Instant Coffee Saturday Edition|
Issue 21, May 9 2004 | ISSN 1499-5085
This week. 20/20 goes in depth on Teresa Heinz Kerry and Kate Hudson. Fascinating. Mass viral email craze - does everyone finally believe Microsoft doesn't know how to program secure software? Instant Coffee has it's own email blitz - I got 200 handjobs (that don't exist), and quite a few good jokes out of it. In an exclusive post-preview of c magazine's summer issue Instant Coffee presents Aaron Brewer's column on GW Bush and The Occult. I think if there's a theme for this Sat.Ed. it might be "So American", although originally we were thinking "replica" or "repeat" or "reprint." Read and delete. Play safe and eat lots of ice cream this summer. I love you so much. - KM
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|Saturday Edition Feature
1. The Shover / The Unseen: Supernatural Politics and the American Right
by Aaron Brewer
When the Republican Party fucks up it's always God's will or someone else's fault. The recession in America is inherited from the Democrats, the lie which started the war in Iraq is the fault of the intelligence community, the war on terror is a war against Satan, and suicide bombers are part of a superstition about the end days.
Bush is a ghost, a broken record of badly written authoritarian selfhelp that nods, invokes God and proceeds irresponsibly with an agenda established by an entity more cabal than presidential cabinet. The Bush administration isn't arrogant, stupid and corrupt, they are diabolical, either God's soldiers or possessed. We have to burn Dick Cheny at the stake instead of trying him for his inventive revolving door of international financial fuckery; a scandal that, given his righteousness, should result in his suicide which would either mean he would be dead, or someone would need to swing a dead cat over his corpse to prevent his return.
President Clinton gave an enthusiastic 'sure' when Monica Lewinsky offered to show him her thong while in the catacombs of the Oval Office. Wouldn't you? He used dubious logic to deny it, but he never invoked the occult, he never said the devil made him do it. He did bad things, but he listened, was visible, and he was finally accountable to his critics without divine scapegoating. He understood that the unseen is an intersection involving choice between the secular and the supernatural and between subjugation and agency. He chose agency.
It is exhilarating to fuck on drugs, in hidden places, with married people, in brothels with whores and to whisper in the closet or dance with nymphs and satyrs in the cathedral of the pines. These are activities and places that are traditionally unseen, and they have an illicit quality that is unbearably titillating. We all, including Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, delight in intrigue and mischievous rituals. What distinguishes Clinton's from Bush's misbehavior in the Oval office is both what you choose to do when you cannot be seen, and more profoundly what your attitude is towards the power of immunity that the unseen offers.
The unseen is a metaphor that describes conspiratorial agents of subterfuge and manipulation and a mystical force, the occult or God; neither is necessarily good or bad, both contain flaws and advantages. When Clinton was not being watched he indulged his hearty sexual appetite. When Bush is not being watched he indulges his repellent greed and ghoulish stupidity in the company of other equally greedy and stupid ghouls. Clinton's sexual reverie with his intern's g-string was contingent on his sense of deviance, or that he was sneaking a peak, doing something naughty. And being naughty is all about knowing you might get caught and thrilling in the anxiety of the consequences.
When Bush and his cabinet haunt the unseen they cannot imagine being seen by anyone, or what would happen if they were caught. They aren't being naughty. They are playing at the unseen derived from the supernatural, from God, whose name cannot be spoken, and whose hallowed objects cannot be touched. Their use of it is compelling because there is no evidence they believe in the supernatural except as a lingo for obfuscation, but they love it as a model for power and politics. Frankly, they are authoritarian and they prefer hierarchy and so they prefer subjugation.
There are the same number of letters in Christian and Democracy, in Islam and Satan, and in God and Oil. Rhetorically, the war on terror (Terror and Satan have the same number of letters) is a holy war. If it is merely foreign policy to spread democracy around the world, it is still a holy war, not just rhetorically but because the democracy that America is pushing right now, particularly in the Middle East, is inseparable from the morality of a fundamentalist evangelical God, based in arcane magic.
There is a nefariousness to the absence, presence and activity that the Bush White House has refined to a lifestyle. Cheny is a recluse, Bush likes to turn in early so he isn't out much. The administration designates a petulant yes man, first Ari Fleischer and now Scott McClelland, to be the press secretary, and that's it for White House visibility. One suspects they are moonlighting at very good day jobs or that they have to get Don Rumsfeld back to his grave by nightfall.
