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Dodie Bellany: Academonia
"In this lively, entertaining collection of essays, Dodie Bellamy has written not only a helpful pedagogical tool, but an epic narrative of survival against institutional deadening and the proscriptiveness that shoots the young writer like poison darts from all sides. By the 90s funding for the arts had dwindled and graduate writing programs—“cash cows”—had risen to fill the slack. Simultaneously, literary production moved from an unstable, at times frightening street culture where experiment was privileged beyond all else, to an institutionalized realm—Academonia!—that enforces, or tends to enforce, conservative aesthetic values.

Among the questions Bellamy raises: how does the writer figure out how to write? How will she claim her content among censorious voices? Can the avant-garde create forms that speak to political and spiritual crisis? Can desire exist in a world of networking structures? To the keepers of the status quo, what is so goddamned scary about experimental writing? Bellamy’s textual body morphs through sex, ravenous hunger, aging, displacement, cuddling with animals. Along the way she invokes Levi Strauss, Kurosawa, Marvin Gaye, Christiane (the faceless daughter in Georges Franju’s 1959 horror classic Eyes Without a Face), Alice Munro, Michael Moore, Quan Yin, Cinderella, and the beheaded heroine Lady Jane Grey. On Foucault’s grid of invisible assumptions, Academonia casts a blacklight vision, making it glow in giddy FX splendor.

*****

There are the institutions that are created without our input and the institutions that we create with others. Both sorts of institutions define us without our consent. Dodie Bellamy’s Academonia explores the prickly intersection among these spaces as it moves through institutions such as the academy, the experimental writing communities of the Bay Area, feminist and sexual identities, and group therapy. Continuing the work that she began in The Letters of Mina Harker pushing memoir and confession out of its safety zones and into its difficulties, this book provokes as it critiques and yet at the same time manages to delight with its hope.

--Juliana Spahr

Way back in the seventies, and before Bellamy, pastiche and bricolage as applied to literature made me yawn. Smug attacks on linear narrative through the use of tired language games aroused my contempt. As far as I was concerned, theory had ruined fiction by making critic and artist too intimate. Then Bellamy’s pioneering graftings of storytelling, theory and fractured metaphor changed all that, giving birth to a new avant-garde. Her writing sweeps from one mode of thought to another in absolute freedom, eviscerating hackneyed constructs about desire and language and stuffing them with a fascinating hodgepodge of sparkling sensory fragments. The result is true postmodernism, not the shallow dilettantism of the “postmodern palette.” She sustains it on page after page, weaving together sex and philosophy, fusing trash with high culture, injecting theory with the pathos of biography and accomplishing nothing less than a fresh and sustained lyricism. What is more, her transfiguration of the trivial details of life by the mechanisms of irony, fantasy, disjunction, nostalgia and perverse point of view prove that it’s not the life you live that matters, but how you tell it.

--Bruce Benderson"
writing  howwewrite  books  dodiebellany  institutions  proscriptiveness  academonia  academia  highered  highereducation  akirakurosawa  levistrauss  marvingaye  alicemonroe  michaelmoore  quanyin  cinderella  ladyjanegrey  foucault  institutionalization  julianaspahr  brucebenderson  bricolage  literature  linearity  form  feedom  structure  language  senses  sensory  postmodernism  dilettantism  culture  bayarea  experimental  experimentation  art  arts  funding  streetculture  2006 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Sesat School: On parents’ involvement in education
"My friend Martin Varsavsky posted on Facebook about Michael Moore’s upcoming new film “Where to Invade Next“, which features the Finnish education system (the clip is embedded below).

Martin commented:

“What nobody addresses when speaking about the Finnish education miracle is that maybe the secret is not so much what is happening at school but the level of parental attention and education these kids are getting at home.”

Below is my response:

"Martin, you nailed the issue. I have looked into the parent involvement question a little bit as part of running Sesat School in California, and found some surprising results. Also, my father is a Professor at the Department of Education at the University of Helsinki, which probably colors my thinking.

What I found is that Finns (surprisingly, perhaps!) do not emphasize parental involvement in children’s schooling very much. Instead (not so surprisingly, and in direct contrast with the U.S.), they care a lot about involvement in the sense of children being trusted with responsibility to make decisions that genuinely impact their own lives.

Data correlates this approach with results. In 2012 the OECD (Education Working Paper 73) compared parental involvement in 14 PISA countries. Finland wasn’t part of the sample, but the findings are informative: the three kinds of parental involvement highlighted by the OECD as most effective are (1) reading books to young children (2) discussing complex issues with children (3) parents reading to themselves for enjoyment.

