Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Sunday, March 28, 2021
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Friday, March 26, 2021
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Alex Good on Peter Vronsky’s American Serial Killers:
This is a thesis Vronsky previously put forward in another serial-killer book, Sons of Cain, but while the specific connections he makes (parental traumas passed down to the next generation plus “rape culture” magazines) aren’t imaginary or wholly speculative, they still strike me as incidental. Most Boomers were spoiled rather than abused, and the mix of sex and violence in the media today are more advanced than anything in the primitive “sweats.” A counter-argument though might be made (indeed has been made) that today we’ve become inured to porn, or that Internet porn in particular has become a kind of mellowing drug for people with violent dispositions. Meaning that the serial killer epidemic might have been a kind of social trauma that we collectively had to go through in order to arrive at our current narcotized, surveillance state.
In any event, while I appreciate the boldness of the argument I think it’s also hard to generalize. Serial killers are a mixed bag. Much is made here of Ted Bundy’s iconic status as the epidemic’s poster boy, the one who would “define for us the new postmodern serial killer.” But Bundy himself strikes me as being highly atypical in most ways.
We are left to wonder whether the serial killer epidemic of 1970 – 2000 will be repeated. Are such phenomena cyclical, or was this a one-off? It’s a pressing question, as Vronsky is concerned at the potential fallout from such crises as the 2008 subprime meltdown, the war on terror, and the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are looking into the abyss of a new American Noir like the one in the 1940s but worse.” I’d agree that the potential is there, as we’ve already seen political and economic institutions straining and beginning to crack. I see the same dark moon rising that Vronsky does, but whether it will produce more of the sorts of lunatics described in these pages is harder to say.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Happy that my feature-length authorial videopoem Three Tragedies, Four Seasons will get another screening. It was just selected by the Tagore International Film Festival.
Heureux que mon long métrage vidéo poétique Trois Tragédies, Four Seasons obtienne une autre projection. Il vient d'être sélectionné par le Festival international du film de Tagore.*Three Tragedies, Four Seasons*Screenings:Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival 2019Virgin Spring Film Festival 2020Tagore Film Festival 2021*Statement: Three Tragedies, Four Seasons is the result of three projects that came together and merged. One was from a series called World Bardo, which were short ambient pieces or videopoems, and some were about the death of my mother-in-law in the summer of 2018.She passed away in July. It’s a sultry time of year in South Korea, and the sound of insects, the heat, and the humidity suffused everything.The second death was that of my brother — in January, 2013. The weather then was the opposite: frigid and spartan. My brother was fascinated by both summer and winter, especially the bleak, spectral beauty of winter. The final story is a work of fiction — also set in winter. Throughout all these pieces, wanted to capture a feeling of seasonality, and also the sense of the nature/life/death cycles that exist in the world. It’s easy to talk about cycles in an abstract way; after the death of someone you care deeply about, these sensations becomes very profound. The world, the environment, feels like it’s entering you. Intense sadness dissolves us.*Art, text, music, direction: Finn Harvor*YouTube link: Three Tragedies, Four Seasons (take 7)*Trois tragédies, quatre saisons (Three Tragedies, Four Seasons)*À venir au Festival du film Straight Jacket Guerrilla*Déclaration: Three Tragedies, Four Seasons est le résultat de trois projets réunis et fusionnés. L'une d'elles était tirée d'une série intitulée World Bardo, qui consistait en de courts morceaux d'ambiance ou de vidéopoèmes, et certains concernaient la mort de ma belle-mère à l'été 2018.Elle est décédée en juillet. La Corée du Sud est une saison étouffante et le bruit des insectes, la chaleur et l’humidité ont tout envahi.Le deuxième décès est celui de mon frère - en janvier 2013. Le temps était alors opposé: froid et spartiate. Mon frère était fasciné par l'été et l'hiver, en particulier par la beauté sombre et spectrale de l'hiver. La dernière histoire est une fiction - elle se déroule également en hiver. A travers toutes ces pièces, je voulais capturer un sentiment de saisonnalité, ainsi que le sens des cycles nature / vie / mort qui existent dans le monde. Il est facile de parler de cycles de manière abstraite; après la mort de quelqu'un qui vous tient à cœur, ces sensations deviennent très profondes. Le monde, l’environnement, a l’impression de vous pénétrer. Une intense tristesse nous dissout.*Art, texte, musique, direction: Finn Harvor*Lien YouTube: Three Tragedies, Four Seasons (take 7)
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Monday, March 15, 2021
Sunday, March 14, 2021
July 28, 1932. Washington
The sky is a high, mid-summer blue. It has a quality of vast, apparently infinite, peacefulness. Cumulus clouds—as grand as towers—float through the sky, while at ground level the white dome of the Capitol also resembles an immense, majestic cloud.
