Wednesday, December 31, 2008


From Horizon spring 1966, Vol. 7 #2.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hulk Hogan's Rights of Man

It is election day and very soon we will bid farewell to Bush Jr. his cabal of cretin-esque Neoconservatives, some of the best bad guys we've seen in a while. So as a going away present I thought I would present this video. A good friend of mine originally showed it to me for the obvious humor potential (what is up with that part where the rocket fucks the American flag!?), but after watching it a few times (and downloading the insatiable tune) I began to realize that it was best summation of Neoconservatism and the "accomplishments" of the Bush administration I have ever seen. Here is why:

1. National Greatness: let's start with the simplistic patriotism and gratutitous ammount of flag waving, all predating Fox News, nonetheless. In the very beginning it quickly and effectively sets up the American narrative: the war for independence, the Constitution, a couple of great Presidents, the diversity of our landmass, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Vietnam war. Nevermind certain contradictions like that Jefferson owned slaves or MLK Jr. opposed the Vietnam war, the point is that it was all uniquely American and America rules!

2. Creative Destruction: you can't have progress without blowing up a few buildings, crashing airplanes (hey, McCain...), bicycles or beating the snuff out of a few guys. Despite the fact that the phrase 'creative destruction' can be traced back to Bakunin and Nietzsche, here we are interested in arch-Neoconservative, Jacobin, democratic revolutionary Michael Ledeen's use of the phrase. To be fair, Ledeen probably got it from the futurist writtings of F.T. Marinetti while he was cutting his teeth with the Italian security services co-opting fascisti wild boys and making sure that the Great American Empire would righteously castrate an independent Europe (see previous post).

3. Natural Rights: the key to Hogan's Wilsonian ideology can be found in the lyrics, "I am a real American/Fight for the rights of every man." Despite that Hogan's glory is uniquely American, his duty and destiny extends far beyond our borders. Every true American, the song implies, must not simply take their freedoms and rights (which are given not inherent) for granted. No, he or she must ensure that every human being in world has these rights protected as well. Hence the precondition for imperial intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and anywhere else this particular notion of the Rights of Man is threatened. Also, notice Hogan's tearing up a photo of tinpot dictator Gaddafi, predating the obsession with other insular wannabe Bonapartes like Saddam and Chavez.

4. The last point more has to do with the medium rather than the message, though as McLuhan taught us, the relationship between the two is often closer than we think. So here we see Hogan's patriotic demagoguery amid throngs of flag waving simpletons who just love being duped by the spectacular theatrics of it all, just like people during election season. Again, Hogan's antics predate a key part of Neoconservative methodology: Idiot Populism. Reagan's clean cut cinematic bluster started it all but he was still a bit too obviously corporate for the sans-culottes who make up the small town GOP rallies. Bush's ranch hand persona took it step further and he pretty much sealed the deal with the flight suit, if only for that pesky issue of his unofficial AWOL from the armed forces. The final stage of this phenomena was, of course, the rabid mobocracy of McCain/Palin rallies which got all manners of semi-literate yokels in a tizzy about Obama bringing some sort of socialist caliphate stateside. Of course, legitimate fears about Democratic Party big government intervention into the lives of small town citizens couldn't be properly exploited because the GOP is just as guilty as their 'rivals' in this respect. Who could forget the Bush administration's creation of the Ministry of Information. Even leftists like David Michael Green have noted that:

at least now we can finally answer our pregnant question: Which American president has been the most socialist of all, apart from FDR and LBJ? The (really, really) surprising answer is: George W. Bush.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sandwich Shop Evoliani


The New York Times Style Magazine is a generally a good read as it has pretty models, often showcases the elegance and aesthetics of better, past times as well as whatever vapid, cosmopolitan crap du jour the ruling classes are eating up. In the Men's Fashion Fall issue, there was an article on the paninari, subject of the great Pet Shop Boys song. For those who don't know (and I didn't until I read the article, I thought the song was just about buying Italian brand clothes in NYC), this was a subculture of Italian kids who emerged as a reaction to the darker or crustier groups such as Punks and Goths and whose "fashion choices were a way of socializing and publicly embracing appropriation- specifically, the American dream as defined by the quick and easy pop culture culture of the Reagan era. (For an Italian of a previous generation, a slow death would be preferable to a diet of foil-wrapped hamburgers, French fries and Cokes.)

