Monday, February 27, 2012

I am a complete twat and i am owned by the man

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to confirm that ABKCO Music, Inc. and ABKCO Music & Records, Inc. own and control, respectively, the compositions and master recordings for “PAINT IT BLACK” and “YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and performed by The Rolling Stones. Please immediately remove all of ABKCO’s songs from the Coldbacon website ( as rights for such use were not granted.

Also, please let us know how long these songs have been used on your website so that we may determine the appropriate course of action and remuneration.

We appreciate your immediate response to this matter. All rights reserved.


Elizabeth Cohen
Director of Licensing
85 Fifth Avenue
New York NY 10003
P: 212.399.0327 F: 212.849.9109

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Conceptual Art (Does It Suck?)

Okay so I have mixed and unsolid feelings about conceptual art in general. Let us take an example and talk about it. I heard about some artist who copied another artist’s works, like with a copy machine or something. And that was the concept. Hence, conceptual art. Okay. Then another artist copied that artist’s work placing it on the internet. And this was another concept. Much vigorous debate ensued. And you can imagine questions arose concerning whether or not so and so was an artist and such and such was art. You can see I’m not painting a flattering picture.

I suppose my default position is that I tend to value a work on some sort of loose amalgam of the basic principles of sincerity, expressiveness, genuineness as well as the general aesthetic theories of yesteryear. I see nothing wrong with ideas. And those ideas can drive or inform a work of art. But an idea is just an idea. It is in the execution of the idea in which good art may or may not happen. In the aforementioned example, the internet person was basically creating a tribute to the previous conceptual artist who had first thought of the idea of copying the paintings (or whatever he actually did; I sincerely apologize for not caring about the details of that story). So he reminded us of the other person’s idea and raised some questions about copyright. I think the main problem in this story is any critic who bothers to discuss it for more than five minutes. My time is just about up.

Okay, so is painting dead? Please. Is photography dead? Please. Are movies dead? Is that the next thing to be dead? Whatever. Maybe in Hollywood. But seriously, there is no medium that can ever be dead, they just get unpopulated at times. Letter writing for example, may re-emerge one day, from the ashes. Oh yes, I just remembered another twist in that first example. Someone else copied the person’s website who had copied the person who had copied some paintings. See how clever that is?

Anyway here is an excerpt from an email I had fired off to someone when I was feeling insecure. Before my great turning point. It was in response to some essay someone wrote about art which I did not like very much. Oh, and also he had criticized some of my own work, by not mentioning it. So I wrote this to one of my friends who was studying art history at the time (and probably still is):

“We are so going to fuck his shit up. Bolstered by your comments on conceptual art and motivated by the simple credo that anyone who doesn’t praise my work must suck ass and deserves to be publicly humiliated, we are together going to blow up his entire essay.”

April 2007

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

yeah but i didn't say PBS couldn't

so i heard tell that PBS Frontline ran a serious documentary about children growing up online, called "Growing Up Online." Perhaps someone will watch it, and tell me if it's any good.*

* actually this post was just to get it out of my bookmarks.**

** like a garage sale. you can give me your 2 cents, but either way i'm getting rid of it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

no wonder years

this is the last thing i will ever write about the internet. so pay attention. as to the time you spend online and not online, and what it all means. the more time you spend on the one, the less time you spend on the other.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Embrace Moi

I got caught chatting with my girlfriend. We were in the same room together. Both sitting there. Chatting away.


Emoticons. Pictures being sent back and forth. It was embarrassing. Or awesome! Anyway there is something we have to talk about now. It’s this question of what is up with young people’s obsession with chatting, texting, messaging, and whatever else they invent next week’ing.

The conventional wisdom is that people who are shy or otherwise unable to articulate or satisfy their own egos in real conversation, will at first resort, and then attach to alternative modes of expression.

But maybe it’s not that simple. Yes, some people are shy. And they find themselves empowered by the veil of the internet. This is a whole nother topic (see other topic). But it definitely isn’t always the case. I myself am completely attractive. A real specimen in my own mind. And yet I love engaging in these alternative forms of communication. Why?

I have some ideas.

First, there is the ability to use a more flexible ever-expanding language. This includes neologisms. You would never write those in a letter. A tree died for that paper and what kind of jerk writes silly made up words on paper? But on email? Shit, you’ll delete it eventually. Let the NSA struggle with Osama-lama-ding-dong. I don’t care. It’s email. And emoticons. First developed as a crutch because none of us could express ourselves for shit in the early days, but now they’re kind of like little dried spices you throw into your stew at the last minute, not because—well, ok, because they’re there—but I don’t know, maybe they help? Anyway the sense of innovation and freedom in language is liberating, inspiring and it’s too late to stop it.

