Archive for the ‘awesomeness’ Category
June 18, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TOP HEADLINE: WORLD LEADERS SIGN PACT TO AVERT CLIMATE DISASTER
Newspaper Ignites Hope, Announces “Civil Disobedience Database”
* Civil-disobedience database: http://BeyondTalk.net
* PDF of printed newspaper: http://iht.greenpeace.org/todays-paper/
– Online version: http://www.iht-se.com/
* Video: http://iht.greenpeace.org/video/ (coming soon)
In a front-page ad in today’s International Herald Tribune, the leaders of the European Union thank the European public for having engaged in months of civil disobedience leading up to the Copenhagen climate conference that will be held this December.
“It was only thanks to your massive pressure over the past six months that we could so dramatically shift our climate-change policies…. To those who were arrested, we
There was only one catch: the paper was fake.
Looking exactly like the real thing, but dated December 19th, 2009, a million copies of the fake paper were distributed worldwide by thousands of volunteers in order to show what could be achieved at the Copenhagen climate conference that is scheduled for Dec. 7-18, 2009.
At the moment, the conference is aiming for much more modest cuts, dismissed by leading climate scientists as too little, too late to stave off runaway processes that will lead to millions or even billions of casualties.
The paper describes in detail a powerful (and entirely possible) new treaty to bring carbon levels down below 350 parts per million – the
level climate scientists say we need to achieve to avoid climate catastrophe.
One article describes how a website, http://BeyondTalk.net, mobilized thousands of people to put their bodies on the line to
confront climate change policies – ever since way back in June, 2009.
Although the newspaper is a fake (its production and launch were coordinated by Greenpeace), the website is real. Beyondtalk.net is part of a growing network of websites calling for direct action on climate change, building on statements made in recent months by noted political
For example, in September Nobel laureate Al Gore asserted that “we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to
prevent the construction of new coal plants.”
Leading American environmentalist Bill McKibben was enthusiastic about the newspaper’s message and the methods BeyondTalk.net calls for.
“We need a political solution grounded in reality – grounded in physics and chemistry. That will only come if we can muster a wide variety of political tactics, including civil disobedience.”
“Non-violent civil disobedience has been at the forefront of almost every successful campaign for change,” said Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes
Men, who helped write and edit the newspaper and are furnishing the technology for BeyondTalk.net. “Especially in America, and especially today, we need to push our leaders hard to stand up to industry lobbyists and make the sorts of changes we need.”
“Roosevelt would never have been able to push through the New Deal if people hadn’t taken to the streets, occupied factories, and demanded
it,” noted newspaper writer/editor and University of California professor Lawrence Bogad.
“Segregation, British rule in India, and apartheid wouldn’t have ended without a lot of people being creatively uncooperative – even if that meant getting arrested. Nonviolent civil
disobedience is the bread and butter of progress.”
The fake newspaper also has an ad for “Action Offsets,” whereby those who aren’t willing to risk arrest can help those who are.
A HOPEFUL NEWS PANDEMIC?
Today’s fake International Herald Tribune is part of a rash of recent publications which mimic prominent newspapers. Last November, a fake edition of the New York Times announced that the Iraq War was over. A few days earlier, a hoax USA Today featured the US presidential election result: “Capitalism Wins at the Polls: Anarchy Brewing in the Streets.”
And this April 1st, a spoof edition of Germany’s Zeit newspaper triumphantly announced the end of “casino capitalism” and the abolition
of poor-country debt.
The rash of fakes is likely to continue. “People are going to keep finding ways to get the word out about common-sense solutions those in
power say are impossible,” said Kelli Anderson, one of the designers of the fake International Herald Tribune and co-designer (with Daniel
Dunnam) of BeyondTalk.net.
“We already know what we need to do about climate change,” said Agnes de Rooij of Greenpeace International. “It’s a no-brainer. Reduce carbon emissions, or put the survival of billions of people at risk. If the political will isn’t there now, it’s our duty to inspire it.”
– The Yes Men, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
– Mark Breddy (Greenpeace), mailto:email@example.com,
(+32) (0)2 2741 903, (+32) (0)496 15 62 29 (mob.)
– Lawrence Bogad, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org,
+1-212 300 7943
It has been floating around for a while, but to see AusFailure National Tantrum show up in the Sydney Morning Herald – where it may well be read by a quarter of a million Sydneysiders – certainly brings a grin that goes from ear to era.
The article is here, and this is the National Tantrum, as penned and painted by awesome Indigenous artist, didge guru and all round kickass mofo Adam Hill (not the whitefella, the other fella.)
AUSFAILURE NATIONAL TANTRUM
Australians all let us remorse
For we are blind can’t see
We’ve golden soil that we all spoil
Our home washes into sea
Our land abounds in racist gits
Of whom we really can’t bear
In history’s cage recompense the slaves
Do Australians really care?