What really caught my eye is the youth second to the far right of the picture with the Celtic cross tshirt and upon closer inspection (see close up) an Iron Cross on his pant leg. Given that this picture was snapped in Italy during the late 1970s or early 80s, it can well be assumed that this symbolism was supportive of certain ultraviolent neofascisti groups operating during the time as part of a dirty war against various far left gangs, the Brigate Rosse being the most famous. Of course, it later came out that the whole Blacks vs. Reds conflict was wholly superficial as generally both sides were being controlled by the CIA and NATO as a part of the last rampart of World War III, i.e. the [not so] Cold War, in an effort to protect Western Europe from Soviet invasion. Now while American and Western European anticommunist tactics played no small part in the downfall of Stalinist tyranny, the outcome was pretty inevitable given the crapshack of economic theories the USSR was founded on, not to mention the eternal truth of all totalitarianisms: they are their own wost enemy.

Of course, the whole dichotomy of the Cold War, that it was between two different economic systems: Free Market Capitalism vs. State Socialism/Communism was utterly false. As we all know, capitalism in the West is hardly based on free enterprise and a lack of government intrusion. Instead we see corporate welfare and a litany of laws designed to complicate and prevent any upstart small businesses from flourishing or the individual worker from selling his labor to the highest bidder. As for the USSR and other supposed socialist countries, as anyone with knowledge of theoretical socialism (either Marxian or non-Marxian) will tell you, the USSR and China are what is more properly defined a state capitalism as the industries within these countries were owned either fully or in part by the state apparatus and controlled by party bureaucrats. So while the fall of the Soviet Union and its various satellites led people such as Francis Fukuyama to declare victory for free market capitalism as part of a neo-Hegelian interpretation of the "End of History", as we have since seen (in addition to my previous remarks on the lack of truly free markets and enterprise) with such recent events as the Wall Street bailout, it is really state capitalism which is evolving and becoming the dominant, world wide economic system.

But getting back to the youth in the picture, what I find most amusing about the whole scenario is that certain elements, in fact the most radical sections, of the rightist terror gangs operating during the Years of Lead considered themselves disciples of Julius Evola. As such, they saw themselves as not simply fighting against just Commies but also against democracy, capitalism and the most levelling and tyranically banal aspects of modernism. They wanted to create a hierarchal, spiritually pagan and autarkic order to replace the most profane aspects of Western liberal democracy, in short everything the paninari stood for. Of course, the Gladio operation wasn't simply about protecting Western Europe from Soviet imperialism out of some heartfelt love of liberty and desire to protect those with whom we share a common heritage. It was also about imperialism, but of the order of Scrooge McDuck capitalism and the shiny barbarism of consumer culture. As I've mentioned in previous posts, a healthy, strong and independent Europe was viewed with suspicion from the State Department and their corporate friends as the cases of Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland and Ireland seemed to prove the possibility of having a burgeoning upwardly mobile society while still providing such basic amenities as free health care and education. Of course since the victory of American domination over Europe we've seen these once socially democratic governments turn against their citizens with the most absurd, politically correct laws imaginable while accepting the most destitute and parasitical sections of the Third World, inevitably putting such a strain on the social services as to make them essentially worthless. There is no doubt that this will accumulate into a socio-economic crisis of Malthusian proportions within only a few years. End of History or civilization as we know it? As Rosa Luxemburg put it: Socialism or Barbarism? I think we all know which one is coming...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Golden Age of Good Times

High Modernism is summed up quite efficiently in these three photographs. The sharkskin suits (mind the socks!), the playful, pastel-colored furniture, and the Bauhaus[esque] architecture, born of the soft Marxism of Gropius. As Tom Wolfe told it:

