Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For his 29th birthday he threw a $600,000 party in New York at which guests included Donald Trump, Kevin Costner, Muhammad Ali and the Duchess of York. Combs is a "maven", a consummate social connector, before whom all barriers of race and class dissolve.

Until he changed his name recently to P.Diddy, Combs performed under the title of Puff Daddy. But he has also tried out other sobriquet ranging from the opportunistic ("the black Sinatra") to the overweening ("the world's greatest entertainer"). In private though, he imagines himself heir to another self-made American also known to throw a good party, Jay Gatsby. ("Have I read The Great Gatsby? I am the Great Gatsby!") It doesn't seem to bother Combs that Gatsby's life ended in shattered dreams, his well-heeled friends exposed as fickle and insincere. But then, while Gatsby found it ultimately impossible to escape his humble origins, Combs has no such concerns. Far from hiding his roots he does the opposite , insisting upon, and even exaggerating, his connection to the streets of New York in order to offer himself as a brand name for black urban culture. Fitzgerald, the laureate of the jazz age, would have found it difficult to countenance that blackness could be a social asset. But this is the hip hop age. And Sean Combs' millions are based on the enormous influence that black culture now wields across America and the rest of the world.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Taking a shoe for the Great Leader
I suppose not everyone appreciates having their country plundered and its resources sold off to the highest bidder

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sock and Awe

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

After the recent attacks, the elite feel "there is no safe haven. There is no place to run and hide," said Uday Shankar, chief executive of Star India, which runs a string of entertainment and news television channels. "They cannot go behind the Taj hotel's double doors and feel shielded from the chaos and insecurity outside. That shield has been shattered. The terrorists struck South Mumbai, the most desirable address in India."

Across the city, wealthy youths paraded with "Enough Is Enough" banners. Hundreds of middle- and upper-class residents of the ritzy Colaba neighborhood gathered outside the terrorist-hit Chabad House, a Jewish center, to perform yogic sun salutations and deep-breathing techniques.

"There was no such protest or activities for us. Now everyone is feeling vulnerable, not just us, the common people," said Madhuri Jayprakash Sawant, 49, whose 29-year-old son is in a coma from brain damage suffered in the 2006 train attacks. "The first-class people are the ones now running the national outrage. But the common man is usually the one who suffers, alone."

Monday, December 08, 2008


The iconic black and white keffiyeh, or Arab headdress, famously donned by late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat has hit the streets of Beirut in a rainbow of colours -- much to the chagrin of older Palestinians.

Stylish youngsters, both men and women, can be seen in the city's chic cafes and restaurants sporting red, blue, pink, brown and purple versions of the keffiyeh.

Western and Arab tourists are also snapping up the hip item.

The trend, however, is seen by many here as an insult to a symbol traditionally linked to the Palestinian cause.

"These colours aren't for us... it's nonsense, it's a fashion show," said Salim Ali Kayd, 74, who has been a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon since 1948, when Israel was created.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

House Un-American Activities Committee

Amidst the threat of atomic death from on high, the western world was embroiled in the Cold War. Although both the American and Soviet governments were painting a horrendous picture of a possible hot war, the so-called Cold War was, for all intents and purposes, a political fabrication. In fact, mutual threats and brinkmanship supported a relatively stable international system, symbolized by the 1963 installation of the telephone "hot line" linking the White House to the Kremlin.

Much like the mass hysteria that has spread over the United States since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many McCarthy-era government officials were calling for and enacting extreme measures to combat a perceived threat. And the real question at the time—as it is for the present—was whether people would retain their basic freedoms and avoid the dredge of conformity that threatens our very humanity.
Ideological State Apparatuses

But it is by an apprenticeship in a variety of know-how wrapped up in the massive inculcation of the ideology of the ruling class that the relations of production in a capitalist social formation, i.e. the relations of exploited to exploiters and exploiters to exploited, are largely reproduced. The mechanisms which produce this vital result for the capitalist regime are naturally covered up and concealed by a universally reigning ideology of the School, universally reigning because it is one of the essential forms of the ruling bourgeois ideology: an ideology which represents the School as a neutral environment purged of ideology (because it is ...lay), where teachers respectful of the ‘conscience’ and ‘freedom’ of the children who are entrusted to them (in complete confidence) by their ‘parents’ (who are free, too, i.e. the owners of their children) open up for them the path to the freedom, morality and responsibility of adults by their own example, by knowledge, literature and their ‘liberating’ virtues

I ask the pardon of those teachers who, in dreadful conditions, attempt to turn the few weapons they can find in the history and learning they ‘teach’ against the ideology, the system and the practices in which they are trapped. They are a kind of hero. But they are rare and how many (the majority) do not even begin to suspect the ‘work’ the system (which is bigger than they are and crushes them) forces them to do, or worse, put all their heart and ingenuity into performing it with the most advanced awareness (the famous new methods!).