vrijdag, december 09, 2005

White Stripes plot with Coca-Cola execs to murder Colombian trade unionists

(Well, apart from the libellous hyperbole, that post-heading's essentially true)

Now, it may be nigh on a decade since I held Oasis in any esteem whatever, but I'm afraid I have to tip my hat to Noel this week, who in an interview in the latest NME has quite aptly described Jack White, of the well-overrated White Stripes, as looking 'like Zorro on doughnuts' and criticised him for writing a song for a Coca-Cola commercial:

'He's supposed to be the poster boy for the alternative way of thinking. Coca-Cola man, fucking hell! And all right, you wanna spread your message of peace and love, but do us all a favour. I'm not having that, that's wrong. Particularly Coca-Cola, it's like doing a gig for McDonalds.'

Zorro on doughnuts

According the (very smelly*) NME, Jack White did it for luuurve:

'White Stripes singer Jack White has finally confirmed he's done a coke ad - and said he's done it to get a message of love out to the world…"I've been offered the opportunity to write a song in a way which interests me as a songwriter. I certainly wouldn't want a song that I'd already written to be used on a commercial. That seems strange. But to be asked to write something particular along one theme of love in a worldwide form that I'm not really used to appealed to me. I've written a song and I wrote it really quickly and it's an interesting commercial that's been made. I was inspired by the commercial."'

Yes, that's right. Coca-cola, always teaching the world to sing, in per-fect har-mon-ieeee (The updated 'Teach the world to sing' ad for Coca-Cola Zero now includes a 'rap' bit and Hootie-and-the-Blowfish-style non-threateningly dressed minorities who look like they go to a good university). What a promoter of peace and love. And isn't what the world needs now, love, sweet love? What a paragon of compassionate capitalism. A very model of corporate responsibility. Except in Colombia, where union leaders and organisers are regularly assassinated at Coke bottling plants while the anti-union parent company turns a blind eye to collusion between paramilitaries and the plant managers. But still, you know, apart from that, they're a regular bunch of hippie peace-freaks, Coke.

In fact, Colombia happens to be the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. In the last ten years, 1,535 trade unionists have been murdered for their activities - more than the rest of the world combined. For more info on Coke's crimes in Colombia and how you can kick Coke off your campus (if you're a student, natch), visit the homepage of the Campaign to Boycott Killer Coke, or the Colombia Action Network. The latter link also has a broad range of information on Colombia, as do the UK-based Colombia Solidarity Campaign and War on Want.

So stop drinking that Coke. Tastes like gouch sweat anyway. And White Stripes fans - get your ever-lovin' motor-city asses in gear and contact Zorro, c/o manager Ian Montone, at 323 308 1818, and tell him How Wrong He Is.

* Has anyone else noticed this, how much the NME smells? I'm serious here - maybe it's just the batch that gets sent to the Brussels Waterstone's - but the NME just reeks. I mean literally pongy, I'm not just talking about the uncritical UK-scene boosterism, shit writing and sticking Gwen Stefani on the cover.

PS. Apparently Blur are heading back to the studio this month to record a new album sans the sexiest man alive, Graham Coxon. I guess this means his sacking is permanent. This is a crime almost on the level of writing songs for Coke commercials.

dinsdag, december 06, 2005

The blanching panic of the eunuch poltroons in the Democratic Party, and other bagatelles

Right. Am out of bed and have drained throat of a lemon-curd-jar's worth of phlegm. Enough with the chicken soup and dubbed-into-French re-runs of Beverly Hills 90210: There are hypocrisies of social democrats and liberals to expose! Still have a bit of a sticky cough, mind, but think that's more to do with half-choking on a be-pestoed tortellini (tortellino?) last night than any remnants of bird flu or tuberculosis. (Lower lip protruberating, head cocked, sympathetic brows a-tilt, The Reader says 'Awww. Didums.')

Quick tour of the interweb before I stick the knife into the SPD once more:

First off, if you haven’t read it yet: Sy Hersh's latest New Yorker piece, on where the war is headed next: 'Up In The Air' (republished here at Truthout). Absolutely vital.

The veteran New Yorker journo predicts that under ever-increasing domestic pressure over the war (not least coming from within a Republican party on course to be decimated in next year's congressional elections), but unable to end it without embolding his enemies, Bush will deliver a sizeable and genuine return of troops some time next year while the war continues by other, more destructive means. The on-the-ground troops will be replaced with a massively expanded bombing campaign, such as has not been seen since Vietnam.

