Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

Movies — Doctor Ninja on February 22, 2007 at 12:23 am

The first draft of this review was basically a word for word transcription of the documentary. Since Noam Chomsky already wrote a book called Manufacturing Consent, I figured that was pretty pointless. You’ll learn more about the world from watching this 167-minute movie than you will from watching a billion hours of TV news. Or at least you’ll learn why watching a billion hours of TV news won’t teach you much about the world. I’ll make this brief so you’ll have more time to check out this mind-blowing movie. Noam Chomsky is a world-renowned scientist, linguist, media analyst and one of the harshest critics of American foreign policy. The New York Times called him “the world’s most important living intellectual” and when this film was released in 1992 he was the world’s most quoted living scholar. If you’re surprised that you’ve never heard of him it’s because you’re paying too much attention to sports. If you think Chomsky’s books are too wordy… well, here’s a movie… go get edujmacated, ya big dummy!

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Movies, Music — Doctor Ninja on February 21, 2007 at 11:57 pm

Fucking PRIEST!!! Wooooooooooooooooooooh! Yeah! Preist fuckin’ rules, man!!! Fuckin’ metal!!! Yeah! PRIEST!!! PRIEST!!! PRIEST!!! Fuckin’ Judas Priest!!! Yeah! Wooooooooooh!

I learned all of these things from watching this John Heyn & Jeff Kruliks classic documentary. If you haven’t seen Heavy Metal Parking Lot or at least heard about it, you are probably lame. You either don’t like music or don’t like movies, both of which make life on this planet bearable. I guess that would make you beyond lame, it would make you some sort of alien. Now that I’ve alienated (literally) all the book worms (pun-intended) and blog readers (insert irony here) I shall continue my fuckin’ praise of fuckin’ Heavy Metal Parking Lot cuz it fuckin’ rules.

Since you’ve already seen it you know that it’s twenty minutes of interviews with kids getting trashed out of their minds in a parking lot, before a 1986 Judas Priest concert. It’s been bootlegged so many timesthe first time I saw it was by renting a bootleg video. It was probably the only bootleg that you could rent. Videos like this are the reason youtube was invented. Its something you see & immediately want to show youre friends.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot is also the blueprint for American Idol. Its people making fools of themselves while waiting for the “the big event” which, is in fact, more exciting than the big event itself. When you turn the camera on the fans they suddenly turn into the stars, singing and dancing they way their heroes do on stage. When they are in such close proximity to stardom, whether waiting on line to audition for American Idol or getting wasted in a parking lot, the fans go crazy. Take away the crazy fans and there is no show, no idolsno metal gods.

Living after midnight, rockin’ to the dawn Lovin’ til the morning, then I’m gone, I’m gone… some wasted dude singing that in Heavy Metal Parking lot is what got me into Judas Priest.

This DVD includes over two hours of special features including all the sequels: Neil Diamond Parking Lot, Monster Truck Parking Lot and Harry Potter Parking Lot. I think Harry Potter is my favorite sequel. Theres lots of other stuff too, like Dub-O-Vision: a tenth VHS bootleg version of the Heavy Metal Parking Lot. I loved watching it with it subtitles, it made classic lines like My name is Grahmlike gram of dope! all the more memorable. Its hard to get past watching Heavy Metal Parking Lot over and over again, so theres probably an hours worth of dvd I havent seen yet.

THE NET: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet

Movies — Doctor Ninja on February 21, 2007 at 4:45 pm

The Internet was created by hippies and the CIA on acid. Ted Kaczynski was friends with these guys cuz they were all in super-smart club together (Harvard). But they screwed him over by giving him bad acid & totally messing with his head, so he was like �fuck your math, I�m gonna live in a shack!� And when they least suspected it�BLAM! He got revenge, but nobody knew from who. If you don�t believe, me just ask him. He hates phones so don�t call him. He really hates the Internet so by all means DO NOT EMAIL him! He likes to correspond by mail though so you can write to him at:

Theodore John Kaczynski
U.S. Penitentiary Max
P.O. Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226-8500

I watched this movie twice so far & I�m still trying to wrap my head around it. For one thing, it�s in German so the narrative involves a lot of reading. The are interviews in English but they are all with super geniuses & people who specialize in mind control so I�m never sure what to believe. Is a New World Order that�s uses technology to condition people�s minds to form a global utopian society a good thing? Utopia is sounds great, but mind control sounds scary. Do we create technology or does technology create us? Have I fully embraced cybernetics without even knowing it? Should I smash my computer with a tree stump or should I shoot the tree with my computer guided laser beam? Both of these options sound like a lot of fun.