Gropius was chairman of the Novembergruppe's Arbeitsrat für Kunst (Working Council of Art), which sought to bring all the arts together "under the wing of a great archtechture," which would be "the business of the entire people." As everyone understood in 1919, the entire people was synonymous with the workers. "The intellectual bourgeois... has proved himself unfit to be the bearer of a German culture," said Gropius. "New, intellectually underdeveloped levels of our people are rising from the depths. They are our chief hope." Gropius' interest in "the proletariat" or "socialism" turned out to be no more than aesthetic and fashionable, somewhat like the interest of President Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Rebublic or Chairman Mao of the People's Republic of China in republicanism.

Wolfe then goes on to describe how, without any change in the social structure of the business of architecture, the term 'bourgeois' became just an all purpose insult for any style those who actually employ architects liked which the disciples of the Modern school did not. As such, during the High Modernist period we see the blending of "American" individualist values with the more Continental values of community and social justice. Here the notions of bourgeois comfort, already in their industrialized stages in America, coexist with European social democracy (evidenced by an adoption of their housing solutions) which at the time was seen as a sort of middle ground between the false narratives of the Cold War.

In both Europe and North America, the leisure industry was at it height. Air travel, hospitality and other related industries were booming. Relaxed moral codes combined with a sense of style made traveling, vacationing and general non-labor always seem as if it was on the verge of a raucous good time. Sexual mores were becoming more liberal yet not wholly commodified, as they would be in the Late Modern era. This era of sexual awakening before the sterile overexposure that politicized 'liberation' would bring (along with Feminist/Maoist puritanicalness) when combined with the acceptability of drinking during the day made for a generally enjoyable leisure atmosphere for most 'regular' folks.

Of course, the liberal preoccupation with niceties, comfort and safety, elevated to the point of being principles in and of themselves, would be a key ingredient to the downfall of Occidental culture. As Ernst Jünger wrote:

the securing of life against late, that great mother of danger, appears as the truly bourgeois problem, which is then made subject to the most diverse economic or humanitarian solutions. All formulations of questions at present, whether aesthetic, scientific, or political in nature, move in the direction of the claim that conflict is avoidable. Should conflict nevertheless arise, as cannot, for example, be overlooked in regard to the permanent tact of war or criminality, then all depends upon proving it to be an error whose repetition is to be avoided through education or enlightenment.

Now managerial mediocrity, matching furniture and the ability to talk about non-whites in a charitably patronizing tone are seen as the authenic expressions of contemporary Westerners. Think about the party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's, when was the last time anyone saw people that age having that good of a time and be that well dressed while doing it? Now so called professionals stand around awkwardly and discuss their diets and psychiatric appointments. If you want something more raw and primal, how about a good ol' fashion Bacchanalian bonfire in the woods with all your mates and some birds? This taps into our heathen heritage and is fueled by a desire to shake off the shackles of school or work-a-day repetition, booze, and possibly some smokable plants. We all know this occurs in every suburban or rural town in the USA, but the point has been lost and has thus become an endless and futile search for the right level of "fucked up." As such, the means (general euphoria for not being at work/school, booze, weed, possibility of getting laid) becomes the aim rather than the desired outcome: an authentic good time within an authentic human community.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Bourgeois Liberalism Should Be, Part II

As a follow up to the quote from the previous post I wanted to make some points clarifying my position on Emersonian liberalism. The first is that despite the contrast I was trying to show between classical, Emersonian liberalism and contemporary neoliberalism, there are points of similarity and in certain cases a direct line of connection concerning certain attitudes. Primarily, the Transcendentalists' predating a key characteristic of Boomerism, that of: "condemning the social practices and behavior of a class with whom they were closely connected by birth and education and of speaking for an underprivileged group with whom they had little in common."(*) Despite this, here is what I find to be the heart of Emerson's ideals:

