Archive for culture

To serve and house the homeless …

Seattle’s “technology community” is here to help.

Tech companies such as Amazon opposed Seattle’s short-lived head tax on large businesses to pay for homeless services and housing, but Mayor Jenny Durkan now says they can assist the city in other ways.

Rather than tap the companies’ bank accounts, she wants Seattle to tap their know-how. For example, they could help the city design apps for social services, Durkan says.

Sweet!

The mayor has convened an Innovation Advisory Council to seek advice on challenges such as homelessness and transportation. … She described the panel as a “new collaboration with Seattle’s technology community that will better highlight technology solutions.”

Besides Amazon, participants at this point include Microsoft, along with Zillow, Expedia and Tableau, whose leaders spoke out this year against the idea of a head tax. …

A Durkan executive order creating the council includes no concrete pledges of time or money by the companies.

“What we’ve heard from company to company as I’m talking to them is, ‘Tap us for our know-how … We have some of the most talented people on the globe right here in Seattle,’ ” the mayor said.

Her order says the group will identify issues, make policy recommendations and implement projects related to “data analytics, dashboards, applications and software for the city.”

Dashboards!

(This is so fucked up.)

h/t @atrios

“Individuals” – a critique

An ongoing one from our friend Clarissa.

Review

The New York Review of Books has always been very generous in providing current and past articles online. In celebration of the publication’s 50th anniversary its editors are “digging into the magazine’s archives and featuring one article from each year of publication.” They start with 1972 – 1974:

  • Robert Wall’s “Special Agent for the FBI” will remind us that the current United States President’s complaints against that agency are righteous as well as self-serving. (Hard sentence to write.)
  • Peter Singer’s essay on “Animal Liberation” helped launched a movement that truly enlightened “Western Culture.” (Hard to swallow how mundane it was for us to gratuitously, lazily cause pain to animals.)
  • And Gore Vidal reviews Robert Caro’s annihilation of Robert Moses, who wanted to run a highway through Manhattan’s Washington Square Park (“The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York“). (A titan acclaiming a colossus gutting a Goliath.)

I happily spend days reading the NY Review, which lost its fabled editor and co-founder, Robert Silvers, last year but which has remained “irreplaceable” (a cliché, I realize, but it is completely the case).

Ô Canada …

… where Good Friday and Easter Monday are national* holidays. I will always find this odd (and oddly satisfying).

*Exceptions: Folk from Quebec have to choose just one of the two days for their holiday. In Alberta employers have an “option” to give their employees Easter Monday off; in Medicine Hat everybody sleeps in on Good Friday.

katsvox

Kat at English Bayphoto of kat kosiancic by English Bay in Vancouver, 2013

With some of kat kosiancic’s friends and her dad, I’ve been curating a website devoted to kat’s art, music, and writing. It is called katsvox.com.

This site is an ongoing project. We have excerpted some of kat’s unpublished books and other writings and selected some songs for you to listen to and some paintings to see.

Down the road we hope to publish selections from her prolific and utterly delightful correspondence as well as portions of her journals, particularly her amazing travel writing. We will be showing more photos of kat from many eras of her life’s journey as well.

We would be grateful for any feedback you have. Our friend kat wrote every day, and she was always making art. Let us know what you would like to see more of. There is a contact / feedback page on the website. You can also get ahold me directly.

A rich man dies

He hated Jews, he hated Catholics, he hated homosexuals, he favoured tyrants, and he tried to persuade Nixon to nuke North Vietnam. I believe his faith was real, though, unlike many of those who emulated him.

Merry morning reading …

… from two favourite bloggers.

Atrios:

I do think one element of conservatism is imagining that they’d win the post-apocalyptic feudal games. …

Let’s suppose you’re minding your business in a lovely suburb of Honolulu. Honolulu gets ALL BLOWED UP. But, hey, you don’t die in the initial fireball. OK let’s say you don’t die of radiation poisoning within the next week or two. You’ve survived! That cancer will be along in a few years, but, hey, no worries for now.

Best case scenario, you live in current day Puerto Rico for a bit. No electricity, no water, but, hey, you’re alive. Also, nobody is going to get near your radiation zone. No rescues, no supplies, no nothing. Enjoy your last couple of weeks on Earth, I guess. I suppose you can forage for fruit, for a bit, and as a good conservative you own guns so you can shoot all the “looters” who are trying to take “your” fruit, but…

No, I do not want to survive the initial blast.

Clarissa:

A cultural apparatus always arises to serve the needs of capital. It’s not a conspiracy of any sort, of course. People intuit what would make them more competitive and promote these qualities in themselves, declaring them socially desirable.

What does capital currently need? A rootless labor force that won’t he held back by networks of human relationships from picking up and going whenever capital needs it at this point.

In order to create such a labor force, human relationships need to be devalued and come to be seen as fraught, dangerous, and really not worth the hassle. Remember all these checklists of “How to Support a Bereaved Colleague?” or “How NOT to Talk to a Special Needs Child’s Parent” variety? Obviously, nobody is going to memorize all those laundry lists of prohibitions and exhortations for every occasion. It’s easier to pretend that the bereaved colleague or SNC parent don’t exist.

Another strategy is to displace liquid capital’s qualities, such as unpredictability and endless mutability, onto human relationships. It’s not capital that’s making you feel confused and like you can’t keep up. Oh no, not at all. It’s the changing nature of dating norms and workplace flirtation.

Workplace as a space where people work together for protracted periods of time is positioned as extremely dangerous. Capital prefers self-employed, alienated workers who simply don’t have colleagues they know in person and could, say, form a union with. The next best thing (for capital but clearly not for workers) is a revolving-door office where nobody stays long enough to create any meaningful links.

Enjoy your day, everyone!

[Addendum: My daily feed.]