Do machines control us? Lately, I�ve been spending more time with the Internet than I spend with actual people and when I spend time with people the Internet is always there in spirit. Whenever I ask my buddy Rob a question he replies: �I don�t know, I�m not the Internet�. The Internet provides answers to all life�s questions. But the speed at which the questions are answers is a bit unnatural, which raises more questions. Questions… that make me think faster. When computer run too fast they crash. Is technology our impending doom as the Unabomber suggests? Is doomsday, November 13, 2026, as mathematically theory suggests?

One guy in this film is really cool dude. He’s really old & he rocks a wheelchair, but he’s as sharp as a tack. He goes by the name of Heinz von Foerster. He is one of the architects of cybernetics & radical constructivism theory. When Lutz Dammbeck asks him about the consequences of creating a utopian reality based on a system that is ultimately flawed. He replies, �What is reality? Can you show it to me?� He�s the granddaddy of the Internet but he�s never owned a computer.

Lutz Dammbeck’s documentary explores some really amazing history, explains complex ideas and ties it all together with one of the 20th centuries greatest super villains! Two thumbs up for the NET: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet!

THE NET: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet

Get the dvd here
the website for the net

Connect the Polka Dots: Zippy the Pinhead comic strips by Bill Griffith

Books — Doctor Ninja on February 16, 2007 at 4:59 am

I left this book in the bathroom and now it is missing. Either “A”, it jumped down the toilet, “B” was “borrowed” by one of my roommates, or “C”. It was probably “C”. Speaking of “C” I’ve also noticed the disappearance of another cultural icon (yes, Zippy is a cultural icon) from the consumer paradise we call earth…Coke Black. I’ve never tasted this bubbly beverage but I am told it is a mixture of Coca-Cola and coffee grounds in a can. Some love it, some hate it. Zippy’s pal Griffy would probably hate it. Zippy however does not see the world in black and coke. He is a Zen master who asks us the question “Are we having fun yet?” while sporting his signature polka dot muumuu. He is also black and white and read all over, syndicated by King Features since 1986. As for Coke Black, it’s possible that Zippy drank them all. As for my copy of “Connect the Polka Dots”, I shall continue to look in my toilet bowl. A fool who persists in his folly becomes wise. Seek Zippy and ye shall find!

160-page color (48 pp.) and B&W 8 1/2 x 9 paperback $18.95

“These Bagels are Gnarly” ballpoint pen drawing show curated by Rich Jacobs at Cinders Gallery, Jan 17th – Feb 18th 2007

Art — Doctor Ninja on February 11, 2007 at 1:56 am

Mmmmm…bagels. I wish I had a bagel right now. Ballpoint pens are weird. They are the tools you are forced to use throughout your grueling schooling. Whatever you use to indoctrinate children, they will ultimately use for mischievous rebellion. Make me write an essay in a little blue book and brand me a failure if I refuse? Well I brought my pen to class today & I’ll even take your stupid test. And while I write my essay I shall illustrate my points with marginal doodles. I’ll edit it by intensely scribbling out words so hard the paper will give way to the pressure of the ballpoint, rolling out pools of blue ink. Then I’ll use my pen to scrawl all over the desk. By the time I’m done with my masterpiece, the metal ball at the end of the pen will be so hot from the friction, it will feel like a laser has zapped you when you come to pick up my test and my pen “accidentally” touches your hand.

Given the adolescent medium upon which “Bagels are Gnarly” was based, I was hoping for more teen angst inspired drawings. Instead I was blown away by fantastic drawings with incredibly skilled rendering. My favorite piece was “Peace Sign” signed by Daniel Davidson (which Erik Parker purchased upon my advice). There are too many other awesome drawings to describe. Especially since I just spent so much time describing Davidson’s work. Lucky for you there is a catalog of the show. I havent seen it yet but I certainly hope it includes everything, not a small task given the number of artists in the show. There are also pictures of show on a few different sites, so seek and ye shall find. However, I will describe one piece, Paul Bright’s “list of phone numbers”. He really captures the essence of the contacts in his cell phone. Its hilarious and a good use of the medium to boot.