Second, there is the ability to embed links to multimedia—pictures, sounds, movies—which can go far in helping us make our point. Before we had to just say, “remember that time in Caddyshack when Bill Murray says…” and hope the other person doesn’t admit they haven’t seen the film, which is always a very bad moment. Course I must say I’ve been spared many of what would have been miserable relationships when the girl I was with was forced to admit she had never seen Star Wars. One girl actually—I kid you not—said she had seen Star Wars but didn’t like it. ?!?@$# Anyway, yeah, so quotes. Awesome.

Blogging. Awesome. The fact that people can comment on your thoughts, ideas, feelings “while you were out” is totally awesome. I imagine before, and maybe even now in some red states, something like a town hall with a big bulletin board made from cork. In college we had such a thing where people could exhibit displays or writings and other people could stick little post-it notes in response. It was anonymous. But someone who didn’t like a comment could walk by, also anonymously, and simply remove the note. That’s censorship! Now that power is safely where it belongs. In my hands. I have sole power to remove my friends’ comments if I don’t like them anymore (the comments, not the friends; I never liked them). So that’s an advance. Really nothing is too much changed here except the technology has dramatically altered both the reach and ease of this type of thought collaboration. And plus there’s really not too much you can fit on a post-it note. I can write blogs the size of a telephone book, and nobody seems to care. It’s great.

So listen up, talking and conversations and letter writing. The new thing is here. And it ain’t going away. Until something better comes along.

For more see: this clip from that Godard Film. And this clip from Tarkovsky’s Mirror.

Each Generation Is Worse Than the Last

We’re all doing the same thing as our parents. Only none of us knows it. We don’t want to believe it. And they can’t even imagine it. But it’s true. The only difference between us and them is the tools at our disposal. I remember when I was small and my parents could force me to go to church, there was this part in the service where they would stop everything and everyone would just turn to the people around them and shake hands and smile. This was my favorite part of the whole thing because it meant it was almost over. And I could be in the warm car speeding home toward whatever fun lay ahead. My dad sped. And my life was inexorably fun, provided I wasn’t in church.

And now I am older and more aware that I am alone and signed up to MySpace, YourSpace and just about any space there is in the social networking world. I add as many friends as I want. The routine is simple. I look over their profile, they’re not spam, and I add them. My new best friends are just like the people in that church. There was a real connection, for a few moments. A smile, a handshake, pat the head of someone else’s kid. Then you might see that person now and then on another Sunday, sitting in a pew across the way. You smile awkwardly. It’s great. Just like a quick blog post on one of your hundred and thirty best friends’ MySpace or a poke on Facebook. This is our society. But it’s even better than church because you can be Jewish and Christian and Muslim (did I leave anything out?) and basically all the religions you want, so long as you look at the ads and don’t make trouble. I suppose our parents, too, joined more social organizations than just church. But as to what they were, I wasn’t around, so you’d better ask them if you care. I know you don’t. Cause I saw you said on your blog.

Your parents should not be upset about how much time you spend online. They should be concerned with how you treat others while you’re on. When you’re online, you’re not just sitting there by yourself. Ok, yeah, technically you are just sitting there by yourself. But hey, you’re totally connected. Ask this question. When the internet suddenly shuts off because the damn guy forgot to water-seal the outside connection and it’s raining and they aren’t coming out until Monday to fix it, do you still sit there at the computer? No. You immediately get up and do something else. Like kick something. Maybe call up some friends. Go out. Come back home. Kick more stuff. Anyway, it’s not about the computer. It’s about the fact that you have a million friends all over the place and this is the best way to enjoy them all at the same time without having to get off your ass. Isn’t this the point? Isn’t this what we as a species have been striving for all along? We’ve finally reached the goal, and now our parents are trying to make us feel bad about it. If they only knew my gmail light is green, not red. They would be so proud.

