"most people understand the sentiment that this graphic expresses, but a few have requested an explanation and i'm happy to provide one. i know that a lot of people will simply see this image as a punk gimmick, but sincerely, it's not. i think that what thurston and i are doing is one of the most patriotic gestures anyone could make. we are working to huddle together the voices of those who have something to say about the aimless direction in which this country is tumbling. as it becomes increasingly more apparent that this government for and by the people is becoming increasingly more comfortable ignoring said people and sacrificing them on the battlefield for resources and empire, we need to speak up and we need to speak out. contrary to the opinion of a man we never elected, we are not a "focus group." we are the government. we are this country. our rights are being trampled. our working class and poor are being led to slaughter. our privacy is becoming evermore a diaphanous myth. corporations, the lobby groups who represent them and the courts have more control over the power structure in this country than any electoral college could ever dream. this state of affairs is not a part of the country that sits stitched in Old Glory. i think that my flag imagery supports these statements and buttresses the efforts of this site. i say "fuck the flag" because it's lost its meaning. it's devoid of all that it once stood for. desecrate it and start afresh. take it back, renew its meaning and then return it to the glory of old. it's not disrespectful at all. it's patriotic. too many people who wave it and rally behind it do so as a consumer convention. it's an icon that people buy and sell and buy and sell into. the lapel pins, the window-clings, the tshirts, bags, skateboards and fluttering graphics that mar the lower-third of my television... it's become a crass tool of accessible conspicuous consumption. it saddens me to see these flags. it saddens me completely. the stencil is my way of saying, "if this pisses you off, ask me why i did it and then help me make it right." i will neither wave, nor salute, nor hide behind an icon that has been hijacked by an administration of pirates and poisons. i will not have them wrap my mind in a fabric of a nationalism that i neither condone nor identify with."
Visit Protest Records. It's not a hardcore political forum or anything. But there are a couple of interesting stencils together with a collection of free mp3s by artists who voice their opinions on the current monkey running America. I wish there were a bit more rock music in there, but hey, Beastie Boys is in there.
Speaking of the Bush Administration, I thought I'd mention this video clip. I stress that this is completely unrelated to the previous paragraph because I am not "smooth like sandpaper" as the Leech was in his previous post. This particular clip revolves around a conspiracy theory that the object that hit the Pentagon on 9/11 was not a plane at all. I am personally skeptical to theories without evidence, but I leave you to judge this particular one yourself as there are some pretty interesting 'facts'. Some people even believe that 9/11 was conducted by the American government altogether. And now I shall make another painfully smooth transit out of this paragraph.
Music for Relief was created in response to the recent devastation in Southern Asia, thus concerned musicians and fans along with the American Red Cross have formed Music For Relief. All donations go directly to aid the victims and their families. If you have 15 seconds to spare, visit this site and look on the left sidebar that displays all the supporting artistes. Plenty of rock bands huh? (Yes, even Tom Morello is in there) What I'd really like to know though, is where all the rich rap/hiphop 'artists' are...with all their bentleys and "bling-bling". Where have all the pop stars gone? I'm tempted to say that they have a bad excuse for not making a show...but then I'm even more tempted to say their "work" doesn't qualify for Music at all.
"Singapore - Internet dating is on the rise in Singapore with men turning to popular websites outnumbering women by three to one, online agencies reported Monday.About 72 percent of the members of Singapore Cupid, one of the first dating sites in Singapore, are men.The site currently has more than 20 000 members, a jump from 9 000 in 2002.Those who sign up are not desperate and ugly, just single and anxious for company, The Straits Times found in a check of more than 10 000 profiles.They are between 26 and 30, hold a diploma or higher educational qualifications, and earn more than 25 000 Singapore dollars (about R80 000) a year.A turn-on for Singapore Cupid's male members is long hair on a woman. Their biggest turn-off is sarcasm.The women want men who are bold and assertive. They are not interested in males with body-piercing.Marketing executive Bertha Cheung said she turned to the Web because a club or pub is too noisy."At least on the Internet, after sending a few email messages, you have an idea of what the person is like," she was quoted as saying. - Sapa-dpa" From IOL.
So many stereotypes come to mind, I don't know which one to pick. And you know your country is becoming a land of dorks when people start feeling that emails are more personal than actually meeting somewhere. One day we will all be saying our marriage vows over the internet...
A man with no flag
I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.
