War All The Time

War All The Time

The truck bombing in Mogadishu and appalled everyone who heard about it. Indeed, the level of carnage was horrific. But far fewer people know what lies behind the misery of Somalia than heard of this fresh atrocity. More»

The Great Terrorist

The Great Terrorist

My boyhood neighbor, Loren Jones, was a man with an interesting story about Stalinist Russia.  He arrived there in 1937 as the first television engineer in the country, sent by his employer, the Radio Corporation of America. More»

Leaving the West

Leaving the West

Among Turkish media commentators and academics, we are observing an increasing tendency to question Erdoğan’s policy of reorienting Turkey away from the West towards positions and a vernacular that appeal to the “Islamic street.” More»

Latest entries
Touring the Punk Diaspora

Touring the Punk Diaspora

For an astonishing three decades, since he was only thirteen years old, Berkeley native Aaron Cometbus has been publishing the eponymous zine that, more than any other, testifies to the power of low-fi print. With personal touches like his distinctive block-capital hand lettering and bracingly honest assessment of his travels and travails, Cometbus remains a crucial bulwark in the battle against inauthentic living. Reading even a few pages is enough to put the feed-me-now mentality of our technologically oversaturated age in perspective.
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Peace Means Everybody

Peace Means Everybody

A diverse group of mostly Jewish peace activists descended on Washington from February 26-28 to attend the second national conference of J Street, America’s largest “pro-Israel, pro-peace” advocacy group. More»

Black Metal for Leftists

Black Metal for Leftists

For the left-wing black metal lover, no act causes greater discomfort than Burzum. The influence of Varg Vikernes’ one-man band is profound. Burzum’s 1990s albums, particularly 1994’s Filosofem, demonstrated just what was possible in the Norwegian black metal scene. More»

Moving Beyond the Middle East

Moving Beyond the Middle East

“Israel can suck my dick, Arab leaders can lick my balls,” bellowed the Palestinian MC, with a wild look in his eyes. For as partisan an event as this gig was, the statement had a delightfully alienated quality to it. He couldn’t identify with anyone; except, that is, his own people. His words hung heavily in the room, contrasting sharply with those of the British rapper who had introduced his act, someone who, less than an hour before, had urged the largely Palestinian audience to oppose the allied attack on Libya. More»

An Unfresh Start

An Unfresh Start

I never thought much about race. Early in life, I learned that it was an untrustworthy category. More»

Mixed Media

Mixed Media

Although it’s been subsumed in the news by the more explosive revolts in the region, Iran’s Green movement provided its own blueprint for how to take it to the man—or imam—a couple of years ago. Its currently nebulous and undulant nature may provide the model for how to make a movement last until victory. More»

Fukushima From China

Fukushima From China

We are sitting in front of a large flat-screen watching video footage of the Japanese earthquake disaster.  Jianhua is perched on the end of the bed, wearing the metallic fabric smock she wanted to protect her pregnant midriff.  She is worried about fetal effects of EM from televisions, laptop computers, and cell-phones. More»

This is Voltage Music

This is Voltage Music

The Voltage Music label was started in 2000. I approached my boss at the time, XLR8R Magazine publisher Andrew Smith, about collaborating on a label. He and I had been producing music together at the time as Live & Direkt. We released a track on a Ubiquity Records comp called No Categories Volume 1 and did a few remixes for other labels. Separately, I had started recording my own broken beat and dub tracks using a first generation black PowerBook G3.
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A State of Narcissism

A State of Narcissism

It was cold outside and pouring rain. The cafe was packed, upstairs and down. “It’s really a commune here, huh?” the woman next to me said as I sat down. I smiled, nodded, and asked if it would annoy her if I plugged my laptop in. The wire would run right behind her, grazing her back. “No problem,” she said. More»

Aim Low, Score High

Aim Low, Score High

“In My Time”, one of the sunnier numbers on Kurt Vile’s new album Smoke Ring For My Halo, begins with a curious couplet: “In my day I was young and crazy/Sure I didn’t know shit, but now I’m lazy.” While such introspection made sense for musicians who had been through the madness of the late 1960s and were keen to follow Voltaire’s advice and tend their own garden to recuperate, it sounds strange coming from someone like Vile. More»
My Life as a Sugar Daddy

My Life as a Sugar Daddy

It was the middle of January. It had rained all day, but the sun had finally broken through. There was a noticeable dearth of tourists in Piazza Venezia, even for such an offseason time of year. On the lookout for customers, the guys in gladiator outfits were more aggressive than usual, stopping anyone they could find who happened to be carrying a camera. More»

Arizona Wen Zi Yu

Arizona Wen Zi Yu

University teachers are at the brink of becoming an endangered species in Arizona. Entire non-tenured groups of teachers have already received their termination notices. Thousands are disappearing. Gloom and outrage are palpable in the hallways and in online exchanges. More»