Saturday, June 19, 2004

I can taste the Madonna 


Friday, June 18, 2004

J18, 1999 

Five years ago today, three friends and I, en route to the reconstructed Globe Theatre, came up from a tube station to find this. The event was J18, a semi-international, tremendously disorganized protest against the G8 summit that was meeting the same day in Germany. Some people were claiming that this was a "protest against the militarisation of space." Others asserted an urge to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the hegemony of international wealth. All of this was punctuated, of course, by spraypainting graffiti ("Die Merchant Wankers, Scum of the Earth") on building facades and smashing random people's windshields with trashcans. The few overzealous folk completely overshadowed any intent to demonstrate peacfully, resluting in 43 arrests for the day.

Witnessing the protest was an amazing, unforgettable event if for no other reason than it brought out every counterculturist in the city to this single node for most of the day. Girls were squat-peeing in front of the SWAT officers, doing swinging ball displays for them, but mostly, in the fringe where we stayed, everyone was simply there to look or to be seen. Nudie protesters and performers marching to and fro. Couturistes in avant-garde fashions smoking in doorways. It was closer to the focus of the riot where the crowd reached peak density (think a sea of pink skin dotted with tiny bobbing arms and heads). Lots of gigantor platform shoes were on display, as well as stinky, poorly-maintained white-folk dreads, but everyone we encountered was civil. I got lots of boys and girls to pose for me, eagerly, and, aside from being shoved to and from with the crowd and compressing police lines, the only person who actually aimed her fury at me was a bleached blonde Lagerfeld employee with terribly overdone make-up in a hot pink pantsuit and heels. She shoved me (hard!) from behind, almost knocking me to the ground, insisting that I get a job and stop getting in the way of people who work for a living. I, of course, followed her for a few minutes through the crowd railing about how her oversight (oops, he's employed, and not even from this country) had proven the mission of this rowdy bunch, and that those fucking pants made her look like a King's Cross skazz.

Fun day, all in all, witnessing crowd control and the at times lunacy of London subversion. And it all happened five years ago.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Hey Krista 

...you are so invited to my birthday dance party.

Edit: follow the expression of the girl in the white boobie shirt in the background; she looks pretty hot and bored in the first still, but by the end of the series she's laughing and wanting to hang out. I hope you all invited her over for dancing. And the guy on the right.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Two thousand killed, Four thousand injured. And that's only considering the period between March 21 and July 31, 2003. Imagine what that number is up to now.

Head over to the Iraqui Civilian War Casualties page and read from the list of the civilian dead. The authors of this site, who spent several weeks surveying families in Iraq last summer, have aimed to personalize the anesthetically numeric statistics by assigning those numbers the names which they once bore, as well as age, sex, income, occupation and number of dependents.

This is an honorable task, one I support wholeheartedly.

I found out about this by way of a novel photoblog maintained by a family living in Baghdad. Beside pictures of markets, watermelon stands, and the family's yard one will find pictures of their dependable generator ("it's the most important thing in our life since the war"), and signs of foreign military intrusion in civic matters ("the brick wall have been removed yesterday, it was seperating the airport highway awayfrom the residential area").

I am fascinated by these visual elements of the stability of daily life that persists out of necessity. CNN doesn't show you pictures of the nut shop, nor the smiling market vendors, nor the pictures from a family's wedding.


Monday, June 14, 2004

The language of jive 

I think the universe is trying to tell me something. I found this in the Cab Calloway "Hepster's Dictionary" from 1944, just two shy years before my parents were born. I'm certain it influenced their tender brains:

Jeff (n.): a pest, a bore, an icky.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Nixon administration 

Implicit in existing social and legal policy toward marihuana is the view that society suffers in some way from use of the drug. When the widespread practice of marihuana smoking appeared in the United States in the early decades of the 20th century, the medical, law enforcement, newspaper, and legislative communities immediately indicted the drug. They assumed that the drug posed serious dangers to individual health; but more importantly, they viewed it as a menace to the public order. Crime, insanity and idleness were thought to be the inevitable consequences of its use.

That some of these original fears were unfounded and that others were exaggerated have been clear for many years. Yet, many of these early beliefs continue to affect contemporary public attitudes and concerns. Consequently, one of the Commission's most important tasks is to evaluate carefully all data relevant to the social impact of marihuana use. We must determine whether and in what respects social concern is justified. What is myth and what is reality?

-The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding
Commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March, 1972

To all but those who were of age during the early seventies: who knew? I find it unfortunate that I hadn't been alerted to the existence of this document earlier, but I don't find it surprising that federal actors aren't in the habit of waving this about on Capitol Hill.

I find especially intriguing section three of this document, Social Impact of Marihuana Use, from which I have adapted the above. The text speaks to a sense of social care and humanity of such a degree that I'm unaccustomed to hearing in government news. It certainly draws out the differing degrees to which science as a practice and guide permeated different presidencies, and I'm saddened that, in looking back on the public health record of one of the less desirable executives, I feel inspired at the objectivity of the research done to support this paper, especially in light of the tone with which it was written. I tell you, this is prose!


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