Thursday, December 28, 2006

"The nation mourns President Ford,"

THEY INTONED GRAVELY on every national newscast.

1) Is "national mourning" mandatory? Is there a law?

2) If not, then I'll let it be known that no, I'm not mourning. I really didn't know the guy personally. He was one of the least distinguished presidents of the last century, and he got his job by accident. Seriously, why would I be all broken up?

3) If the Voices of Authority on our evening news were to find that most Americans actually were getting on with our lives just fine, would they bother saying so? Or are they too into their perceived role as court scribes and hagiographers of power?

4) Why isn't "the nation mourning" James Brown, who arguably had more impact culturally and even politically?

5) Why do so many worship power? Why are some so hellbent on making the cult of the already imperious Imperial Presidency even more so with each passing day? 

The Ford death was attended by the same sort of imperialism orgasm that attended the death and corpse tour of Reagan a few years back. Why all this attention showered on a carcass?

Did we really need the nationwide tour, the honor guards, the pageantry, the fanfare, the lionization, the damn-near deification? Where does this stop? When the title is changed to Caesar and he is declared God in the flesh?

Since they are dead, dead presidents are not helped by the worship of their remains, nor by the monuments built to them, nor by the monumental sums of taxpayer-contributed paper dead presidents consumed in the process.

But for the the still-living who stand to inherit the power, exploitation of the dead for propaganda purposes -- as spellbinding talismans and ritual props for the power structure -- is essential. The modern United States of America is restoring this ancient superstition to a high art. 

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bringing the "stars" back down to earth

MTV AND VH-1 have perfected the art of serving up pop culture offal you're ashamed to be caught watching, with just enough snark to distance themselves from the stink. When we finally get fed up with this stuff, they'll be able to say, "Ho ho, we were laughing at it all along."

But there is one redeeming value in our glut of "reality" and celebrity, and this is revealed in VH-1's "Celebreality" brand. Although at first glance this programming block appears to be more of the same disgusting celebsession we're already sick of, it's actually doing us a great service: deconstructing and lampooning celebrity; putting celebs -- more accurately, former celebs -- back in their rightful place. These has-beens get "stripped of all their A-list privileges -- and their self-esteem" (words taken from the actual Robin Leach intro). It's actually refreshing to see the formerly famous now groveling for money and recognition by cramming into houses together and enacting stupid scripts and playing dumb games for a nationwide audience. They're back to entertaining -- which is, after all, the whole reason why they became famous in the first place.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The world needs another blog,

so here goes. This one will feature opinions and information about the arts (perhaps with a slight bias toward my hometown, Chicago), as you might've guessed from the name Live Active Culture.

What, you thought it was about yogurt?

Of course, being a writer and musician and artist of sorts, I will find the time to promote my own work here, when the time comes. I don't want to too tightly define or confine the content right now. Just read and enjoy and I'll figure it out as I go along.