb

How I Started Batcave Redemption Radio

Hello Danita, than you for your kind words! Seraphim Radio did not actually go under because of financial pressures, but because I started to notice the playlist wasn't flowing together very well at all, and I knew needed to drop it and wait for some new kind of sound and vision. I felt like God was calling me to just let it go and wait for a new calling. At the time, I was starting to gain an immense appreciation for the more old-school Gothic and Industrial music because it had this incredible power, but was disappointed because not that many Internet radio stations played it, and those that did were of mixed quality. And so, because a lot of my personal happiness is rooted in whether or not I am creating something that will help other people, I went through this really dark summer where I just felt completely miserable.

At the time, one of the books I was reading was Go Ask Ogre: Letters From A Deathrock Cutter by Jolene Siana, which I read not so much because I was actually injuring myself, but because self-injury looked so appealing that I knew I had to stay away from it. In addition to this cathartic function, I found Jolene Siana's letters quite endearing because of her very heartfelt questions about God, religion, and the human condition. Thinking it over, I knew I wanted the new station to be the kind of place people like Jolene could go to come to terms with their questions, and hopefully find answers. The most important effect Go Ask Ogre had on me, however, was that it confirmed my suspicions about the remarkable power of old-school Gothic and Industrial music to speak to people living in painful situations and asking heartfelt questions.

And so I started to gather a lot of albums from Goth's classic period and refine a new station playlist within my iPod. Thinking over how I wanted the new station to sound, I did a lot of research into the music played by the Batcave nightclub in London, the place where the Gothic subculture first began. What I found was, of course, that the sound of bands like Specimen, Alien Sex Fiend, Bauhaus, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and Christian Death were immensely important to the life of the club. But in addition to those bands, I learned that the sound of bands like Cocteau Twins that would eventually blossom into the 4AD Darkwave and Ethereal Wave sound were also immensely important to the Batcave, so I made sure to incorporate that style as well. And while Industrial was too early in its history to really make inroads into the Gothic subculture, I noticed that both ASF and Specimen would later embrace the genre in their own sound, and that one of the Batcave DJs mentioned how important the feeling of 'finding refuge from the dark city' was to the feeling of the Batcave. And so I decided to mix in dark and gritty urban Industrial with a kind of awesome metal-on-metal sound along with more obviously horror-influenced Industrial like Skinny Puppy. That was the basic concept of the station, although over the past couple of years the mix has expanded into playing Gothic, Industrial, Darkwave, Post-Punk, New Wave, Synthpop, and a bit of Glam, Punk, Dubstep, and tribalistic electronica. While it would probably be difficult to explain all of my selections without writing some big essay in music theory, I think most of my listeners understand what I'm doing on one level or another, and are cool with it.

Eventually, I got to the point where I needed to come up with a name for the new station. For the old station, I had named it "Seraphim Radio: Sounds From The Crystal Sea" based off of a set of passages in Isaiah and Revelation in which it is suggested that the image of the world's sufferings are placed in the architecture before the very throne of God so that he will never look away from them. In retrospect, that would probably be the perfect title for some kind of Christian-owned Ambient and New Age station, but not for Goth and its musical peers. For the new station, I needed a title that said 'Look out! The old-school Batcave sound is back!' I needed something that said my outlook on life was nowhere near as bleak as other Goth stations, something that was affirming of hope. And most of all, I needed a title that said I am willing to play music openly discussing religion and spirituality so my listeners would not feel like I was baiting them into it. If there's anything I would like to stress about my station, it is that at all times I have placed the utmost respect and confidence in my listeners and their intelligence, and this is one important reason why I have been willing to embrace so many risks in the playlist's construction.

And so, I was thinking about naming it something with as much pizzazz as "Jet Set Radio" (one of my favorite series of video games), and suddenly it hit me that I should name it Batcave Redemption Radio. The new title had the charm and flair of the former, announced that the Batcave was back, proclaimed hope, and had a certain sense of irony. At the time, I figured that if many churchs' idea of proclaiming hope and faith was setting up a carnival tent and turning everyone into somnambulists, there was no reason I couldn't do it by setting up a batcave and encouraging contemplation. Setting up the new playlist on the same terminal I used before, I was able to start broadcasting again with the same server on my brother's birthday, July 11, 2007. So that's the gist of how I started Batcave Redemption Radio. Of course, what I did with it over the next couple of years is another story entirely, and one that will have to wait for another day.

