You know who’s fun to watch this year? The Lakers, that’s who. There’s the undeniable joy of hearing Kevin Harlan yell “WORLD PEACE!!!” at the top of his lungs when the swingman formerly known as Ron Artest rumbles down the lane for a low level jam that no one will contest because (wisely) everyone stays the hell out of Metta’s way when he’s rolling down the lane. There’s that; but it’s not just that, it’s more.*
I’ve always hated the Lakers, and I hated them even more with Phil Jackson was running the team. Nothing personal against Phil, but that goddamn triangle offense just ruins the hoop viewing experience. And, as an fan of World Peace, it was just painful watching him camped out in the corner of the triangle, waiting to hoist a (usually futile) three. BORING.
But, this year comes Mike Brown and a game refined from Greg Popovich instead of Phil Jackson. MUCH BETTER. Like the fact that everybody is involved (even though Gasol and Kobe are - properly, I might add - still the focus of the offense). So far, with Andrew Bynum serving his five game suspension for being a punk-ass bitch, we’ve also been treated to Josh McRoberts running the floor as the starting power forward, and even have had a Troy Murphy sighting on the defensive boards.
And, with the departure of Odom, World Peace is the leader off the bench, a role that he is taking very serioulsy. It’s early, but so far Metta looks rejuvenated, if not exactly back up to his pre-Malice level of viciousness.
I am now a Lakers fan, dammit. I’ll be watching as many of their games as get broadcast back here in the Gateway to the South.
* It was also great to hear Reggie Miller stepping up to give Metta some props on the broadcast. You see, the casual NBA fan knows Metta from the brawl in Detroit, and simply goes Artest = thug. Pacers fans go another level down: the Malice in the Palace exploded what was unquestionably a championship caliber team, and put the franchise into a tailspin that it has only now emerged from. Now, go one level further down, and you have Reggie Miller, a veteran who had gone through some painfully bad years only to come close in the 2000 finals. In 2004, his career very near its end, he had perhaps his best shot at the ring which had eluded him. But then, that fan just had to throw that slushie at Ron-Ron/Metta …
If anyone has a reason to be pissed with Metta, it is Reggie. But there was Reggie, praising Metta for the player he was, for the human being he is becoming, and very sincerely stating how happy he was to see Metta win the championship ring that had eluded him in his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career. The very ring, it should be noted, that Metta auctioned off for $500,000 for mental health charities.
And they don’t.
The nuevo-libertarians who want an increase in freedom would be severely disappointed under a libertarian regime. The absence of a government doesn’t mean the absence of governance. Somebody’s going to be running your life: if it isn’t the federal government, it’s the state government. If it isn’t the state government, it’s the local government. And if it isn’t the local government, it’s the people you rely upon for food and shelter.
Oh, so you’re going to pull a Thoreau and head out to the woods and live off the land? Well, good luck with that. H. D. made it all of, what, two years out there on Walden Pond? Just for reference, he actually spent more time on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s couch than he did on Walden Pond.
But anyway, good on you. Maybe you can make a go of it as a natural man. For me, if it wasn’t for the wonders of modern medicine, I would probably be already dead, so I don’t really have that option. You see, even more than the federal government, the state government, the local government, or even my employer, the United States healthcare industrial complex runs my life. Quit my job? Sure, between free lance writing, part time teaching, lawn care, house painting, moving heavy objects, etc., I could probably make a run of it. But, because having a steady job is the only way that I can get the healthcare necessary to keep my various (very common but somewhat expensive) chronic conditions under control, it is ultimately my insurance company that I am reporting to.
I am as annoyed with American Democracy as the next guy, but dumping government in the trash is not the answer. Fixing government is the answer, or at least part of the answer. You can’t just ignore the political and think it goes away. It’s there, whether you admit it or not. And, if you don’t grasp control of what little political power you may have, you cede it to someone else. I’m all for coloring outside the lines, pushing for non-traditional solutions, even circumventing the normal political process: as long as you fundamentally reckon with the political at some level, there is a chance (however small) that things can change.
Besides, if you think it’s hard to get your voice heard in this political system, try getting onto the board of directors at Exxon. Because that’s the system of governance you’ll be dealing with under a libertarian regime.
If that’s freedom to you, you must already be rich/invested in the elite class. That’s nothing like freedom to me.
On December 21st, 1960, eight men made one of the most notorious jazz recordings in history.
