Category Archives: RANTS

Shakespeare, the Greatest… WGAF.

shakes beer

Disclaimer: I never liked him, didnt care for his work, and avoid renditions. Though I have referenced him before and know the stories vaguely, and I see some of the beauty in some of the poetry and appreciate it (a little). I’m tired of teaching it, and I only did it for one day! It was Romeo and Juliet. They were freshmen. We actually didnt read it most of the day. Instead, we watched a few youtube videos about it, and I checked the sparknotes.
The 6th period class read it. Well, its bastardized/dumbed down version, cause I’m sure the original vocabulary is all but lost on students. So, about 4 young teenagers took turns poorly reading simplified interpretations of dialog from 16th century iambic pentameter saturated in abstract anachronisms about an overnight-teen-lust-affair-gone-double-suicide.
Somehow I escaped high school not realizing Juliet was 13. Somehow I didnt know that Romeo was hung up on a different girl that morning. Somehow I didnt realize that the church Friar blessed the secret marriage of a teen boy (lets hope, it doesnt say his age, just no face hair) to a barely teen girl whos families had extensive drama, who had known each other for less than 24 hours. Maybe I never was really familiar with the story, but now the absurdity of it all was perplexing (and a turn off) to me.
High schools everywhere and teenage students with developing libidos and heightened senses of emotional attachment (to almost anything), are going over a “love story” where a boy hung up on a girl in the morning is professing his love to a post-tween in the evening. They get the blessing of the church (whoda thought?), secretly marry, spend the night together. Then she takes drugs to seem dead (cause thats her best option), then he drinks poison to join the suicide (cause time is of the essence), she awakes, finds him dead and then stabs herself. Awesome story US curriculum builders (or non builders, I guess)!
Didnt the US shed the crown in 17 seventy-something? 300 years later and we cant come up with better stories for students to read? Anything more relevent and less morbid?
He’s one of the greats. So, of course students should know of him. Should they also know he, ahem, borrowed the story from Arthur Brook’s 1562 poem titled virtually the same “Romeus and Juliet”? Or that, many of his stories are “borrowed”? Of course many artists borrow, steal, and adapt. Its just that when we put people up on pedestals, they become less relatable to others, and more specifically students. I intend to inspire students but these encrypted stories left over from before industrialization, are hard to connect students to.
I am actually more interested in the Shakespeare conspiracy, or the authorship question. I just find it more fascinating, regardless of it being true or not. Check that here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare_authorship_question
A recent film was even made about this issue. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/07/who-wrote-shakespeares-plays-anonymous_n_846303.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shakespeare/debates/conspiracy.html
     I’m actually shirking teaching duties as I type. I tried though. Made all the students read out loud, whatever they were reading on their phones and laptops in an effort to show how reading and writing english (I welcomed spanish as well cause irony in the classroom can be fun/ny) help us do so much. Some students say they hate reading (just now! here, in class), one of which I saw browsing paragraphs by phone. Maybe “reading” seems different than just, you know, looking at words and making sense of them.

I am just a substitute teacher so there are very little expectations on me. I do value education, I just place relavence above classics. I’m sure many students may come to appreciate Shakespeare this season and the next. And the next. I would just hope we can develop or locate some decent poetry, prose, and plays, with a subtext that examines love and lust in a more thorough and thought-provoking manner. Maybe even some stuff the local students would enjoy.

Fuck Your Money

fuck your money

I get between 3 and 10 phone calls a day asking about repaying credit card, student loan, and contractual debts. At times I answer and see if I can make the interaction at least interesting, if not humorous between us. I think its funny, that I’m the only one who ever answers my phone, yet they want to confirm that my address and identity are the same as it was yesterday. I quit answering unless I am in a mood of entertaining or experimenting. Lately, I’ve been answering, and when they ask for me, I say hold on a minute, put them on speaker, and allow them to listen to my music, video, or toddler babble. I figure it’s the least I can do for them. I’m sure their job sucks so any help killing time on the phone is greatly appreciated. It would just be depressing to speak with me about money I don’t have. I’ve asked if they would hire me, tho admittedly, I do not consider debt callers a real job. If people had the money to pay back, and felt obliged to do so, the debt callers job would dissolve. I think another idea would be to invite the caller specifically to invest in whatever new project I have so I could make more money and give it back. Theres’ got to be some debt rider I could convince…

It excited me to hear all the talk about the fiscal cliff… for a multitude of reasons. I mean, what is money but an agreement between peoples tying them together through services and resources. Unfortunately, the printers and regulators of “the money system” have centralized and absorbed much of the energy control systems resources. Not to crack open a can of… wormholes, which, money, really is, lets just say I have a dismal distain for the dismal science. And although I am almost always up for a good discussion on energy control systems and bio-survival tickets (Robert Anton Wilson), unless one is willing to let go of basic economic assumptions, it could be pointless.

