Kudos to CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT for some excellent content on his blog and Youtube videos. His Youtube video on COLLECTING MEDIA IN A DIGITAL WORLD…. absolutely essential viewing.
If you are not donating to the EFF, are not a card carrying member, and you consider some of the violations of personal liberties as well as continued inability of companies to safe guard our data, a concern at the least, and more accurately an outrage… EFF is the one fighting for your freedoms. And the one that needs your support.
Read up on FCC’s historic capitulation to big business (again… similar to when they just GAVE huge swaths of the public airwaves over to the private sector) as they now give unfettered manipulation powers to already grossly entrenched and competition squashing monopolistic entities (your ISPs).
And find out why the fight is not over and what you can do to help.
One happened early in the day when I was traveling through the east coast of the United States. I was driving and I looked up and I saw it, and it undoubtedly saw me.
How could it not? That is what it is designed to do.
It was the stuff of fiction, of dream, and perhaps more truly… nightmare, made real, made concrete… made manifest.
In fiction you would have called it perhaps the Eye of Sauron, if Tolkien’s lore holds sway, or perhaps Big Brother, if Orwellian references are not lost on a world moving dangerously sideways. But in fact it was more amazing and horrific than both those references.
We sometimes do not realize we live in the future, are the future that endured, of a bloody and brutal 20th century, and while that is not the future yet, of flying cars and jet packs and conversing with aliens, the future we are living,… of cloning, and test tube babies, and sexual reassignment, and genetic modifications, and decision making machines designed to kill men, and engineered diseases, and ethnic cleansings, and endless wars, and information super-highway, and super social media, and entertainment systems in most homes that are one code-write away from being constant surveillance and data gathering/marketing tools, this future is as miraculous and as horrifying as any scifi tale of invasion.
It is more terrifying. Because the future we live in is plagued with countless terrors, we are not so lucky as to have a single bogeyman. No… our corporate-beholden governments create countless destroyers of man’s liberties and mankind’s lives, not just one.
I was driving and I saw something that should never float above an American city, or any city, floating there. I saw the Eye of Sauron, I say again, because it sounds romantic, but more… because it feels most true.
I saw this:
And it is a sight that I fear that all of us will be seeing, if we do not with all oppose it. For all the talk of not abusing the rights of the people, the fact is, that is what the blimp is designed to do, its very existence over American cities is an affront to the idea of a government of the people. What I saw in the sky yesterday was Ferguson and Palestine writ large, it is a show of force, it is the act of an occupying army.
Too much to make of it? I fear its existence is proof that we have made too little of our liberties. And time is running out to make more.
And what was the 2nd thing that gave me chills? That night I watched Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck give blistering performances in a movie that in 1978, almost 40 years ago, was the height of fantasy, but today feels as close as the next news cycle. I’m talking about THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.
Between facts that feel like fictions and fictions that feel like facts, the ground feels precarious, and the watchful skies… deserving of being watched.
Perhaps we should watch… together.
What occurs to me is Snowden is not the name we should be concentrating on, or the one that should be on the run. It’s the NSA names that signed off on the illegal spying that should be the names of the hour. Names to admonish and remember.
and lest the NSA have all the fun…
The interesting thing about drone technology is, quite like science fiction stories of yesteryear(fact being forged out of fiction), they are no longer restricted to the size of small robot controlled planes high in the sky. Increasingly they are the size and contour of innocuous things like insects.
Seriously. I would not joke you. Look it up, I’ll wait.
Hmm-hm-hmmmm-hmm …. duh-da-da da … Ah, you’re back. So looked it up have you? All proven? Good.
So, Take a close look at that next dragonfly buzzing around, it may just be time to say… cheese. :).
Civil Liberties? Human Rights? Privacy? Where or where have they gone. :).
Maybe there is a simple answer to the preservation of these endangered concepts like liberty … fighting for them. Every way we can… fighting for them. They must be preserved by seeing a wrong, acknowledging it as such, and acting against it.
Snowden, whatever his believed goals, did more right than wrong, in putting morality before money, and conscience before corporations and the corporate stranglehold on American policy. And before any of this gets better(this being our steep slide to totalitarianism and slavery) we must… all of us… make judgments about what we allow to be done in our name, by a largely hidden minority, who hide behind letters like… US.
Who the hell are they to hunt and kill and torture under that cloak? Under that mask, under that lie, of the United States. I am the United States as long as I pay taxes to the fiefdom. And I see the spying programs as illegal at best, and Snowden as a necessary byproduct of a culture of lies. As a man who sees the truth, and has the temerity… to believe the governed have a right to the reality of the machinations that govern them.
We must all of us judge what is done in our name, and if found wrong… resist it.
And whether that wrong be called Schutzstaffel or its progeny of the NSA, Darpa, Homeland Security, our response to it must be the same…
This new segment basically will select four or five followers of this blog (thanks to all of you who are now following this blog) and/or blogs I follow and just promote particularly interesting things I find on their pages:
Okay onto the promoting 🙂 :
I’m a paid up card carrying supporter of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and I have to say I consider them an essential organization for ANY OF US who have an online presence or make use of this wonder we call the internet and the digital age.
Quite frankly our elected representatives are out of their depth when it comes to protecting the rights of their constituents in the digital age. They surrender our rights to the lobbyist/snake oil salesman with the slickest line, and the fattest wallet.