Two days before (and the timeline has been open for some debate, so I might not be correct on this), on December 19th, 1960, they made the first run through of the recording. UPDATE: I have been told that the only session for Free Jazz was the 21st, and that seems likely to me. December 21st yielded an album called Free Jazz. The December 19th session would be released later as “Free Jazz (First Take)”. I was born on the day “Free Jazz (First Take)” was recorded. I was born two days before Free Jazz was recorded.
Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz
The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet
Ornette Coleman - alto sax; Don Cherry - pocket trumpet; Scott La Faro - bass; Billy Higgins - drums.
Eric Dolphy - bass clarinet; Freddie Hubbard - trumpet; Charlie Haden - bass; Ed Blackwell - drums.
David Bentley Hart (The Trouble With Ayn Rand)
O I remember those days when I used my “real name” as the thingy.
“The only sustainable technology is stone age. Better regulation still leaves us on a dead planet in the near future. Solar, wind, hydro, all of it are not sustainable, nor can they provide for existing energy use or even greatly reduced energy use. Even if you didn’t mind the exploitation of the land and people required due to the mining necessary for solar and wind, solar and wind won’t work for another important reason - the most important reason of all - all of it requires oil and oil won’t be here forever. And nothing is sustainable, nothing at all, for 7 billion people. All that is left now are consequences. Technology won’t save us from the consequences of what we have done. The only chance the planet has, and all living beings have, is to dismantle all industrial infrastructure asap. You can read more about all this in the DGR book.”
What this of course omits is that the “sustainable” technology they advocate can only sustain a small percentage of the seven billion now living.
This is the essence of totalitarianism. An idea so good, so necessary, that billions of lives become an afterthought in its pursuit.
Of course, environmentalism is not primarily about what is good for the ecosystem, it is about what it takes to preserve the best environment for man on earth. If it was about what was good for the earth, then we really wouldn’t have to worry about anything: let the environment get so hostile to humans that we all die off. The earth can heal itself. No, it is the human that is at the core of environmentalism, not the natural.
With that in mind, suggestions like the initial post above are absurd. First of all, you can’t unring a bell, as they say; Pandora’s box has been opened, and the consequences need to be dealt with. Technology alone can’t save us, but it is one of the most important tools we have to deal with the issue.
Secondly, separating environmentalism from a greater agenda of human rights will cripple both movements. Until the systems of control in the world focus on humanity instead ideological figureheads like God, family, nation, capital, “free markets”, the environment, or whatever else you want to propose, then no greater problems will be solved. It’s clear that the problems at the root of our ecological disasters are the very same problems that are at the root of our social justice issues.
People like the author above are treating ecological issues as matters of ideology. They are not. They are problems that need to be solved. And, they are problems that cannot be addressed in any lasting and real way unless they are understood fundamentally from a human rights perspective.
Here’s a discussion of Zizek’s take on environmentalism, wherein he states, among other things, that “ecology will slowly turn into the new opium of the masses.”
If you haven’t already heard about this, please check it out: make a mixtape for the punks of Aceh.
Here’s what I’ve come up with. It was so much fun, I just may make another.
Angst – Love Dissolves
Husker Du – Everything Falls Apart
Radio Birdman – What Gives?
The Celibate Rifles – Back in the Red
Gang of Four – (Love Like) Anthrax
Butthole Surfers – Something
Minutemen – Search
The Belgian Waffles! – Orpheus, Dig?
Jackwacker – A Bastard and a Bedhog
Richard Hell & the Voidoids – Blank Generation
Black Flag – Rise Above
Meat Puppets – Blue-Green God
Saccharine Trust – I Am Right
Bad Brains – Coptic Times
The Creepers – Liquorice Flavour
Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love?
Joy Division – 24 Hours (Live in Amsterdam)
Flipper – New Rules No Rules (Live)
The Fall – Like to Blow (Live BBC)
The Pop Group – Justice
Birthday Party – Release the Bats (Live BBC)
Tav Falco’s Panther Burns – Bourgeois Blues
Killdozer – Cotton Bolls
Suspected Terrorists – Fuck Your Stupid Civilization
The Raincoats – Shouting Out Loud
Public Image Ltd. – Flowers of Romance
Ruins – B. U. G.
The Stooges – I Got a Right
Half Japanese – Too Much Adrenaline
Wire – 1 2 X U