Browsing Posts in Culture

As the old Buddhist parable goes: Nothing is Permanent. That would indeed be a wonderful thing as the permanence of dissonance, from ourselves and from the world around us, would be a frightening scenario if such a thing existed through eternity and all forms manifested within. As I struggle to grasp and cling to the life of stability and the facade of happiness — with varying degrees of success and outlook I travel back to a time where there was absolute and permanent understanding of the universe and my place in that universe. Though, like perceptions of happiness, this understanding — this epiphany — would merely be a facade as well. Yet there is still much to be gained from our conceptualizations and schema of life constructed deep within our minds, be they facade or not. It is our own dissemination of such facades, not prevailing culture at large, that ultimately determines the world we see before our eyes. Through war, poverty, environmental devastation and corrupt systems of societal control; our world is tainted and distorted as we lose grasp of our places and the actions that may one day ameliorate an end to that suffering, for the concept of all life being suffering is not permanent nor absolute, but is merely a limitation of conceptual continuity and thought.

The World of Devas

The Devas are around us — be they particles and atoms that surround and consume us or any other energy that escapes our sights. In the traditional Buddhist construction, the Devas are but merely a little more advanced than us humans. Awaiting passage to new forms of lives or just existing in the fringes of this world, the devas are in part a diva as we know it, though without the ability for adornment and praise. continue reading…

Dennis Hopper died yesterday at the age of 74 after a long battle with prostate cancer. He had quite the illustrious acting, directing and writing career spanning over 50 years.

It is his work as an actor and director in Easy Rider that has left an indelible impression on my life’s journey — though I would be remiss to leave out his role in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet; truly a humorous and frightening portrayal which would stimulate my interest in abstract and beautiful film making as well.

I had obviously been acquainted with Hopper’s work for many years. Probably my first lasting impression came from viewing Hoosiers when I was about 11 years old. Despite the unintended sappiness — and lack of depicting the racial antagonisms and schisms which were inherent in rural Indiana during that time — Hoosiers still remains atop my all time favorite sports movies.

But it is Easy Rider that gave me a real love for true independent film-making and a notion of the fallacies of freedom in a society that celebrated the notion yet thwarted its actual practice.

At the age of 18, in December of 1994; sitting in a bedroom in suburban Arizona with a fine young lass and a water-pipe filled with Mexico’s finest herbal remedies, my life and my appreciation of cinema would take a turn as I watched — mesmerized — Easy Rider for the first time. Captain America and Billy would ride freely through the South West toward a mythical idealism manifested through Mardi-Gras. Yet it ultimately was a hollow and empty journey such as our own lives when we force meaning on the intangible quests that we participate in. continue reading…

I am reclaiming two articles of mine that were written for another website which I am no longer affiliated with. I thought I would share them with any readers of mine who might not have read them.

From Clinton to Obama

Reconciling Hope with Reality

Having spent my entire adult life living through the Clinton, W., and now Obama administrations, not only do I have the intellectual and academic tools to put these political years in proper historical context, I have the sometimes rare blessing of actual real-time critique and analysis—rare to Historians such as myself at least. Around the time Clinton took office, we saw an explosion of cable news and right-wing talk radio, and a little later, the internet became a widely available source for the propagation of information from all corridors of political debate.

By and large, this wealth of information would ultimately serve to further divide what is largely a politically moderate population. Rather than thoughtful debate on real issues, the prevailing apparatus of political discussion was merely more than a screaming match between two sides, “Liberal” and “Conservative,” that produced little actual meaningful dialogue, but further divided an electorate that in reality is not too far apart on most issues. continue reading…

United for Corporatism

To say there is no more left and no more right might be a bit of an over simplification of a complex dynamic of political economy, but nonetheless is an accurate one given the utter and total takeover of government by moneyed, corporate interests. This modern corporatism has created a democratic system that serves only to divide and conquer. Rather than taking constructive and historically realistic views of the state of the two party system, the two camps, Liberal and Conservative (Democrat & Republican), are engaged in a constant reactionary state, disregarding material reality in order to claim the rightness of their actions. When W. Bush was blindly supported and cheered by the “right” for the dismantling of democracy for corporate interests, the so-called “left” spent a great deal of energy reacting to Bush’s actions and using charged hyperbole that did little, if anything to change perceptions of his administration’s actions. Likewise, as those on “the left,” or the Liberals, blindly cheer Obama as he dismantles our democracy for corporate interests, the “right” uses their energy to react by claiming “socialism”among other loaded terms that perpetuate the same divisiveness.

In Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985), the concept of big brother is described through an analysis of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 classic Brave New World rather than the cliched totalitarianism of Orwell’s 1984. There is one particular passage that is quite profound in regard to the current climate of political, cultural and social discourse — or the lack thereof — that pervades every aspect of our current ability to disregard history for the immediate reactionary propagation of disinformation intended to keep us divided. When the term Big Brother is used and thrown around, its meaning is relegated to a very simplified notion of Government and/or corporate control of our lives. In this particular case, Big Brother is the Government and Corporate interests all in one package: a symbiotic assimilation of capitalist/corporate interests that control our democracy through our elected officials. continue reading…

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Ren and Stimpy: the quintessential dynamic duo of interspecies peace and harmony. Thus begins the journey of dialectical and existential actualization through the cartoons of my youth. Perhaps my global schema has more to do with the life lessons to be learned through the magical medium of cartoons than with anything I done lerned in my skooluns.

The Smurfs: definitely commies

I was a dedicated viewer of the smurfs from about age five to age eight. Such an amusing group of blue miscreants prancing around their village, sharing in all the wealth and riches of the forest. Essentially, a very communitarian conclave in which every smurf had a unique talent to add to the proper functioning of smurf society.

Quite obviously, the smurfs were Communists. Come on: sharing the wealth; every smurf got a free home and free health care — I’m assuming a free ride on Smurfette as well; she must have been pretty warn out. I suppose Papa Smurf  had some sort of authoritarian and fascist inclinations, not quite so much a Stalin as a Jim Jones type of leader — sans the strychnine-laced kool-aide. continue reading…

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