a. An understanding that materialism, the idea that this is it, so to speak, leads to moral decay, stagnation of will and babbittry. To counter this, Emerson offers not the stupidity of the Abrahamic religions which dictates that the crap of this world is tolerable and should be even put up with because the next one is just dandy, but rather a Neoplatonic belief in the One and the World Spirit. Those individuals who recognize that there are ascending layers of reality beyond the material world can commune with the One/"Over-Soul" not by prayer (i.e. begging to an invisible man), but by becoming more active within this world, thinking critically about both pratical and philosophical matters and creating positive contributions that will continue to exist after one expires, i.e. works of music, art, and literature or institutions and businesses which contribute to one's community.

b. When Emerson talks about men achieving greatness, sharing a common ground based upon participation in the World Spirit and becoming men of Reason, given the time it was written, we can rightfully assume that by default he means men of European extraction. Since Emerson's writings predate our era where one cannot write an essay or utter a sentence without making all sorts of preconditions to include and not offend the world's diverse ethnic groups and cultures, we can be assured that he was writing solely for us white folks. This is not to say that those not of European extraction are incapable of the Reason which Emerson implores us to achieve, merely that their Reason would be different from ours as it comes from a different ethno-cultural source.

c. While Emerson and his fellow Transcendentalists, thankfully, didn't dwell too much on strict political matters, from the short summary Aaron gives us we can see that their spiritual beliefs would be compatible and best suited to a populace living within a decentralized, minarchist republic where free markets, free association and free trade are the norm. Also, given the note about Jeffersonian and Jacksonian overtones, we can probably assume that central banking was looked down upon and a agrarian economic backbone, which brings with it the principles of self-sufficiency and self-ownership, was supported. Also despite the obvious individualism inherent in Emerson's beliefs, there was no contradiction with the more collective demands that community life entails. In fact, Emerson's insistence on men of Reason contributing to vocations such as the arts and philosophy to serve [European-derived] humanity shows that a healthy, national culture was strongly promoted.

(*) It has long been my belief that people are heavily formed from the backgrounds which gave them birth. Trying to transcend one's class (in the form of the principles it fosters in you) or ethnicity (bear witness to the idiocy of wiggerdom or dreaded Trustafarians) is never a good idea. It is even more insidious when people try and tell groups of people different from their own how they should run their lives. While these displays are usually seen with liberal do-gooder groups ("Save Darfur!"), their roots lie with Christian missionaries and the need to proselytize (liberal groups also believe in a Manichean dualism albeit in secular garb). As we all know, the outcomes of these "transcenders" has never been good. In short, be honest where you come from and people will respect you.

What Bourgeois Liberalism Should Be

In contrast to the statist, multiculturalist, interventionist, materialist, globalist, and culturally vapid liberalism of the day lets all take a look at the original American liberalism, the liberalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Transcendentalists. The following is from Emerson and the Progressive Traditon by Daniel Aaron and is featured in a collection of critical essays on Emerson edited by Milton Konvitz and Stephen Whicher:

Emerson's political philosophy-it might be called transcendental democracy-had marked Jeffersonian and Jacksonian overtones. Strongly individualistic, it spoke for equality of opportunity in economic and political affairs, and it lent support to the belief in laissez-faire and the necessity of the minimized state. But it was more spiritual and intellectual than the organized movements for political democracy and less concerned with political and economic considerations, less a matter of economic rationalization...

The men and women who made up this transcendental corps were mostly of New England origin, although a handful were born outside New England. As children of the professional or commercial classes or of the sturdy farming yeomanry, they recieved educational advantages above the average of their day, and for the most part they came from families distinguished neither by great wealth or by poverty. Almost all of them seemed to have been reared in homes where the business of life was taken seriously and idealistically. It was a group that, disgusted by the prevailing materialism of the day, turned to culture and to reform...

