The Thick Blue Line

No charges brought against officer. No charges brought against officer. No charges brought against officer.
The month is not yet over but in keeping with anti/tradition let's offer this Thanksgiving prayer. Below is a November 2013 edition of 'no charges against police officer' in cases leading to injurious harm or fatality: the thick blue line of police impunity. Minutes before I prepared to post this compilation, an extraordinary thing happened: the police detective responsible for Rekia Boyd's death in March 2012 was charged with manslaughter. It is such a rare occurrence—even considering that a full eight months have passed since the shooting, and Boyd's family launched a fearless, dedicated public campaign—that the Chicago Tribune was compelled to note, 'Detective Dante Servin becomes only the second officer since 1997 to be charged in connection with a shooting.'  ?     ?     ? Morehead City, NC | 'The district attorney says there will be no charges brought against a former Morehead… Read More...

Untitled (From a Journal Kept in Tehran)

In Esfehan, a little girl who lost her mother stood next to a soldiers’ barrack. With one wet eye toward the uniformed guards behind her, she yelled, “I am scared of the police. I am scared of the police!”
28 March 2013 Death and mortality in cars. Yesterday Zahra Khanoum called to say her cousin was killed in a bus accident. Just this young woman and the driver. Someone in the bus took the opportunity to steal her purse after the crash, so that she spent three days in the morgue until she was identified. The Persian word she used for “morgue” is sard khaneh, lit. “the house of coldness.” It is also a name of a village in eastern Iran. 'Morgue [môrg], from early 19th century French, “originally the name of a building in Paris where bodies were kept until identified.”' Holding the telephone receiver in my hand I shivered thinking on her dead, unnamed body all alone in that dark drawer. At the hair salon today (a small, self-made business in a neighbor’s apartment) the stylist told… Read More...

Emerging Markets of Mistaken Virtual Identity

The most honest detritus assumes no particular identity at all, just the mere reassurance that the e-recipient is ‘alive.’
F?o?u?r? S?e?v?e?n? Ten separate United Nations agencies have mistaken my Twitter account for a UNEP Global South-South Development Expo in Nairobi. That showcase actually possesses its own account (goal: to 'harness this ever growing number of development solutions that address both existing and emerging development challenges head-on'). The UN agencies include the UN Division for Sustainable Development, the UN Development Policy and Analysis Division (twice), the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, the Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement, UN Women, the United Nations Environment Programme, UNDP in Chad, UN Brussels, UN Women in Africa, and UN Women National Committee for Canada. This is a marked departure from last month's torrent of Syria war market spam, which, let every bot-god be my witness, halted completely the day this was posted. __ Post scriptum: the most honest detritus to waft my way today assumes no particular identity… Read More...

Syria_ebooks

The senators are there to promote economic investment in the country.
Since 1 September (coinciding with the 'with us or against us' executive proposal of congressional approval for a military strike on Syria) I have been the recipient of relentless, near-identical email messages. Sometimes the messages are oddly dated: a September 2013 message was pre-dated August 2004. Sometimes the spamming spouts from a fecund gutter; on 11 September I received the message three times, once after every meal. Judging by the laments of others I am hardly alone. Every day the spambot spawns regenerate and bypass inbox filters. Every day they arrive, in triply ecstatic exclamation marks and dollar signs, to promote non-existent (real or faked, heavily spammed) war profits. I am awed by their persistence and the honesty of their motives. Their commercial crusade never wears the thin veneer of a mission of moral accountability.¹ The following is a meager portion of my Syria_ebooks… Read More...

Five Questions with Fady Joudah

We owe each other the disintegration of identity-memory so that we may relearn to love and forgive as strangers, strangers.
Five Questions with __________ is an experiment with flash interviews. The series on poets continues with poet, translator, and physician Fady Joudah. I initially came across Joudah as a commended translator of Palestinian poets Ghassan Zaqtan and Mahmoud Darwish, but have come to fathom his poetics through his own poetry, the volumes The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press) and Alight (Copper Canyon Press). An e-book called Textu (also from Copper Canyon Press) invents the eponymous form, with textus composed from the text-message meter of exactly 160 characters. The worthiness of robot-conscious stylistic invention aside, Joudah’s arrangements in human English—particularly the contemporary, prodigal pulsation of his American English—are singular and essential. The pastoral sublime of houseflies, mules, hills, pine needles, and brick walls coincide with citified school kids, journalists, bulldozers, exit visas and occupying soldiers. It takes a poet of… Read More...

