For the past few days I’ve been offline, playing in the garden here at ‘the ashram.” It’s such a lovely old place, that’s how I’ve started thinking about it. High Summer is gone, taking the burning heat with it and the wind most days doesn’t stir dust. The annual long weekend death cult celebration is coming up and looking like a great time for gardening and painting.
According to one of those internet astrology thingies, this year is the point in our evolution as a species when art defeats war. The year of the damp wooden goat, or something. As excuses for artistic expression go, it’ll do. Online art is a fantastic option if you don’t like the smell of linseed and the tutes make it a breeze. Pixar’s 3D rendering and animation app was released free, recently.
Internet art is really coming into its own. Not only because of the skill people develop in the comfort of their own homes, but the subtextual social justice and polemic. I could probably devote a whole other blog to discussing subtexts in art and movies, including anime. Most recently I saw Chappie, and it was absolutely stunning. When Blomkamp chooses a vehicle for a subtext, he goes through the Military disposals depot. And the three characters Sharlto Copely has played in the movies District 9, Elysium and now Chappie, have a lovely arc to them. A narrative about the descent into violence and now our emergence from that, into an era of exploration, discovery and creativity. It’s inspired me to make art in response. And because of the goat thing. That’s a laugh.
It will be interesting to see what Sony does when the inevitable fan art response happens with that character. He’s too delicious not to play with and Hasbro’s banning of Jayne hats went so well. There’ll be entries in the luv with an alien community on Deviant Art. Don’t look, it’s very NSFW. (You were warned.)
I’m waiting to see how those who backed sharing Playstation games relate to decisions about distribution and the TPP being made in the US, now that the US has now snookered itself by pushing the metadata collection laws in Australia.
The people supporting metadata collection will soon become acquainted with the fine internet tradition known as doxxing. Photos of Representatives, their families and friends will turn up on servers and social media all over the planet. Amnesty International might get involved, since it’s about human rights. They won’t advocate anything illegal and nor will I, we don’t have to. Anyone who hasn’t had their head jammed firmly up their own backside for the past decade can see this on the horizon, like those funny green clouds in Kansas.
Abbott could end up saying, perhaps with a straight face, that not only the UNCHR but Amnesty as well, are shitty people. Murdoch’s spokes organs will foam at the mouth about cyber criminals and online terrorism. It’ll be the funniest thing since those speed dealer sunnies. The US have to make it look like it’s their idea to distance themselves from the cluster fuck, maybe they’ll tell us we don’t really need Marines in Darwin since our relationship with Indonesia is so good these days.
If the US double down in support of the use of the law, that puts everyone in Edward Snowden’s demographic in a position where they have to make a choice. Since the whole wagon is being hauled by a very few people with vested interests, I suspect they’ll shy from making that an ultimatum. Or they’ll try for the bluff, in which case Dick Cheney will also start appearing in chorus lines.
Australia is a nation of convicts, refugees and first peoples, for some reason chosen by vestigial Imperialists to push what passes for reason in GOP conferences. It’s not gonna fly, folks. Put the money on the fridge and leave quietly. Because every convict, refugee and Indigenous has a smart phone, a paint program and a social media account and the people who play black hats have access to everyone’s frat boy records online. In the US Chelsea Manning is doing time, in Australia Andrew Wilkie is a Member of Parliament. This deck just ain’t stacked the same, no matter how hard Brian Houston worked it.
George Bransid has no idea what metadata is, but you can bet he’ll get the hang of doxxing in a hurry. Because the TPP is one thing, but using Stasi laws to enforce Hollywood’s idea of distribution and copyright will not be tolerated by the internet hivemind.
The Australian Government has something of a reputation for embracing cost cutting and outsourcing in its development of its networks. Malcolm Turnbull went public talking about secure messaging apps, but you can bet he didn’t use that a year ago. He wasn’t on the dev team of Tor, our Malcolm. It’ll be WinNT vs *nix.
Those who thought it was hilarious for Australia to suggest submitting a request for tender to Japanese submarine companies will likely be amused when images of Bransid’s girlfriend’s bare arse turn up on Imgur and Reddit, with photo shopped accompaniment of chorus lines of school girls wearing horse heads.
TechDirt will cover it for us in all its geekgasmic glory.
Tony Abbott can bugger off to push paper for a regional Rugby team somewhere that people won’t have to see his face for a year or so. We’ll be too busy exchanging pickled kale recipes around the world and developing local Permaculture guides. There’s too much that’s genuinely interesting happening in the world for people to put up with that rubbish much longer. Being booed once by the crowd at the finals is a laugh, but every night on the news is just passé. There’s not even much mileage in kicking them when they go down. You’d feel like a mongrel, since they’re obviously hamstrung intellectually and emotionally.
The renaissance is much more fun. Not only the tech and graphics, but the people who become personalities in realtime, as you’re watching a revolution in Egypt. I remember sitting up until 4am every morning, the year I moved here, and telling my kids that I was watching a real, live revolution in action. That never gets old. It wasn’t second hand war porn images, rather, the moment by moment stories of the human beings making it happen.
I really must catch up with what @sandmonkey’s been up to. I remember staying glued to Twitter, to see he’d been released from the lockup. Video and pictures of men, women and children in the street together, of Christians standing watch while Muslims prayed, and vice versa coming to me every night. All those people are still there and still agitating for real reform. The kind everyone else on the planet is also champing at the bit for. And it’s the personal stories that make it all so much more relatable. Personalities that you come to know and like, despite never having met in meatspace. Mona Eltahawy has an enormous following of her coverage of Egypt and the ME. I wonder if Birmo will end up being Australia’s version of Mona? That’d be a laugh.
This Easter long weekend, then, I’ll be in my garden and study, celebrating human evolution and technology. Enjoying being alive during the time when art defeats war. It’ll be sukiyaki rather than a barbie, but the home brew ain’t bad.
Anyways, given the timing, I’m wondering how the church might navigate this year. It looks like their best way forward is just to confess and get on with it. Sorry folks, religion was hijacked by political influences. Now we’re inviting our parishioners to partner with us in renewing a spiritual and mystical tradition, since that was supposed to be the purpose of the endeavour. At this point anything else would be transparent and insulting. For every one they lose over the coverups, they’ll gain back when they start teaching Latin, Hellenic Greek and European history. You can picture a cohort of SCA getting into Latin masses. God help us.
Maybe one day there’ll be Jesuits in an ashram dropping ritual mushies. As if they haven’t already investigated the connection between neuro-transmitters and epiphany. The field of Transpersonal Psychology might be a happy discovery for disabled old women living in the bush, but I doubt it is for teh Vatican. It’s a delight to watch high stakes players in a game like that. Everyone, including us old bush chooks, can see the writing on the wall. The only question is whether one wants to appear a sell out in the eyes of Constantine supporters, or a demented brown shirt to the world in the 21st century and everything that comes after.
Will the Pope blink before Murdoch does? Or are they determined to go down together. Will the US GOP realise they look like disturbed children to the rest of the world? Their only “friend” the new Saudi King is already too far gone to be relevant. At some point people still playing at global bully will have to accept that the rest of the world is watching them, groaning with embarrassment.
This Easter, then, feels more like life and the old Harvest festivals than a time of doom or perpetual suffering. We’re about done with all this, folks. It feels pretty damn good. If you need me, I’ll be planting broad beans. Toodles.