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Tom Sparks

Allan Moore on Super Hero Culture ala Twenty First Century

2 min read

Source: Allan Moore World Nov.19,2019

 I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying.   While these characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their twelve or thirteen year-old audience, today’s franchised übermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different needs. Primarily, mass-market superhero movies seem to be abetting an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, or (b) the relatively reassuring 20th century. The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with an numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum. The superheroes themselves – largely written and drawn by creators who have never stood up for their own rights against the companies that employ them, much less the rights of a Jack Kirby or Jerry Siegel or Joe Schuster – would seem to be largely employed as cowardice compensators, perhaps a bit like the handgun on the nightstand. I would also remark that save for a smattering of non-white characters (and non-white creators) these books and these iconic characters are still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race. In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks.

 Emphasis Mine

Tom Sparks

Neo Liberalism Definitions

3 min read

From a paper by Petar Kurecic and Goran Kozina link

1. Neoliberalism is a project primarily aimed at freeing capital from the constraints imposed by these “embedded liberalisms”, and more directly as a process ultimately focused on restoring the class power of economic elites. (Harvey, 2005: 11);

2. Neoliberalism names an approach to governing capitalism that emphasizes liberalizing markets and making market competition the basis of economic coordination, social distribution, and personal motivation. It recalls and reworks the 18th and 19th century liberal market ideals of economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. And yet it is new – hence the ‘neo’ – insofar as it comes after and actively repudiates the interventionist state and redistributive ideals of welfare-state liberalism in the 20th century. (Sparke, 2013: 1);

3. Neoliberalism is a simple withdrawal of the state from markets and society via trade liberalization, privatization, reduced entitlements, and government deregulation. (Hess, 2011: 1056);

4. Neoliberalism is an ideological hegemonic project, selectively rooted in the free market and non-interventionist state philosophy of classical liberalism, and internationally propagated by think tanks and intellectuals like Hayek and Friedman in their assault on “egalitarian liberalism”. (Peck and Tickell, 2007);

5. Neoliberalism is a specific policy and program—a process of “creative destruction” that aims to replace the national institutional arrangements and political compromises of Keynesian-Fordism with a “new infrastructure for market-oriented economic growth” set within a globalizing and financializing economy. (Brenner and Theodore, 2002: 362);

6. Neoliberalism is as a form of governmentality, which follows Foucauldian ideas in emphasizing how neoliberal governmental power operates in multiple sites and scales from the state down to the personal level “not through imposition or repression but rather through cultivating the conditions in which non-sovereign subjects are constituted” as entrepreneurial, self-reliant, rational-economic actors (Hart, 2004: 92).

7. “Neoliberalism defines a certain existential norm…. This norm enjoins everyone to live in a world of generalized competition; it calls upon wage-earning classes and populations to engage in economic struggle against one another; it aligns social relations with the model of the market; it promotes the justification of ever greater inequalities; it even transforms the individual, now called on to conceive and conduct him- or herself as an enterprise. For more than a third of a century, this existential norm has presided over public policy, governed global economic relations, transformed society, and reshaped subjectivity.” (Dardot and Laval, 2013: 3);

8. Neoliberalism seeks to disaggregate communities into discrete units, each with an economic value. (Narsiah, 2010: 390).

9. Amid widespread privatization, cuts to public expenditure, and reduced social transfer programs, violence has become both a conduit of societal bigotry and an attempt by beleaguered states to regain their footing (Goldberg, 2009). Violence from above comes attendant to both “roll-back” neoliberalism, where regulatory transformation sees the state narrowly concerned with expanding markets to the peril of social provisions, and “roll-out” neoliberalism which concentrates on disciplining and containment of those marginalized by earlier stages of neoliberalization (Peck and Tickell, 2002). (Springer, 2011: 549).

 

Some usefull defintions: 

Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning 'equal'), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that prioritizes equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or moral status.

Liberalism is a political and economic doctrine that emphasizes individual autonomyequality of opportunity, and the protection of individual rights (primarily to life, liberty, and property), originally against the state and later against both the state and private economic actors, including businesses.

Tom Sparks

Open-Source Intelligence Gathering Training (OSINT) | SANS SEC487 https://www.sans.org/course/open-source-intelligence-gathering

Tom Sparks

N MID-DENSITY ZONES, PORTLAND HAS A CHOICE: GARAGES OR LOW PRICES

1 min read

According to calculations from the city’s own contracted analysts, if off-street parking spaces are required in the city’s new “RM2” zone, then the most profitable thing for a landowner to build on one of these properties in inner Portland is 10 townhomes, each valued at $733,000, with an on-site garage.

But if off-street parking isn’t required, then the most profitable thing to build is a 32-unit mixed-income building, including 28 market-rate condos selling for an average of $280,000 and four below-market condos—potentially created in partnership with a community land trust like Portland’s Proud Ground—sold to households making no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income.

Tom Sparks

Constructive ambiguity

1 min read

Constructive ambiguity is a term generally credited to Henry Kissinger, said to be the foremost exponent of the negotiating tactic it designates.[1] It refers to the deliberate use of ambiguous language on a sensitive issue in order to advance some political purpose. Constructive ambiguity is often disparaged as fudging. It might be employed in a negotiation, both to disguise an inability to resolve a contentious issue on which the parties remain far apart and to do so in a manner that enables each to claim obtaining some concession on it.

Tom Sparks

Neoliberalism in Europe

1 min read

From: The Origins of European Neo-liberalism by Nicholas Mulder

The real source of neoliberalism in Europe is neither technocracy nor hegemony but a problem specific to the continent: intergovernmentalism........

While the name Lisbon connotes the triumph of the neoliberal model in Europe, it may also foreshadow a possible way out of that model’s clutches. Since November 2015, Portugal has been the only Eurozone and EU member state which has been able to combine left-wing economic and social policies with material recovery while remaining committed to European institutions. The Portuguese progressive experiment under Lisbon’s former mayor, the Socialist prime minister António Costa, illustrates one possible path for the European left: capturing power in national elections and rolling back budget cuts and privatizations, thereby boosting growth and reducing debt.

Tom Sparks

Geum triflorum prairie smoke, old man's whiskers from New Moon Nurseries http://www.newmoonnursery.com/plant/Geum-triflorum

Tom Sparks

Gleich·schal·tung

/ˈɡlīkˌSHalto͝oNG/

the standardization of political, economic, and social institutions as carried out in authoritarian states.

Tom Sparks

(Why) Trumponomics is Going to be Disastrous for Americans

Hence, needless to say, these trade wars are going to Americans poorer. How much poorer? A lot poorer is the simple answer. 

Tom Sparks

la·cu·na
/ləˈk(y)o͞onə/

an unfilled space or interval; a gap.
"the journal has filled a lacuna in Middle Eastern studies"
a missing portion in a book or manuscript.

Tom Sparks

How to Propagate an Orchid Cactus

The common name orchid cactus refers to a group of succulent plants within the genus Epiphyllum, which are prized for their large, waxy flowers and flat, segmented stems. As tropical plants, orchid cacti cannot tolerate cold temperatures and must be grown indoors below U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 10. They propagate quickly and reliably from stem cuttings. Although orchid cacti will root well year-round, they perform best when started between mid-winter and early spring when the plant is partially dormant.

Tom Sparks

Tom Sparks