Submitted as an Affidavit of Material Support for Lynne Stewart

Facts about former attorney/current prisoner Lynne Stewart hereby submitted as material support.
The global War on Terror has yielded a Lynne Laden Effect, effectively creating a symmetry between the transgressions of those accused of "terrorism" and the legal representatives hired to advocate on their behalf. This symmetry associates the accused crimes of the former with the believed "material support" of the latter. Hereby submitted as material support are some facts about former attorney/current prisoner Lynne Stewart. This submission is preventative in nature, tendered in case a special administrative measure (USAM title 9 chapter 24) for political rights advocates of political rights advocates becomes a known penal offense. Lynne Stewart is 73 years old Lynne Stewart’s prison register number is 53504-054 Lynne Stewart has stage-four cancer Lynne Stewart’s cancer has metastasised to her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones, and spread throughout her lungs  Lynne Stewart’s medical treatment to arrest the cancer has been halted… Read More...

Index of Prominent White Male Characters in Heavily Serialized Dramatic Television, United States

Green money, blonde wife.
Tony Soprano Profession: businessman Leads: double life Wife: blonde Children: one girl, one boy Walter White Profession: businessman Leads: double life Wife: blonde Children: one girl, one boy   Don Draper Profession: businessman Leads: double life Wife: blonde Children: one girl, two boys Ray Drecker Profession: businessman Leads: double life Wife: blonde Children: one girl, one boy In order of appearance: The Sopranos (1999-2007) Mad Men (2007-present) Breaking Bad (2008-present) Hung (2009-2011) Read More...

Meanwhile, in Brazil

'What happened in 1964 was a military coup and not a revolution in Brazil. The emerging changes were in the system of the State and they did not change the political system, for example. We continue living in a capitalist country with the same economic system.'
This space usually prizes thinking over linking, but with fast-moving events in Brazil and a longer essay (based loosely on this) in the works, here is a round-up of notable links. Criticism, commentary, and reportage are included in both English and Portuguese. All Portuguese excerpts translated by the author. An interview with João Pedro Stedile of the MST landless workers' movement. [Brasil de Fato] It's obvious that there is a class war on the street. Although still concentrated in the ideological debate. And what's worse, the very youth mobilized, by their class origin, unaware that they are participating in an ideological struggle. They are doing politics in the best way possible, in the streets. And then they write on posters: we are against parties and politics? That's why the messages on the posters have been so diffuse. It's happening, in every city,… Read More...

‘At Last, We Are Alive’

Five P’s: public space, property, politicians, police, and press.
Of all the ways to account for the sudden jolt of mass uprising in Brazil recently, none has been more consistent than the metaphor of a sleeping giant rousing from sleep. A re-appropriated Johnnie Walker ad literalizes the point: ‘The Giant Awakened’ (O Gigante acordou), adopts the simple technique of divulging newspaper headlines against a black backdrop. The headlines detail the squandering of public funds, defenselessness against violent crime, the indignities of incarceration, lack of access to adequate hospitals, and child hunger, before a green giant—whose body is made up of the rocky green coast of Rio de Janeiro that, freshly détourned in the ad, stands in for all of Brazil—takes its rightful place among the walking living. http://youtu.be/cK7Onvocbgc Brazilian journalist Maria Caldas, called the mobilizations the ‘end of autumn, [where] Brazilians awaken to their present.’ Eliane Brum, one of… Read More...

Cinema Guantánamo

Much of the world’s population now an undead horde.
No-charge, first-run feature films screened on 35mm for Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base prison guards, troops, and their families (not detainees) by the Movie Program at GTMO.¹ Films include Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (‘bounty hunters track and kill witches all over the world’), Side Effects (‘a psychiatric-meds melodrama about an NYC woman whose husband’s in prison’), and Warm Bodies (a zombie love story ‘with much of the world’s population now an undead horde’). As documented by Miami Herald journalist Carol Rosenberg. Read More...

Map-Memory, 10 May 1948

—to realize how close we are to the point when the vanished Arab landscape will be considered just a piece of Arab propaganda, a fabrication—
1948 8-9 May. As part of Operation Maccabi (launched by the Haganah) the Harel Brigade sets out to attack and conquer the village of Beit Mahsir. 10 May. The village of Beit Mahsir is occupied. ?     ?     ? Soon, those of us for whom the ‘place that has left its place’ is cause for heartache will also vanish, and the old landscape will be totally erased from the collective memory of those who already have succeeed in transforming it almost beyond recognition. One need only read Israeli textbooks or see the albums with ‘before and after’ photos—the Land before 1948 and today—to realize how close we are to the point when the vanished Arab landscape will be considered just a piece of Arab propaganda, a fabrication aimed at the destruction of Israel through incitment of ‘The Return.’ —Meron… Read More...

