Monday, May 31, 2010

The Semantics of Israel Reportage

We live in a reactive world...people on all sides continue to dump their own psychic garbage and projections on the nearest available conflict. Here is a pic of one of the peace activists on the Turkish - Greek-Irish-Cypriot Flotilla.

mmmm...feel that peace eh

Monday, May 24, 2010

NGO and Not For Profit Bullshit

Like it says on the side of my blog, one of the G?d(s) I worship is balance and so, in the interests of balance, here is a compilation of bullshit terms that are common currency in civil society, amongst money making "spiritual' rackets, non governmental organisations etc etc

"Donation $10" - if its a donation then why is the price stipulated?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Business Bullshit and Art Bullshit

Many kinds of business - in fact most I suspect - are about lying to yourself and other people so frequently that eventually both you and they believe it... not in the depths of their being, but believe it enough to buy it, both literally and metaphorically. I will collect some choice example of business bullshit in this post over the coming weeks, perhaps along with suitable translations in truth-lish. Let's start with a few mild ones, and then progress to some bigger whoppers.

"We are currently experiencing high call volumes" (even if you phone the call centre between 3:00 and 4:00 am in the morning, when only thieves and night shift workers are awake)

"Coles really cares about you"

"For best results make sure you only use Epson genuine ink cartridges" i.e for the best share results for Epson

Our core business is getting and keeping people Healthy (Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery health, ie. money has nothing to do with it, although we can't help making millions of it on the side, but that's incidental - and who knows, maybe it really is?)

We're changing things at Telstra (we're spending even more on marketing so that tens of thousands of dissatisfied customers with no-one to talk to can be replaced by a new cohort of suckers)

For further examples from the world of management see Rodney Marks's blog

Art bullshit

"In her work she interrogates the ideas of / the artist explores the notions of fakery and fraudulence..."

Translation: this person, like many of us, has a few thoughts about issues that are in the public domain, and, not being able to formulate a coherent and directional theis about them, through out a few random phrases - leaving the burden of meaning and interpretation on us - this stunted articulation of not very interesting observations is a royal, a mega, cop out....beginning of note to Heckler?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The mashal (parable) of the farmer and his chickens

Once there was a farmer who wanted his chickens to live peacefully and lay many many eggs. So he told them to behave themselves and kept them in a small cage where he could keep an eye on them. When his egg business grew profitable, he bought more chickens and added them to the cage, until there were 24 chickens crammed together in a wire cage. Whenever a chicken tried to move it would bang into another chicken. When one was trying to sleep the others would be making a noise. When one was trying to relieve herself, there was no where else for the others to retreat to, and they ended up defecating on each other. With no space to call their own they became more and more frustrated, and began pecking each other, at first little nips and then bigger and bigger nips, until one day the farmer noticed one of the birds had blood staining across its white feathers. The furious farmer lashed the birds with his heavy walking stick.
"I'm warning you" he said, "behave or you feel my boot next time."

He took the injured bird for the Sabbath meal, and put two new birds into the cage. With even less room, the chickens were unable to all sit at the same time - if some were sitting others had to stand. One chicken began to complain that she had stood for much longer than the others. Another chicken refused to stand when her time for lying down was up. The chickens began to quarrel bitterly, and as they collided with each other in their hot and smelly cell, their anger and helplessness and frustration overcame their fear of the farmer's bone-crushing boot, and they began to peck at each other, at first just to get some space and then, when this proved impossible, savagely, bitterly, until two of the smallest hens were dead.

The next morning when the farmer discovered this he flew into a terrible rage. He took out the two dead birds. Then he took out all the other chickens, and with a sharp knife that he heated in the stove, he cut of all their beaks. He did the same with the four new birds he put into the cell before slamming the wire gate shut.

I warned you he told the birds, but his voice just sounded like distant thunder to the beakless hens, overwhelmed as they were by the loss of the tips of their bodies and the smell of burnt tissue that filled their nares. They sat or stood as best they could, but soon their desperate situation became unbearable again as they trod and stood on one another, squeezed and pushed against another chicken below and above and on either side of them, so that there was hardly space to breathe. They began to fight with each other again, but having only stumps for beaks, they ended up using their claws. By the end of a long long night there was hardly an inmate of that cage who was not bloodied, their wounds adding to the pain from their wounded beaks. The farmers rage knew no bounds and he seized his knife again, heated it til it was red hot, and then cut the toes of every single bird off.

