What I’m reading 21 May 2018

  • Trump Only Has One Scandal – The Atlantic – Slouching towards Bethlehem. The act of fascism gives way to grounds of fascism.

    > There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability. – (trump corruption rhetoric )

What I’m reading 21 May 2018

  • Trump Demands an Official Investigation of Obama White House – The Atlantic – Trump found a loophole. Now he needs to find a few corrupt friends will to drive through it for him. But the story is in the interpretation of the tweet: – how the doj interprets “look into.”

    > This is a nakedly corrupt attempt on the part of the president to discredit and derail an investigation of himself at the expense of a human intelligence source to whose protection the FBI and DOJ are committed. My colleague at Lawfare, Quinta Jurecic, and I fleshed out the history of this saga and warned, “Don’t underestimate this episode. It will have a long tail and big consequences—all of them terrible.”

    > The idea that the president doesn’t interfere in law-enforcement investigative matters is one of our deep normative expectations of the modern presidency. But it is not a matter of law. … The only real restraint on the president—other than his own conscience and political pressures—in dipping down into the FBI and Justice Department and directing investigations for his own personal purposes is the willingness of senior law-enforcement officials to carry out improper orders. – (trump rhetoric hermaneutics )

What I’m reading 19 May 2018

  • Rebecca Solnit: The Coup Has Already Happened | Literary Hub – Anxiety arrives.

    > After the coup, everything seems crazy, the news is overwhelming, and some try to cope by withdrawing or pretending that things are normal. Others are overwhelmed and distraught. I’m afflicted by a kind of hypervigilance of the news, a daily obsession to watch what’s going on that is partly a quest for sense in what seems so senseless. At least I’ve been able to find the patterns and understand who the key players are, but to see the logic behind the chaos brings you face to face with how deep the trouble is.

    > We still have an enormous capacity to resist the administration, not least by mass civil disobedience and other forms of noncooperation. Sweeping the November elections wouldn’t hurt either, if that results in candidates we hold accountable afterward. Or both. I don’t know if there’s a point at which it will be too late, though every week more regulations, administrators, and norms crash and burn—but we are long past the point at which it is too soon. – (trump )

What I’m reading 11 Mar 2018 – 21 Apr 2018

What I’m reading 8 Feb 2018 – 9 Mar 2018

What I’m reading 29 Oct 2017 – 6 Feb 2018

New media in the age of personal growth

  • You’re about due for an intervention.
  • Art as aide, helpmate, council for personal growth.
  • A blog post a day. Two tweets and call me in the morning.

A Motivational Art Intermezzo “Live to be outstanding.” What is new media in the age of the rock ’n roll life coach Anthony Robbins? There is no longer the need to be spectacular. The Situationist critique of the spectacle has won. That would be my assessment of the Anthony Robbins Age in which we now live. Audiences are no longer looking for empty entertainment; they seek help. Art has to motivate—not question, but assist. Art should not primarily reflect, represent, or discover the world but talk to its audience, hit it in the face, so say today’s art marketers. Irony can be a medicine as long as it contributes to the healing process of the patient. Be careful not to offend anyone. Today’s aesthetic experiences ought to awaken the spiritual side of life. Aesthetics are not there for contemplation only. Art has to become (inter) active and take on the role of coaching. In terms of the self-mastery discourse, the 21st century artist helps to unleash the power from within. No doubt, this is going to be achieved with positive energy. Perverse optimism, as Tibor Kalman called it, is needed. Art has to create, not destroy. A visit to the museum or gallery has to fit into one’s personal development program. Art should consult us in transformation techniques and not criticize. In order to be a true experience, the artwork has to be an immediate bodily experience, comparable to the fire walk. It has to be passionate, and should shed its disdain for the viewer, along with its postmodern strategies of irony, reversal, and indifference. In short, artists have to take responsibility and stop their silly plays. The performance artist’s perfect day job is the corporate seminar, building trust and distilling the firm’s core values from its human resources.

Self-management ideology builds on the 1980s wave of political correctness—liberated from a critical negativism that only questioned existing power structures without giving guidance. As Anthony Robbins says, “Live with passion!” Emotions have to flow. People want to be fired up and move out of their comfort zone. Complex references to intellectual currents within art history are a waste of time. The art experience has to fit in and add to the personal growth agenda. Art has to leverage fears and promise guaranteed success. Part therapist, part consultant, art no longer compensates for a colorless life. Instead, it makes the most of valuable resources and is aware of the attention economy in which it operates. In order to reach such higher planes of awareness, it seems unavoidable to admit and celebrate one’s own perverse Existenz. Everyone is a pile of shit and has got dirty hands. Or as Tibor Kalman said: “No one gets to work under ethically pure conditions.” It is at that Žižekian point that art as a counseling practice comes into being. Tired Media Art.

from “Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture” by Geert Lovink

Altruism – Simple as That!

  • Invisible, roll-on protection.
  • It’s altruism. Really.
  • Can I get a witness?
  • You have been protected!

How saturated in the 1950s pre-digital era this email from MnSCU is. The pitch is straight out of commercial advertising: protect your home, your family, your innocence. Protect yourself from embarrassing body odor. Even the Civil Defense left it up to the target family to build their own shelters and to take cover in defense.

But the Minnesota State Internet Guardian has you protected. Protected so well you won’t even know it. Because you’re blameless. We trust you. The only reason you would click a shifty link is accidentally. Because you don’t know any better, we monitor your every click for you.

The place for protection in 2017 is the state university. It’s not about us.  It’s you.

From:  Faculty/Staff Announcement List

Date:  December 4, 2017 at 3:20:07 PM Central Standard Time

To:  “fac_staff_l@listserv.bemidjistate.edu”

Subject:  Minnesota State Internet Guardian

Who: All faculty, staff and students

What: Full implementation of Internet Guardian 

When: Tuesday, December 5

Where: BSU, NTC and Distance MN

Why: To protect you from internet threats by stopping malicious links, phishing links and other malicious software from reaching their intended destinations

Complete Details: Your campus will be deploying a service that is being rolled out system wide known as Minnesota State Internet Guardian.  This service will help to protect you from internet threats by stopping malicious links, phishing links and other malicious software from reaching their intended destinations.  The service and its deployment will mostly be invisible to you as it works at the network level.  The only way you will know that it is active is if you accidently click on a malicious link or navigate to a web page that has malicious software on it.  At that time, a web page will pop up to inform you that you have been protected.  Simple as that!

We can ask why MnSCU isn’t telling students and faculty – each time they click – that their move has been recorded, analyzed, vetted by The Guardian to be OK. Is the silence protection from ourselves? A little pop up with each click could be an affirmation: Good Choice! Gold Star!

The state educational system is extending the same parental protections it brings to the dorms to the network. But they wrestle with their parenting role. They try to cast the control as altruism – a position they are not comfortable with. They can’t hide their apprehension that our use threatens their  network. The same apprehension on the face of moms and dads and teachers in 1959 and 1962 when they sketched plans for fallout shelters and held duck and cover exercises. They were doing it for The Kids – knowing that the gestures were nothing more than altruism. We don’t need to be reminded with evert click that the protection is in marketing only.

The Civil Defense banner image is from the Civil Defense Museum. The faculty email shares the same archive. The Cold War prepared us. The same misuse of military equipment can claim guardianship.