February 2007

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I’ve been obsessed for some time now with the aesthetics and mentalities of certain periods in time. The 70s with its formica, drugs, and pre-AIDS promiscuity. The nuclear 50s with horn-rimmed glasses, buzzed hair, and a red scare played out on black and white television. What will the icons be of our messy era of social repression, tech explosion, and unpopular war? What harsh realities will fade as we move out of one decade into the next? What are the nascent issues now hatching that will grow into the galvanizing trials of a future iconography?

The whole practice of periodizing or fetishizing an era or scene may just be a way to insulate ourselves from responsibility. For those who idealize the beat generation or draw inspiration from the global revolutions of the 60s, there’s a longing for what they imagine those times to be like, but also a relief that, since those times are gone, there is no burden to actually live what in reality must have been an exhausting and alienating life. Was the punk movement filled with marginalized dreamers who just wanted a simpler life and greater autonomy? Or was it just a bunch of assholes who didn’t want to do anything they didn’t want to do?

There are some big problems with our cultural compulsion to put brackets around time periods, perhaps especially in the arbitrary designation of decades. A good example is the current surprise a lot of people have that North Korea is trying to build nuclear weapons, that the world’s ecosystem is turning against us, that we’re in a bloody war in Iraq for no good reason. These are grown-up versions of problems that entered our awareness long ago, but then disappeared once the numbers rolled over to a new set of ten years. Fashions changed, consciousness changed, it seemed like a fresh start.

So maybe it’s useful to look at the ways the present will be iconified and forgotten as it happens. While the dot com boom was technically in the late 90s, I think it will be absorbed as part of the 00s since it could only really be understood in retrospect – the same way a lot of the culture of the late 60s bleeds into the early 70s. That’s an easy one – college students getting rich off of empty, exciting language; venture capitalist rolling on the ecstasy of a wildly inflated market. But what did it set the stage for?

The boom was a huge shift in economy, public philosophy, and awareness who’s effects can easily be overlooked since it can swiftly be dismissed as ‘that crazy dot com bubble.’ What will the safe totems be for this war time depression? The powerlessness of compassionate intellectuals lulled to complacency by economic comfort? More likely

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it will be blogging. Soldiers blogging, moms blogging, everyone blogging. What was your blog about during the Iraq war? Oh, that was back when I was blogging about kitten attire and mom makeover secrets, it was great. At least the kids of the Vietnam era could take solace in their radicals. Are they out there now and just hidden from us?

Maybe it would also be useful to find out what type of learning mechanism makes this an appealing strategy for assimilating information. Is there a more comprehensive way to digest large pieces of information so that our landmarks of history can be based around events rather than temporal mile markers?

This is not only on my mind as a critic of culture, but on a personal level as well, because I have a similarly limited perception of myself. My idea of who I am is only based on about the last three months. I take no pride in past accomplishments, old friends fade from awareness, a stifling tunnel vision sets in due to the constant reenforcement of a small number of visual landscapes. I use seasons and years to put bookends on themes and personas that are ongoing and fluid. Whenever I go to my hometown of Eugene, OR or down to Santa Cruz where I went to school, I’m flooded with a deeper sense of myself and a wider vocabulary for interpreting my current situation. Upon returning to San Francisco, the vision narrows and the claustrophobia sets in, with little of the recovered identity transcending the boundaries of the bay.

Perhaps it’s a bit conceited to analogize the two periodizations. But if the world can carry around the calm that I feel when a larger portion of my history is at the front of my mind, perhaps we can collectively make better decisions and repeat less mistakes. Maybe a more comprehensive public consumption of history would have the added benefit of allowing compulsive nostalgics to stop dreaming of a scene or era or movement and see the ways they can shape the future by believing in their own perceptions.