After this there was little the birds could do to try and alleviate their misery. They had to make do with squawking at each other, and this they did all day and all night, until the farmer, tiring of their noise, cut their vocal chords, and now they suffer in silence.

Fairy Tales for modern children

Once there was a family that had two children. They loved the one child very much. They would brush her hair and gave her a basket to sleep in by the fire. The other child was not so lucky. She had to sleep outside in a cold smelly pit, and no one ever spoke to her, although once a day someone would come and throw her a few mouldy scarps to eat.

One day some people came to visit. They heard crying and sobbing from the pit outside. Is someone hurt? they asked with concern. "Its nothing" said the father, "just a wild animal". But the faint noise persisted. "Excuse me" said the father.
He went outside and told the naughty child if she continued to cry he would beat her and cut off her tail. The child tried to stop crying, but the tears kept on coming.
Are you sure everything is allrighty asked the guests.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


The moment one definitely commits oneself, then
providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
- Goethe

G-d is looking out for me in ways I can't even begin to imagine - but perhaps one of them is slowly (or suddenly) removing the notion that there is a "me" to look out for?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Internet: malach tov oh ra - a good or bad messenger?

Is the internet the trade union movement of our time, allowing the democratization of opinion and the exposure of tyrants and the autocratic inflexible and unconscious patterns which underlie the thinking of our inner tyrants. Is the internet a tool which can facilitate aid to the needy and mobilise resistance to the cruel and stupid?

Or is it an open sewer through which runs resentment, hate speech, pornography, unnecessary information, and synthetic community which does nothing to satisfy our realist and deepest needs for community and mutual acknowledgement?

Probably both.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Micycles and recycles

Recycle – a solar powered kinetic sculpture

This piece features a real bicycle and a human-rider-like figure made out of metal and plastic scrap with an electric motor mounted in a satchel on the figure’s back. The figure holds a large and whimsical umbrella which is covered in solar panels. Current from the panels drives the motor which turns the legs of the human figure.

Behind the bicycle is an ordinary municipal rubbish bin which is being “towed” by the bike. The bin has been slightly modified: its lid has been removed and in place of the lid is a tight cover with a hole in its centre, large enough to allow glass and plastic bottles in. When a passer by inserts an item into the bin, it hits a trip wire as it falls. This activates the motor for two minutes. In other words, people have to put a recyclable item into the bin to turn on the motor and get “re-cycling.” A time switch keeps the motor running for two minutes after which it stops until someone puts more rubbish in.


I keep Spinifex hopping mice, and I would employ them – at well above the minimum wage – to run on mice wheels that are connected to a generator which powers an old record turntable upon whose perimeter are mounted tiny little bicycles – actually micycles. The faster the mice run, the more quickly the micycles spin round and round.

A second mouse powered turntable could be used to play appropriate music. The music would be pumped out via loudsqueakers. The practical applications of this invention are so obvious there is no need to mention them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sustainable Stories

Please send me your sustainable stories

My poetics

My poems are the record of my process - they are never an end point in themselves.

Writing as feeling my way towards what I want to say, or what wants to be said

There are, it seems to me, certain preconditions for one such as I to write with energy, conviction and productively. These include
having a context
having a community of readers and other creators that I am part of and interact with on a regular basis
being rooted in the concrete details and specific time and place of a particular stories must happen, and be written for, a community that shares in common particular spatial and temporal reference points - be it rosh hashana or diwali, rechov hamelech George (King george Street) in jerusalem or Louis Botha Ave in Johannesburg. Without this, I am trying to be all things to all people and end up being nothing....

Every poet must ask herself: do I want to write for fashion, or for eternity? Do I want to be a journalist of "the world" , or do I want to be an explorer and student of "the self".

Are poets writing in Israel Israeli poets? Are poets writing in Australia Australian poets? Why are poets and writers so ready to surrender their unique one off vision, which is a product of so many intersecting dimensions of their being - their gender, their class, their land, their sexual orientation, their linguistic community, their fear and faith community - to a crude nation-state categorisation which may not tell us much about their concerns and thematics. Or is the nation-state, and land we physically live upon, indeed the most powerful shaper of our preoccupations?

I do not want the hollow cleverness
of figurative language
which leads to nowhere
but to the false self of the ego

People who seem to have a lot of material things that serve no utilitarian function, clothes cars, unecessarily large houses (of course to them the large house IS necessary) could be seen as very poor, if this is the only modality they have to express their uniqueness and value.

The way I write poetry:
a giant invisible finger
flicks thoughts into my awareness
whenever it is convenient for It
and I jot them down