In painful strains that left a sting
Do Australians really care?
Given its nature as a graphic novel, it is more than fitting that Watchmen is a similarly graphic film. Anybody familiar with Watchmen, the book, is most likely enamoured of it, and sure to have an idea of which elements of the richly layered text matter most to them.
The good news is that the characters are mostly well cast and recreated in a manner true to the novel. Promotional material is already out, spruiking the end of the superhero as we know it. But rather than ending anything, Watchmen – both as a book and as a new film – is about creating a necessarily new approach to the modern hero fable.
Rather than the appalling candy floss of Spiderman or Superman, and even less ‘moral’ than Hulk or the Dark Knight, Watchmen’s mostly well-drawn characters are multi-dimensional and as ambivalent as they have to be. Even with the elevation of some modern concerns like energy sources and the geopolitic of Afghanistan to a prominence they lacked in the graphic novel, Watchmen honours the original work of Alan Moore in a way that the Waukoski brothers’ molestation of V for Vendetta did not.
Matter-shifting Dr. Manhattan has all the power needed to save humanity from itself, but lacks the desire to use it. The Comedian is an alcoholic misogynist sociopath who wants to see the world burn, but shudders fatally when that possibility becomes certainty. Rorschach is almost as psychotic and unforgettable as on paper. In almost any other film, he could be the standalone supervillain.
Ozymandias/ Veidt lacks some of the impact he should have, simply because he is not portrayed in any sympathetic way, he looks more like a blonde Ken doll or Flash Gordon extra than the more rugged and wise comic book depiction of his character, and because the casting decision for this character who simultaneously achieves total heroic and villainous status is perhaps the worst in an otherwise well-played film. Other than Veidt, the Richard Nixon character is probably the closest to caricature in the film, contrasting pointedly with the far less thinly drawn characters driving the story.
And let’s face it, how few action movies of the last decade – whether transposed from comics or not – have offered anything substantial or challenging by way of character development, let alone done much more than sermonize Brady Bunch values thinly veiled in bloodshed?
Even at around 150 minutes and using the graphic novel quite faithfully as a storyboard, the filmmakers were never going to be able to transfer the entirety of such a complexly constructed book to screen. So the question really is one of what they left out and how they managed what was kept in.
A number of the vignettes and side stories not involving the Watchmen characters don’t make it into the movie and this is something of a shame. The directors and screenwriters likely made the decision that to do otherwise would crowd the work and add confusion to an already agile film which does – to its credit – faithfully use the soundtrack laid out in the novel, augmenting it with some clever pop culture inserts and beautifully constructed media montages and character backgrounds. Similarly, some of the book’s more extreme supernatural elements are excised, traded off instead for more ‘real world’ scenarios. Again, this is probably a choice based on what the film’s structure can solidly support and what audiences can comfortably absorb.
But the choice is also made to give the love and lust relationships of the novel greater prominence than they originally had. In a way – and like some of the costuming – this choice reaffirms the stereotype of the comic book fan as frustrated middle aged virgin. But the notion is fleeting, mostly offset by an avalanche of great ideas, explosive violence, and dark philosophical observation. Fans of the novel may scowl at the ending, but at least it offers a surprise for everyone.
The big question: is Watchmen a film release worth looking forward to?
Absolutely – catch it on the biggest screen and biggest sound system that you can. It’s really quite a movie experience which, despite some annoyances and absences, isn’t to be missed.
Unless you’d rather be watching Australia.
Watchmen gets 8.2 out of 10 (on a scale where V for Vendetta gets 6.5, X-Men 1.5 gets 8 and The Dark Knight gets 9)
An awesome eco-loony is planning to spend up to 5 months in a solar-powered shark cage swimming for 8 hours a day in order to complete the 2300km length of the Great Barrier Reef – the Earth’s largest living organism. It is his intention to donate money raised to Australian clubs and community centres for them to buy and install solar power on a massive scale.
It’s a great story and an inspiring idea – check out the full story here in Canadian media.
It’s just ashame that Rio Tinto and BHP will probably buy up all that good work as carbon offsets to increase their aluminium and coal output, thanks to the Federal Government’s utterly fecal 5% carbon pollution maintenance target.
This is copied from The Guardian, Roy’s piece is entitled Mumbai was not our 9/11. It’s 5000 words of essential reading, so grab coffee/yerba/chai and strap in. All that follows is a powerful op ed from one of the world’s most valuable living writers.
Mumbai was not our 9/11
We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11”. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.
As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.
But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.
It’s odd how in the last week of November thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara – one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.
The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary people have been killed and wounded. If the police are right about the people they have arrested as suspects, both Hindu and Muslim, all Indian nationals, it obviously indicates that something’s going very badly wrong in this country. Read the rest of this entry »