Before I delve into details, I want to point out the bias. I understand that I am an able-bodied, intelligent (enough), educated, white male, with no felony charges, in the richest country in the history of reality. I understand that many people the world over struggle for clean water, decent food, warmth, housing, and live off of less than 2 United (states) tickets (I prefer to call fed notes tickets) a day. So, while I may share thoughts on circumstances of perceived struggle, I realize many in other circumstances would really appreciate the level of privilege I have personally as well as we enjoy generally in this country. That being said….

I feel like I am constantly walking along the edge of a fiscal cliff with one foot on the seemingly steady ground of grabbing tickets and the other on the constantly shifting loose sands of ticket takers. There are the systematic routines of paychecks towards rent, bills, and food, and then the less regular (but still almost predictable) routines of house, car, and career maintenance. I don’t have a career, but I like to pretend that my hobbies, oddjobs, and degree, are my career. You get the point right? You can fill in the blanks of my itemized budget. If the general notion rings true, and most people live from paycheck to paycheck, then indeed, most of us straddle a fiscal cliff. I find it not only disempowering, but depressing, disenheartening, and I’m sure theres a dozen other feelings that start with dis, I could name.

Its fascinating to think about corporate giantism, health, economy, pollution, and the industries that got bailed out. Bail the banks? The people and institutions that make money off of money, the bookies and dealers need better odds at the casino? It just seems absurd. The auto industry as well? Automobiles will be our coffins. We are sacrificing the future so we can feed a decaying present. Of course people need to contribute and a livelihood, but back at the auto factory…? And the auto jobs helped swing the re-election? I’m not trying to write an essay about these topics, it just trips me up. Automobile industry and its culture is a suicide pact.

I consider myself underemployed, though anyone doing statistics or asking me for debt probably feels the same way. I am seeking professional work, through whatever sites I can find. I do however prefer to do something rewarding and engaging that will utilize my powers, but I am open for many different things and spend time scouring employment sites, as well as turn in resumes to places that sound promising. Seldom does anything turn up. I make drinks at a local indy coffee shop, do odd graphic design and sewing jobs, as well as assist for an artist, doing graphics work mostly. My hours are somewhat limited because they are intertwined with a partner who works and a baby…but if I could find decent work, I would retire as Mr. Mom and allow mom to assume that role.

On that note, I have to admit, tho I owe more money than I can calculate, I do find it best that I am able to raise my child rather than someone else. She is of course getting older, and I could find time even with a “real job” but I do feel that there is no one better to raise my kid than me. I should probably raise some other kids as well…I just need a space and some funding…

I think its that idea of a real job I find most taunting. You know, something professional, where like my studies and ideas are taken seriously. I mean, I guess I should have thought about getting a job before I got a degree in cultural anthropology… yet theres not many businesses I feel like have any decent work to offer as it is even. This complicates the frustration. While we need tickets to play the games and ride the rides at the carnival, the carnival itself is a carnal, carnivorous, incarnation of carnage.  There is no righteous Empire. There is no equality with billionaires. Too big to fail is the self-calming whispered chant of a wounded Leviathan.

Back to job hunting…

Too Many Projects

too many projects blog

The problem it seems most of the time is starting, or rather postponing the start. I find more and more, every project, every interest, every activity is dragged on to infinity or some distant now in the future. Once you, or I, specifically, come around to actually allowing my potential energy to transform to kinetic energy, the hardest part is over. And like that point when you are doing something routine and you count half and you feel as if you are on the decline of the necessary work that needs to be done, say like when half the month is over, or half the dishes, or half the pages are read, … at that point you are more than half way done, because most of the work was handled as soon as your eyes or hands got busy with the task at hand.

Of course we must be mentally prepared to handle what needs or wants to be done, and it’s a good idea to plan accordingly, talk experiences with others, allocate resources, funds, or plans, give ourselves space to consider the project/s in different mindsets states (whatever that means to you) or emotional states, and even consider the project from others perspectives. This really is almost half the work. Deciding to handle something, stepping up with the tools and interest, and engaging with hands and mind/s, begins the difference between talking about something and doing it. In a very light-hearted but yet real way, this is a form of direct action. There is seldom reason to over-think or over-prepare for projects. The interest of this sentiment is to incite minds to act, and to encourage action. I say this to self as much as other.
Get to doing what you want. Get started.

