In the words of a certain David:

Don’t ask what you can do for your country. Ask what your country can do for you.

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Tr00 Kvlt or not Tr00 Kvlt

American Apparel, you are more amazing than your sleazy porn aesthetic let on.

Explaining why I find the black metal shirt not to be a good idea is probably beyond my capacity, but what is learning and growth but pushing beyond the limits of our capabilities?

Let us start off by saying they take this very seriously (read from Dead’s suicide onwards).

So yes, commercialising something like Black Metal can seem like an incredibly stupid thing to do… to certain people. Black Metal is an ideology. I know I am risking a lot by comparing it to Punk, but in the same way that the commercialisation of Punk served to undercut its aesthetic and raison d’être, commercialising Black Metal kind of goes against everything it stands for. The word Kvlt (pronounced cult) exists for a reason, and that’s because for purists, most Black Metal isn’t Black Metal enough! And most of this non-Kvlt material is stuff that I can’t listen to because it’s so damn obtuse and alienating to most listeners. As a friend of mine had said (albeit about extreme metal in general):

“to me it just sounds like every single person playing an instrument in that band is having a seizure”

Another bad analogy, if bands like Keep of Kalessin are the Black Metal equivalent of Greedo shooting first, an American Apparel Black Metal T-Shirt will be the equivalent of being forced to watch the entire Prequel Trilogy in some sort of perversion of the ludovico technique.

Or hell, it may as well be analogous to this:

To people who don’t care about the consequences of printing a culture onto a t-shirt and then selling it to clueless teens that attempt to look hard, I’m sure there are plenty of Cradle of Filth merch at Hot Topic. Well, not as much as I had expected, but you get the point.

ps. I am aware of how horrible the title of this post is.

On Movies and “Fun”

I have seen this argument a lot when talking to people regarding movies. I have questions regarding the point of movies. Are they really there to entertain? I think film is a medium that is considered to be art, and I am pretty sure art’s purpose isn’t just to entertain. If art were just for entertainment, then I’m pretty sure we could replace all works of art with blue ducks and nothing of value would be lost. I do recommend watching the linked episode of Dilbert. At the very least, it will explain why blue ducks.

One of the interesting qualities of the film medium is that unlike a painting, it is not static. In ways it allows audiences to feel more involved in the events being depicted. How much impact would “Jurassic Park” have had on film goers if it were nothing but a slide show? Sure, “Jurassic Park” may have been a bad example being a major major blockbuster movie.

Also that point wasn’t related to the purpose of this post anyway…

I wonder if people are as harsh on stage plays as they are on films they do not find ‘entertaining’. Would a play such as “Waiting for Godot” worked if it were a film and not a stage production? I do not think so. There’s an expectation one has when going to the theatre versus going to the cinema. One is ascribed a sense of culture and civility, whereas the other is seen as a means to allow audiences to leave their brains at the door and sit and drool for 2 and a half hours.

It is sad then that films that strive to be more than mere titillation are so often looked down upon as pompous or masturbatory while other media gets off relatively scott free. One need just take a look at Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” to see what I mean. When the film begins it appears to be your average home invasion film. However, the film subverts audience expectations and toys with them as much as it toys with the protagonists. I am sure you can find a number of user reviews on imdb deriding the film for this very reason. It’s not ‘entertaining’ when the audience is made to feel like a monster for appreciating films of its genre, yet it has interesting points to make.

Why is film not allowed to be challenging, bizarre, nonsensical, and in some cases profoundly unwatchable? It adds texture to an otherwise bland tapestry of creative works in the medium. One can only take so many ineptly crafted, lowest common denominator action/romantic comedy/other comedy/horror films a year. At least I hope that is the case. Not every film has to be a “Star Wars” or “Love Actually”. What a boring world we would live in if that were the case. Just take a look at the state of modern First Person Shooters if you do not believe me.

It’s perfectly okay to dislike a movie, but to say it fails as a movie because it failed to be ‘entertaining’ when it was trying to be something entirely different is just not on. If a film has no other reason to be than to be ‘entertaining’ and still fails, well… Okay fine. You win that one.

Right for the Wrong Reasons

Disregard the Anonymous video, it’s good to have an accurate representation of ACTA courtesy of Ars Technica. To demonstrate, here are two passages from the article in question (Ars Technica text in italics).

ACTA does not strictly mandate that ISPs survey their clients’ traffic:

The closest ACTA comes to mandating ISP surveillance is section 27.3, which requires participating nations to “promote cooperative efforts within the business community to effectively address trademark and copyright or related rights infringement while preserving legitimate competition and, consistent with that Party’s law, preserving fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.”

Generic drugs need not be threatened by ACTA:

An in-depth report on the impact of ACTA on generic medicines found that the treaty “makes enforcement of intellectual property rights in courts, at borders, by the government and by private parties easier, less costly, and more ‘deterrent’ in the level of penalties. In doing so, it increases the risks and consequences of wrongful searches, seizures, lawsuits and other enforcement actions against legitimate suppliers of generic medicines.” So at the margin, ACTA might be bad for the flow of generic drugs to poor countries, but it’s a huge exaggeration to say that generic drugs would be “banned.”

Keep in mind, this is still a bad agreement. One that was negotiated in secret to bypass other international institutions that may have wanted a say in the matter in order to get things just the way a select few parties want them to be. Said secret negotiation even made some of the parties negotiating feel uncomfortable:

The EU’s top negotiator on ACTA even told US embassy official in Sweden that “the secrecy issue has been very damaging to the negotiating climate in Sweden… The secrecy around the negotiations has led to the legitimacy of the whole process being questioned.”

Surely there are other reasons ACTA is bad that are beyond the scope of this post. Research time, people =)

Though if people are still up in arms about ACTA, even if their reasons for being enraged are inaccurate, isn’t it a good thing? Action against bad policy is a good thing, after all. The ignorance about the actual content of the agreement is symptomatic of the secrecy the agreement was created in. Ultimately drafts and the final documents were released, I admit, but how aware were people of this fact?

If one wishes to be accurate in their dissent, read up on the final text (English, French, Spanish) and if that doesn’t make much sense, or if wading through 25 pages of unintuitive wording is not your thing, check out the link to the Ars article up top.

So, I think until I find something else interesting on the subject, I shall leave it at that on the topic of ACTA.