The YouTube caption:
Since 2004, up to 884 innocent civilians, including at least 176 children, have died from US drone strikes in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan. A new report from the Stanford and New York University law schools finds drone use has caused widespread post-tramatic stress disorder and an overall breakdown of functional society in North Waziristan. In addition, the report finds the use of a “double tap” procedure, in which a drone strikes once and strikes again not long after, has led to deaths of rescuers and medical professionals. Many interviewees told the researchers they didn’t know what America was before drones. Now what they know of America is drones, death and terror.
Much-loved Canadian novelist Rohinton Mistry delivered the convocation speech to graduates at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto, in the form of a fairy-tale based on A Christmas Carol, by way of a critique of the Canadian swing to a neoconservative right, where social spending exists only to promote “moochers” and society is a fight between bad guys (who need to be surveilled all the time in every medium) and good guys (who don’t mind being surveilled in such a way), and where no amount of “security” is ever enough.
Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.
My medium-sized Canadian town has approved funding for police surveillance cameras in the downtown. Generally, it seems people don’t understand how these technologies of surveillance tear the social fabric. One example: ostensibly to combat drunken brawling these cameras and similar technologies divert attention from questions regarding why drinking and substance abuse is so prevalent in our society. Simultaneously funds and resources are directed toward the state security apparatus, the ever-growing military industrial complex which, in the post-9/11 world, is increasingly directed inward toward domestic affairs—Foucault’s panopticon writ large. Slowly, ever so slowly, people begin to act as if they’re being watched all the time—the paranoid who believes they’re in some version of the Truman show.
Product design, like advertising, is a vainglorious industry. In coming to terms with their professional compromise, the failed writers and artists of the “creative” industries often seek to legitimise their endeavours. Design consultant Robert L. Peters exalts his profession’s methods as “the application of intent… an antidote to accident”.
In this light, London 2012 mascots Wenlock and Mandeville resemble less a blunder – in the Olympic tradition that brought us Atlanta 1996’s characterless, amorphous “Izzy” ↑ – than a knowing nod to the sinister securitisation and spatial control surrounding the emplacement of the Olympic games in East London. With their cyclopean camera eye – a telescreen mounted atop a teletubby – the day-glo duo manage to embody both the congenital myopia of the Olympic Delivery Authority and the pervasive surveillance and militarisation that looks set to swamp the capital this summer.