Sunday, April 23, 2017

Seen in… February and March 

You know you're busy when you're too busy to write one sentence reviews of every movie you watched in the last 30 days or so. What happened to my priorities? Never mind all that, I've finally got around to this post by putting off my taxes.

In this BBC documentary from Adam Curtis it’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t, which I guess is the point. The film relates how at some point the citizens of the Soviet Union became so disillusioned by the deception and lies of their government that they stopped believing in anything but they played along with the lies anyway. Living in the artifice of society created by the government became normal, “The fakery was so real, it was hyper-normal.” The film traces a line between 1970s Syria and the debt crisis of New York City, the rise of Donald Trump and the obfuscation of Russian media manipulation. Released three weeks before the US election results makes this reasoning even more frightening especially given the suspicion of Trump’s administration and his campaign team’s connection to the Russian government. The mind-numbingly deceptive strategy of engagement known as “Hybrid War" invented by the Russians wherein you create control of a situation by essentially causing chaos and playing both sides while simultaneously acknowledging and denying your role has recently been identified as the former Soviet republic’s strategy in both the Ukraine and Syria (and has neighbouring Estonia worried it could soon happen to them). The crazier it seems, the more real it feels but isn’t that how every conspiracy theory begins?

The lovely Cléo from the film's title. Image via the Movie DB
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Sing Us a Song 

Someone ran Trump through Google's Deep Dream, then I ran it through Barbara Kruger

They say every war movie, is an anti-war movie. Can the same be said of a playlist? Is every political playlist, an anti-political playlist? Okay, that sounded better in my head. What isn’t obvious is when the “current political climate” (also known as the End of Days) makes you see songs you’re familiar with in a new light, with new meaning - or even to finally make sense of a meaning or tone you never realized. This was intended as an ode to spring but spring arrived with very little fanfare this year. Here in Toronto we’ve had unusually warm days only to be followed by wet snow and blizzard warnings that became rainstorms. The end of winter and beginning of spring has also marked the first months of a new American enterprise (it seems perverse to call the current president’s cadre of cohorts an administration) and that has left me seeing everything through that lens.

This playlist reflects both a political sensitivity and at times respite from worldly affairs. Basically, I let the stream of Spotify flow over me like a tepid shower and when something piqued my interest I bookmarked it into this list, and as is my wont, stopped at sixteen.
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