Emerson's political ideas emerged quite logically from transcendental principles. He believed in a divine power sometimes referred to as the Over-Soul, and he taught that all men shared in that divinity or at least were capable or establishing a rapport with it. Men's joint participation in this Spirit, their common share of the divine inheritance, made them brothers and gave the lie to artificial distinctions. In the great democracy of spirit that Emerson conjured up as a kind of Platonic archetype of the imperfect American model, all men were potentially great. Men were not great in fact (Emerson had no such leveling ideas, as we have seen), but every man could be great if he harkened to the admonition of the Over-Soul in himself.

Like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Emerson believed in a natural aristocracy, although his aristoi bore little resemblance to Jefferson's. Society divided itself into the men of understanding and the men of Reason. The former, the most numerous and most ordinary, lived in "a world of pig-lead" and acted as if "rooted and grounded in adamant." Sunk in this profound materialism, they lacked the imaginative penetration of the true aristocrats, the men of Reason, who plumbed the spiritual reality behind the world of fact. The men of Reason-poets, seers, philosophers, scholars-the passive doers, served humanity as the geographers of the "supersensible regions" and inspired "an audacious mental outlook." They formed no inflexible caste, but they wonderfully "liberated" the cramped average afraid to trust itself.

A Lil' Sumthin' for the New Englanders

A few months back, Vice magazine took a time out from showcasing American Apparel garbage and acting as tourism bureau for Williamsburg to show some True Blue New England style. The photos appeared next to an article on John Cheever. Cheever, of course, holds a special place in my heart as he attended Thayer Academy in my hometown (founded by the "Father of West Point") and grew up in Quincy (what was then part of my hometown in colonial days). So as a tribute to my beloved little slice of country I offer this bit of intentional(?) self-deprecation from the man himself, from The Jewels of the Cabots:

"Mr. Cabot was obliged to use a chamber pot, but since he came from the South Shore I don't suppose this was much of a hardship. It may even have been nostalgic."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Origins of Glamorousness

Sunday's New York Times Review of Books has this interesting article on the history and origins of that ubiquitous G-word. Apparently there is more to it than what Fergie told me:

According to Gundle, a film and television studies professor at Warwick University in England, glamour first came into being in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when the French revolutionaries and Napoleon Bonaparte dealt a series of crushing blows to fixed social hierarchies and entrenched class prerogatives. During this period, an increasingly powerful bourgeoisie began “contesting many of the hereditary privileges of the aristocracy” and arrogating to itself the nobility’s onetime “monopoly over style, beauty, fashion, luxury and even fame.” Abetted by a burgeoning news media and consumer culture, the middle class succeeded in reinventing the attractions of the aristocratic lifestyle as qualities that were imitable, not innate — as products one might acquire, not inherit. For this reason, Gundle explains, “the advent of bourgeois society did not result simply in the aura of aristocracy passing intact to the new class or even to selected members of it. Glamour was a result of the release on to the market of the possessions, heritage, styles and practices of the aristocracy and of the appropriation and manipulation of these by commercial forces and other actors in the urban environment.”

So just as James Burnham taught us that the ascendency of managers as opposed to owners within the means of production since the postwar era is a result of historical forces progressing towards the lowest possible social elements within the capitalist-created hierarchal framework, the same rules apply to style. Just look at Hollywood movie stars from the 50s and 60s to the 70s. In the early and mid half of High Modernist film you have Katherine Hepburn with her true New England accent to Cary Grant, Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn (blood relation to Katherine, parents BUF members). While Grant and Wood may not have been as upper class in their upbringing as the Hepburn women, they represented an achievable middle class version of the same ideals: unpretentious intellect, class, dignity, and a sharp-as-razor fashion sense that would be welcome at any cocktail soiree or backyard BBQ with friends and neighbors. With the victory of the New Left after '68, these ideals, even on a purely aesthetic plane, were seen a definite no no. So with the 70s comes face time for New York based, working class 'ethnic whites', mostly Jews and Italians. Hence we are treated to such actors as Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Elliot Gould, Robert DeNiro and Woody Allen. In their films, glamour is seen as something quite superfluous and thus only for the women folk, and even there it is severly sudued when compared with the previous decade. This position is not without warrant as many of these films, Taxi Driver and Arkin's Little Murders, in particular, showcase the reactions of ordinary (white) folks to the societal breakdown fostered by the no-standards-by-any-means-neccessary crowd. Fast forward to now and the revival of glamour, having fallen from the grace of the middle classes and the clean cut subtly of the working classes, it now lies soley in the hands of the lumpenized nouveau riche. Gaudy, tacky, classless, and rude. Now this word is most often associated with Negro hop hop 'artists' bedecked in shiny stones dug up by their 'brothers' in Africa, luxury trucks, cheaply made/expensively sold McMansions and waifish or obese white trash popsters (never a body type in between) in the limelight. From New Left to New Class, don't it all look ugly?