- Pledge of Allegiance
I remember a time, way back in some of my earliest living memories, when I resided with my mother in Dallas, Texas, in kindergarden. One day my teacher encouraged me to come up to the front of the class. As nervous as I probably was, she finally persuaded me to lead the class in taking the national pledge. So there I was, standing beside the American flag which stars and red and white stripes seemed to tower above me on that day, taking my first pledge ever as the class repeated each line after me. So much meaning behind the words...but of course, I was only 5 or 6.
"I Pledge Allegiance... - I Promise to be faithful and true (Promise my loyalty)."
I wonder how many people today say a national pledge, which I think are only mandatory to school students in most countries, and really mean those words, or even understand them for that matter. I remember when I was in secondary school in Singapore when taking the national pledge was just another morning routine before starting the long, humid day. It starts of with "We, the citizens of Singapore...", yet I am not a citizen of Singapore. Is there somewhat of an exclusion to foreigners or permanent residents living in the country? Mostly, it was a bunch of lines that school students would say half-heartedly because it was too damn early in the morning and the principal barking over the PA system didn't quite help either.
"..to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God.. - These 50 individual states are united as a single Republic under the divine providence of God, "our most powerful resource" (according to the words of President Eisenhower)"
One Nation under God. The word God lies within the American pledge, yet He has become the most controversial man in the country today. It seems like a war between the new-age aethists and the traditional christians. Yet, some people go to lengths to manipulate the name of God to justify their cause. Whether it is war, gay marriage or embryo stem cell cloning. President Eisenhower approved the addition of the words "under God" in the pledge in 1954 saying, "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war." By that, I don't think he meant that we should use God's name to give just cause for war. Despite my belief that there should be a separation of religion and state in every democratic country, you cannot help but admit that America was built on christian values and heritage. God is meant to be there as a spiritual means of maintaining those moral values that America was built on. And also to be there in times of war. But not an influence on political decisions. The one mistake with countries that fuse religion and state is that often God's name is used to justify atrocities carried out in war. For a shared faith does not neccessarily equal a shared political decision. But to completely ignore God, what meaning is left when you take an oath "in the name of God" in court for example?
"Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.. - Cannot be separated. This part of the original version of the pledge was written just 50 years after the beginning of the Civil War and demonstrates the unity sought in the years after that divisive period in American history. Liberty, the people of this nation being afforded the freedom to pursue "life, liberty and happiness"."
America couldn't be more divided now. Red States Blue States. Aethists and Christians. Pro war and anti war. I think that people really need to sit down and think about how they are breaking down the very essence of what makes their country, and why they were proud to be wherever they may be from to begin with. Despite the half-hearted morning anthem, Singaporeans are generally patriotic and never have I seen such unity on National Day than anywhere else. In the UK, I'm not sure if they even have a national celebration day. All the holidays seem to have something to do with banks, a saint, or fireworks. Even Christmas seems to have lost its meaning in this country that is slowly shifting towards an aethist state as the christian population declines.
While I personally feel like I fit nowhere, my country of citizenship despises me (another long story) and Singapore's political system was never quite to my liking, I do sometimes envy those who feel a true place of belonging. And that's why I sometimes think back to the early days, when times were so much less complicated and ignorance was bliss at an age of 6, just enjoying the feeling of being part of something great...standing in front of the new generation of countrymen leading them in the pledge for their flag.
Silence the People
I am the harcore heavy metal anti-social rebel
Detest the system's stereotypical label
Raise your flag against this land of hipocracy
Unshackle yourself from this place of so-called democracy.
Woman who campaigned against China's one-child policy admitted to psychiatric hospitals, tortured, then sent to labour camp.
BEIJING — China on Monday denied claims by U.S. officials and a human rights group that a Shanghai woman is undergoing "RE-EDUCATION" through labor for her campaign to abolish the country's one-child policy. Read more here.
The system claims yet another victim.
On a slightly lighter note, R&B musician Seal, part of a dying breed of true R&B culture, speaks out against other 'popular' hip-hop/rap 'artists'.
"Seal, who recently became engaged to model Heidi Klum, attacked fellow black artists for making videos which treat women as “sexual objects”.“I haven’t had a lot of contact or dialogue with rappers,” he said.“It’s sad when you see the rappers on TV and in the videos making these derogatory videos towards women ... kind of like sexual objects. And also portraying their idea of success to be ’all you gotta do is make a rap record, get the money and get the ... cars and that is success’ – and ’look at me, I’m killing it now’,” he said. Seal, the son of Nigerian parents, told Sister 2 Sister magazine: “It’s so sad because we’re damaging our own. Like, in different cultures, you would never see that." Read more here.
I've never really listened to Seal, apart from that theme he did for Batman Forever. But kudos to him for not selling out with the stupid bling bling and 'booty' videos.