They like to play both sides of the unseen, the secular and the sacred. The real peculiarity of the Bush Administration and of neo-conservatives in general is their esoteric network of associations. If they aren't related, they were members of Yale's Skull and Bones, students of political philosopher Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago, co-workers at Haliburton or Lockheed Martin, children of liberals or former liberals, disciples of Ayn Rand, pals from their years together in past republican administrations, members of the Texas Rotary Club, or members and contributors to Project for a New American Century (a conservative think tank founded in 1997 that, in its mission statement, lays out this administration's policies). When the stars align they all meet at the house of the seven gables in Salem, Massachusetts, put on black hooded robes, practice idolatry and human sacrifice, drink from facsimiles of the holy grail, then discuss their role as the chosen and read selections from Tim Lahaye's Left Behind Series.
It's less a government than an episode from Dumas' The Three Musketeers in which the Cardinal Richelieu and his guard invade the Middle East. On Devil's Island Bush has a just and benevolent twin brother trapped in an iron mask. Bush and the neo-cons are sky pilots putting on a magic show. Has it occurred to George and George W. that their family name has the same number of letters as Iraq?
In his March 8th, 2003 New York Times op-ed Jimmy Carter made a significant reference to the role of Christianity in a just war.' He made it clear that Iraq did not qualify, except to the eschatological or final days theologians who believe the rapture will start in the Middle East and is imminent. It was suggested around the same time that presidential advisor Karl Rove and his sidekick George W. Bush had been participants in a bible group that studied this theology. Whether this suggestion is accurate or not, there is a quality of divine destiny to Bush's policies, which actively sidestep culpability in favor of any available rationale, preference given to those which involve the supernatural.
Jimmy Carter's Christianity is like the supremely humanist theology spoken by Martin Luther King. It is an occult without subjugation, a spirituality that privileges human rights far above the state and offers dignity for all people derived from self-determination and grace. Both believe we are born with the right to be free from racism, poverty and militarism. This is very different from the singularity of Bush's God, or the Moral Objectivism practiced by the conservative disciples of Ayn Rand, which makes a great deal of the disavowal of charity as a virtue.
The neo-conservative movement posses the hallmarks of a counter culture, but instead of using its representations as cultural capital, they choose invisibility. The conspicuous lack of bling bling, blue hair, or white sheets and pointy hats, is off-putting, and makes them hard to see. They have replaced radical jargon with snide glibness. They strategically camouflage their movements with political spectacle by haughtily dismissing the United Nations to go mustanging in Iraq. At home they maintain a social traditionalism, which asserts impassive and antiquated moral standards: The work ethic, preservation of the church and family, a denunciation of sex positive culture and the extreme denunciation of drugs (pharmaceuticals are however acceptable). They abandon and condemn anyone who cannot achieve or who desires an alternative to these narrow presuppositions for a decent' life. In fact they seem to be confused by them, gay marriage has got them all flummoxed. The Republican's intentional and irreverent disregard for thought or reflection extending beyond their coven, and their refusal to confront the consequences of their actions is so consistent that it must surely be a secret mandate.
Like most counter cultures they were formed by alienation. The Right, until recently, failed to produce a competent intellectual movement. Prior to the 1990s there wasn't a strong conservative presence in American universities. Starting in 1950s there were right wing outreach programs, like William F Buckley's National Review, which trained conservative intellectuals and started think tanks to support them. The result was very hungry neo-cons, who did not want to simply leave the margins for the mainstream, but to take control of it. By running back and forth from the private sector to the Republican hierarchy they succeeded in building an image of conservatism which could distinguish itself from the radicalism that had previously characterized the Right, in the form of the John Birch Society, or whatever KKK related organization David Duke represented.
An element of the unseen is also unseeing, being aggressively blind. It can act without morality, because it chooses to or because it is a force of nature and nature has no morality, only imperatives for self-preservation. An incestuous community is a beautiful idea in the minds of the prehistoric tribe of the blood bear, where you can eat your dead, and everyone gets along tranquilly speaking their own special language, but they are incapable of forming an object which allows them to communicate with others. This is not a reasonable model of government for a democratic republic and superpower. We all have Gods that tell us different things, but the inbreeding in the Bush government has made it so demented that it can no longer make relevant decisions or policy for a broader community. Undoubtedly the sex is good, but they need to hump outside their circle.