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Quick Overview

These days we hear a lot about so called postmodernism, the more public friendly catch all term related to post-structuralist philosophy. Most people who use it falsely refer to junk postmodernism, the grab bag of cultural signifiers used to sell commodities, epitomized by the mere ironic use of things from the past (i.e. wearing a Stryper shirt) to the far more odious constant referencing of movies, music and fads from the past as a means of discussing a shared experience. The latter of which is rapidly becoming the preferred pass time of young Americans. Of course, postmodernism is much more than this. If you need help learning what this is read some Lytoard, Baudrillard and Debord. Since most folks don’t even know what modernism was/is here’s a little refresher course. Note: Modernism with a capital M can really be brought back to the Renaissance in the realm of ideas, the 1700s in economics and politics, and the cusp of the 1800s in terms of art. Since my expertise is aesthetics I will use the image because it is often the best medium to express the zeitgeist. Here I focus on the 20th century meaning of modernism.

Classical Modernism (1890-1939)

Lillian Gish here with a mysteriously alluring gaze. Art movements and artists include: Symbolism, Orphism, Impressionism, Pointilism, Fauvism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, Antoni Gaudi, Futurism, Vorticism, Constructivism, Cubism, De Stijl, Neo-Plasticism, Dadaism, Suprematism, Expressionism, Der Blaue Riter, Pittura Metafisica, Surrealism, Arthur Dove, Ashcan School, American Realism, American Folk Art & Craft, Edward Hopper, Social Realism, Nazi Art.

Let it be said that while Expressionism continues to get the attention as the first modernist art movement, the credit should really go to the Symbolists. Their portrayl of fin de siecle decadence with debutante lasciviousness and occult themes really puts our going away party to shame. Any occult fascists out there need to stop looking for any surviving copies of James Madole's speeches and focus on this. Meanwhile, Vichy agitprop harks back to bourgeois, quasi-Ancien Regime nostalgia, producing planisme, and setting the stage for High Modernist development.

High Modernism (1945-1977)

Brigitte Bardot: always sexy, superb French Pop mistress and now contemporary eco-fascisti! Art and architectural movements include: Abstract Expressionism, CoBrA, International Style, Brutalism, LeCorbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Art Brut, Art Informel, Arte Povera, Pop Art, Op Art, Color Field painting, Nouveau Realisme, Gutai Group, Black Mountain School, Fluxus, Norman Rockwell, Minimalism, Photorealism, French New Wave (film), Underground comix, Earth/Land Art.

With a howdyhowdy American A-0K, the postwar boom produces a trust in the ideals of modernity like never before. Coinciding with this dawning of the American Century, the drunken misogynists of the New York school dominate in the world of paint. While ostensibly celebrating Estadounidense-centric individualism and ruggedness it still manages to be propped up by spooks in the State Department. Reaping the benefits of some New Amsterdam gimp's corporatist error while gloating over the defeat of fascism proves quite contradictory when the roots of the New Development become exposed. Nevertheless, this era remains stylistically the tops for Occidental Modernity. Skeptics of the previous phrase need look no further than CoBrA for proto-NatAnarch culture:

Their fundamental values were nonconformity and spontaneity. Their inspiration was children's drawings, the alienated and folk art, motifs from Nordic mythology, Marxism. They rejected erudite art and all official art events. They sought to express combination of the Surrealist unconscious with the romantic forces of nature but unlike the former group they felt an abstract idiom better served that purpose. They were primary distinguished by a semiabstract expressive paintings style with brilliant color, violent brushwork, and distorted human figures.