There was one artist who drew exactly what I was looking for. It was none other than Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers, the man who created the soundtrack to my teen angst years. As a matter of fact, during my “ballpoint pen period”, the sights & sounds of Gibby Haynes directly influenced many of my works. Not to mention my actions… I was kicked out of school numerous times for refusing to remove my Butthole Surfers t-shirt (which finally met it’s fate in a fire in the boy’s locker room, I was not there to save it, for I had been expelled). Gibby’s contribution to the show was a portrait of Britney Spears, signed “Love, Gibby” in girly script. Thus, my teen fantasy was fulfilled.

These are the scribblers responsible for making this show a great success:

Matt Leines, Phil Frost, Mark Gonzales, Tobin Yelland, Eric White, Tim Kerr, Taylor McKimmens, Masaki Kawai, Gibby Haynes, Doze, Dave Aron, Melinda Beck, Caroline Hwang, Kim Schifino, Jordin, Chloe and Simone Isip, Travis Millard, Jim, Casey and Ryan Gallagher, Ryan Jacob Smith, Erik Foss, Maya Hayuk, Dalek, Nick Kuszyk, Daniel Davidson, John Orth, Louie Cordero, Mel Kadel, Damian Weinkrantz, Julien Langendorff, Calef Brown, Rotgut, Neil Burke, Anders Nilsen, Gentry Densely, Arik Roper, Chris Mendoza, Jesse Reno, Jojo Li, Edie Fake, Mark Todd, Jeff Ladoucer, Steph Davidson, Marc Bell, Rick Froberg, Jocko Weyland, Bobby Puleo, Melanie Standage, Pandora Vaughan, Kylie Hays, Steve Ellis, Julia Rothman, Jeremy Taylor, Peter Jacobson, Adam Cantwell, Liz Zanis, Johnny, Phoenix, Jason Polan and his mom, Eric Shaw, Mike Taylor, Victor Timofeev, Shin Soma, Juju Delivery, Jennifer Robertson, Allyson Mellberg, Alfredo Melendez, Peter Thompson, Paul Bright, Jesse Kaufman, Mindy Abovitz, Shawn Reed, Goerge Ferrandi, Kelie Bowman, Diego Hadis, Rob Cartadetti, Laura Agulto, Kate Hurowtz, Brent Wadden, Bob Medina, Diane Barcelowsky, Mel Kadel, Rosie Cook, Justin Williams, Lisa Ramsy, Lindsay Packer, James Kirkpatrick, Russ Pope, Matt Bohan, Billy Sprague, Eric Shaw, Patrick Delaney, Sam Messenger, Mike Myers, Liz Lee, Randin and Rey Isip, Jo Dery, Jake Pruin, Malena Seldin, Jessica Ward, Jason Porter, Shane Butler, Irene Cho, Neil Popkema, Chickenhead, Sto, Jim Darling, James Brown, Koen Holtcap, Max Williams, Rick Charnoski, Lea Friedman, Jenna Rose Sands, Dan Weise, Kristen Cutlip, Torey Quinonez, Pax Americana, Pasquaie Lino Reca, Oliver Halsman Rosenberg, Melissa Ip, Irene Halsman, Andy Cvar, Daze, Gigi Chew, Sean Livingstone, Scott Mou, Chuck Bettis, Daniel Givins, Tom Messenger, Chris Keeler, Rebecca Hale, Kim Scarfuro, Spencer Herbst, Shane Williams, Ben Jenkins, Peter Van Hyning, F. Mathias Lorenz, Marie Lorenz & Andrea Maurer, Gregory Benton, Aaron Cantor, Carl Dunn, Rodger Stevens, Chris Shary, Caitlin Keegan, Jenna Robinson, Rob Leecock, Steve Bliss, Scott Ferguson, Amy McGrath, David Borges, Olivia Shao, Kevin Hooeyman, Rich Jacobs, Giles Lyon and Noah Lyon. see some pics from the opening here

Michael Viner’s The Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock cd

Music — Doctor Ninja on February 10, 2007 at 1:24 pm

The Incredible Bongo Band were a couple of dudes just havin� some fun. Basically they did cover songs, cut out the vocals and amped up the percussion, amped it up to�11. Bongo Rock�pretty self-explanatory. Now let me tell you the Incredible part�

Back in the day, Michael Viner promoted guys like Ramsey Lewis and Woody Allen at L.A. folk clubs. Then he got a job as an aide to Senator Robert Kennedy. After Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, Viner got back into showbiz. He got a job at MGM and one of the first acts he signed was Sammy Davis Jr. He produced hits like �Candy Man� and �Mr. Bojangles�. When an MGM movie called �The Thing with Two Heads� needed alast minute soundtrack to a chase scene, Michael Viner and his friend Perry Botkin Jr. recorded a song for it called �Bongo Rock� as a lark. They called themselves The Incredible Bongo Band. To everyone�s amazement the song became a hit single and sold over 2 million copies.