(c mag's spring issue also features: bruce la bruce on peaches; philip monk on the roots of white trash; rebecca godfrey in conversation with sam green, the director of the weather underground documentary; suzana sucic's exclusive report on a visit with la cicciolina; sarah hollenberg and izida zorde asking six artists the wrong questions; artist projects by eli langer and zin taylor)
1. Online Interview / Americas Society and Instant Coffee - 3/30/04
Thank you for sharing yourself with the media of Good News Corporation GoodNewsBroadcast.org, and our print media. We have placed your interview on our website and it will stay on it forever or until we up-date it. Note: You will need Real Player One to listen to the interview. It would be great if you could inform your email list that your interview is listed as:
Independent cultural initiatives from Canada share their talents at the Americas Society with a mission to promote a better understanding in the US about the cultures and societies of Canada, Caribbean, and Latin America www.americas-society.org (warning: Christian content)
2. 04/20/2004: "See You in Court"
by Michelle Kasprzak
In the "art imitates life" department this week, artists Sean Fletcher and Isabel Reichert will soon perform a piece entitled "How To Sue", which will consist of taking the San Francisco-based New Langton Arts gallery to court for copyright infringement. The artists allege that the gallery stole one of their concepts and applied it to a call for submissions and upcoming show at the gallery. The artists presented "Selling Yourself and Not Your Art", a performance focused on the phenomenon of self-help industries, at New Langton Arts. Shortly thereafter, the gallery created a call for submissions based around similar ideas.
Right about now, you may be asking yourself: "Self-help as art? What will they think of next?" This example and other forms of lifelike art are explained by Allan Kaprow, the artist credited with creating the first "happenings": "Despite formalist and idealist interpretations of art, lifelike art makers' principal dialogue is not with art but with everything else, one event suggesting another. If you don't know much about life, you'll miss much of the meaning of the lifelike art that's born of it. Indeed, it's never certain if an artist who creates avantgarde lifelike art is an artist."
Taking the gallery to court for copyright infringement, in a case that the plaintiffs will most certainly lose (will they lay claim to the entire field of self-help and sue Dale Carnegie next?) is perhaps as close to lifelike that art can get in the nation that is arguably the most litigious in the world. The only way that this performance could become more of a spectacle would be to have it presided over by Judge Judy, who delivers compelling performances regularly via cable TV.
The artifice that is television might make this piece a little less lifelike, since the presence of cameras changes everything, and the chances of your case being heard on Judge Judy or other courtroom reality TV shows are rather small. Court proceedings, for most people, are devastatingly lifelike as unwelcome apppointments held in desolate concrete boxes, far away from swarms of cameramen. But a televised court appearance would make Fletcher and Reichert's performance more of a spectacle, certainly - lifelike art meets courtroom reality TV. Perhaps I have a concept forming here - does anyone know someone at NBC? I volunteer to be the subject of the pilot episode, since surely the artists will try to sue me for stealing their idea of litigation-as-art.
instant coffee link
Douglas Ord is a canadian arts writer. His website incorporates text and images in a way that actually works on the web. Scroll down to the columbine stuff. It's really fascinating stuff that could hook you in for hours.
about Old Habits Die Hard a traveling video programming organized by Sparwasser HQ, Berlin. Sparwasser asked over fifty artist-run centres and collectives to submitt their favourite videos. From Toronto Instant Coffee submitted Kevin Schimdt's "Long Beach Led Zepplin, Mercer Union, choice Kika Thorne's "Work" and FameFame, selected Daniel Borin's
RM Vaugh wrote on art and parties. (warning: theglobeandmail.com site crashes Macs).
googled: bush occult. get:
this is very funny.... especially "Canada is a wonderful place".... you'll see what I mean.
this is incredible. post this on instant coffee.
Coffee Enema Recipe
Coffee enemas have been used in the past for colonic cleansing. People believe that the coffee assists the large intestine and liver in getting rid of the toxic substances that have accumulated there. They are still popular among certain US naturopaths, and are widely available outside the US in specialized clinics.
1 tablespoon of coffee grounds (use ones that have been brewed or percolated) per quart of water. Mix the grounds and water together. You will probably want to use a bag with a larger nozzle (so the grounds can pass through easily).
You will also want to shake the mixture before administering.
1. Trampoline Hall, Monday 26 April 2004, at Rockit, 120 Church Street Toronto
by Timothy Comeau
I might as well be up front and saw Trampoline Hall (to be written TH in what follows) gets 10 stars, for what are obviously a variety of reasons, but for the purpose of this review I'll try to cover the basics, or why I at least enjoyed it. As I type this, I'm remembering checking out some of the press they'd archived on their website and I think, 'they don't need another glowing review; there's no need to add to that list with things said or thought before'. But then again, the articles featured therein don't really review the shows. It's more about what you missed.
