Friday, July 24, 2015


1. Back in the later days of the Magazine Renaissance of the 1990's, one of my favorite regularly published indie political/cultural journals was Thomas Frank's The Baffler. Each issue of this slightly-bigger-than-digest-sized quarterly seemed like a beautifully hand-crafted piece of whip-smart critique. Thus, I was both delighted and relieved when I stumbled across an article from a recently-relaunched online version of the The Baffler. Delighted because the article, entitled Flakes Alive, is superlative, and relieved because it totally lived up to The Baffler's high standards, in all respects (attitude, quality, iconoclasm, entertainment). Here's a hilarious selection that will hopefully entice you into reading the entire, extremely worthwhile article. I'm serious, here. You should definitely read this, even if you self-identify leftist or liberal. In fact, you should read it ESPECIALLY if you self-identify as leftist or liberal. Check it out:
A few weeks back in Manhattan, hundreds of socialists, communists, anarchists, and even few decent “small-d” democrats shuffled into the unlikely venue of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (ironically, best known as a “cop school”) for Left Forum 2015. ... This year’s confab boasted 1,300 speakers and four hundred events under the salient title of “No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism and Democracy.” 
At its best, Left Forum remains a reassuring beacon of cameraderie and ambition. In addition to seasoned journalists, organizers and academics, it usually snags a few big public intellectuals, like Noam Chomsky, David Harvey, and Angela Davis, while also peppering the bill with high-profile activists like Harry Belafonte and Michael Moore. The organizers sometimes even lure the odd political success story, most recently Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council member and open socialist... 
At its worst, however, Left Forum is Comic Con for Marxists—Commie Con, if you will—and an absolute shitshow of nerds and social rejects. There are bitter old codgers that will harangue you about a thirty-some-years-old internecine grudge, and there are politically unsophisticated kids with Che Guevara t-shirts and Adbusters subscriptions. There are sanctimonious Trotskyists, ridiculous Maoist Third-Worldists, condescending horizontalist anarchists, smug social democrats and a glut of ardent adherents to similarly esoteric ideological traditions, all competing for the title of Most Insufferable Anti-Capitalist... 
But the grumps and the brats, the blowhards and the sectarians, the narcissists and the pessimists—all of these people are bearable to me, some even charming. No, the worst part of Left Forum is the crackpots, the paranoiacs, the hysterics, and all the other truly dysfunctional personalities attracted by the conference’s most infamous policy: no panel submission will be rejected.
You can imagine where things go from here. Thankfully, you don't have to, as the article, as previously noted, is RIGHT FUCKING HERE. Read it, damn you. Read it and learn!

2. If the BBC is so hifalutin and sophisto, then why the Hellespont are they publishing articles with ridiculously ludicrous and misleading titles like The Strange Phenomenon of Musical Skin Orgasms? Because the article, good as it is, is really just about how some people experience really, really intense tingles, shivers and goosebumps when listening to their favorite piece of music. I mean, it's a great article. But a really shitty, exploitative, unnecessarily sexed-up title. I imagine you'll enjoy it as much as I did, though. So go for it!

3. And now, to cleanse the palate, here's a weird little article from sci-fi blog, all about The Five Best and Worst Demons to Get Possessed By. Please ignore the dangling participle, but do NOT neglect to close your magickal summoning circle and perform the proper banishing rituals once you're done with any and all workings! Because, I mean, come on... who could possibly resist summoning the likes of this?
Many of the demons on this list are first mentioned in the Great Grimoire of Honorius. Who was Honorius? Historians aren’t sure, but they think that he was Honorius III, who was the Pope from 1216 to 1227. Whether he wrote the book or not, Honorius is famous among popes for deliberately doing ceremonies to summon demons so he could then banish the demons back down to hell. Apparently, he wanted to be ready to fight Satan at any time, and the demons were his sparring partners. Surgat, of all of these, earns his place on the scary list because he can’t be shaken. He’s described in Honorius-the-Professional-Demon-Ejector’s book with one sentence: “Surgat is he who opens all locks.”
 See what I mean about closing that circle?!

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