Saturday, October 31, 2009

Marketing Magic; Consumer Choice as Ritual Reified

So it occurred to me that the range of consumer choice represents a
desire to change not the product but one's own life. If my brand of
coffee represents me then symbolically, changing brands represents
changing my life.

Obviously, this change is insignificant, if I wished to improve my
family relationships or my job prospects and so on. To believe that a
change of brand will change one's life is irrational. However, it
seems to me that this constitutes a desire for magic. Work, effort and
reflection are not needed- just a consumer incantation.

As with all magic spells, if a consumer ritual fails to effect the
desired change, then another attempt might work. The failure was
improper recitation. The wrong brand of ketchup and life is a failure.
If only I could choose the right ketchup, car, jacket and shoes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Smell Grows; More Harper Conservatives' Scandals

According to The Canadian Press, Sen. Leo Housakos, a recent Harper appointee( I thought Mr. Harper would not appoint Senators on principle) worked for BPR engineering while sitting in the Senate, and resigned his position shortly after BPR received a large contract based on the stimulus package.


Housakos has also been linked to the Construction industry kickback scandal in Quebec.

After declaring an end to "cheque book" politics it seems the Conservatives are again bribing taxpayers with their own money. By attaching signs to every bit of maintenance they hope to appear active- of course all this advertising costs money. But they don't mind as it evades election laws that limit how much political party's can spend. Remember the "in and out" scandal?

Now revelations are surfacing that the stimulus package is overwhelming being distributed where it will best serve Tory election interests.

Stay tuned for more...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Tell me what company you keep..."- de Cervantes; Obama's Peace Prize Critics

Mr. Obama's nobel peace prize has aroused vitriolic criticism and dismissal from Conservative critics. Especially those on the American right and from Al Queda & Islamic conservative groups. Who would have thought they would agree on something? Perhaps it is because both of them would rather fight than think, destroy rather than mature.

It took Mr. W. Bush eight years to fail in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is still at large. The US deficit was created in 4 years after Mr. Clinton took eight years to create a surplus after huge deficits under Mr. Reagan and the first Mr. Bush. Medicare as we Canadians know it as well as the Norwegians, French, British and so on know it took a generation to introduce. Expecting Mr. Obama to deliver it all in less than a year is unreasonable. It bespeaks of an adolescent impatience and sense of entitlement that US citizens will have to outgrow if they want to prosper in the long run.

This immaturity, this adolescent bombast plays out in both in the bomb-throwing medieval-ism of the Islamic radical right, and their preening, jingoistic confreres of the American far right. They truly need each other as a rationale for their inherently destructive impulses; Their immunity to maturity. It speaks to who they are, that they criticize together.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Back to the Basics; Philosophy, Art History and what I'm Thinking

It often helps to return to the sources of what we think about, so we can determine how far and how well we have gone. So...

What is True, Good and Beautiful were the classical conceptions of philosophical questions. I would rephrase them tentatively as: Why is there something rather than nothing? How can we know this? How can we evaluate it's relevance to us?

Obviously, we ourselves are included in the set of things that comprise that something. The language we use to ask these questions also comprise part of that something, as does the methods of knowing that we use to ask that fundamental question of why there is something rather than nothing.

Philosophy is the ungainly attempt to tackle questions that come naturally to children, using methods that come naturally to lawyers.
-David Hills
I think Prof. Hills' was being sardonic, but there is a useful approach in his functional definition. The questions are often very simple, but the logic required to precisely structure the question as well as provide criteria to propose and evaluate an answer are torturous.

My broadest question is what does it mean, if anything, that we are here now, looking/sensing/perceiving all this stuff and reacting to it. Why do Joe Pass and Oscar Peterson make me feel good when they play "Caravan"? What does it mean that my consciousness reacts to these apparent perceptions? What does it say about this universe that I can experience these phenomena and then express them? Why can my perceptions apparently err?

These are questions so vast that they seem to defy answers, so they must be analyzed, or deconstructed into questions narrow and sharply defined so the answer has some chance of remaining valid.

Does aesthetic experience some how touch "reality" in the noumenal(Kantian), Dionysian(Nietzschean) or phenomenological (Merleau-Pontian) senses? That question arose from some logical problems I had with Emmanual Kant when I studied him with Gerry LaVallee over twenty years ago. My questions were not original, as I learned later, because Arthur Schopenhauer had asked them and provided his answers in 1500 pages or so. My questions were creative, I think, because I had never read or encountered Schopenhauer's thought prior to ten years after I raised my questions about Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.

Now I'm asking a very specific question, set in very defined temporal(because I am doing Art History) and spatial locus. Can the relationship between linear perspective and the feeling we often call immersion better be defined as "Ekstasos" when we consider games such as Prince of Persia juxtaposed with Piranesi's Carceri drawings?

For Those About To Love (show review)

Add ImageWith sure harmonies and assertive sonic dynamics For Those About To
Love offered transcendent neo-psychodelic power pop. A romantic
character conveyed by their interwoven vocal harmonies confirms an
elegant lyricism. The interplay of guitar/bass/drum aggression with
complex vocal arrangements and electronics culminated in an ecstatic

Valerie Jodoin-Keaton, the group's keyboardist, and lone female
vocalist notes the group's taste for Pink Floyd.

They will launch their new record at La Sala Rossa on October 27, 2009

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster