David Thompson
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February 23, 2010

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Jason Bontrager

The Revolution has been automated.

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-02/wiimote-controlled-robot-drum-circle-makes-human-hippies-obsolete

I wonder if it can be programmed to play with Dance Dance Revolution...

Anna

"Performing music and dancing... may be powerful enough to substitute the culture of consumerism"

Because clubs and pop festivals really shook up that hegemonic consumerist environment...

AC1

Maybe they should look at governments that encourage unsustainable growth of debt to create (and thus tax consumption) if they want to really do anything about over-consumption...

But that might require a bit less bong-time.

carbon based lifeform

"we are looking for an utterly new way of happiness and a quotidian practice that provides postmodern urban dwellers with sense and orientation."

Academic modesty.

clazy

"Self-induced simplification"? Is that like putting a shotgun in your mouth? Because it certainly simplifies things. Keep your hands off my quotidian practice!

sk60

"an utterly new way of happiness"

I think that's another typo. It should say hippiness.

Travis

As an art teacher I hear a lot of these ideas against consumerism from my students who see no problem in spending large sums of money on art supplies that are frankly, expensive, hard to produce, rare, and often highly toxic and not-at-all gaia-friendly. When I point this out, they nearly always make exceptions for their own consumption, because it's GOOD consumption and somehow doesn't count. Purchasing an energy efficient flatscreen is consumerism. Creating a work of art from several hundred dollars worth of manufactured goods is not. Even when I get through to some of them, their solutions are less than inspiring. Usually something about using "found," recycled or traditional materials.

Even if you're welding junk parts, you still need to buy the welder. Even if we go back to egg tempera we still have to buy the eggs.

They never realize just how much their own lifestyle depends on the so-called excesses of consumerism. An art store is as much a product of our consumerism as an electronics store, and that's before we get to the thorny subject of selling their art. If the tools to make their works causes consumerism, isn't the buyer on the other end "consuming" when they purchase their works made from manufactured paints and pre-gessoed canvases? Why isn't that consumerism?

That usually ends with the adamant riposte that it can't be consumerism because it's "art" at which point I tell them I'm going to sign my plasma screen and engage in several hours of "performance" everyday.

Sam

"Performing music and dancing... may be powerful enough to substitute the culture of consumerism"

We should hook this guy up with the idiots at the NEF.

Maddog

Darn. I was hoping it came with scantily clad women and a pole. Now that's dancing!!!

AC1

Maddog,

That doesn't need extorted taxpayers money to survive... Therefore it's bad.

Socialism is an inverted morality based on narcissism therefore extorting money from taxpayers for your stuff = good. mutual reciprocation = bad.

Chris S

Not to NOT make fun of hippies. They do kinda have a point. If you're too busy at the drum circle dancing, you're not shopping (or possibly using your consumerist goods, or opressing minorities).

Remember dance and music are to be free, no dance gulags (clubs) or selling out at music fesitvals. But feel free to buy my CD.

dicentra

"you're not shopping (or possibly using your consumerist goods, or oppressing minorities)"

or mending the widow's leaky roof or studying brain surgery or building bridges or discovering cold fusion in your garage.

"we are looking for an utterly new way of happiness and a quotidian practice that provides postmodern urban dwellers with sense and orientation"

Read: We're miserable, unhappy bastards who have transcended the need for transcending the need for transcending transcendence for the 457th iteration and by Gaia we'll find a permanent state of ecstasy THIS time.

dicentra

"They never realize just how much their own lifestyle depends on the so-called excesses of consumerism."

Nor how those who live at subsistence levels just don't have the time to engage in Art for the sake of Art. Any decoration the extremely poor do is on their utilitarian items: clothing, bowls, shaman's costumes. And it all looks the same: each tribe has its own style, and everyone follows it. No individualism is indulged.

The Anasazi never constructed art museums. The Masai don't erect statuary that challenges traditional notions of beauty. The Nepalese don't smear yak dung on their deities to protest Teh Patriarchy.

Only a very wealthy society with plenty of leisure can indulge Artists as such. And a very spoiled one.

B Moe

So does this mean the grasshopper was right?

David

Dicentra,

“...by Gaia we’ll find a permanent state of ecstasy THIS time.”

The Zombie article links to a remarkable number of dancing-for-Gaia events, with organisers making much the same bewildering pronouncements: “It’s important our message is carried from head to toe, in dance, in music and ultimately in policy and action.” It all seems rather fatuous and self-congratulatory, as such things generally do. (For some reason I’m reminded of “masturbate for peace.”*) Perhaps these dance events are imagined to work as propaganda or “consciousness raising” or something. Either way, they seem to underline a kind of quasi-religious sentiment. I suspect that for some it’s a form of worship. And the fact that Mayer’s flimflam is taken so seriously – or seriously at all - probably tells us something about Berkeley’s academic standards.

* http://www.masturbateforpeace.com/

AC1

David,

When ARE you going to get Ark-B ready? I'm getting impatient.

LS

In the extension of self-reflexivity by percussion participants, any cultural references are veritably steamrolled by the facilitation of exhibition-attention/psychosocial projections.

Drum Circles = Choking the Proverbial Chicken

Horace Dunn

“...we are looking for an utterly new way of happiness and a quotidian practice that provides postmodern urban dwellers with sense and orientation.”

I’m intrigued by the use of the word “quotidian” here. It goes clunk in the middle of the sentence. It is unidiomatic. I’m getting on in years and I have never once heard anyone use that word in everyday (forgive me) speech. I’m not all that well-read but I only recall encountering the word “quotidian” spoken by medical types in Victorian novels. When I saw that sentence I couldn’t help feeling that its author was someone who had recently encountered the word “quotidian” and was keen to use it to show off his or her learning. It seems to me to be an example of someone using a posh or clever word where a simpler word would do as well. It’s pure speculation, of course, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I can’t help thinking that the author of that sentence is a bit of a twerp.

Terry_Jim

"we are looking for ... a quotidian practice that provides postmodern urban dwellers with sense and orientation."

Most of us 'modern' urban dwellers refer to that as a
"job", Professor Meyer. And, really sir, you aren't breaking any new ground -Todd Rundgren beat you to the idea... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgAU4vPco9M&feature=related

David

Horace,

“I’m intrigued by the use of the word ‘quotidian’ here. It goes clunk in the middle of the sentence.”

It’s to signal the author’s cleverness in relation to his students. Academics who work in disreputable or imaginary subjects often feel a need to do that. As I’ve said before, it helps if you imagine a tiny creature inflating its gas bladder to intimidate passers-by.

Rabbit

Truth, fact, and reality carry little weight for the far left. Everything is politics and perception. Thus, when it comes to saving ourselves from ourselves, dancing makes as much as sense as anything.

Megaera

Um, sounds pretty much like the weekly jazzercize class to me. Since it's Berkeley, of course, minus the overweight matrons in shiny spandex (no synthetics for THESE guys) -- but knock out the chirpy 20-something hard-body gym rat and sub in the moody dreadlocked enlightened Dance Leader, and you've got yourself a quotidian world-saving activity.

Jeff

David Thompson wrote, "The language, she is beautiful."

ROFLMAO!

Esteban Cafe

Freeze or Fry, the problem is always Captialism and the solution is always Socialism -- Harvard's Dr. Malcolm Ross

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