If you’re not terrified by now, you ought to be.

20.01.2017 • Permalink

A proud cuck am I; my mangina is bristling with the glow of a good day’s social justice warfare. But, unavoidably, there is something forbidding about the liberal consensus, in the same way there is something forbidding in any status quo or agreed-upon logic. This culture has created the false perception that questioning anything from the hegemony of globalisation, to the legitimacy of open gayness and women’s rights, equality between races and secularisation all taboo subjects. They have become a fire for the racists, the nationalists, the dispossessed and the bored to dance around. The Quietus: The Kids Are Alt-Right? The Hippie Energies Behind Brexit & Trump

19.01.2017 • Permalink

I like the outgoing president a lot, but I think it behooves us to remember that a vast surveillance expansion, the kind we tend to worry about when the guy at the top is someone like Trump, happened on his watch, and for all the outrage we muster at the goings-on i Syria, the situation in Yemen is nearly as bad, yet it is blessed and backed by the USA. That said, realpolitik is hard, and whatever setbacks and fuckups Obama has had to contend with, the one thing we know with reasonable certainty is that Trump will be worse. So much, much worse. Sad!

19.01.2017 • Permalink

The Older Boys

Ace Merrill demonstrating why smoking is bad for you.

I watched Stand By Me the other day. I haven’t seen it since I was a teen, so it was almost like seeing for the first time. Despite a somewhat cloying boomer nostalgia, it’s a good coming-of-age movie. The direction is crisp and efficient, and the kid actors are all solid to great. (Knowing what would become of Phoenix (and to a lesser degree Feldman) adds not a little pathos.)

I haven’t really thought about it before, but it struck me that “the older boys” in Stephen King’s novels are frequently really fucking scary. The Diamonds, the gang in Stand By Me, are punks and bullies, engaged in petty destruction and car theft because they’re bored and being wild alleviates that boredom. “Boys will be boys,” as the saying goes.

Their leader Ace Merrill, however, is menacing in a very different way. He is cut from the same cloth as Randall Flagg and so many of King’s other agents of chaos and horror. There is violence and the promise of bloodshed just below the surface of his cold eyes. When he pulls a switchblade on the boys towards the end, there is no doubt that he will use it.

(In Dance Macabre, King wrote dismissively of Fonzie, bemoaning how greasers were de-fanged and made cuddly by pop culture. Ace Merrill seems to be King’s way of giving them their fangs back.)

Stephen King has more in common with Ray Bradbury than I previously realized. On the surface, they’re pretty different; King is a horror novelist and Bradbury a fantasist (or magical realist, if you’re scared of admitting you like genre work). Both, however, expertly describe those near-endless summers of early teens, just on the cusp of adulthood. It’s just that Bradbury’s characters tend to remain in the twilight of childhood, whereas King’s trudge onwards to the myriad disappointments and tiny victories of grown-up life (not least sobriety.)

I connect with this fear because I was pushed around by the bigger boys too. It can be frightening, especially when you’re a bit of a loner and lacking in social skills. And growing older, I recognize some of King’s themes running through my own life, even though we’re from different generations. (Which is probably one of the resasons he’s the best-selling author of all time.)

King’s older boys are often the dark image of adulthood. They are the road best not taken. The lost boys gone bad. They’re confident and care-free, they don’t abide by the rules, and what’s worse, they don’t play fair.

We mostly seem to leave our childhood fears behind, but they can leave scars and no matter what, those will always be there, hovering in some dark corner. And sometimes, as King well knows, they come back.

16.01.2017 • Permalink

California, dette myteomspunnede stedet fjernt i vest, har fortsatt ikke glidd ut av vår kollektive fantasi, mye takket være musikere som The Beach Boys, som flittig hjalp til å bygge opp myten om stedet. Bandet The Explorers Club kommer fra den andre siden av USA, nærmere sagt Atlanta i Georgia Charleston i South Carolina, men når man hører dem spille, værer man sol, strand og surfebrett.

Deres siste utgivelse heter Together og kom i 2016, og for å være ærlig ligger det nesten parodisk nær The Beach Boys i uttrykket. Singelen heter California’s Callin’ Ya, og om du er glad i vakker koring, og trenger et snev av solskinn mens det pissregner i hovedstaden midtvinters, kan du ha absolutt ha det verre i tre minutter.

10.01.2017 • Permalink

“the Internet” is done already. It had a great historic arc, but it maxed out on its own excesses and unconfronted issues, much like the Space Age and atomic power did. Anybody who still thinks “net neutrality” is the be-all and end-all of the modern tech biz can go somewhere where they still enjoy net neutrality — the flatness, the small pieces loosely joined, the permissionless innovation, etc. Go to Iceland, maybe. Sure: go start a no-permission Internet website in Iceland. Birgitta Jonsdottir will be nice to you, you might even get fan mail from Wikileaks. Otherwise, it’s quite like building your own crystal-set ham radio. Nobody will stop you, because it just doesn’t matter. Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2017

08.01.2017 • Permalink

The world is looking scarier. But let’s not give up just yet.

02.01.2017 • Permalink
Vålerenggata mot Enebakkveien

Vålerenggata mot Enebakkveien, 1910

Vålerenggata for 106 år siden. (Tobakksutsalget har flyttet seg noen lokaler til høyre. Muligens nye eiere.)

21.12.2016 • Permalink