Keep Your Distance

If I cross your path again,
Who knows where,
Who knows when
On some morning without number,
On some highway without end
Don’t grasp my hand and say
“Fate has brought you here today”
Oh fate is only fooling with us, friend
Keep your distance, oh keep your distance
When I feel you close to me what can I do but fall
Keep your distance, keep your distance
Ah with us it must be all or none at all
It’s a desperate game we play,
Throw our souls, our lives, away
Wounds that can’t be mended
And debts that can’t be paid
Oh I played and I got stung
Now I’m biting back my tongue
I’m sweeping out
The footprints where I strayed
Keep your distance, keep your distance
When I feel you close to me what can I do but fall
Keep your distance, oh keep your distance
With us it must be all or none at all
Keep your distance, oh keep your distance
When I feel you close to me what can I do but fall
Keep your distance, oh keep your distance
With us it must be all or none at all
With us it must be all or none at all
With us it must be all or none at all

 

Studio version from Buddy and Julie Miller

 

Live acoustic version from Buddy Miller and Shawn Colvin

 

Another acoustic version from the songwriter, Richard Thompson

The midst of dystopia

Brilliant perspective from someone inside Italy’s hot zone.

“I’ve been telling people my age that we have to let my parents’ generation go. I say that since these people never relinquished their power, we feel like their tragedy is our tragedy. We’re not an independent generation, I declare emphatically. My pep talk resonates well with my receptive and lonely audience of me and me alone. My anguish lifts. I think to myself that these people—these parents—are even cool. They’ve decided that they’re willing to risk being killed in order to avoid being lame. I don’t know if that pun works, but I’m asking you to be generous during this difficult time.”

[from n+1]

What white America always wanted all along

“There have always been the Nativists, the Know-Nothings, the Klan, the John Birchers, the Knights of the Golden Circle, the Tea Party, the Proud Boys. All the believers in manifest destiny, and the white man’s burden, and a thousand conspiracy theories, going all the way back to Jamestown and Plymouth Colony.

It’s true enough that most white conservatives are not monsters, and that some of them are not bigots—though they have demonstrated no unease whatsoever with the bigotry of their leaders. It’s true that we should go on trying to persuade them, with restraint and respect. Contrary to what every columnist in the country seems to believe, no one I know lives in a “blue bubble.” We have right-wing acquaintances, relatives, even friends, and we listen to what they have to say.

But it’s important to understand that they have been voting the way they have for decades not out of despair or bruised feelings but to get what they want. It does no good to pretend otherwise. A people can be corrupted as well as a man, and our people can be corrupted as much as any other people. Red America is responsible for most of their own problems—and ours—thanks to the policies and the candidates they have supported for decades. But rather than acknowledge any of that they have simply doubled down, foisting upon us this wretched, hollow man, this constant liar who vulgarizes all he touches, who smears and mocks, and who sells himself at every turn, even to foreign dictators. The people, yes—they did this.”

[from Harper’s]

The Parting Glass

Lovely version of a Celtic ballad by the incomparable Rosanne Cash.

[from Public Radio International (PRI)]

The surveillance network on your door

Companies you may have no relationship with can receive information about you and your guests from the camera on the doorbell on your front door. This is in addition to the ability for law enforcement to access your video and employ facial recognition software without your permission (see earlier posts, Feeding the surveillance state from your doorstep, and Ring cameras part 2).

“Facebook, via its Graph API, is alerted when the app is opened and upon device actions such as app deactivation after screen lock due to inactivity. Information delivered to Facebook (even if you don’t have a Facebook account) includes time zone, device model, language preferences, screen resolution, and a unique identifier (anon_id), which persists even when you reset the OS-level advertiser ID.”

[from the EFF]

“This isn’t the Internet people signed up for.”

Amnesty International makes surveillance capitalism a human rights issue. Download the pdf report.

“We let the music make them dance.”

Excellent update to her amazing book. She is absolutely correct on all of this.

‘Data scientists describe this as the shift from monitoring to actuation, in which a critical mass of knowledge about a machine system enables the remote control of that system. Now people have become targets for remote control, as surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in behavior to tune, herd and modify action in the direction of commercial objectives. This third imperative, “economies of action,” has become an arena of intense experimentation. “We are learning how to write the music,” one scientist said, “and then we let the music make them dance.”.’

[from the New York Times]

Blacklist

You could quibble with the order a bit, but they’ve pretty much got it right.

[from Slate]

Intimidation by gun *was designed to be* the violence

Totalitarian states are mostly peaceful and well-behaved too. This excellent article reminds us that gun violence can take many forms, including forms that can be passed off as benign. 

