Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: the end/best

I tried to compose a concise and definitive tops list for 2010 and I just can't. I am sure as soon as I post this, I will think of a million things I forgot, but oh well...

* Electronic music.
From the grave wave of Cold Cave to the neo-rave of Steve Aoki I was feeling this new generation of electronic music. I got to see Cold Cave, Crystal Castles, and Bloody Beetroots perform live and took in DJ sets by Dada Life and Aoki. I have written about these sub-genres before and how they fit into an internet-savvy generation with no underground scenes. Live performances are experimenting with what works still but these sounds are the most interesting music I have been hearing.
The Bloody Beetroots. Major Lazer. Cold Cave. Steve Aoki. Crystal Castles. Daft Punk. La Roux. A-Trak. Death To The Throne.

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* Kanye West.
This was Ye's year. From his debut of "Power" to his mindblowing performance on SNL to his GOOD Friday project to the insane trainwreck of "Runaway" to the final release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Kanye West has embraced this new era of music by putting out so many free tracks and using the ability to quickly release music to re-release constantly evolving tracks. He may not know how to edit but he has no competition.

* Comic books:
Ultimate Thor, Avengers: Children's Crusade, and New Ultimates. Two of my tops are from Marvel's Ultimates line. A line I swore to never read for their catering to Marvel's films. However, let's face it, fresh takes on familiar characters w/o any slopping retconning is fun. Ultimate Thor is like the regular Marvel God of Thunder re-imagined by people who actually know about Norse mythology. Avengers: Children's Crusade is just an exciting story that should have a big payoff. It is important for me to note that no X-title is included in my faves. Marvel has so ruined the X-titles and characters with convoluted stories trying to be the next big thing that they are pretty unreadable.

* Drake
It pains me to admit that this former TV star and kinda cheezy dude is the best out there, but he is. It doesn't hurt that he is so damn prominent. I would go as far as to say that Drake is up there with the likes of Lord Finesse and Ludacris. If he dropped the singing, he would gain more points. Maybe, just maybe, the best verse of the year: "Aston Marten/Paris Morton Music"

* Hardcore/punk:
I grow less and less interested in or inspired by this aging genre. I know that new fresh stuff exists but it isn't catching my attention. The Off! ep was good and End Of A Year might have been my favorite punk (post-punk?) band to release anything in 2010.

* Anarchy
From Greece to Oakland. From London to Wikileaks. Anarchy has continued to not only garner the attention of media and states but has continued to grow into a strong global current. Leaderless student rebellion has almost become the global norm (Especially in Europe and North America). While Julian Assange has declared he is not an anarchist, his analysis of conspiracies is solidly anti-authoritarian. Wikileaks whittled away at state power effectiveness while spawning anonymous/Anonymous acts of "war" against state/corporate power.

Honorable mentions:
Jersey Shore. Blue Scholars/Sabzi. Olivier Coipel. Tron Legacy. Anarchy News. Mishka Bloglin. Tumblr. Kung Fu Panda. Doomriders. Hank Williams Jr. Pandora. Christy Langer. Inception. Joe Bluhm. Survivors. AR-15s. Our house.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Walking Dead vs Survivors

I have been watching and enjoying the first season of The Walking Dead. It is a fun take on post-civ using the all-too-common zombie apocalypse scenario. However, it is impossible to watch this ragtag band of still living folks and not compare it to another recent post-civ television program: Survivors.

The Walking Dead and Survivors are based on essentially the same premise: Some "sickness" causes a human die-off on a grand scale and a group of strangers bond together to survive. While both groups attempt to avoid conflict, in TWD, they fight zombies and in Survivors, they fight other people. At the same time, these shows are almost the inverse of each other and this is where Survivors is far superior.


I now turn this critique over to my friend, Pranjal:

There was the nagging sense, especially in the finale of Walking Dead, that the group of survivors was looking, seeking, searching for someone in authority to save them. "We didn't come here for the eggs", they say to the one doctor who's left at the CDC. And it doesn't help that the 'main people' in the group are both cops. When they go to the CDC, this bunch want to know what 'the experts' or 'the government' are working on and how they are going about curing or solving the situation. When it turns out the authorities aren't fixing the problem, it ends up being the massive revelation for the survivors, and then it seems like all hope is lost and they don't know what they are going to do.

Compare this with Survivors, where the people just seem to get on with living and working out how to make it work together. They don't go out looking for the cops or the equivalent of the CDC, they sort of figure that everything is gone but they self-organize and get shit together. In fact, when they encounter the remnants of the UK-equivalent of the CDC, it is the Health Minister and her proto-fascist state who want to take everything over again and dominate everyone, either that or the insane, secretive phramaceutical company doing human experiments... this is clearly shown to be a cold and sinister thing, in contrast to the hopeful and human world that the survivors seem to be building on their own.

It is very interesting to me that a US show would seem so much more dependent on authority than a UK one, when the former is hailed as an individualist, 'free', 'can-do' society, and the latter is often dismissed as old and authoritarian.

More thoughts on Survivors HERE and HERE

io9's critique of TWD

The Coming Death of Blogs

I have written about my changing feelings regarding the blogosphere, sharing of information, and social networking before. Gawker has an interesting piece about how blogging has peaked (and is now in decline).

"Only half as many online teens work on their own blog as did in 2006, and Millennial generation adults ages 18-33 have also seen a modest decline-a development that may be related to the quickly-growing popularity of social network sites. "

The purpose of Dead Time Pacifies has always been to share information I feel is important/interesting/exciting. For a while I tracked traffic to this blog and it has very few recurring visitors (and I would assume I know these people personally). So, it seems like I can more effectively share info via social networking sites. This does call into question reaching "new" people (which I had hoped Dead Time would do and, by design, social networking does not do). I would suggest that this is a much grander question: sharing important information with a tighter circle of people (which is not necessarily "preaching to the choir") versus gambling to reach a much wider audience who may be less likely to be exposed to the information elsewhere.

Marketing, fame, or chasing down links and referrals takes more time and energy than I have available. This is why I have thrown more effort behind the easy "sharing" of social networking. I would prefer to keep this blog as a space to share original thoughts or critiques rather than just link roundups.

OPD + FBI war on Oakland anarchists

This should come as no surprise...

Documents reveal the significant involvement of state and federal law enforcement in monitoring the various Oscar Grant protests in Oakland over the past two years.

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Secret Service, and the California Department of Justice were assigned to monitor crowd activities.
The Secret Service, the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation took video of the protest. DEA and Oakland Police officers recorded the protest, while others dressed in plainclothes provided intelligence from within the crowd to OPD’s Emergency Operations Command Center.

FBI involvement in monitoring the Oscar Grant protests began as early as January 2009. A police report shows the FBI was providing intelligence to OPD on the movements of “black bloc” anarchists in Downtown Oakland. OPD forwarded information about anarchists to The Department of Homeland Security.

Raymond Pettibon Does Not Fight Dogs

OK, so Raymond Pettibon said in an interview that he raise dogs for fighting. I wrote about it and even tried to update his wikipedia page to reflect his tale.

Then, Pettibon admitted to Swindle that he, in fact, does NOT raise fighting dogs.
I guess he has fun making shit up. One ought to be careful claiming to be a douchebag for the hell of it, I guess. Anyway, now we can all go back to digging his art.