The Null Device
Community activism can cut both ways; in San Diego, for example, activists are mobilising to occupy benches to keep the homeless off. The noble cause behind this: dissatisfaction by the benches' donors (a merchants' association) that they were attracting undesirables:
Esther Viti, who oversees the donation of public benches for a merchants' association in La Jolla, sent an e-mail to 45 other activists last week asking them to sit in three-hour shifts, no bathroom breaks allowed.
"After all, you MUST OCCUPY THAT BENCH continually for three hours to prevent that homeless person from sitting on that bench," the e-mail said.Interesting how the non-judgemental phrase "homeless person" has wasted no time in soaking up the same connotations as politically-incorrect phrases like "bum" and "tramp" that it displaced.
Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat has a beautifully poetic and thought-provoking article about the death of a recluse, found in his Helsinki apartment some three years after his death:
The odd invoice arrived, followed by their reminders, and then not even them.
Direct debit arrangements handled most of the bills, including the maintenance charge on the apartment.
The guy who comes to read the electricity meter didn’t ring the doorbell, because he didn’t need to: the meter is in the basement.
The man lay in the bathroom doorway.
At some point the bathroom lamp gave up the ghost, as they do, and he was left in the dark.
The makers of Stuff White People Like bring us two more slightly uncomfortable satirical glimpses into race and class in today's America: firstly, Stuff White Trash People Like (including the likes of "boxed wine", "NASCAR", and "High School Sweethearts"):
#1: AmericaAnd then there's Stuff Educated Black People Like (like "Getting Dressed Up", "Conferences" and "Poetry Slams" and "Moving To Atlanta").
Budweiser, fake tits, the V8, Little Debbies, the Fourth of July, all you can eat buffets, Viagra, yeah, America invented all that shit. Not enough for you? Tell you what, every other country that’s been to the moon raise your hand.
That’s what we thought.
If America’s not the best country ever, then why did Jesus invent it? See, you can’t argue with that logic.
If you were wondering what happened to 1990s alternative band Curve, their frontwoman Toni Halliday is working on a solo project, under the name of Chatelaine. She currently has two tracks on a MySpace page, and it sounds like a piano-based singer-songwriter act, only, of course, with more big drum machines and lyrics about self-harm and such. An album is expected this year.