“With the streets largely cleared of contrary viewpoints, reporters sopped up simplistic talking points from pro-gun ralliers, then effectively congratulated them for not killing anyone. They then constructed a vague notion of peace—one uncomplicated by trauma or intimidation—and gawked at it. “

[from the Columbia Journalism Review]

 

Belle de Jour

Happily subscribed to the Criterion Collection’s streaming Criterion Channel. First week watched Federico Fellini’s Amarcord, which I hadn’t seen since it came out in 1973. And tonight, don’t know how I never saw it, Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour (1967) with Catherine Deneuve. Netflix-HBO-Prime-DisneyPlus are all fine, but you just can’t find essential, classic world cinema like this anywhere else.

Qui est le voyeur?

Long, revealing read. 

“If you’re me, scrolling through Instagram, you’re the confidant being whispered to by a face shot from under the chin. You’re the recipient of a holiday card from a family in matching turtlenecks. You’re the magazine subscriber flipping through editorials. You’re the woman standing in front of the screen miming the aerobic movements of your instructor. You’re the mother, adult height, looking down at her child. You’re the lunch companion peering across the table. You’re the customer browsing for deals. You’re the scholar sifting through archives. You’re the fan admiring Beyoncé. You’re the mirror, reflecting the image of the photographer. You’re the photographer, seeing through her eyes. You’re the phone.

Or you’re the voyeur at the window, trying to get a closer lookin which case the villain who enters your private space, not through the window but through the front door, is the ads.”

[from n+1]

John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea

Was having dinner with my daughter at Marisol at MCA Chicago last week and got there a little early, enough time to wander into the Water After All exhibit with John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea three-screen documentary as the centerpiece. Absolutely stunning. Could only stay for 20 of the 40 minutes, and will make a point to return for the whole thing before the exhibit ends on June 14th.

From an interview with Tate in 2015, the year he produced Vertigo Sea:

“The question of why history matters is connected to why the non-fictive or non-fictions matter. ‘Cause you could tell…and I’m using the two phrases here in metaphoric terms…you know you could tell when a surplus of fiction got into the mix.

You know, so, one of the reasons why um, uh, I was compelled in a way to make Vertigo Sea is because, you know, you’re sitting there, listening to someone referring to quote unquote migrants as cockroaches. And you think, okay, what’s going on here.

How do people migrate from being human beings to cockroaches. What do you have to forget, what’s the process of amnesia that allows the kinds of forgetting that builds into hierarchies in which there are beings and non-beings.”

 

You can run but you can’t hide. Neither can your family or friends.

“Yeah, I know Facebook is evil, but I stay on anyway to share and see pictures of everyone’s kids and stuff.”

Might want to check out who Peter Thiel is, his politics, who he hangs out with, and what he’s been up to.

[from The New York Times]

Austin 2001 – 2020

2001 is when I first started to travel there on business. Was last there in 2016, and someday soon need to round out a hat trick on the Austin Statesman Cap10k. The slider in the photos in the link show how incredibly the city has changed in 20 years. 

These photos are taken from the top of the hill on South Congress–you can see the Allens Boots sign on the left in the 2020 shot.

[from Austin Statesman-American]

Get the cosmic popcorn ready

The most spectacular show of our lifetimes…if it happens in our lifetimes. Or sometime in the next million years.

“It takes light from this star about 600 years to reach us, meaning that we’re actually observing the star as it was 600 years ago. If we do see it detonate in our sky any time soon, that means the star actually blew up sometime during the European Middle Ages, and light from the blast is just reaching Earth.”

[from National Geographic]

Taking down the cult of historical amnesia

“For all the damage inflicted since Inauguration Day 2017, America is still standing, a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump, and the laws of gravity, if not those of the nation, remain in full force. Moral gravity may well reassert its pull, too, with time. Rather than being the end of American history as we know it, the Trump presidency may prove merely a notorious chapter in that history. Heedless lapdogs like Kennedy, Devin Nunes, and Lindsey Graham are acting now as if there is no tomorrow, but tomorrow will come eventually, whatever happens in the near future, and Judgment Day could arrive sooner than they think.”

[from New York Magazine]

The mechanics of surveillance capitalism

Outstanding report on how surveillance capitalism tracks you online, on your phone, and in the real physical world. Some of this may be a little technical for non-industry people; worth a read anyway, because most of it is understandable in plain language.

[from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)]

WT.social

If you’re someone I’ve homesteaded with for a long time, and you don’t have access to WT.social yet but would like to try it out during the alpha stage, please let me know and I’ll send you an invite. Still fewer than 500,000 users as of this post.

Plant-based food feng shui

“Diet can be used like acupuncture needles to elicit exact health goals and treatments…”

…or maybe just go for the macro view and eat, to quote our friends at Thug Kitchen, like you give a fuck.