The reviewer tries to turn their experience into a story, and provide photographs for the How-the- People-of-the-Future-Will-Think-We-Looked collection. So this can't be that type of review...no photos for one, and for another, no point in rubbing your noses is what you missed. You've missed many conversations between millions of people, and that never seems to matter, but if you need to know something from such a talk, you get a synopsis, or a accurate retelling, or an expanded book. You missed the conversations Benjamin had with Adorno but you've probably got the ultimate result of that sitting unread on a shelf somewhere.
I go on like this since TH had the aspect of a really good conversation. One of the first reviews I ever wrote for the Saturday Edition was about a really awful roundtable talk I saw at Harbourfront Centre featuring uninspired and washed up has-beens. It didn't make it to screen, which is probably a good thing. Now, the worst part about that talk, which I use as a measure of awfulness in spite of the fact that I've since seen worse, is the way the audience is locked out of the ideas being presented, and we get rambling speculation, as opposed to consideration. Really, TV, for all it's evils, is better than this because at least there's a script in there somewhere, some evidence of thought however puerile. In such a scenario, one can't help but feel that the audience is actually more intelligent than the panelists, who are only on stage because of past accomplishments which are now obscure. In the case of Trampoline Hall, there was no sense of that. Perhaps because we were all approximately the same age, one really had the feeling that intellectually it was a level playing field, and our accomplishments so far in life mean that there was no need to look up or down at anyone, beyond the physical aspect of the speakers being on a stage. So let me polish that metaphor a bit more to say, the distance one looked up at them, (or down, if one was in the balconies) was not great and was inconsequential.
I liked the location, the upstairs of the Rockit bar, with its balconies (which lived up to hosts Misha Glouberman's envisioning of the proper TH venue), beer, plastic cups, chairs, tables and cigarettes. I'm not going to use the word community beyond this sentence, a word being both tired and uninspired, to talk about how nice it is to hang out with strangers for a show in a smoky cub to listen to three people's ideas on things you would not think to talk about otherwise. I've come to think that the point of all education and performing in the world, the art shows, the paychecks, the trips to the library and the bathroom, the links to good reads and torture photos on the net, is all so that we can have mutually interesting conversations over bummed cigarettes and a pint. Following the natural process, food for thought becomes shooting the shit. We get to affirm our mutual interest in each other through a common language.
And TH is all about sharing an interesting conversation in such a context with an audience. Instead of listening to some Guinness philosopher's pet theories at the bar, we instead put them on a stage , and offer them the time to present this idea. And for me this is ultimately what made Trampoline Hall an enjoyable night: that respect was shown to both the audience and the presenters, by giving each time. No interruptions, a question period, and a bathroom break. No squirming and bored panelists there because it'll look good on the CV. The speakers seem generally invested in presenting their thoughts, and by virtue of being there, the audience is willing to listen.
Oh, and this is what you missed: Tyler Clark Burke, spoke about her grandfather who was a New York supreme court justice; the next speaker was Julian Holland, who spoke of slanted suicide statistics and the capitalistic inhumanity present in their bias, and the last speaker consisted of Lee Henderson, who spoke of freeloading: how to do it and what to avoid. This last talk inspired the most laughter.
Related Links: http://www.trampolinehall.net
Rating: ten out of ten
2. ZeD online stories
by Carolynne Hew, ZeD Correspondent
Go to www.zed.cbc.ca and enter the names in the search field.
This season - on line
Coming next season
Season 2 - on line
PETER METTLER & MIKE HOOLBOOM
FREE DANCE LESSONS
Season 1 - on line
COLIN GEDDES & KUNG FU FRIDAYS
THE HIDDEN CAMERAS
BUCKY & FLUFF'S CRAFT FACTORY
PEGGY ANNE BERTON
CHRIS MILLS/JUST LIKE THE MOVIES
Rating: quite a bit out of ten
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KwMap.net - browse the Keyword Map of Instantcoffee.org
Walter S. Robert
Instant Coffee Saturday Edition is our email/online zine, sent out every month or two. Saturday Edition compliments Instant Coffee's email list service, which has been promoting local, national and international events to a targeted audience since 2000.
Instant Coffee Saturday Edition takes submissions; graphics, articles, reviews, links; about music, video/film, art exhibitions, architecture, design and all else worth knowing; ... self indulgence welcome in the Sanka section. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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