In contrast, the American conversation on parental involvement has focused on (1) parents attending school functions and responding to school obligations (parent-teacher conferences, for example); (2) parents helping children improve their
schoolwork; (3) parents monitoring homework and actively tutoring their children at home. These are the top three modes of parent involvement highlighted in a paper by Cotton & Reed Wikelund, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

When I compared this with the Finnish literature, I was surprised how little had been written in Finland about parents’ involvement in schooling (in the U.S. sense). Instead, Finns have been very concerned about children’s involvement in decision-making. When you search Google in Finnish for “parents’ involvement”, Google suggests results about “children’s involvement”! The Finns pay particular attention to kids’ involvement in decisions related to their own education, as well as decisions that impact their lives more broadly (urban planning, for instance).

To give you an example, here’s what Finland’s Ministry of Education wrote in 2011:

“It is recommended that student bodies be made obligatory on all levels of education, and that their objectives and responsibilities be enacted into law. Moreover, special methods [of involving very young children in decision-making] must be developed for kindergartens and preschools.”

This paper was co-signed by the Minister of Education and his deputy of Youth Affairs.

Perhaps instead of encroaching more on their kids’ lives in and out of school, U.S. parents should redefine “involvement” as courage to let their kids start making more of their important life decisions earlier, so they grow up learning that it’s perfectly normal and OK to expect to have real responsibility for one’s actions.

Food for thought :)""
jyriengestrom  finland  parenting  2016  us  education  sfsh  michaelmoore  reding  responsibility  learning  children  childhood  trust  decisionmaking 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Intervention – “Vernacular Values: Remembering Ivan Illich” by Andy Merrifield | AntipodeFoundation.org
"Illich had it in for professional institutions of every kind, for what he called “disabling professions”; this is what interests me most in his work, this is what I’ve been trying to revisit, trying to recalibrate and reload, in our own professionalised times. I’ve been trying to affirm the nemesis of professionalism: amateurs. Illich said professionals incapacitate ordinary peoples’ ability to fend for themselves, to invent things, to lead innovative lives beyond the thrall of corporations and institutions. Yet Illich’s war against professionalism isn’t so much a celebration of self-survival (letting free market ideology rip) as genuine self-empowerment, a weaning people off their market-dependence. We’ve lost our ability to develop “convivial tools”, he says, been deprived of our use-value capacities, of values systems outside the production and consumption of commodities. We’ve gotten accustomed to living in a supermarket.

Illich’s thinking about professionalisation was partly inspired by Karl Polanyi’s magisterial analysis on the “political and economic origins of our time”, The Great Transformation (Beacon Press, 1944). Since the Stone Age, Polanyi says, markets followed society, developed organically as social relations developed organically, from barter and truck systems, to simple economies in which money was a means of exchange, a mere token of equivalent worth. Markets were always “embedded” (a key Polanyi word) in social relations, always located somewhere within the very fabric of society, whose institutional and political structure “regulated” what markets could and couldn’t do. Regulation and markets thus grew up together, came of age together. So “the emergence of the idea of self-regulation”, says Polanyi, “was a complete reversal of this trend of development … the change from regulated to self-regulated markets at the end of the 18th century represented a complete transformation in the structure of society.”

We’re still coming to terms with this complete transformation, a transformation that, towards the end of the 20th century, has made the “disembedded” economy seem perfectly natural, perfectly normal, something transhistorical, something that always was, right? It’s also a perfectly functioning economy, as economic pundits now like to insist. Entering the 1990s, this disembedded market system bore a new tagline, one that persists: “neoliberalism”. Polanyi’s logic is impeccable: a “market economy can exist only in a market society.”

Inherent vices nonetheless embed themselves in this disembedded economy. Land, labour and money become vital parts of our economic system, of our speculative hunger games. But, says Polanyi, land, labour and money “are obviously not commodities” (his emphasis). “Land is only another name for nature, which is not produced by man”, he says; “labour is only another name for human activity which goes with life itself”; “actual money … is merely a token of purchasing power which, as a rule, is not produced at all, but comes into being through the mechanism of banking or state finance”. Thus “the commodity description of labour, land and money is entirely fictitious”, a commodity fiction, the fiction of commodities.

Still, we live in fictitious times (as filmmaker Michael Moore was wont to say): land, labour and money as commodities provide us with the vital organising principle of our whole society. So fiction remains the truth, and fictitious truth needs defending, needs perpetuating; the postulate must be forcibly yet legitimately kept in place. But kept in place how, and by whom? By, we might say, a whole professional administration, by a whole professional cadre, by a whole professional apparatus that both props up and prospers from these fictitious times. Professionalism is the new regulation of deregulation, the new management of mismanagement, an induced and imputed incapacitation."



