Frann Michel's blog

Capitalist Realism

[For the Old Mole Variety Hour June 28, 2010].      The British blogger and theorist Mark Fisher recently published a slim little volume from Zer0 books titled Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? By "Capitalist Realism" he means, roughly, the notion that, as Margaret Thatcher famously asserted, there is no alternative to capitalism. But Fisher is also interested in questioning and exploring the implications of this view that, as it is sometimes put, it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

Robin Hood (2010)

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Today on the Old Mole, Denise Morris and I discussed Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott. We went hoping to see some stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but this version is more about defending the nation-state and the rule of law. Or something.

Mothers and Others: Alloparents and Commoning

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For the Old Mole Variety Hour May 10, 2010.

The well-read red likes to consider histories and holidays: Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Easter , Queer Pride and International Women's Day.

So, we've noted before, on the Old Mole, that Mother's Day, which began in the 19th century as a grassroots call for peace and collective action, was quickly co-opted as a celebration of nationalism and militarism, and became a hook for capitalist marketing.

Eyjafjallajokull

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For the Old Mole Variety Hour May 3, 2010

I've been thinking about volcanoes and air travel. Last month, I was scheduled to attend a conference in London, and stopped on the way to visit an old friend now living in Ireland. Of course I never made it to the conference, because, well, you might have heard there was this volcano that erupted in Iceland, and, because humanity's limited experience of the interaction between jet engines and volcanic ash suggests that the latter causes the former to fall out of the sky, European airspace was closed.

against work

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The well-read Red has been reading about working and about not working.

With unemployment rates in the US hovering around 16 percent, we might take to heart comments from French activists  protesting changes in unemployment law some years ago. Taking a page from the Situationists, they protested that

The best way to abolish unemployment is to abolish the work and the money that are linked with it.

Haiti: Disaster: Capitalism

A briefer audio version of this was broadcast on the Old Mole Variety Hour January 18, 2010.

The Well-read Red has been reading up on Haiti. As many in the progressive press have noted, last week's earthquake was a natural disaster made much more disastrous by the political and economic context in which it occurred.

Of course, Pat Robertson and David Brooks are wrong to suggest that Haiti's suffering is the result of a pact with the devil, or of a lack of paternalism. It is instead the result of hundreds of years of exploitation.

imperial avatar

On the Old Mole Jan 11, 2010, Denise Morris & I discussed Avatar, the expensive and profitable 3-D blockbuster, written and directed by James Cameron.

The movie is set in 2154 on Pandora, the Earth-like moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri system, where the RDA Corporation is mining for the incredibly valuable mineral Unobtanium, and employs former marines as security. The local population includes the big blue Na'vi, who are in tune with all the life on their planet, venerate the mother goddess Eywa, and dress in a pastiche of scanty Native American and African tribal styles.

policing the boundaries of gender

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bodybuildre with nail polishfor the Old Mole Variety Hour 31 August 2009

Earlier this month, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced that they will be verifying the gender of South African runner Caster Semenya, who won the women's 800-meter event at the Berlin Games.

The incident raises a host of issues:  the incompatibility between conventional femininity and athletic prowess, the pressure on women athletes to be heterosexually attractive, the racism of dominant western culture and its beauty standards, the presumption of male athletic superiority and the question of gender segregation in sport, the invasion of Semenya's privacy by leaking the news of testing before the results are in.

sex from stonewall to sanford

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For the Old Mole Variety Hour June 29, 2009

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, when, for the first time in history, queer people fought back against decades of police harassment.

reproductive justice

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for the Old Mole Variety Hour, June 8, 2009

The funeral this weekend of Dr. George Tiller attracted hundreds of mourners, honoring the memory of one of the very small number of doctors providing late term abortions in the US, a man whose clinic motto was "Trust women."

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