Monday, October 18, 2010

Revelations, Destroy All Nations.


Two quick things:
It's pressing and apparent to me now more than ever how artificial and restricting national identities are in terms of jobs, freedom of location, and culture. Nations are on the decline, common ground as a currency of identity on the rise. Most rockin' case in point: fantastic music video of Gogol Bordello's "Immigrandia" and interview with lead singer Eugene Hutz.

In a tangential but very related note, XKCD has come out with a boggling comic mapping the amount of social time spent online and dividing it into 'nations.' Maps like these seem as relevant as the old fashioned ideas of a shared culture or nation in grouping human energy. Maps of belief, network, community, language fluency, skill set, and so on should serve as a counter-identity to the rigid box of 'American.' Those boundaries are as imaginary as they are based on convenient circumstance to enforce.

It must help that right now I'm applying to volunteer in a part of the world reduced to country-wide incarceration and war over abstract notions like statehood and deity worship. There's something terrifyingly disproportionate about the correlation of human-created categories and actual widespread human suffering.

6 comments:

Luke Williams said...

Wow! Working with kids, in Palestine! Sounds like an organization that could use the skillset and passion of one Davey Davis.

Gogol Bordello, as a group, throws a great twist on all of this. I have a concert DVD of theirs that is pretty insane. They are loud, fast, angry, joyous, intense, and, well, rough. In the show, the lead singer Eugene talks about his Romani (Gypsy) ancestry, and gives a little lesson about the difference between Romania (the country) and the Romani people (no real connection to the country). Romani have been a displaced, nomadic people for centuries, existing all over Europe with a sense of identity that can't be tied to any one nation or physical location. All this to say, Gogol Bordello seems like a great group of people to be throwing out new ideas about community and identity. And all that to say (because my thoughts are always ultimately self-serving), music is powerful, and here we have music and video harmoniously communicating together. Coooooool.

beth g said...

Hey, I hope you don't think I'm a stalker-- you just always have such interesting things to say on this blog.

Your comment about "Palestinian reduction to incarceration over abstract notions" is right-on.

I spent the summer doing biochem research with a visiting professor from Lebanon-- we'd be at the lab from like 3pm to 11:30pm every day so we got to know each other pretty well. She had the most horrendous stories of the utter shit Muslims have had to endure in the Middle East: she told me about how her sister's home was bombed in Beirut; how Israel started stealing priceless olive trees from Muslims just because they believed they were entitled to them. She told me about her friends from Iraq who had to leave the country because the secret-service-type organization we took it upon ourselves to install there started killing scientists and businessmen (meanwhile we expect them to pay us back for the war? wtf?!)

It really drove home my hatred of US foreign policy; how much our leaders rally behind nonsense like "patriotism" and "liberty" as reasons to start wars.

Like an idiot I took a History of Economic Thought course at UVU expecting it to NOT be conservative dogma and got asked to leave when I said something to the effect of, "If someone came into my country, my home, and used force to remove me I'd drive a plane into a building in their country as well. The true problem at the root of everything is our insane view on foreign affairs, our obsession with the market system; our problem is that we are giving Israel our money and blessing to murder innocent people."

*end rant*

Anyway, hope everything is great for you! I hope you get to volunteer, awesome.

Der Blaue Reiter said...

Beth, you're always welcome 'round these parts, it sounds like you've been thinking a LOT too, which is really cool to hear. Additionally, I really like it when people start a dialouge, so please comment any time.

Your bit about what you said in your history of econ thought class is way interesting, both because you got kicked out and because the way you described the motives for violence is shared by many good minds in the context of the iraq war, did you see this movie?:
http://dadarobotnik.blogspot.com/2008/02/meeting-resistance.html

solamentebeth said...

Yeah, I'm not sure how my econ grade will turn out-- I skipped Marx week after that, some days I just don't have the fight in me. :) I have not seen that, but I will try to get a copy--it looks exactly like something I'd agree with.

Speaking of movies, have you ever seen Waltzing with Bashir?

Der Blaue Reiter said...

I'd really like to. Did you see it?

solamentebeth said...

Oh yes! I've seen it several times. It's very, very well done.

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