* Protest as National Security Threat The LRAD sonic weapons system made its debut yesterday against a small group of protesters rallying against the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh. Leave it to John Robb to weave that bit of news together with collapsing government legitimacy, increasing paranoia and the militarization of police. An excellent short piece that serves as a reminder of why Global Guerrillas is still essential reading.
* Rising Seas could lead to 'ghost states' The Guardian article mostly deals with island nations like the Maldives and Tuvalu that are threatened with literal physical extinction by rising sea levels.
It's worth noting however, that as the idea of the nation-state as the default governing method for a given populace has spread, there are a number of "ghost nations" already on the globe, usually with violent effects. Kurdistan, Western Sahara, Kosovo, Somalia and Palestine all provide perfect examples, as do "ghost nations" that have managed to hack their way into existence during the last century (Israel, East Timor, Vietnam).
* Johann Hari really, really, really doesn't like the fashion industry Just in case you were wondering. Hari can play far too much of the scold sometimes (see his ranting on the Evils of Quentin Tarantino), and in this case I think he focuses on the industry's narrow top too much. But he's got a definite point.
P.S. - He also loathes the Queen Mother. He's got a point there too. Aristocracy in general is worth despising.
* Roman Polanski raped a child Salon's Kate Harding delivers a feminist tour de force in the wake of the famed director's arrest. She re-asserts the original, brutal facts of the case in stark terms and delivers a judgement that's hard to argue with: Polanski may be a amazing artist, he may, on balance, be a good person, but his crime was vile enough that he should pay, no matter the amount of time that has passed.
I was originally of two minds on this case, and I have to admit that Mary Elizabeth Williams makes some compelling points in her rebuttal to Harding. But the sight of similarly notable directors lining up to defend Polanski has pushed me to side with Harding's argument. Pieces like Harding's are a necessary antidote to the idiotic cries of filmerati that Polanski's arrest represents an attack on free speech. If there were extenuating circumstances or illegalities on the prosecution's side, Polanski has had 31 years to bring them up and press his case.
There's a sickening subtext here I've seen trotted out whenever an artist does something reprehensible: that because someone has made compelling works of art, they are immune from justice.
Bullshit. Making pretty pictures or touching songs doesn't lessen the damage one iota when someone beats their spouse, acts like a psycho, shills for fascists or rapes a child. Polanski's made some of my favorite movies: that doesn't matter. Justice shouldn't care, and Roman Polanski should get the book thrown at him.