"Vernacular values are intuitive knowledges and practical know-how that structure everyday culture; they pivot not so much—as Gramsci says—on common sense as on “good sense”. They’re reasonable intuitions and intuitive reason: words, habits and understandings that inform real social life—the real social life of a non-expert population. Illich reminds us that “vernacular” stems from the Latin vernaculam, meaning “homebred” or “homegrown”, something “homemade”. (We’re not far from the notion of amateur here.) Vernacular is a mode of life and language below the radar of exchange-value; vernacular language is language acquired without a paid teacher; loose, unruly language, heard as opposed to written down. (“Eartalk”, Joyce called it in Finnegans Wake, a language for the “earsighted”.) To assert vernacular values is, accordingly, to assert democratic values, to assert its means through popular participation."



"Illich chips in to add how professionals peddle the privileges and status of the job: they adjudicate its worthiness and rank, while forever tut-tutting those without work. Unemployment “means sad idleness, rather than the freedom to do things that are useful for oneself or for one’s neighbour”. “What counts”, Illich says, “isn’t the effort to please or the pleasure that flows from that effort but the coupling of the labour force with capital. What counts isn’t the achievement of satisfaction that flows from action but the status of the social relationship that commands production—that is, the job, situation, post, or appointment”.

Effort isn’t productive unless it’s done at the behest of some boss; economists can’t deal with a usefulness of people outside of the corporation, outside of stock value, of shareholder dividend, of cost-benefit. Work is only ever productive when its process is controlled, when it is planned and monitored by professional agents, by managers and the managers of managers. Can we ever imagine unemployment as useful, as the basis for autonomous activity, as meaningful social or even political activity?"



"Perhaps, during crises, we can hatch alternative programmes for survival, other methods through which we can not so much “earn a living” as live a living. Perhaps we can self-downsize, as Illich suggests, and address the paradox of work that goes back at least to Max Weber: work is revered in our culture, yet at the same time workers are becoming superfluous; you hate your job, your boss, hate the servility of what you do, and how you do it, the pettiness of the tasks involved, yet want to keep your job at all costs. You see no other way of defining yourself other than through work, other than what you do for a living. Perhaps there’s a point at which we can all be pushed over the edge, voluntarily take the jump ourselves, only to discover other aspects of ourselves, other ways to fill in the hole, to make a little money, to maintain our dignity and pride, and to survive off what Gorz calls a “frugal abundance”.

Perhaps it’s time to get politicised around non-work and undercut the professionalisation of work and life. In opting out, or at least contesting from within, perhaps we can create a bit of havoc, refuse to work as we’re told, and turn confrontation into a more positive device, a will to struggle for another kind of work, where use-value outbids exchange-value, where amateurs prevail over professionals. If, in times of austerity, capitalists can do without workers, then it’s high time workers (and ex-workers) realise that we can do without capitalists, without their professional hacks, and their professional institutions, that we can devise work without them, a work for ourselves. Illich throws down the gauntlet here, challenges us to conceive another de-professionalised, vernacular non-working future. He certainly gets you thinking, has had me thinking, and rethinking, more than a decade after I’ve had any kind of job."
via:javierarbona  ivanillich  professionals  experts  amateurs  economics  conviviality  karlpolanyi  politics  capitalism  neoliberalism  empowerment  self-empowerment  unschooling  deschooling  production  consumption  corporatism  corporations  institutions  self-survival  invention  innovation  markets  society  labor  land  commodities  nature  money  michaelmoore  andymerrifield  bureaucracy  control  systems  systemsthinking  deregulation  regulation  management  incapacitation  work  vernacula  vernacularvalues  values  knowledge  everyday  culture  informal  bullshitjobs  andrégorz  antoniogramsci  marxism  ideleness  freedom  capital  effort  productivity  socialactivism  maxweber  time  toolsforconviviality 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Occupy Everywhere: Michael Moore, Naomi Klein on Next Steps for the Movement Against Corporate Power
"How does the Occupy Wall Street movement move from "the outrage phase" to the "hope phase," and imagine a new economic model? In a Democracy Now! special broadcast, we bring you excerpts from a recent event that examined this question and much more. "Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power," a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of "Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country." [includes rush transcript]"
ows  occupywallstreet  naomiklein  rinkusen  patrickbruner  williamgreider  michaelmoore  2011  politics  protest  amygoodman  democracynow  democracy  corporatism  economics  capitalism 
november 2011 by robertogreco
30 Years Ago: The Day the Middle Class Died | Common Dreams
"It all began on this day, 30yrs ago. [Reagan fired every member of air traffic controllers union] One of darkest days in US history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had money, media & cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset & wanted their country, life, job, weekend, time w/ kids back?

Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget the 20% who support Tea Party—we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. & not through online petition or tweet. We are going to have to turn TV, computer & video games off & get out in streets (like in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine & stop taking corporate money—or step aside.

When is enough, enough?…middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street's plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves & Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?"
michaelmoore  1981  2011  wisconsin  protest  wallstreet  greed  havesandhavenots  politics  policy  economics  apathy  ronaldreagan  activism  passivity  unions  collectivism 
august 2011 by robertogreco
VIDEO: America Is NOT Broke | MichaelMoore.com
"400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.…<br />
<br />
America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!<br />
<br />
Madison, do not retreat.  We are with you. We will win together."
economy  wealth  income  michaelmoore  inequality  incomegap  economics  classwarfare  us  wisconsin  2011  budget  budgetcuts  finance  society  unions  collectivebargaining 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Arianna Huffington: Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore's New Movie (and So Must You)!
"while...shooting climax of movie...mark[ing] Wall Street as crime scene, putting up yellow police tape around some of financial district's towers of power...unfurling tape in front of a "too big to fail" bank, he became aware of a group of NY's finest approaching...in this case he knew he was, however temporarily, defacing private property...shooting schedule didn't leave room for a detour to the local jail. So, as the lead officer came closer, Moore tried to deflect him, saying: "Just doing a little comedy here, officer. I'll be gone in a minute & will clean up before I go." The officer looked at him for a moment, then leaned in: "Take all the time you need." He nodded to the bank..."These guys wiped out a lot of our Police Pension Funds." The officer turned & slowly headed back to his squad car. Moore wanted to put the moment in his film, but realized it could cost the cop his job & decided to leave it out. "When they've lost the police," he told me, "you know they're in trouble."
michaelmoore  huffingtonpost  politics  economics  greed  wallstreet  capitalism  crisis  finance  film  police  us 
september 2009 by robertogreco
MichaelMoore.com : Goodbye, GM ...by Michael Moore
"But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company! I know, I know -- who on earth wants to run a car company? Who among us wants $50 billion of our tax dollars thrown down the rat hole of still trying to save GM? Let's be clear about this: The only way to save GM is to kill GM. Saving our precious industrial infrastructure, though, is another matter and must be a top priority. If we allow the shutting down and tearing down of our auto plants, we will sorely wish we still had them when we realize that those factories could have built the alternative energy systems we now desperately need. And when we realize that the best way to transport ourselves is on light rail and bullet trains and cleaner buses, how will we do this if we've allowed our industrial capacity and its skilled workforce to disappear?"
gm  michaelmoore  detroit  economics  recession  bankruptcy  cleanenergy  retoolinggm  us  future  energy  oil  generalmotors  environment  transportation  trains  industry  transformation  gamechanging 
june 2009 by robertogreco
'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, December 3, 2008
"First of all, I just want to say that-you know, when the three automaker chiefs went to Washington, they were treated like errant school children and sent back home to Detroit to write an essay on why we should get free cash. When the Wall Street bankers and thieves came down there, back in October, it was just the opposite. Nobody asked them what they flew down on. The hearing room looked like a cigar bar. Seriously. All that was missing was the photographer from "Cigar Aficionado."
autoindustry  bailout  finance  us  government  manufacturing  crisis  economics  doublestandards  michaelmoore  keitholbermann 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Borderland » Blog Archive » Rage and Hope
"In his interview with Goodman, Michael Moore discussed his Election Guide 2008 and some presidential decrees he suggests for Barack Obama’s first 10 days in office, to include: * Bring back the draft, but only draft children of the rich; * Make it a crime to make a profit off of somebody being sick; * Ban high-fructose corn syrup; * Americans should pay no more taxes than the French (by relieving us of expenses for things like health insurance, daycare, and college tuition - which are “hidden” taxes - and instead return something of real value in return for the taxes that people do pay); * Make it an American mission to ensure that the entire world has clean drinking water; * Require the rich to pay their fair share of social security (since they currently don’t pay anything into the fund); After all, we’re voting for a socialist…"
elections  2008  dougnoon  barackobama  us  socialism  michaelmoore  politics  change 
november 2008 by robertogreco

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