I found a call for recordings for a politically themed musical thing, which always makes me happy because this sort of thing motivates me a lot. It’s got an item for consideration, “How do we view the fact that our instruments for organising sounds are linked to instruments designed to control? Is there a relationship between organising and controlling?” (the whole thing is at http://www.sonoscop.net/pop-up/convzepp09ENG.html)
So I was thinking I could use some recordings I made of people chanting at the G20 protests in London and then juxtapose that with recordings of military chants that I could steal from YouTube.
And I am astounded, perplexed and unnerved that pretty much, crowds watching troop drills sound exactly like crowds at protests with chanting. I would not be able to listen to a recording and know if I’m watching an implicitly normative crowd cheering for marching at a football game or a bunch of leftists out to reclaim the streets. (I mean, the words are different, but playing recordings for a non-english speaking audience looses that signifier.)
This is kind of worrying because it suggests that there’s not so much difference between how these positions are articulated or perhaps even between the positions themselves as they manifest in a public space.
Which manifestations are empowering and which are alarming would only seem to have to do with whether your own advantage is the one being promoted. Of course, I think there’s more to it than that. Are we supporting the rights of people who already have power or people who do not? But this suggests that both positions might fill the same needs for observers and participants. And somehow that’s disturbing me. Maybe people are more empowered by being reactionary. How can we reach out to them in that case?
Speaking of protests, there’s one today about biofuels and I don’t know whether or not I want to go. Burning acres of rainforest to grow soybeans for fuel has a worse carbon footprint than burning a whole lot of petrol. Is there a role for non-waste oil biodiesel in a green, sustainable model for fuel? I don’t know. I really believed in biodiesel.
Costs of Car ownership
What they didn’t tell you in Drivers Ed
the actual cost of ownership is, of course, exceedingly high. you have to
buy gas, pay bridge toll, pay insurance, waste years of your life in
transit and stuck in traffic, while making your life shorter breathing the
extremely nasty diesel fumes which contain large amounts of particulate
matter and dioxin, while your limbs fall asleep and your mind is warped by
clear channel radio and bill boards along the ugly and polluting freeways,
which run through poor neighborhoods, poisoning the residents and also
poisoning the central valley, where the smog eventually blows, causing
astronomically high asthma rates and causing toxic pollution to gather on
the crops growing there and thus also poison our food supply, whether
organically grown or not. Biodiesel is a bit better, but not 100% and
meanwhile your car is still using up oil, still made of plastic, still
kicking up tiny rubber particles from your tires, still causing gigantic
tire disposal problems and lots and lots of really nasty air pollution
from tire disposal sites that caught fire in CA three years ago and are
still burning and it’s extremely likely that you and I both have been
transported by at least a few of the tires on fire out there and all of
these costs are hidden, but you pay later when your life is shortened and
your quality of life is diminished and people you like get cancer and die
or get killed when SUVs roll over on them or are hit by pickup trucks
while crossing the street and thus they never play bass again. and when
outcomes of decisions are statistically predictable, it shoudl not be
called an accident when a city delays putting in a traffic light
(expensive and paid for by taxes not on gasoline) and then somebody gets
killed crossing the street, that’s not an accident. When the auto
industry knows that making cars that can comfortably sail along at 80
miles and hour will lead to more speeding, more traffic fatalities, and
more gas usage and polltuon, causing higher asthma rates and cancer, these
deaths and illnesses are not accidents. When gigantic speeding cars
require huige amounts of fuel and we launch agressive wars in
oil-producing countries and soldiers and civillians get killed, this is
not an accident. When people see this and become angry and start placing
bombs around where we live and work, this is not an accident, but a direct
and predictable consequence of the decisions we make and our society makes
and part of the cost of owning a motor vehicle.
product review: biodiesel
Well, my car has about 5% less power, as expected. Not a big change or a
big deal. Some of the drivers who were not looking for the power
difference didn’t notice it. Gas milage is 5% worse as well.
The car now smells like burnt french fries instead of stinky diesel. No
more gross, stinky diesel on my hands at the gas pump.
i can go to bed at night knowing that i’m not inadvertantly contributing
to the war drums beating against Iraq. I’m not using their oil!