Bush is to have his cake and eat it too. As the US public is unable to stomach many more deaths of their doughty, skookum tumtum boys and girls (although as ever remain fairly sanguine about a limitless number of Iraqi deaths), Junior will mount another 'Mission Accomplished' style pronouncement, declaring that the war is over (chintzy, garlanded ceremonies have already been scripted of the lowering of Old Glory and the raising of the Iraqi standard over military bases [Whatever did happen to that variation on the Israeli flag some clever State Department graphic design intern dreamt up as a new Iraqi drapeau last year, by the way?]), aiming to bequiet the more squishy sympathisers of the anti-war movement and the fretters in his own party, all the while in fact escalating the war by using almost exclusively air power to crush the resistance.

The generals, however, are worried this might just make things worse, given that even the most crackerjack sagacious of smart bombs tend to kill many more civilians than trigger-happy, raised-on-X-Box-and-Eminem 17-year-old ground troops, and, like the worm that turned into three worms when you cut it up with your plastic-but-sharp Lion-O Thundercat sword as a cruel pre-pubescent, for every dead civilian at least three new insurgents seem to be created. (Did you catch the subtle 'my-1980's-adolescent-pop-cultural-experience-was-superior-to-your-
-overly-kinetic-1990's-version' disdain embedded there within the commentary? Sigh. What happy days they were when Lego came in six colours and Transformers came in metal.)

Nota bene: Bush's 'Victory Through Air Power' plans look an awful lot like the humble 'we-can't-just-cut-and-run-so-let's-turn-it-over-to-the-bombardiers' suggestion of the otherwise very good Juan Cole, doesn't it? (The good professor responds that he 'argued that the US should only make this airstrike capability available for defensive operations.' Okay, but isn't the point of the disingenuous 'Pottery Barn' position that the States can't pull out its forces lest civil war break out? How does one defensively prevent civil war? It seems a pretty offensive, or at least pro-active process. Sy's got you here, Cole-y. [The other point that Cole misses, as he idealises the Afghan campaign's air power strategy he recommends returning to, is that the decisive stratagem in that theatre there was not the air power support of local forces, but the winning over of warlords and sections of the Taliban with wadges of cash. There's nobody on the ground to bribe in Mesopotamia. Oh, and dude, what's with the forgetting about, like, the minimum 3,000 - 4,000 civilian deaths from aerial bombardment in Afghanistan anyway?])


A good bookend piece to Hersh's feature is Alexander Cockburn's 'Revolt of the Generals', over at Counterpunch, which details the rapidly declining fortunes of Bush and the Republicans ('One has to go back to the early 1970's when a scandal-stained Nixon was on the verge of resignation, to find numbers lower than Bush's,' says he), but also the blanching panic of those eunuch poltroons in the Democratic Party (including that skinny, empty-vessel darling of the 'Democratic wing of the Democratic Party', Barak Obama, and even the anti-war-esque former boy-mayor of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich) in the wake of John Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. However grim the Republicans' fortunes, the jellyfish Dems are entirely incapable of capitalising on the situation.


Hitchens fans, and God knows I'm one, ha ha, will adore my internautical comrade Lenin's superb exegesis of the 'genocidal imagination' of dear Chris H. over at MRZine, writing under his slightly more pedestrian real name.


I emerged from my sweaty bed the other day to discover to my surprise that my native land (that would be Canada, comrades, despite the regularity with which I am partially mistakenly categorised as a Britischer in various nationally dichotomised blogrolls) is having another election. I was so off the ball that I missed the entire first week's campaign. See, this is what happens when the Globe and Mail starts charging for content. De toute façon, it seems the pro-war, pro-imperialism-lite Michael 'I-say-"we"-when-I-talk-about-Americans-but-am-actually-Canadian' Ignatieff has been parachuted into a Toronto riding (trans: 'constituency') with the aim of stirring up such a wave of Trudeaumaniacal sentimentalist desire for an intellectual leader of the Liberal Party that he will be able to surf straight into the PMO. Unluckily for him, the sizeable local Ukrainian community is a little humpty about the riding association's semi-non-democratic shenanigans that produced the candidacy of the former Harvard academic and (continuing) apologist for war crimes, somewhat diminishing his prime ministerial and possibly even MP prospects. Rick Salutin has a piquant little biography of the man at Rabble.ca. Michael Neumann's 2003 piece on Iggy in Counterpunch is also worth a butcher's.


For my Canadian readers, let me just mention briefly for the record that I never did like Buzz Hargrove.


Meanwhile, my pathetically perpetually approval-seeking homeland is also very excited that Jon Stewart mentioned the country briefly on the Daily Show.

I am occasionally homesick, but not at times like this.


Oh, and Backword Dave has Doctor Who filming by his house. Dude. How awesome is that?!