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July 2013
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Odds and Ends

bullet image I am famous. But then again, everyone is. At least that’s the notion behind the All People Are Famous podcast. Eli, the podcast’s host, recently interviewed me, and that episode is now available.

You can learn way more than you ever wanted to about me by listening to it (may not work on all devices – should be available on iTunes soon).

bullet image Some upcoming activities:

  • I am Artistic Director of The Living Canvas, and we’ll be having our final performance of Living Canvas: For the People this Saturday night (July 20) at National Pastime Theater in Chicago. It’s been a fabulously terrifying and collaborative experience this year, as we have been creating the shows we perform in workshops during that day. It’s worked quite wonderfully.
  • On Sunday, July 21, from 5-7 pm Eastern, I’l be hosting FireDogLake’s Book Salon: It’s NORML to Smoke Pot: The 40 Year Fight for Marijuana Smokers’ Rights featuring Keith Stroup. Anticipating a good discussion about the history of NORML and the different approaches to attacking marijuana prohibition. Please join us.
  • On Sunday, July 21 through Sunday, July 28, I’ll be one of the three judges of the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival in Palatine, Illinois. It’s a wonderful festival, and I look forward to some outstanding films that focus on telling compelling stories.

bullet image For those who are interested, here’s a crosspost of mine from Facebook regarding the consumption of “news” media.

In cases like the Zimmerman trial, or any of the other murder cases du jour, it may be a good idea to be aware of the broad strokes in order to discuss philosophical and political ramifications. But if you’re following the details of the trial as if you were a member of the jury, you are no longer watching news, despite the fact that it may be on a so-called “news” channel. It is, instead, cheap sensationalistic entertainment for the masses, closely akin to the Roman Coliseum.

Most of our media does a pretty piss poor job at informing the public. They would much rather entertain, but do so without the production value of movies or the quality storytelling of theater. Instead, they draw upon our ugly voyeuristic impulse to view train wrecks and shouting matches.

If your “news” source is covering the Zimmerman trial more than the stop-and-frisk lawsuit in New York (which also has much greater implications on race in this country), it isn’t doing its job. If your “news” source is covering Snowden more then the NSA, FISA courts, or James Clapper’s lies to Congress, it isn’t doing its job.

I was interested to learn that a new cable news channel is starting up with plans to broadcast starting in late August. Their intent is to forgo sensationalism and the endless bickering of opinionated talking heads, and instead focus on hard-hitting news both domestic and international. It’s bizarre that we don’t have such a thing already; it’s disturbing that analysts predict it unlikely to be successful; and it’s ironic that it had to originate from outside the United States. I wish the best of luck to Al Jazeera America.

Obviously, we, as Americans, have mostly lost the ability to report the news. Hopefully, we can still find the ability to receive it.

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18 comments to Odds and Ends

  • darkcycle

    Aw gee…tell Keith that darkcycle says Hi and I’ll be at the NORML tent at Hempfest, in my usual spot. You can also tell him that if he has any plans for being lucid during his speech Saturday, he can fuggedaboudit. *devlish laugh* *winky-face*

  • darkcycle

    Oh, and RE your last “end” (or would that be last “odd”? …no matter). As to network news and Mainstream journalism? Look to the commercials…we don’t even NEED to “allow” domestic propaganda. The outlets are wholly owned and operated by THE INTERESTS THAT MATTER(trademark thingie). The information is carefully filtered before it is ever seen.
    I spend fully seventy percent of my online day just LOOKING for the scattered bit of hard, actual news out there. There are precious few, and even fewer people doing the job of reporting. This is a controlled and manipulated information environment. Many false trails and deliberate disinformation to weed through and only your (or my, somewhat compromised..) reasoning abilities to count on.
    Easy to see why delusion is the norm.

  • Nick

    Thanks for the reference to gladiator sports.

  • I wish I could see The Living Canvas, but I can’t afford a trip to Chicago.

    Boston (more specifically Cambridge), MA likely offers a great audience for your show fwiw.

  • Dave in Florida

    I have been living in Vienna, Austria for the past 8 weeks, another 5 to go. I don’t speak German, so I have to rely on english speaking tv. I have CNN International, BBC, Euronews and Al Jazeera CNN is much different here than in the states. They actually have good coverage on international news. The BBC is very good. Euronews is ok. Al Jazeera is what Fox claims to be “fair and balanced”. It is every bit as good as CNN or BBC. When the Eygpt thing was starting, Al Jazeera was the first to show both groups demonstrations in a split screen live. They would interview people from both sides. There was no bias to be found. I am looking forward to their start in the States.

  • War Vet

    Oh Pete you said Al Jazeera -oh, please say (or write) that word again . . . reading Al Jazeera is like a dark chocolate tasting encyclopedia. You really know how to turn a guy on Pete (in the non-sexual way of course). I trust Al Jazeera as much as I trust that breathing oxygen will keep me alive . . . they were some of my first sources when studying the War on Drugs for my senior project for my BA. God, I hope they stay on top of their game and won’t change for the money or sensationalism (kind of live: why do we still call the Travel Channel the Travel Channel, when it’s clearly the Food Network now or why do we insist calling Animal Planet or Fishing Network the History Channel).

  • curmudgeon

    Sorry to say it, but Eli is only almost right. Most people are famous; some are infamous, i.e. calvina & the Semblers, all the folks at SAM, all ex drug czars…

  • strayan

    Have a look at my interaction with Warren Terra: http://www.samefacts.com/2013/07/uncategorized/why-i-always-put-medical-marijuana-in-scare-quotes/

    Is it me or does he have a very narrow view of the role of a doctor?

  • mr Ikasheeni

    I don’t see any allusion to ol’ Al in the text. But I did see an idea in the Spiegal. “Starke volk Wachsen Hanf!”

  • cy klebs

    Who was that making a duck face at the Trevon Martin demo?

  • The slime from your video

    .
    .

    It is disturbing how TV news has gone yellow. Even more disturbing IMO is the fact that they even have the frickin’ weathermen doing the same damn thing. “There’s a tornado watch in (____)! How many people will die? How much in property damage will it cost the victims and our society?? Then the storm front passes through and was so mild nobody would have even noticed. The next day the weatherman starts wondering if the lack of rain is going to result in the worst drought since the dust bowl. That’s right folks don’t touch that dial, there’s a tragedy right around the corner. In the 1960s Bob Dylan asserted that you don’t need to be a weather man to know which way the wind blows. Today it’s don’t even bother to ask the media weatherman the way the wind blows. They’re more concerned with how many people are going to be blown over the side of a cliff and die.

    Print media doing much the same doesn’t bother me so much because they’re in a dying business. The people running the show are going to be willing to go to extremes. Not that it’s right, but it is understandable. It’s too bad that they’re not putting their efforts into making the jump from the doorstep to the information superhighway. Sure there are some exceptions to the rule but not many compared to the number of players who are in their death throes.

  • Windy

    The local paper in the town nearest me has put up a paywall, you cannot even read the LTEs without becoming a “member”; prices starting at just 99 cents (99 cents per what? page? article? week? year?, they don’t tell you unless you click “join” and I refuse to do that, there is not enough content in any other section that is worth paying 1 penny a year to access, I even emailed the editor and told him that, never even got a response).

  • Servetus

    Pete, your art has inspired a new genre in Austria:

    http://tinyurl.com/l4g9o6x