mad mex

In India and Pakistan trucks get decorated until they are gaudy pieces of art on wheels:  In Japan the same is done, but there, hardly surprising, the dekotora [decorated trucks] follow the neon æsthetics:  In Sudan trucks are completely deconstructed and then reconstructed—the results are visually not as spectacular as their Asian kin, but are masterpieces of a comparatively young engineering culture (↓Beck 2009):  In Mexico, and within a totally different context, the not so conspicuous Sudanese trucks seem to have cousins: ‘Rhino trucks, narco tanks, Mad Mex-inismos? No one can agree on what to call the armored monster vehicles … Continue reading

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the simple art of murder

There are things which are interesting again and again, forever. ↑Raymond Chandler‘s essay ‘↑The Simple Art of Murder‘ (1950 [1944]) I already have read multiple times, quoted from it in ‘↑Cyberanthropology,’ and so on. Now I just stumbled over it again, via the ↵cyberpunk reading list, where the essay is commented like this: When reading it, replace ‘mystery novel’ with ‘sci-fi novel’ and its amazing. Every complaint the Cyberpunk authors had about ‘classic sci-fi’ is there as a complaint about ‘classic detective stories.’ – Logan Joshua Ratner We ↵just had it that William Gibson prefers Dashiell Hammett and is not … Continue reading

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propaganda war games

In ↵manchurian operations club among other things I mused about the detailled historical naturalism of ↑Kuma Reality Games‘ ‘Kuma\War’ [scroll down a bit]. Now those games seem to have generated a dramatic backlash into empirical reality. The ↑Day 6 Documentary: Propaganda Games by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: You don’t have to be a Middle East expert to recognize the relationship between Iran and its western foes has gotten just a wee bit tense.     There’s been sabre rattling military exercises, threats to slow the flow of oil to a trickle, downed drones and uranium enrichment in a highly protected … Continue reading

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a murder of quality

The cold was crisp and sharp like flint. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     For a moment Fielding thought of Hecht pasturing in that thick body: it was a scene redolent of Lautrec. Yes, that was it! (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     It was from us they learnt the secret of life: that we grow old without growing wise. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     I used to think it was clever to confuse comedy with tragedy. Now I wish I could distinguish them. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     Being alone was like being … Continue reading

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who wrote it?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #4 All right, everybody recognizes him standing in the background. But who wrote the novel the movie is based on? The movie is an unusual adaptation, because the other novels of the series were adapted to the silver screen decades earlier, with iconic actors almost defining a genre. UPDATE and solution (26 November 2011): My apologies for updating so late. Especially as ↵klandestino already solved the riddle, and provided a ↑YouTube link as proof, the day it was posted: In the background it of course is Arnold Schwarzenegger (not appearing in the movie’s credits), the guy … Continue reading

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pulp surrealism

Pulp Surrealism is about the secret life of mass culture, specifically its surrealistic undercurrents. It establishes a low-brow, anti-establishment genealogy of the Parisian dada and surrealist movements in the popular realms of crime fiction and sensationalist journalism. Mass culture was not generally inspirational to the surrealists; the vast amount of it was rejected by them as commercialized and mind-numbing. As Aragon stated in Traité du style, “not any old smut is the equivalent of surrealist poetry.” However, the surrealists were connoisseurs of mass culture and they found great sympathies between subterranean impulses in mass culture and their own intellectual and … Continue reading

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