The EFF discusses just this in their coverage of the recent passage of the CISPA in the House of Representatives.
“U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the Senate
“Today, Internet freedom advocates everywhere turned their eyes to the U.S. House of Representatives as that legislative body considered the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
For the second year in a row, the House voted to approve CISPA, a bill that would allow companies to bypass all existing privacy law to spy on communications and pass sensitive user data to the government. EFF condemns the vote in the House and vows to continue the fight in the Senate.
“CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security.”
The legislation passed 288-127, despite a veto threat from Pres. Barack Obama, who expressed serious concerns about the danger CISPA poses to civil liberties.”
—By Dave Maass and Mark M. Jaycox
Great little short film/psa courtesy of the excellent site NO FAT CLIPS.
Site has not been updated in a while with new content, but hopefully it will be updated soon. because it is sites like this that should be the future of media on the web.
Sites that allow you to view and stream and download in open-source formats, and are moderated (in other words free of vulgar or ignorant comments) offer an environment that should be popular, rather than the unmoderated, profanity prone You-Tube.
Sites such as NO FAT CLIPS. See for yourself!
BILLY: You know, I believe ole Pat has lost his sand.
DEPUTY BELL: You ought not to talk about him that way. You and him used to be pretty close.
BILLY: He ain’t the same man… He signed himself over to Chisum and every other goddamned landowner that’s trying to put a fence around this country. Hell that’s what you been doing, ain’t it, Bell? Selling us out and getting fat.
You didn’t know there were multiple versions? Unfortunately there are.
This is why I dislike multiple versions of a film. A film is a touchstone to a culture, it’s one of those key moments where you could say ‘I saw Star Wars’, and all of you can agree what the movie was, and what scenes you loved. You can have a conversation based on a shared cultural memory, a shared moment that in the crosstalk, connects us across time and across class or ethnicity or gender. That’s the very core of culture, these communal touchstones that bind us. That bind us all.
“Billy they don’t like you to be so free.”
PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID unfortunately is like that. Depending on which version you see will determine if you walk away thinking it’s a masterpiece or overrated, bordering on inane.
There’s the TURNER MOVIES 1988 cut that finally restored the movie to its full length, and then there is the inexplicable 2005 version.
Avoid watching the 2005 version first, as your introduction to the movie, as it is… in ways deep and decisive, a betrayal of what the film is (If you listen to the commentary on the 1998 version, by ‘experts’ on Peckinpah that I typically find interesting, you hear the art by committee, art by consensus, ‘back seat’ driving and editing that leads to the butchered 2005 version. People who confuse being fans of a creative person, with being able to create in that person’s name. And as the 2005 version shows, that’s just not the case). Let’s just take the opening scene as an example, where, if you lose the power of that… you might as well just turn the movie off.
Jailer: Repent you son of a bitch.
Billy: Sweet Jesus I repent.
Jailer: Not till you taste the fear of the lord! I’ll show you! I’ll take you for a walk across hell on a spider web.
—(This is one of the great iconic lines of the film, of any film, and the actor (not the writer) came up with it, similar to how Rutger Hauer added the best line in BLADE RUNNER, the monologue about ‘tears in rain’. And the above line, “A walk across hell on a spider web” is completely cut out of the 2005 edit. Whoever the moron or morons are who are responsible for the 2005 version they should never work in film… ever. In fact I would sign off on a good stoning! 🙂 It’s one of multiple lines they either change, or yank out of the film. Unbelievable that someone could think they were doing anything but butchering the film by making these changes. Amazing.)
The 2005 version cuts the heart out of that first scene. The risqué joke that Billy and Pat share, removing some of the pauses and freeze frames, and shortening the conversation, and cutting out the pivotal final exchange of:
“he’s my friend”
“he aint no more”
That exchange, the moments between those lines, and Billy’s quiet acknowledgment that times may indeed… have changed, is essential to the next scene and the rest of the movie.
It’s like they want to rush the movie, and that flies against the very heart of the film. Allegories and myths should not be rushed.
It’s a film about the pauses, what is not said between characters, it’s about a jail-break staged unlike any jail-break in any film, ever. Where it’s not about the jail break, it’s about a town, and a time, and a song, and a held moment of myth. It’s about the history that these two… once friends, share. That story is told in much that the 2005 version cuts out.
It’s a film that lives in the pauses.
“She was laughing like the devil when I caught her, but she was smiling when I left her.”
PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID is, in the purest sense of the word an existential movie, a movie (not a biography, Peckinpah is not interested, and neither are we, in the reality of these men, but in the mythology, in the romance) that is not about rushing to the next scene, but a movie that in the pauses and in the held shots says something about existence; and the 2005 edit of the film, doesn’t want to give it the time… to exist.
I’m saying avoid the 2005 edit, and stick to the 1988 Turner version with all those scenes still there (Both versions are available in the same box set available here, just make sure to watch the 1988 version).
To see any other version of PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID is not to see it at all.
BILLY: To ole Pat. Sherrif Pat Garrett, sold out to the Santa Fe Ring. How does it feel?
PAT: It feels like… times have changed.
BILLY: Times maybe, not me.
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“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.” - E. Gilbert
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