My parents are obsessed with reputation and status. And for this, they have almost given up on me. But what they don’t know at all is: so am I. It’s just that for me that reputation is a lot online. And that status is, I suppose, not measured in the same way as theirs. I’d like to think it’s because I see the trends. I see where our nation (and world) is headed in terms of economic decline. I see a coming confrontation with overpopulation and overconsumption. And so I make a choice. Yes, I want status. But for me it cannot be a big house or a Hummer. It’s got to be something that can last a long time, and sustain itself (preferably without my having to work too many hours). My parents should not be upset that I haven’t had a haircut in so long and I basically look like crap and smell. If they only knew how much time I spend perfecting my avatars. And how much you appreciate it. Then they would understand.

No Barrier to Entry

I was in Groupdraw thinking how neat it would be if we had more tools at our disposal. Like for example if you could have more options in terms of filling in backgrounds with colors. If you could click one color in the drawing and have all instances of that color change instead of just the spot where you clicked. See how useful that could be? Whatever. Anyway, so then I started thinking about that and realized just how disastrous that could be. One click and you could unintentionally ruin something you or someone else was working on. Sort of like altering the genes of some agricultural product only to later find out that—wait. Anyway, I realized that maybe it’s best we only have a limited set of tools and nobody has too much influence over others, especially unintentional.

Bill O’Really just about had a heart attack on camera over some liberal blogger’s attack on whomever it was because he despairs the amount of influence someone who is not him could have. He dug up a bad photo of the blogger and showed it on air explaining that it’s a complete outrage people can just do and say anything they want who aren’t in the employ of Rupert Murdoch. But this is nothing new. In the old days, small villages would have poison pen letters, which would be when some person would write disparaging or ill-meaning words about people anonymously. There’s a great film by the French director Clouzot about this called Le Corbeau (The Raven). Whatever. The point is the fear that too much power is being wielded is like the fear of illegal immigration. The problem will take care of itself.

Because there is no barrier to entry, the internet will soon be just as full if not more full of, well, everything, that it will become the same as reality, minus the touchy feely tasty part. It has the sound and vision already. Eventually, enough voices will emerge until each single voice will have no more of an impact than it would in proportion to real-world society. Part of the reason people like O’Really get so upset is based on an overestimation of what a “hit” really means. A “hit” doesn’t mean squat. It doesn’t mean the person believes what they see or that they even read one sentence of it. I can tell you from the trenches, when I look at my stat logs, most people who visit my site only spend about three seconds, maybe four if I’m lucky, and that number isn’t rising. Now it could be that’s just my writing speaking for itself, but I tend to think it’s probably like that all around. One cannot equate “hit” with impact. I have asked many times on my site for the head of Alfredo Garcia on a platter, and still, no one has brought it to me.

And so as more and more sites emerge, it becomes no different than say, when you’re watching T.V. and there are a thousand channels. You see some talking head you don’t like, you move on to another one who annoys you slightly less or perhaps looks like Anderson Cooper. Or perhaps is Anderson Cooper. Look at that. How did that happen? Or maybe you stay and watch the jerk, in order to cringe in bewilderment and perverted ecstasy, like when I watch Sean Hannity. It’s like picking at a scab. Anyway these internet sites, with all their “hits” and semi-anonymous rants and semi-anonymous leaders are merely reflections of the real world with all its cult leaders and demagogues. Such personalities existed long before the internet, and will continue to exist now. Perhaps the internet will enable some who lack physical charisma, who would have been string-pullers from behind the scenes in earlier days, to benefit from the e-veil. But again, a “hit” does not equal a “vote.” Please consider that it’s a lot easier to click with your mouse every four seconds than it is to drive to a polling booth. That requires gas, and gas is expensive, even if it is a god-given right.

In the end, I believe it will all be just like it was before. Religious leaders and politicians will blog. Bloggers will preach. And cable will still cost too much. And we’ll still pay it. It may be true that print will yield much ground to electronic media. But the power in society will simply migrate from one to the other. Once it all settles, bloggers will merely reflect the forces of the real world.

If you’re worried the internet has too much influence, take for example pedophilia. While it’s true the internet does facilitate the coming together of like-minded people afflicted with this disease, it also provides law enforcement with a means for them to get “help,” by being caught. It isn’t as if the mere presence of this tool has caused pedophilia to occur (ancient Greece? Rome? The Senate?) nor to suddenly become acceptable in society. In the same way, nations develop ever more destructive weapons to fight wars. We don’t say those weapons are the cause of our desire to fight wars, nor do we say war is becoming more acceptable to society because of the ease with which it occurs. It must be cool, right? Because look how much we’re spending on it? No. Human beings are human beings. They didn’t change overnight because of some cables being stuck together. Of course, a little ctrl-Z wouldn’t hurt though every once in a while. At least on the groupdraw.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

but it's all being written down now?

