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Time to Social Dis-tanz!

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A combination of the pandemic and policing efforts have left Alexanderplatz looking like a still from the 1960's: empty, windswept. Aimless people, seemingly fresh-awakened to the endless possibilities of city life, moving with uncertain freedom to the Reclaim Club Culture sound system.

I had to bypass what looked to be a "hygiene demo" to get to this antiracist freedom of movement demo. The former was full of aggressive people trying way too hard to look like they were having fun. 
So if both demos have got music and both stand for some sort of freedom, what is the difference between the "left" and the "right" actions, anyway? I think you can see their different intentions by the way that each group uses its space. The right wingers use it to scream at passers by to take off their masks and take over people's personal space, walking or dancing uncomfortably close to you as if you are the reason for all this. They blame you.
Basically, they sense…

System Reset?

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I'm playing infinite-scroll roulette on my Twitter feed. I swipe, and watch the posts flip past at warp speed, blurring like the stars outside the windows of the SS Enterprise. Where will it come to a stop?
* An ad for a food show
* Coronavirus politics
* Clever German psychobabble
* People openly advocating drug use
* Earth Day
* Pets wearing clothes?
It occurs to me that everything's changed but many people don't even realise it, because nothing's changed on Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Instagram. Or CNN, BBC, Reuters, etc. 
All of the mass media templates are holding patterns for a mentality that's optimised for panic. Outrage. Fear. They hang on to those emotions rabidly, regardless of what actually happens in the real world. Caging our adaptability.
"Nonapocalyptic reality is simply not hospitable to [disaster capitalism's] ambitions,” writes Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine. Our disaster-fuelled media seems unable to adapt to this quietened wo…

Mental Vacation Time

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January 29, 2004
I'm on a 12 hour bus ride down the Pacific coast to Zipolite. It's midnight.
Columns pass us one by one on a highway, darkness leading off between the lights.  The shine off the cars, the pale faces - it all looks quite normal. at night.  Comforting and serenely familiar.  The illusion disappears in the blue powder horizon of daytime Mexico: the lingering streets, impassible mountains and dust traces filtering into the sky.  The molehills on the horizon are mountains. No running away from it, now they're dead ahead...
In the dark is the only time when my life makes any sense. When I don’t have to see any farther than what is visible by the glow of the bus’s display screen.

You’re always bound to feel like you’re going mad when you do what you really want, because it’s the opposite of what society wants you to do.  
I am having arguments with myself inside my head (“Turn around, go back home!!”) but I keep going forward because momentum is an objective in …

Social Media-Distancing

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April 3, 2020
Outside, sun-burnished, friendly people smile their way past me to thank me for leaving them enough space. In parks, balls and discs fly back and forth, in a sort of long distance conversation between players... 
Everyone seems to be coming back together across the divide, unpaving their way back to a less fragmented state. Or out here they do, anyway.
Of all the hesitant wildlife forms returning to the cities, the most instrumental one is probably us. Humans don't normally linger this long in their own habitats, which are too disrupted by "human" activities: traffic, pollution, sirens, stress. Industrialisation stops us from settling in, in our own cities, in our own name.
But today, finding a new niche in this static, airy landscape is an irresistible urge. One that encourages me to find complexity and value in staying in one place, instead of carrying me through it faster or farther away.   
This sort of rich, urban stillness is something that activists …

Postcript: Transcript of Noam Chomsky Interview

Note: This is a postscript to my recent diary entry. You'll find it here!

In this new video interview with Noam Chomsky by DiEM25 TV, the American philosopher, linguist, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist talks about neoliberalism's role in creating the coronavirus pandemic.

I thought I'd give my readers a partial transcript of the interview, too, so they can think for themselves.

The audio was pretty poor due to Chomsky's weak voice.... I don't even want to think about how old he is, now... and how little has changed for the better since he first started speaking.

In this section, he touches on neoliberalism's ineptitude in a crisis. Any crisis, really, but especially this one.

Time stamp 17:11:
"It was known for a long time that pandemics were very likely, and it was understood, very well understood, that they were likely to be a coronavirus -- modification to the SARS epidemic of 15 years ago. 
Labs around the world coul…

If Laughter Is The Best Medicine, We Are Doomed

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March 29, 2020
Colder weather today has me housebound, so I let my fingers do the walking.

They moseyed on over to a conspiracy forum that I sometimes look at when I'm short of whack new ideas.

I was thinking someone there might be bouncing around some totally overblown theory that the coronavirus is actually a DARPA-engineered, organic malware that we caught from using Instagram or something, I dunno... bizarre, you know what I mean? Something to make the whole pandemic thing seem so OTT as to be ridiculous again.

To my surprise, everyone on the site seemed to have a more pragmatic take on The Plague than the mainstream of the Internet does, right now. Like, wow. How often does that happen? Consensus there seemed to be that the virus was being blown out of proportion and we should be more (or even just equally) concerned about the government's intervention in our lives.

So for once, the conspiracy theorists were not on board with a wave of paranoia that was drowning literall…

Zu Verschenken: Time

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March 18

I feel bad throwing out my disinfectant spray bottle with a few dribbles still in it; it may be worth 50 Euros an ounce, soon. Available only drop by the micro-dosed drop in Gorlitzer Bahnhof.

Ah, well.


March 19

I go for a walk, then work, then go for another walk.

Keep finding loads of Zu Verschenken ("to give away") boxes on the ground, chock full of stuff; probably no one wants to touch other people's old things in case some of it's infected while, at the same time, everybody has more time to clear out all their secret underfloor catacombs and bomb shelters and make way for... even more toilet paper, I guess?

A friendly East Indian man sees me eyeing some books in the road near Rummelsburger Bucht. He starts shaking his head gently and saying, 'Aber nicht fassen. Nicht fassen' as I stop for a closer look. I reassure him, I have no intention of touching those books. Though it's hard to fight the reflex to pocket free stuff wherever possible when…