Late Modernism/"Post-Modernism" (1977-Present)

Bearing some resemblence to a certain member of the Martense family, we have this slag as an icon for the miscegenation generation. Even when she's in her Sunday Best she's at best the type of girl you might let blow you at the your friend's wedding after you've had one too many a Maker's Mark mint julep. Art and styles include: Neo-Expressionism, Video Art, "Conceptual" Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Photorealism, Collage Revival, Young British Artists, Urbania/Street art/Wiggerism, Performance art, Adobe Photoshop templates, Flash templates, After Effects templates, Art that looks like art from the past, Art that is really visual Identity Politics.

And so we have the famed End of History. Not so much a victory for Fukuyama's vaunted free market as social democracy (see Kojeve for this one). I'll skip all the adjectives to describe this point in history that any college course will elaborate on and get right to the meat'n'potatoes of the zeitgeist: unoriginality and boredom. Everything has supposedly already been done before so lets just loot the past like a pile of clothes at Dollar A Pound. Rock&Roll ended after grunge and so now it's either rehashing garage rock, psychedelic, or post punk. Good styles nonetheless but why settle for some cardboard facsimile when the global market is giving you access to music actually from that era you never knew about before? Electronic music has actually gotten edgier and less derivative. Film and fiction has gotten progressively worse and are currently lurching in the gutter waiting for some absent minded passerby to accidently step on them. In an era dominated culturally by establishment liberalism (i.e. aggressive mediocrity), the human interest story and the cut-up-narrative novel is all that is churned out, not to mention some forged Holocaust memoir every month. I think there was some sort of silent literary coup d'etat after John Cheever died. This was probably about the time that the MLA went from meaning Modern Language Assocation to Maoist Literary Assembly. Meanwhile, in the realm of politics, the rise of radical Islam as the current radical chic proves once and for all that capital R revolutionaries are really just absolutist, self-righteous Puritans who lack social skills and proper table manners. I'm with Proudhon, the anarchist is simultaneously the biggest radical and the greatest reactionary. Yours truly for the eternal return of the Golden Age of the Occident.

Looking Back Over the Horizon

In 1951 the Pruitt-Igoe housing project was designed by Minoru Yamasaki. At the time it was built it epitomized American postwar confidence in urban planning, technology and forward-thinking ideas, in short, modernism. By 1972, it was being demolished, having become a symbol of the failure of government intervention into housing problems, the utopian intentions of ideologically driven architects and as some more astute observers would have it, the end of modernism.

On Septermber 11, 2001, the twin towers known collectively as the World Trade Center, designed by the same man who created Pruitt-Igoe, are taken down by human will and ingenuity. This day represents the actual symbolic end of the modernist project as the aftermath of this action would collectively cause many otherwise easily duped folks to seriously reconsider the ideals which they had otherwise taken for granted. Granted much of this massive paradigm shift would take the form of a militarized, over emotional defense of such ideals, but this quite dogmatic and illiberal form of expression simply proves that the legitimacy of such ideas are on the fritz, so to speak.

Sometime last month, I came into the possesion of a number of copies, dated from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s, of the hardcover magazine 'Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art.' Just flipping through them and seeing the articles featured and pictures printed made me realize how much better things were culturally and aesthetically in the era of the 20th century known as high modernist. Of course, there is a direct line of progression from the 'shoot for the stars' (literally) optimism and the sexy but reserved chic styles of the Anglo-American jet set in the 1950s to mid 70s to the perpetual purgatory of hyperreality, multiculturalism and architectural abomination of the 1980s to present, but in the spirit of cut'n'paste I've decided to showcase the good, show where it went wrong and how it can be revived.