So, in answer to your question, no, I'm not in any terrible danger of losing the station. Soo too, as I tend to be very independent, always playing exactly the music I intend to play, I tend to feel uncomfortable about accepting donations because it means other people have a vested interest in the music I play as well, and places me one step away from the looming fear of "alienating my listeners." I am, however, always willing to accept legitimate copies of music to play on the station, so if you would really like to contribute, you may do so in this fashion. As far as promotion goes, I've always been fondest of simple things like word of mouth, sending links, posting links, and setting my station in one's top friends list because that is the most heartfelt and real, and builds the deepest connection with listeners. Truth be told, I always wanted Batcave Redemption Radio to be the obscure hole in the wall that completely changes your life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

50 Movie Recommendations for a Friend

Nosferatu The Vampyre (Horror, 1979, Germany, Directed by Werner Herzog, rated PG)
Sleepy Hollow (Horror, 1999, U.S.A., Directed by Tim Burton, rated R)
Pan's Labyrinth (a.k.a. El laberinto del fauno, Fantasy, 2006, Mexico, Directed by Guillermo del Toro, rated R)
Edward Scissorhands (Fantasy, 1990, U.S.A., Directed by Tim Burton, rated PG-13)
The Fall of the House of Usher (Horror, 1960, U.S.A., Directed by Roger Corman, Not Rated [but probably about PG or PG-13])
The House on Haunted Hill (Horror, U.S.A., 1959, Directed by William Castle, Not Rated [but probably about PG or PG-13])
Beetlejuice (Comedy, 1988, U.S.A., Directed by Tim Burton, rated PG)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Fantasy, 1993, U.S.A., Directed by Henry Selick, produced by Tim Burton, rated PG)
Monster House (Fantasy, 2006, U.S.A., Directed by Gil Kenan, rated PG)
Charlotte's Web (Fantasy, 1973, U.S.A., Directed by Charles A. Nichols and Iwao Takamoto, rated G)
Wit (Drama, 2001, U.S.A., Directed by Mike Nichols, rated PG-13)
The Robe (Drama, 1953, U.S.A., Directed by Henry Koster, Not Rated [probably about PG])
The Gospel of John (Drama, 2003, U.S.A., Directed by Philip Saville, rated PG-13, make sure to watch the three hour full version of the two discs as it includes the entire work and much better cuts)
The Keys of the Kingdom (Drama, 1944, U.S.A., Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Not Rated [probably about G or PG])
Hotel Rwanda (Drama, 2004, U.S.A., Directed by Terry George, rated PG-13)
Batman Begins (Action, 2005, U.S.A., Directed by Christopher Nolan, rated PG-13)
The Dark Knight (Action, 2008, U.S.A., Directed by Christopher Nolan, rated PG-13)
Blade Runner (Science Fiction, 1982, U.S.A., Directed by Ridley Scott, rated R)
Ghost In The Shell (Science Fiction, 1995, Japan, Directed by Mamoru Oshii, rated R)
Avalon (Science Fiction, 2001, Japan/Poland, Directed by Mamoru Oshii, rated R)
The Matrix (Science Fiction, 1999, U.S.A., Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, rated R)
Fight Club (Action, 1999, U.S.A., Directed by David Fincher, rated R)
Dawn of the Dead (Horror, 1978, U.S.A., Directed by George A. Romero, rated R)
Shaun of the Dead (Comedy, 2004, United Kingdom, Directed by Edgar Wright, rated R)
28 Days Later (Horror, 2002, United Kingdom, Directed by Danny Boyle, rated R)
28 Weeks Later (Horror, 2007, United Kingdom, Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, rated R)
I Am Legend (Science Fiction, 2007, U.S.A., Directed by Francis Lawrence, rated PG-13)
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Science Fiction, 1984, Japan, Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, rated PG)
Steamboy (Science Fiction, 2004, Japan, Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, rated PG-13)
Metropolis (Science Fiction, 2001, Japan, Directed by Rintaro, rated PG-13)
Metropolis (Science Fiction, 1927, Germany, Directed by Fritz Lang, Not Rated [probably G])
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Horror, 1920, Germany, Directed by Robert Weine, Not Rated [probably G])
Nosferatu (Horror, 1922, Germany, Directed by F. W. Marnau, Not Rated [probably G]
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Drama, 1923, U.S.A., Directed by Wallace Worsely, Not Rated [probably G])
The Phantom of the Opera (Horror, 1925, U.S.A. Directed by Rupert Julian, Not Rated [probably G])
The Phantom of the Opera (Musical, 2004, U.S.A. Directed by Joel Scumacher, rated PG-13)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Musical/Horror, 2007, Directed by Tim Burton, rated R)
The Grudge (Horror, 2004, U.S.A., Directed by Takashi Shimizu, rated PG-13)
The Ring (Horror, 2002, U.S.A., Directed by Gore Verbinski, rated PG-13)
Lady in the Water (Fantasy, 2006, U.S.A., Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, rated PG-13)
The Fall (Fantasy, 2008, U.S.A., Directed by Tarsem Singh, rated R [which is complete bullshit, a PG-13 rating would have been much more appropriate])
Mirrormask (Fantasy, 2005, U.S.A., Directed by Dave McKean, rated PG)
Big Fish (Drama/Fantasy, 2003, U.S.A., Directed by Tim Burton, rated PG-13)
Bridge To Terabithia (Fantasy, 2007, U.S.A., Directed by Gábor Csupó, rated PG)
Enchanted (Fantasy, 2007, U.S.A., Directed by Kevin Lima, rated PG)
Suspiria (Horror, 1977, Italy, Directed by Dario Argentino, rated R)
Dracula (Horror, 1931, U.S.A., Directed by Tod Browning and Karl Freund, Not Rated [probably about PG]
Frankenstein (Horror, 1931, U.S.A., Directed by James Whale, Not Rated [probably about PG])
The Black Cat (Horror, 1934, U.S.A., Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, Not Rated [probably about PG]
Citizen Kane (Drama, 1941, U.S.A., Directed by Orson Welles, Not Rated [probably about PG])
Ed Wood (Drama, 1994, U.S.A., Directed by Tim Burton, rated R)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"I Am Dracula... I Bid You Welcome" (The Horror Film One-Shot Analysis)