Bongo Rock was instrumental to the birth of hip-hop. It was the first song ever to be cut up by a DJ in the Bronx. In 1975 Kool Herc took two copies of the record and cut back and forth between them, just playing the breaks, so people could dance to the drums. And then there was break-dancing. And it was good. The first cut off the �Bongo Rock� album is �Apache�. �Apache� is literally the sound of hip-hop born. Babies cry when they come into this world, b-boys and b-girls �Apache�. I heard this song at least 500 times before I knew the name of the band played it�the Incredible Bongo Band. And for many years the Incredible Bongo Band didn�t even know their record helped sparked musical revolution.

The Bongo Band were studio musicians and consequently had a lot of different folks dropping in on sessions. Viner and Botkin had help from Phil Spector, Ringo Starr and John Lennon�just to mention a few. They even had plans to record with the London Symphony Orchestra! Contributing to almost all the tracks was drummer, Jim Gordon (who co-wrote �Layla� with Eric Clapton). At some point Gordon started hearing voices, lost his mind and killed his mother with an axe. He is currently serving a life-long prison sentence. Incredible.

In the last 30 years this album has been sampled a million times and Michael Viner has admirably never sued anyone for copyright infringement. That amazing drumbeat on the Beastie Boys� �Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun� (Paul�s Boutique) with that crazy wavy dub phaser sound� Notice the bongos? That�s break beat from the Incredible Bongo Band�s �Last Bongo In Belgium�. The production on that break is mind blowing.

There are 16 other songs on “Bongo Rock” that I haven�t even mentioned. This is a review not a novel, okay? Just go get the album and bongo your brains out. Break!

Michael Viner’s The Incredible Bongo Band - Bongo Rock

OBEY: Supply & Demand – The Art of Shepard Fairey

Art, Books — Doctor Ninja on February 2, 2007 at 12:50 am

Andre the Giant has a posse 7′4″520LB the sticker that started it all. I’ve put up my share of these little bastards, but Shepard Fairey has covered the earth with them. The last time I saw Shep he was putting them up at a rate of about 15 per minute while carrying on a conversation and walking down the street at the same time. I found it a little distracting that every time I turned to say something to him he was hanging off the top of a streetlamp or a crosswalk sign. And when the police rolled up, his wife Amanda pulled the old “Hey Shepard, let’s make out now!” trick while I made my best attempt to disassociate myself from any criminal activities.

I’ve been trading stickers & artwork with this notorious character since 1991. He started his giant takeover in 1989 and it took me a couple years to track him down. I was immediately attracted to Shepard’s work, stemming from my love of punk rock, stickers, propaganda and…well…Andre the Giant. Andre was a professional wrestler from the 80s. There was a point when he was the most recognized sports figure in the world, second only to Muhammad Ali. The sticker image comes from a grainy picture of Andre’s face that Shepard clipped out of a newspaper. He was showing a friend how to make a stencil & just thought it looked funny.

I’ve always loved multiples. Lots and lots of the same thing. Over and over again. Especially if it’s a shitty zerox. I loved the fact that if I ran out of the stickers that Shepard would send me, I could just make my own on a copy machine and they would look exactly the same. That they were totally absurd made me love them even more. 17 years later knowing that there’s millions of these retarded little portraits of Andre the Giant all over the world is pretty funny. Shepard might be famous now but there are still millions of people who are completely baffled by the ubiquitous stickers.

Supply & Demand is really great. It’s a beautiful hardcover with gold embossing on it. A book that finally does justice to Shepard’s work. Clocking in at over 350 pages it’s got tons of great photo’s and reproductions. I love the surveillance shots of bombing in action. Then there are pages and pages of the aftermath. Theres lots of other stuff too, his silk-screened prints, his influences, arrest records, bootleg stickers, even some hate mail!

Obey Giant! Buy this book!

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