This, my friends, is the intro to one of my blog personas. File under Too Many Projects. Often (really always, yet I do sometimes find my self embracing the concept of free time and feeling like nothing is immediately due), I feel like I have, or there are, too many projects I wish to engage in or see happen. I imagine this is a result of ambition and I’m sure this feeling is shared by many.
Since we are here, transcribing from my brain and body, and theres no real great way to hear what you, the reader, wants to see happen unless you share it here or elsewhere… we’ll have to stick with my project ideas… you know, the point of this here blog…
that being said…I want to also explain that there’s no real way for me to handle everything I want, and if others end up doing something that aligns with my project interests, I will gladly move on and do something else (another project). I am also open to working with (almost) anyone on (almost) anything.
My main self identity construct especially regarding projects is as a designer; mostly graphic, some web, clothes, events, and uhm…lets say miscellaneous. So most of my projects will assume these forms. My political, cultural, and religious orientation is simple and universal. I believe in freedom for all peoples. I believe in aggressive equality world-wide. No borders, and no empires. So, if I am not personally struggling to help me and my family eat and pay the troll, I may be open to help design things, especially if they are more radically minded.
Ok…lets see…
this week I would love to

Layout the Phone Photo Issue of Pholx (which is still open for participation) and is basically gonna be 36 pages of 30 peoples phone photos…yet I am still waiting on contributions…

Design logo (hand draw monkey and squid for new 5th st kids store)  I love the challenge of a good logo, especially one with animals, cause I don’t my self great at it.

Reupholster barstools for Jobot. I think there is  just over a dozen. I just did 3 a few weeks ago and it went quick. Thought about making it a workshop, just cant tell which would require more work. I’ll probably do it at the Lab on Roosevelt, since I have barely used the sewing studio there.

Move the sewing studio. Besides the studio I don’t use at the Lab, I have another set of machines and tables in my shed, and Steve and Julia at the Hive said I can move it in there. Which, the Hive is 2 blocks from my house so it may come in more handy.

Create Text for the Learning Flower. Learningflower.com If you don’t see me in person or on fb or insta…the learning flower is a dense layered set of symbol systems I am developing as a fridge magnet puzzle product. If I type up a good explanation of how to use it (like my friends have been saying for months) another friend will help me market it. Otherwise, how the hell do you share a good idea or product?

Create Text for the number spiral. A math professor at ASU said he would help me develop this system for understanding  numbers and relationships that  I stumbled upon. Its easy and basic, yet fascinating. Heres the trip, all numbers fit into a spiral shape system of the 12 positions of the clock and behave accordingly. Kinda like mod math 12 but using all numbers.

Add the numbers to the number spiral mural. I am painting a mural of the number spiral and wanted most of it up before the Willow home tour feb 10th…cause its visible from 3rd ave.

Meter Maid Stickers. This jerkface meter man sucked $70 out of my pocket last month and this is how I was able to vent it and let it go.

Come up with good location and scenario for life-like dummy. I don’t know what it is, but something compels me to make life-like puppets and dummies.

Blog a little. Booyah!

Website construction/maintenance. I just bought Mobaction.com again and I am not sure if I just wanna use phlox.com or if I should develop a site again for mob action and mobaction university. I’m also in the thinking stages of developing foreignpolicyfailures.com

Foreign Policy Failures. I need to network with another 2 artists for the mini clothing line.

Animation Sketchbook. Begin dedicated sketchbook to developing animation show project.

That’s all I can think of for now. Lets see how much I can get handled….feel free to share project ideas, complications, or participation ideas in the comments…
appreciate the attention.

Phil Freedom

Tuscons Ethnic Studies Debates Lives On

ethnicstudies

The issue, it seems, refuses to drown underneath the onslaught of information, of fear-based news, marketing techniques and mass deception. In a nutshell, it perpetually fights off our beloved American amnesia. This fact should be appreciated, especially considering that the Mexican American and Ethnic Studies courses were first turned into a “controversy” back in May of 2010, the same time that protestors were hitting the streets demanding SB1070 be vetoed, an image that already seems quite unfamiliar.
Whereas SB1070 settled into our collective unconscious, due to its hiatus, the Ethnic Studies debate and HB2281 (the bill-cum-law that justifies it), lives on. It intermittently emerges from the static just when we deem it a lost cause. In April of 2011, students chained themselves to the chairs of school board members, shutting down the meeting and delaying plans to dismantle the embattled curriculum. Later that summer, and against the findings of an independent audit (conducted by a firm hired by his own office), Superintendent Huppenthal concluded that the Ethnic Studies curriculum violated HB2281, a law clearly drafted with the Ethnic Studies in mind. Though it has a specific target, it broadly challenges any curriculum that takes abstractions, such race and class, economic exploitationand social oppression, seriously.This, of course, overlooks that these “radical” notions are but the basic foundation of genuine social science, as Karl Marx himself is deemed one of three “fathers” of US sociology and Paulo Friere a key figurein schools of education.