DRACULA

Directed by Tod Browning and Karl Freund
1931

One-Shot Analysis by Michael Bridgman
FVT 186, Spring 2009

Shot: Count Dracula, invitingly gestures with his arm and cape upstairs toward the castle's upper level and the giant spiderweb behind him, and bids Renfield welcome.

DVD Scene 3, The Castle

Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1
Shot Duration: 7 seconds, 168 frames


I. Introduction

Dracula is a 1931 Universal Studios horror film adapted from a novel written by Bram Stoker, and directed by Tod Browning and Karl Freund. Released "during a twelve-month period that coincided with the darkest hours of the Great Depression," (David J. Skal, The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror p. 115) the ruthless vampire Count Dracula would soon join the ranks of the Universal monsters that would descend upon the ruin of the jazz age. Casting the enigmatic but equally charismatic Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi in the leading role, the stage was set for Count Dracula to leave behind his castle in Transylvania and set sail for Hollywood. America would never be the same again...

II. Scene Description

"Among the rugged peaks that frown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age."

Ignoring the villagers' warnings that Castle Dracula is haunted by bloodsucking vampires and that terrible supernatural evil will befall him if he travels there, an energetic real estate broker by the name of Renfield (Dwight Frye) has just arrived outside the Count's broken castle walls. Hoping to sell property in London to the wealthy Count Dracula, but still spooked by the sudden disappearance of the carriage driver who brought him to the castle, Renfield cautiously steps forward and enters the castle doors as they creak open. Taken aback by the castle's tall and ruined splendor, Renfield begins to walk backwards toward the staircase.

It is there, however, that he is met by the suave and elegant Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) as he smoothly makes his way down the stairs. Turning around again to face the staircase, Renfield is so startled to see someone waiting there that he jumps. So stupefied that he can only stare, Renfield just stands there until Dracula takes the initiative to introduce himself, speaking with the slow calculated verbalization of a living corpse. Renfield, realizing his many breaches of manners over the past few minutes, politely takes off his hat and explains that he thought the castle was abandoned.

Dracula, invitingly gesturing with his hand and cape toward the upstairs level (and to the tall spiderweb behind him), informs his guest that "I bid you welcome" before turning back his black velvet cape and starting upstairs. Still hesitant, Renfield only makes it up a few steps before both he and the Count are stopped in their tracks by the sound of wolves howling in the night. Clearly moved by their cries, Count Dracula turns around and gestures in their direction, musing to his guest "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."