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Many of you will have seen one or both of these two clips. Still, the quality of design here demands another golf clap. The first makes a graphic reality of middle-school teachers’ dreams. It is the cartographer’s logic summarizing Middle Eastern geopolitics. This second is a similar paired down mother-google-earth, time lapse map of US conflict. Or rather, an atlas. The US interests are astonishingly global. It is worth more as an education on forgotten violence, than as a tacky face-off between political parties for fewest war fatalities. Other inclusions about Secret CIA Prisons, the Retaking of Fallujah and Intelligence footage are jolt to the preferred mood. The viewer, me, was accustomed to the tone of the aforementioned, mildly apolitical forays into mappage. Check out the rest of the site. I

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whether it is the creation of socially motivated researchers or entrapment by a government agency, but I like it… Another impeccably designed map. Satisfyingly simple, like a venn diagram. There’s also a belter about religions’ roles in all the comedy we call humanness. Good Night and God Design.

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Homeless

It’s not that I don’t notice but I certainly don’t pay attention to the homeless and assorted street denizens… If they ask real viagra online me for something I still find myself responding in some way; my bitterness is not such that I can ignore someone speaking to me… When they’re barking into space or laying asleep under a blanket of old newspapers or scavanged bedding I can walk by without really registering what it is I’m passing… So when confronted indirectly by the sobbing of an indigent there was a measure of surprise at feeling the effects inside my chest… It was sad, a mournful lost wail from a huddled mass leaning against the wall of my work… There’s no context to the immediate cause and none needed– the sound and eventual sight cut through the chasm between them and me… Suppose that it would regardless of who was crying or why… Suppose that the choked gasping and whines would find their way into me even if they came from Gavin Newsom breaking down at the podium, or the losing quarterback from generic cialis next Sunday’s all-American brain-drain… Actually, maybe the homeless of America could gather in the parking lot around the Super Bowl for one big mass cry– one big in your face ‘we’re still people just like you’ moment while billions of dollars exchange accounts inside… Nah, security would never let them get within five blocks of the stadium… But that reminds me of the horror of horrors experienced during the inaugural season for SBC/ATT/Pac Bell park in China Basin… Riding my bike through the sunlight sea of middle class whites I saw not one but two homeless men standing on corners with signs inviting passing motorists to take in a meal at the local McDonalds… But I regress… The crying guy outside my work sat slumped and defeated while eveyone made a wide generic cialis at walgreens arc around him… Instead of going over to him to ask what’s wrong I flicked my cigarette into the trash (gotta stop doing that– there’s been fires) and went back to my ‘not currently saving the world’ job… Had it been some cute co-ed in club clothes crying after having too many tequila shots I viagra cialis cost still would have flicked my cigarette in the trash and gone back to work, but everyone walking by would have immediately stopped to ask her what was wrong… The day prior there’s been the habitual lunatic squatting over the very same trash can I shouldn’t be throwing cigarettes into and security had to stick their heads out the door to make sure he wasn’t using it as a toilet… That and the lifestyle kids poffering pot are canada pharmacy online more usual neighbors we enjoy around here which is worse than the amicable crackheads building little junk houses in the doorway of the laundrymat underneath my apartment… Where I grew up on the outskirts of Potrero Hill and China Basin the homeless were scattered all over in cars or under overpasses… You would see them riding bikes at night or clustered around oil drum fires or ducking under concrete… They would never ask you for anything and they mostly wanted to be left alone… It was more of a Mad Max scenario where I grew how much does cialis cost at walgreens up then where I live and work… It’s all just part of the scenary until it’s in your face, I guess… The other night while walking home I couldn’t stomach a mental image of the obviously insane gentleman who I see around quite frequently continue to bump his shopping cart into the raised cracked concrete of the sidewalk… Sure, he could have shifted to the left and avoided the obstacle and sure, I could have explained this to him or simply walked past and kept to myself… Don’t know why I was in such a mood but I asked if he needed help over the crack and after a moment of http://cheapcialisforsale-online.com/ realizing I was there he said yes… I grabbed one end of the cart and he pushed the other and the obstacle was defeated…

Street Sheet

Recently there’s been a guy around my block, younger than most of the people you generally ignore who sell Street Sheets… I rememeber the first time I saw him, how he very politely stopped me and apologized for bothering me… Just got out of jail, girl split on him, really just trying to get something to eat… I would see him around in the early days and, as I had always been unwilling to part with my change, he would leave me alone… Eventually he came into the Street Sheets and can be seen offering them politely to people or, more and more frequently, getting frustrated and pacing up and down the street in the cold… I’ve never bought one but I have given him a couple quarters now… buy real viagra It’s funny online

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