Cosmopolitican, or Cosmetics as Police Regime

On a personal note, my nail beds were heavily surveilled in Catholic school.
In an audio track layered over an image of Lee Miller (in the first volume of Histoire(s) du cinéma) Godard broods over the correlation between art and artifice: 'Cinema is not part of the communication industry or the entertainment industry. It is part of cosmetics, the industry of masks. A minor branch of the industry of lies.” If cinema is part of the industry of masks, then what industry does cosmetics ('the industry of masks') belong to? Etymology is not a zero-sum game but I am struck by the the alignment of cosmetics (from French cosmétique, derived from Greek kosm?tikos, from kosmein 'arrange or adorn') and order. The friendliness between cosmetics (from kosmos, 'order or adornment') and aesthetics (from aisth?ta ‘perceptible things’) only serves to embolden the corollated relationship to sensible distribution and arrangement. There is another regime endowed with the power of… Read More...

Repeating Faces

Because the obscured or masked face resists representation, it can only be repeated, a phenomenon that grants it what Jacques Derrida called a “terrible power.”
“I’ve just seen a face, I can’t forget the time or place.” —John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “I’ve Just Seen a Face” The physiognomy of the human face confers particularity and evidence of a singular self. In many societies the face reflects a gateway to interiority and humanity (suggesting so seems like stating the most obvious and commonsensical human notion, like air, water, or universal grammar). Even the elementary boundaries of the English language afford a grasp on how integral one’s face is to persona (putting one’s face on), character or reputation (saving face), conflict (wearing a game face), social exchange (talking face to face), or inhumanity (faceless bureaucrats). As such, it is difficult to imagine how the sight of the covered face wouldn’t trigger suspicion in ‘Western’ societies. Yet the unavoidability of surveillance, microsurveillance, and dataveillance (and some cooperation… Read More...

A Country Torn: The Cicero March, 1966

Lucas led activists through Cicero to protest restrictions in housing laws. White residents of Cicero respond with vitriolic jeers as the police struggle to prevent a riot.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGH5IyKQn98   Elsewhere: Rashad Shabazz, 'Black Militancy: Notes From the Underground' For a generation of young activists, the reality of war, imperialism, racism and the growing fragility of democratic liberalism was too much to handle. Force became a means to wrestle with this tension. As the discourse of a "country torn" finds its way into mainstream political analyses (for many the deep divisions in this country are not a new political reality), we should reflect on the writings of political dissidents and radicals. We should recognize the diversity of political analysis that is very much alive. The histories of armed struggle, if taken seriously, provide us with a means to think more critically about the center, and complicate its claims of moral and political right. David Manning, 'A Tale of Two (or Three) Marches' Unlike 1968, this [2003] march was… Read More...

Towards a ‘Moral’ Assassination Model

In the ‘fight against terror’ by the Most Moral Army in the World, the un/official legal and academic enforcer’s of the the Israeli army’s ‘ethical code’ are indispensable salespeople.
The University of Chicago's Center for International Studies has scheduled an upcoming talk by University of Utah law professor Amos Guiora titled 'Legitimate Target: A Criteria Based Approach to Targeted Killing.' Billed as an oration on the criteria of targeted killing, Guiora highlights the 'moral' frou-frou of state assassination: Targeted killings represent both the contemporary weapon of choice and, and likely, the weapon of the future. From the perspective of the nation-state, the benefits of targeted killing are clear: aggressive measures against identified targets can be carried out with minimal, if any, risk to soldiers. But while the threat to soldiers is minimal, there are other risks that must be considered. Particularly, there is a high possibility of collateral damage as well as legitimate concerns regarding how a target is defined. Clearly broad legal, moral, and operational issues are at… Read More...

Five Questions with Jerome Rothenberg

Maps mean the legislated or regulated reality that the powerful create & enforce against the powerless. The results for those ground down by them are devastating.
Five Questions with __________ is an experiment with flash interviews. The series on poets continues with poet, translator, anthologist, editor, and educator Jerome Rothenberg. I first read Rothenberg's celebrated collections rather blindly, long before I knew enough to know about him: first, in a linguistics class, the seminal compilation Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania (UC Press, 1968) and much later on his blog Poems and Poetics, conceived as ‘a free circulation of works (poems and poetics in the present instance) outside of any commercial or academic nexus.’ Samizdat devoted an entire issue to exploring Rothenberg and Pierre Joris' poetics after they jointly edited the anthology Poems for the Millennium, Volumes One and Two (1995). Robert Archambeau commented in the editorial note: In our own time the discourse about poetry, if not poetry itself, seems to have suffered through a… Read More...