Progressing further up the stairs, Dracula passes seemlessly through the spiderweb ahead in full view of a startled Renfield. Renfield, on the other hand, breaks it apart with his cane, but still gets stuck in the web, sending the giant spider scurrying up the wall. With that, Dracula remarks "The spider spinning his web for the unwary fly. The blood is the life, Mr. Renfield." Laughing nervously but nevertheless agreeing with his host, Renfield walks the rest of the way upstairs before allowing his host to guide him into the next room. There the scene fades out with the image of the giant web still lingering...

III. Shot Analysis

Shot Duration: 7 seconds, 168 frames

Beginning Frame

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

End Frame
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Shot size: This shot, focusing on the character of Dracula, is a medium full shot giving the Count plenty of room to twirl his long black cape while still concealing the movement and positioning of his feet upon the floor.
Sound: As a director, Tod Browning was an aesthetic advocate of the sparse use of sound at a rate of "perhaps 25 per cent sound and 75 per cent silence." (Ibid. p. 126) True to this philosophy, Dracula was directed with long eerie pauses as silent as a tomb. In the original film, only Dracula's long stretched out corpse-like voice can be heard in this shot. However, in contemporary releases of the film, an optional score by minimalist composer Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet here inserts ominous music suggestive of a predator lying in wait.
Contrast dominant(s): Throughout the shot, Dracula himself is the contrast dominant, initially pulling our eyes in with his dapper shirt and vest before turning around to show us that black is the new black. Second to Dracula, our attention is next caught by the glowing white spiderweb transposed against the grey castle stairs.
Character movement: Giving off the charm and flair of a smooth debonair, Dracula outstretches his open arm and cape in a laterally horizontal position to present his guest with the staircase (and also the spiderweb). Holding out a candle to light the way, Dracula proudly lifts his head and bids Renfield welcome. Lowering his arm and cape back into a closed form and looking upon his guest with a haughty smirk, Dracula is revealed to also have a sinister side. Turning his arm and back toward his guest to display his black velvet cape while still holding up the candle, Dracula smiles a dark kind of smile unsettling in its ambiguity.
Character proxemics: While Dracula is the only character in the frame, the character proxemics of the mise-en-scène place Dracula in the position of power and dominance at the upper level of the stairs, while Renfield is placed in the position of powerlessness and subservience at the bottom of the stairs. From his position of power, Dracula acts as mediator of access to his castle.
Camera movement: None to speak of, Tod Browning liked to make the characters and action play to the camera rather than the other way around. In this shot, this technique is very effective at capturing Count Dracula's eerie hypnotic charisma.
Camera angle: Shot from a low angle, Dracula's power and dominance over Renfield is further emphasized.
Lens used: It's hard to tell, really. This shot is either taken with a normal lens from a more intimate distance than Renfield is standing, or it is shot with a telephoto lens from the bottom of the stairs. Either way, the emphasis is placed upon Dracula's hypnotic charisma, which we too must get caught up in to really understand.
Depth of field: Shot with a deceptive openness of form to which the spiderweb in Q3 gives the lie, here the castle grounds are filmed in slightly shallow focus to emphasize the Count as he speaks. Perhaps in the presence of such a charismatic figure we too might forget our previous premonition of danger...
Lighting: Essentially lit in a low key, here the lighting emphasizes Count Dracula as the brightest and darkest thing in the frame. From there the light refracts onto the spiderweb that glows an eerie light, and the stairs that lead to the den of the beast.
Screen graphics/composition: An interior shot of the long winding staircase of Dracula's crumbling castle, the composition of this shot is weighted toward the right side of the frame where the Count, the stairs, and the spiderweb are all positioned. Even the angularity of the ornamental guard rails on the left side of the frame point our eyes back toward the right. A compositionally static image over which the Count's movements are the only developments in the frame, in this shot Dracula's vibrancy of life is transposed against the grey and dusty castle in which he lives.
Editing style: Edited with straight cuts between Renfield's reactions to the Count from the bottom of the stairs, here the emphasis is made upon the straightforward continuity of time between cuts.
Time: While this shot is made in real time, the stark and open sparsity of sound makes reality seem unreal and dreamlike.
Subtext: Contrary to his charm and inviting manner, Count Dracula is a dark and sinister figure who is merely inviting the unwary fly into his trap. And like spiders do to the victims that land in their web, he will drink the blood of Renfield, and is not to be trusted.

IV. Conclusion

Perhaps in a time when one of the most popular stories around is a tale about a charming vampire who is all fangs and no teeth, it is important to reemphasize the predatory and sinister elements of the vampire myth. After all, to court with the vampire is to court the living embodiment of death. And while death might take on a romantic or even seductive form to those who have suffered in this world, we should not be oblivious to the fact that the sleep he offers is the sleep of the ages. While it is foolish to be taken in by such charm, the vampire is a creature who calls out to us in a time when the bitter aftertaste of our decadence and ruin makes us long for death itself.