The scientific theory (which we’ve all heard at least once and which we totally remember because it’s so profound) is that the mere act of observing something (anything!) changes it. Just looking at molecules under a microscope changes them! Dude…? Yeah. Anyway but what about a sporting event? A concert? Why would watching it on YouTube change it? Ah, but it does!

Just knowing something, let’s say a music concert, is being recorded changes the experience itself! And you do know it’s being recorded. Because you can see the guy over there with the camera? See him? Yeah. Well, now you won’t take your bra off anymore. Because someday you might want to run for first-lady. And the band will play differently without your bra. The whole mood is different now because of your ambition. Experience changed. +1 for science.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

what is line buzz and what can it tell us?

I saw this discussion thread on some beta product called line buzz. Basically, it offers inline commenting via mouseover popups. This is really interesting because it allows for divergent conversations to take place in real-time, which heretofore had to be done manually and retroactively by gathering up discussions and using traditional links to follow divergent paths. To see this tool in practice will be interesting for what it might show us about the evolution and digression of a conversation, in rhizomatic rather than linear form.

Hypothesis: The quality of content may decrease because the ability to diverge in real time is far more dangerous than one might think. Divergence in a retrospective and carefully controlled manner may still yield enjoyable results. But I suspect real-time divergence in blog discussions will prove too tempting. People will engage in side discussions which may be too private to be useful or the mere ability to diverge will lead to a neglect for narrative continuity or integrity. What I am saying is limitless digression could be too dangerous to go unmoderated. And the fate of the world could be in grave peril.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

the future of social networking sites

It seems possible that the growing number of sites could make it harder if not impossible for one search engine like Google to do an adequate job. There are many sites like Digg, and StumbleUpon which help people with common interest to network and share links. At least for my demographic (30s, not-too-bright, lazy, of questionable moral fiber), sites like MySpace and Facebook seem to be taking on an increasing role not only in social networking but also content sharing.

The social networking sites seem fairly intuitive and it doesn’t take long to get a handle on them. Plus there are only two major choices. For me the unanswered question is about search and social bookmarking. Which of the many sites is going to be the most useful in the short term and what will the future hold?

My experiment with social bookmarking sites, both as a consumer and creator of content, is only just beginning and we’ll just have to come back later with some results. For now I would be grateful to hear anyone else’s opinions as to the strengths and weaknesses of each of these tools.

Monday, September 3, 2007

don’t sign me up just yet

To understand why human interaction counts so much more than email we don’t have to invoke some grand or inexplicable cosmic phenomenon. It can be explained with simple numbers. When you hang out with someone you may spend two or three hours with that person. The amount of information transmitted in that time through verbal, visual and other means would be enough to fill up five hard drives. Seriously. When they can make an MP3 for smells, sign me up for second life.

why does multimedia art generally suck so bad to view with your friend at the museum?

Answer: it’s too complicated!

More Answer: you can look at a painting or photograph or sculpture and it grabs you right away. Sure you can study it at length if you want, but you don’t have to in order to have a reaction. Multimedia is a combination of forms, and almost by definition, this makes processing it a more cerebral and active task. Such tasks are better suited to careful, undivided attention, like at home on your computer.

internet becoming more (not <) like real world.

The internet is growing so fast that all forms of search are unable to keep up or sufficiently consolidate both in terms of content as well as social networking. This failure will lead to ever increased fragmentation. Such an outcome may seem both plausible and not at all problematic. What will this mean for the way we perceive of the internet? If we suppose that mankind requires a certain degree of "unity" and will push back against unchecked fragmentation, then we might ask whether the internet has benefited to an extent from its unifying as well as fragmenting forces. In other words, we all talk about Google, MySpace, YouTube, etc. as much as people in earlier times would talk about I Love Lucy or even Friends in the not so distant past. And so this fulfills some of the need for shared experience in society. But "search" is the battleground between the organizing forces and the opposing chaos that is the outside world. If that battle is lost, the internet becomes as frustrating or limiting as the world outside. In that sense, it ceases to be "special," but becomes merely another manifestation of ordinary life.

When I joined MySpace I had a dream that one day all of my friends would be there in one place, and this idea gave me comfort. This has not happened, and I think it may never happen because the forces of fragmentation are too strong. And so when the promise of commonality is finally exposed as an impossible dream, the allure of the internet will be dampened. The turning point will be the failure of "search".

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