But also at ground level a demonstration is taking place. A group of World War One veterans moves down a boulevard in one direction while a small group of cavalry backed by a battalion of foot soldiers approaches from the other.
The veterans are mainly dressed in mufti: the neat but inappropriately warm wool trousers of people with only one good pair of pants to wear, white shirts with the sleeves rolled up, or worn-out, shiny jackets. Some are also dressed in doughboy uniforms. But all of them look both impoverished and determined, like a peasant army marching with ragtag determination toward the walls of a royal castle.
Then one of the cavalry's horsemen rushes forward and wades into the crowd. The crowd tries to to stand its territory but almost as quickly pulls back with instinctive fear. The horse rears up, its sweating brown flanks rippling with quivering muscle as the animal's hooves spin dangerously in the air; living clubs. Two or three in the crowd shriek. Behind them, some others call out the demonstration's rallying cry: "Bonus! Bonus!" Then the horse stomps to all fours, its rider yanks the animal's reins, and the demonstrators inch a little farther forward with cautious determination.
To one side of this scene, watching attentively, stands the figure of General Douglas MacArthur. He is impeccable attired in a cavalry uniform, freshly pressed, plumped jodhpurs, and brown riding boots glossed to a fastidious sheen. Next to MacArthur is Major Dwight Eisenhower. He is dressed in civilian clothes: light trousers, a dark jacket and incongruous straw hat. He also looks on the scene taking place attentively, but with some embarrassment. MacArthur, however, is unaware of his aide-de-camp's discomfort; his nostrils, petitely equine, flare with impatience. He calls out to the captain leading the infantry battalion: "You there. Why aren't those troops moving faster?"
The captain calls back, "Sir, they're going as fast as they safely can."
"Don't make them go 'safely.' Make them go."
The infantry advance, their long rifles down, their bayonets forward. In the crowd of demonstrators, individuals—with the bravado of the doomed brave—call out.
"Bonus! A fair bonus for the veteran now!"
"Where's Hoover's heart?"
"We fought for this country! All we're asking for is help at a time of need!"
But the infantry keeps methodically approaching, and when they encounter the first demonstrators, they implacably keep their bayonets at chest level.
A demonstrator, his voice suddenly urgent, cries at the troops, "You brutes! Can't you see there are women and children here?"
The captain leading the infantry battalion says loudly, his tone commanding and bland, "Move on, you people. Move on. Remember, you were in uniform once. Do what you're told. It's for the best."
A man in the background steps to the front of the crowd. He has the hungry, alert look of one who would be either categorized as a troublemaker or hero, depending on one's allegiances.
"The hell we'll take orders from the likes of you! You're just a pawn! Don't you feel any shame? There are veterans here who can barely feed their families! Why don't you think of justice first before you start lecturing others on their duty?"
But the troops are unmoved. And as they continue their advance, the demonstrators are forced to choose between retreat and the feeble defiance of the un-armed which, soon enough, turns to defeat.
A different officer blows a whistle sharply, and second, more aggressive battalion of cavalry move forward. Some of the soldiers, upon reaching the crowd, reverse their rifles and use their butts like truncheons.Behind the foot soldier, also advancing, is a column of tanks. In the midst of them is the figure of George S. Patton. He surveys the crowd for a few moments. Then he says to his crews, "Charge!