In this respect, Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Dracula is a vampire who still calls out to us in our own age. Brought into the world in a time of political, social, and economic turmoil that sent our once mighty towers and castles to collapse in ruin, Dracula is a monster born for just such times as these. In contrast to the visceral manglers who fill the horror screens with ill-conceived brutality, Dracula is a charming but ruthless monster who reminds us that death is more than capable of putting on a pretty face. America, after all, is a nation defined just as much by its monsters as its heroes, and we would do well to remember that as we brace ourselves for the years ahead.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mike and Mark Talk Economics

The following is a conversation held between my friend Mark and I over AIM.

[12:03] sojournertikkun: Hi Mark. In answer to your question ['how are things?'], it's mostly quiet today.
[12:03] msd4283: Cool. Yeah, same here. Went out for lunch and looks like I'm going out for dinner as well.
[12:04] sojournertikkun: Where'd you go?
[12:04] msd4283: A local restaurant here in town.
[12:05] sojournertikkun: Well yeah, but I mean, what do they serve?
[12:06] msd4283: Uh, just basically your standard stuff--pizza, burgers, other sandwiches (including wraps), soups, salads, etc. You get the picture, I'm sure. Listen to today's Democracy Now?
[12:06] sojournertikkun: I hadn't, why, what's up?
[12:10] msd4283: Well, they had some Marxist nut prof on there. One of the things he said was something like "Oh, well, we need a non-profit economy." My immediate thought was "Ok, now that you've gone the exact opposite extreme of the greed, etc that we currently have, what exactly have you gained?" My question to him would be "Ok, what exactly is wrong with profit? I mean, look, it's the *addiction* to money that's the problem, not the money itself." He did say some things, however, that are basically just common sense things. But then that's Marxism for ya. Human nature seems to want to always go to extremes instead of stopping and thinking "Wait a minute, what's really the problem here?" and coming up with a decent solution.
[12:14] sojournertikkun: One very large problem with profit motivation is that it obscures the basic function of an economy to distribute resources throughout society to sustain it.
[12:18] msd4283: True. But, profit, in and of itself, isn't the problem. I will say, however, that there's such a thing as too much, but to completely go to the extrme of no profit at all is a good way to really destroy an economy. It's been tried before--called the Soviet Union. Obviously, the history bears it out that really, that didn't work as well as they'd hoped. Not that capitalism is the answer to everything--every system, Communism included, has its advantages and disadvantages.
[12:27] sojournertikkun: The Soviet Union, like any empire, failed for many reasons. Actually, the idea of profit is itself the root of many problems in society as it builds an uneven flow of power throughout society that is the root of any kind of class struggle. This may be seen clearly enough in the anthropological studies demonstrating that in truly egalitarian societies like the foraging bushmen tribes, violence is almost unthinkable. They don't even punish their children, but simply remove the children from the source of their misbehavior, and this actually works in their society.
[12:35] msd4283: Well, true it failed for many reasons. but I guess we tend to be rather attached to the idea that if you work, you should earn something as a result. I think the biggest problem that a lot of ppl see with getting rid of profit altogether is that no one would really get anything for working. And the other thing with his communist model of a non-profit economy is that we're suspicious of any system that could introduce a totalitarian regime, since we are, as Americans, attached to our freedom. I will say though, that since "with freedom comes responsibility", if one is irresponsible, one is then in effect sacrificing their freedom. Since obviously there was irresponsibility that got us into the current economic mess, it probably shouldn't surprise us if we do see regulation and subsequent limiting of our freedoms in this nation. and obviously, the financial crisis is a global thing, so we're definitely dealing with something a lot larger than just this nation.
[12:47] sojournertikkun: Ah, but that's just the thing, any uneven consolidation of power is a system that could introduce a totalitarian regime. It isn't for nothing that in more contemporary dystopian works, corporations have taken on the roles previously reserved for governments in an age when transnational entities can no longer be held in check by any one national entity. Here in America, we have this knuckleheaded notion that if all citizens are capable of participating in political process, then all citizens are free even though they may not have an adequate level of soft power to live the life they would choose if they had the economic freedom to do so. Consequently, in America we are compelled to say that our citizens are both free and they are not free, but this is a logical contradiction, and so cannot be true. Now as far as incentive goes, I'm still thinking that one over, although I will speculate that the pride and joy in craftsmanship, the very joy that has regretably dwindled in the wake of the Industrial revolution, is a thing we should endeavor to restore to society.
