The Null Device
It has emerged that the Tory candidate for Dorset South had put a doctored photograph of himself at a rally on a pamphlet, completely changing the meaning of the signs he was holding:
Only a month ago Mr Matts lent his support to the local Kachepa family, who were threatened with deportation. A photograph taken at the time showed Mr Matts in a crowd of local supporters holding up a photo of the family, with veteran Tory MP Ann Widdecombe by his side holding a placard saying "let them stay".
One month on, an altered version of the photo appeared on Mr Matt's election leaflets. Mr Matt holds a sign saying "controlled immigration", while Ms Widdecombe's says "not chaos and inhumanity".
Objectivists, psychopaths and believers in the virtues of cruelty and pollution rejoice: there's now an anti-ethical investment fund tailored to your values. The Free Enterprise Action Fund specifically invests in companies who refuse to be intimidated by pressure from "leftists":
"What we're trying to create is a grassroots, investor-based movement to pressure corporations to resist the activists," Milloy said, adding that the Free Enterprise Action Fund is "the first and only" of its kind and "definitely the first to be doing this as shareholders."
Milloy also said the Free Enterprise Action Fund will encourage corporations not to be intimidated by the left and to hire people with the same philosophy. "If you're going to hire these people that can't stand the heat, they shouldn't be in the kitchen. What I can stop is corporate management trying to appease these [activist groups], thinking that it will make the problem go away," he added.
The Free Enterprise Action Fund refuses to disclose which companies they have invested in, but says that some of them are tobacco companies. I imagine that weapons manufacturers would be another profitable sector in today's global environment.
Meanwhile, activist pressure seems to have worked on Nike; the company, once synonymous with labour exploitation, has now become the first major company to disclose its full list of suppliers and contract factories, theoretically allowing them to be held to account more effectively over employment practices. While it's still too early to praise Nike as a model citizen (one would have to see results for that), now one no longer has to feel bad about buying a pair of Converse All-Stars. Unless, of course, one is an Objectivist or similar.
Gwen Stefani, that Madonna of major-label pop-punk, has taken a liking to Japanese teen street fashion. And, being a savvy commodified-rebellion entrepreneur, she has appropriated this phenomenon and redigested it into a commercially viable cliché, by hiring four Asian women to dress like Harajuku hipsters and follow her around, contractually prohibited from speaking anything but Japanese:
They shadow her wherever she goes. They're on the cover of the album, they appear behind her on the red carpet, she even dedicates a track, "Harajuku Girls," to them. In interviews, they silently vogue in the background like living props; she, meanwhile, likes to pretend that they're not real but only a figment of her imagination. They're ever present in her videos and performances -- swabbing the deck aboard the pirate ship, squatting gangsta style in a high school gym while pumping their butts up and down, simpering behind fluttering hands or bowing to Stefani. That's right, bowing. Not even from the waist, but on the ground in a "we're not worthy, we're not worthy" pose. She's taken Tokyo hipsters, sucked them dry of all their street cred, and turned them into China dolls.
Stefani fawns over harajuku style in her lyrics, but her appropriation of this subculture makes about as much sense as the Gap selling Anarchy T-shirts; she's swallowed a subversive youth culture in Japan and barfed up another image of submissive giggling Asian women. While aping a style that's suppose to be about individuality and personal expression, Stefani ends up being the only one who stands out.
The article in question goes on to excoriate other Western stereotypes of Japanese culture, from Tarantino's killer schoolgirl to Peter Carey's confession of cluelessness, "Wrong About Japan".
It looks like the rerelease fairy had been busy recently, with a goodly number appearing on the horizon. First of all, Stereolab's 3CD+1DVD retrospective Oscillons from the Anti-Sun, is coming out in just under two weeks (a few days before OSX Tiger). I'll probably pick it up, it having a decent number of tracks I haven't got, as well as the videos.
Meanwhile, a month after that, there's a Belle & Sebastian singles compilation coming out, wittily titled "Push Barman to Open Old Wounds", with a decent number of singles and B-sides up until I'm Waking Up To Us.
And then there are those Cure rereleases, all lovingly remastered and packed with extra CDs of bonus tracks, live recordings and demos, all from back when The Cure were interesting. Or, as VICE Magazine (which, incidentally, gave the three rereleases 30/10) put it:
He wrote these in his early 20s. He thought he'd be dead by 27. Creatively, he kind of was.
Anyway, it's good to see a version of Carnage Visors coming out that's not a badly encoded MP3 of a well-worn 3rd-generation cassette recording.
It's official: MacOS 10.4 Tiger will be coming out in April, as speculated. Though it won't be out until the 29th.