After a series of failed appeals against Huppenthal’s ruling, and under threat of massive funding cuts ($14 million), this past January the Tucson Unified School District capitulated, “suspending” Ethnic Studies courses from the curriculum and placing an estimated 700 students in other, more “traditional” (read: whitewashed) courses.Dismayed students, in turn, walked out of classes in protest. And now, finally, proponents of the curriculum claim that the illegalization of the Ethnic Studies courses reneges on a desegregation court order from the 1970s – a ruling which found that Tucson School District was neglecting (discriminating against) its Latino student body.

The intense irony of the situation seems lost on Huppenthal, as well as many media reports. But, we should diverge, take a minute, and let this quirk of fate wash over us. Here we have Huppenthal and his reactionary supporters, legionnaires of cultural jingoism, demanding the expulsion of certain truths, embodied in a set of theorists and now banned books, which highlight the historical import of racism, of colonialism and systematic (socially and juridical) exploitation. These histories, they judge, are inaccurate. They are an oversimplification; these courses look too closely at cultural and legal oppression of Latinos, workers, and activists.

The irony is, of course, apparent: opponents of the curriculum are denying the history of ethnic oppression and class exploitation endured by Latinos (and others) throughrepressing ethnic courses, reaffirming a narrow white and bourgeois history as the only true American history. Having failed to notice the irony of their ideas, Huppenthal and company respond with narratives of subtle or not-so-subtle racism. They draft laws to explicitly repress Latinos, workers, and activistsin the school (i.e., students and their teachers). This is all done, moreover, with economic blackmail – “Do as we say or your impoverished schools and communities will fall deeper into economic depression, your children’s education will get that much worse.”Thus, the history of the systemic exploitation of Latino communities, which Huppenthal denies a sociohistorical importance, is now used by Huppenthal to force the Tucson School District to cancel classes.

All this talk of history brings us back to the topic of American amnesia, our reactionary numbness to historical significance. A recent article in the The Arizona Republic, for instance, discusses the desegregation lawsuit from the 1970s without pause, without a moment of realizing the relevance of this anachronistic reemergence.The 1970s, we know, was a decade of massive social strife and, perhaps most relevantly, home to unprecedented Latino, Chicano, and American Indian activism. Chicano activists founded MEChA 1969 and were active throughout the following decade. In 1973, the American Indian Movementliberated Wounded Knee, only to be met with militarized police action, several deaths, and mass arrests. These and many other events were not happenstance, organic outgrowths, but rather calculated responses to the same legal and cultural tendenciesoccurring in Arizona and across the nation over the last several years. And, now, here we are, forty years later, relying upon these movements’ judicial victories to uphold the possibility that racial minorities can be treated under the law as anything but second-class citizens.

With this history in mind, the perpetuity of the Ethnic Studies issue is seen as something far less outstanding. It is, rather, but an instantiation of larger processes. The issue or “controversy” is larger in temporal and geographic scales, clearly, but it is also larger than our typical political conceptions, or at least larger than what our legal framework allows.We are often surprised by such acts of legal and social discrimination, as if they are occurring for the first time.  We are, moreover, seemingly relegated to particularized responses (i.e., “you challenge Ethnic Studies, we demand that it stays, you racist!” and that is it). It seems that our inability to fully appreciate the totality within which these debates and issues arise relegates us to piecemeal and reactionary responses. Such replies but forestall a cyclical (but not identical) return to these issues – the perpetuity and recurring relevance of racial oppression and economic exploitation that Huppenthal and the like deny. Thus, we come back to the legal debates of the 1970s, but now void of the larger ideological battles that were raging at that time, such as the racism of the State and the exploitative logic of global capitalism.

Now the issue is divided solely between liberal multiculturalists and cultural conservatives (each reactionary in their own way) and is to find a compromise through government administrators and technocratic execution. These characteristics typify a “post-political” debate of policy formation. Ethnic Studies, for instance, is not openly supported because it encourages critical/radical thinking. It is, rather, lauded as a vital tool in the management of liberal pluralism. More than anything, though, Ethnic Studies is supported for its educational efficacy (If we are going to teach youths real history, it had better withstand a cost-benefit analysis!).

Of course, this should not be misread as belittling the liberal struggles that be, because they are, and always have been, crucially important. Even so, such struggles must be accompanied with the articulation of radically divergent future social trajectories; they must reintegrate the radical, broad ideologies around particular claims for social justice. “The political act (intervention) proper,” Zizek writes,“is not simply something that works well within the framework of existing relations, but something that changes the very framework that determines how things work.” If this cannot be accomplished, we will continually be surprised by the perpetuity of injustice, and washed away by the irony of our political existence.