Month: November 2018

Trigger Warning by Brent Raycroft

Anti-Genre #5 reflects on our latent sources of discomfort, disorientation, and disarming. Brent Raycroft explores the “danger of the public sphere,” or the many inchoate ways that memory collides with present-tense acts. *** Trigger Warning After the spoiled spoiler alert that we die in the end and the fine print reminding us anything can happen between now and then, what need for a trigger warning? I can understand it on the news — we need to be told just when to turn that shit off. And yes, let Facebook throw greyest of gauzes over the blood. But if it’s an evening of fiction or poetry? Did we go in thinking we’d be comforted only? Sweat it out if you can. Weep inside, your stomach hollow. Worst case scenario, make a scene. Stand, when all are seated. Leave politely if you sympathize. And if you’re angry ask, demand, the writer tell you why they chose to be so mean. For who would admit right up front that the best they can do might drive a sensitive person from the room? Or if that were the agenda — a shocking confession, a strange experiment — who would volunteer to telegraph the jump-scare and ruin it? Even ancient cuts are fresh, and the pressure of a word can cross a threshold we did not expect. That’s the danger of the public sphere....

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Fucked Up — Dose Your Dreams

Fucked Up Dose Your Dreams Merge Fucked Up have a problem.  That problem is simple, their distinctive sound comes from Damian Abraham’s voice.  Abraham has dominated Fucked Up from the getgo in 2001, the founder and leader of the band and the primary driving creative force behind the band.  After 2014’s Glass Boys, though, Abraham hinted that he was ready to walk away, at least in part.  And so we get Dose Your Dreams. The bulk of this album was written by guitarist Mike Haliechuk and drummer Jonah Falco.  Abraham was only called in later to provide some vocals and the result, horror horror, he only appears on something like 70% of the tracks. Fucked Up have always been referred to as a ‘hard core’ band. Please. The only thing hard core about them was The Voice. You take that away, and they’re just another rock band. And Dose Your Dreams seems like the album where Fucked Up tried to find out what they sounded like without the Big Fella on vocals. And then panicked and called him up when they realized they sounded like another rock band. It’s not that Fucked Up sans Abraham are awful. Far from it. They’re actually quite good. It’s just that they’re generic in that nothing stands out about them. Or they sound like Dinosaur, Jr., at least on ‘Came Down Wrong,’ upon which J. Mascis...

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American Pogrom

We have been saying Kaddish all week for eleven people murdered in the sanctuary of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. We have said it in our schuls, standing in the autumnal chill at candlelight vigils, contemplatively in the solitude of our homes. For many of us, it is a profound expression of faith; for others, it is a habit that has returned in a moment of horror and grief. The first Aramaic words come easily, even when we can’t remember the whole prayer: יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא, yitgaddal veyitqaddash shmeh rabba… We have said these words before,...

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The Democratization of China?

In the October issue of Foreign Affairs, there is a fascinating article on the similarities of 1970s South Korea with present-day China, written by Hahm Chaibong, President of the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.  Hahm’s argument is pretty much encapsulated in the title, ‘China’s Future is South Korea’s Present’: In the 1960s and 70s, South Korea modernized under the dictatorship of Park Chung Hee, and that paved the way for democratization in 1987.  And thus, it provides a road map for China today.  In other words, a pretty familiar liberal argument: with economic liberalization comes political liberalization. Park seized power in a military coup in 1963 and held on until he was assassinated by one of his advisors in 1979 in the midst of massive political, economic, and social unrest in the country as workers and students protested the oppressive political régime.  Park, however, was not your standard issue dictator.  Park’s main goal was economic modernization which would, in his estimation, lift his country out of poverty.  In order to do so, he ultimately made the decision to open up South Korea’s economy to the world, which forced South Korean corporations to not just modernize, but to be able to take on the world.  And this is how you came to drive a Hyundai and you’re reading this on a Samsung tablet. Hahm then argues something similar could...

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Night Drive by Brian Barnett

Our 35th installment haunts and lingers, like a ghost car that trails you for blocks. Just in time for All Souls’ Day and Dia de los Muertos, Brian Barnett’s “Night Drive” foreshadows journeys waiting down the road. *** Night Drive Down the dark highway My headlights blaze a path Nothing but shadowed tree limbs And signage to keep me company I catch a glimpse of a man He stood upright and rigid Wearing dapper clothes And has his thumb jutted Toward my destination I slow a bit considering to help But he doesn’t budge I pull up next to...

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