[12:51] msd4283: That's true. You're right. Never thought of it that way before, actually. You know, it's strange that we look at capitalism and all of that that goes with it as the answer to everything, when, in fact, it's really turning out to be more the problem. To be honest, the more I really get into God's Word, the more I see that in fact, there's so much that the so-called "church" in this nation (especially) has gotten wrong. Basically, it comes down to colluding with empire. the Church of England did it, Rome before them did it, and so ppl come here thinking they're going to start a utopia, and they end up making the same mistake, disguising it under "religious freedom" and "freedom, justice" etc, etc.
[12:57] sojournertikkun: Fair enough. To be sure, capitalism is very effective at solving certain kinds of problems in society, but its commodities exist in that hazy dividing line between viruses and antibodies, making the society it rules over simultaneously more well and more sick.
[13:02] msd4283: Very true.
[13:07] sojournertikkun: But this is, I think, one of the central differences between my political views and the laissez faire economics of most conservatives. Where conservatives predict that, left to itself, the economy will reach a state of healthy equillibrium, I predict that left to itself, the economy will make certain sectors of society very, very sick, and that while conservatives may at times make valid points about our society's moral climate, they're all too often oblivious to the way our economic structure colludes with this process.
[13:09] sojournertikkun: Alright, lunchtime, brb. But please leave anything you want me to read, and I'll take a look at it when I return.
[13:09] msd4283: Ok. Have a good lunch.
[13:09] *** Auto-response sent to msd4283: I am currently away from the computer.
[13:16] msd4283: Yeah, you're right. and I've noticed that as well. Conservatism is strong when it comes to moral and cultural stuff, but economics, well, it's rather lacking. but of course, one of the principles conservatism has (though they won't tell you this) is that an egalitarian society is exactly what they can't have. It was conservatives who supported slavery and opposed civil rights for African-Americans. On the religious side of conservatism, they oppose women's ordination. It was also conservatism that opposed women's voting right. So really, is conservatism something this country should stick with? In most cases, probably not. The opposite, though, is equally just as bad. Ultraliberal ideas such as gay marriage would be destructive to society as we know it, leading to God only knows what--I don't even want to think about it. But on the other hand, that's probably the way our society is going, thanks to postmodernism.
[13:52] sojournertikkun: Well done! That's what I've been trying to tell you for months now, and I see it's finally clicked. The authoritarian orientation of convervativism is a major downer too. As far as gay issues go, the more I think about it, the more I find it defies simple pat answers, so you'll have to figure out what you think about that one on your own. Hmm, you know, why don't you dump conservativism and go old-school and become populist? I think populism would be well-suited to you because you get the traditionalism and a strong sense of ethics, but you also get the economics and ability to stand up to power.
[13:53] msd4283: True. Yeah. It's just hard to undo all those years and years of conservatism. I'm slowly getting there though.
[13:54] sojournertikkun: Now you've got a spontaneous rewrite of a Siouxsie & The Banshees song stuck in my head, "Conservative Relapse".
[13:55] msd4283: lol :)
[13:57] sojournertikkun: "It happened whilst doing a chore, I asked myself 'Why vote for Al Gore?'
[13:58] msd4283: Yeah really. lol
[13:59] sojournertikkun: Yeah, I think the song I am so gratuitously changing is "Suburban Relapse".
[14:00] sojournertikkun: Yeah, Siouxsie Sioux would probably kick me in the balls if she heard I wrote that.
[14:02] msd4283: Yeah. Not to mention all the copyright infringement lawsuits and everything else.
[14:03] sojournertikkun: Copyright infringement lawsuits? Nah, funny thing about first wave punks, they're either really cool with things, or they're right in your face about what you're doing that bothers them.
[14:04] msd4283: True.
[14:05] sojournertikkun: So I reckon I would be more likely to get kicked in the balls than suffer a lawsuit, especially given the leeway given to satirists.
[14:07] sojournertikkun: Why do I always use the same word twice in a sentence? It's even worse when it's two entirely different definitions of the word.
[14:07] msd4283: Hey, I do the same thing. Don't worry. lol
[14:08] sojournertikkun: Thank you! Oh, by the way, do you mind if I blog this?
[14:09] msd4283: Go for it.
[14:09] sojournertikkun: Alright! Excellent.