Posts categorized "Television"

Russell Brand ending The Trews & quitting social media (makes perfect sense)

I'm not surprised by Russell Brand's decision to step away from the hamster wheel of media spin cycles. Though he is perhaps the most gifted media personality of our generation, even he cannot accomplish anything of value by taking part in the corporate propaganda machine.

What can possibly be accomplished by analyzing and arguing with pundits whose job it is to distract us and to draw us into a fictitious world where they set the agenda and they control the debate? What Russell has proven is that, even if we make the most rational, persuasive arguments in the most entertaining way, nothing can be accomplished by debating, critiquing, or pleading with an establishment that will not change.

This must have been an excruciatingly painful decision for Russell, yet he seems optimistic because he knows that he is on the path of truth. As he steps away from the hamster wheel of the corporate media and politics, in this video he also makes mention of an area where change is still possible.  

If we want revolution, it will never be enough to simply talk about truth. It will not be enough to protest or to otherwise plead with power. For real change to happen, we don't even need their permission. 

What is the change we are talking about? Aren't we talking about living differently...what we actually do, who we actually know, how we actually make a living? So, it seems to me, that the first step toward revolution is to completely ignore corporate media and to shut out today's rigged sport of politics. We need to stop complaining, stop paying attention to our corporate masters, and start living. Maybe you won't be famous or popular for it, but maybe that's kind of the point.

You can live differently now. Make a plan to leave your job by thinking about what you're good at. Start a business or become a contractor. Meet like-minded people and work together in innovative ways. Seek new relationships that allow you the space to pursue your dreams and fantasies. Open your heart and mind to real people. Love. Explore. Laugh. Stay up all night. Work together to make a living when you finally wake up. 

Let's take it further. Why not create an Internet economy that connects people more efficiently than today's corporate-controlled economy? Why not conduct transactions using our own virtual currency? We can use our skills to serve the needs of each other rather than only the needs of corporations. I have come up with the design for exactly this type of system and I wish there was a way for me to contact Russell to talk with him about it. Maybe now that he has stopped distracting himself with all of the corporate garbage, he will be able to focus his energies on real revolution. That's what I think he's talking about and I applaud this brave decision.

We don't have to wait to live the revolution. We don't have to ask anyone for permission. We don't need 1 million Facebook followers to do it. What we do need to do is change some habits, drop the fame-seeking ego, and start living. We won't fit-in and we won't be recognized for it, but in my experience it doesn't really matter when you are fully-alive and free. 

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

My first "reality TV" appearance!

What an interesting week it was filming Bez Servitky.  It was such a wonderful experience to step out of my normal life and spend time with 4 talented and interesting "co-stars".  I'm also a bit surprised to say that I was impressed by the professionalism and even kindness of the entire Markiza staff.  They treated me and the entire Abscondo band very well.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my music, my opinions, and my food with all of Slovakia. 

The show will probably air during the week of October 15th.  Here are a few shots from the last day of filming:

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Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Absconding Authority

The topic of this Friday's podcast is fundamental to the idea of seeking an authentic life.  In fact, it isn't possible to achieve a lifestyle that is more authentic unless we are willing to always question and resist authority.

Authoritative power is creeping into our lives in so many obvious forms (government, schools, church), and oftentimes in more disguised forms (corporate media, corporate influence over government).  We explain the belief system known as Anarchy, which is not a desire for chaos and lawlessness; rather, a constant questioning of the legitimacy of authority.

Part of today's show also deals with alternative forms of media (non-commercial media).  For those who are interested, I promised to share a few examples of anti-establishment media:

News:

Democracy Now!

The Real News Network

Music:

KEXP is a good example of commercial-free radio that plays music far more interesting than what you'll hear in the commercial radio.

Film:

Go for independent films, or if you're more interested in documentaries that explain some of these ideas, try: Manufacturing Consent (Noam Chomsky) or any film by Michael Moore.

Books:

As far as non-fiction, try:

"When Corporations Rule the World" by David C. Korten

"Shock Doctrine" or "No Logo" by Naomi Klein

If I were to provide one recommendation for a work of fiction, it would be "The Joke" by Milan Kundera.

Limitless options...where to begin?

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

The Abscondo Podcast

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The Abscondo Podcast is available for free on  iTunes.  It is also accessible via this direct feed or wherever you normally get podcasts.  You can also receive an email alert whenever a new   episode is available by submitting your email address here:

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The Abscondo Podcast includes conversations between people who are exploring new ideas and seeking truth.  The show is hosted by Mark Manney, an American writer, recording artist, and social comentator who lives in Eastern Europe with his wife Sofia (the show's co-host).  The podcast features interviews with inspiring people, intense conversation, and original music.

Take part in the conversation by leaving us a message at (206) 905-1386.  Write to us at abscondomusic@gmail.com.  We'll respond to your message on the next episode or even invite you onto the show as a guest.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Israeli terrorist aggression

I'm sick and tired of Israeli murder, aggression, and terrorism against the Palestinians.  How much destruction do the weak and oppressed have to endure?  How many murders do we have to be asked to justify?  How many dishonest arguments do we have to tolerate from our Zionist-controlled media? 

Here are the facts:

  • In January 2006, Hamas won a clear majority in the Palestinian election.  It was a fair, democratic election.
  • Israel immediately imposes a strict economic blockade on the Gaza strip for the simple reason that it is being governed by Hamas.  This forces the Palestinian people further into desperation and further fuels anti-Israeli sentiment.  This blockade has not let up, to this day. 
  • The two parties had agreed to a cease-fire in June of 2008 (even while Israel was secretly planning this current attack and invasion).  The economic blockade continued...shutting off food and fuel supplies to Gaza.
  • Israel did not respect the cease-fire.  For example, on November 4th, 2008, Israeli troops raided the Gaza strip and killed 6.
  • Throughout all of this, only 9 Israelis were killed by rockets fired from Gaza.
  • Israel is currently bombing Gaza and is conducting a ground invasion, killing hundreds, with no end in sight.

It is clear that Israel has actively undermined any attempt the Palestinians have made to establish their own government and own self-defense.  This isn't about those ineffective rockets which had only managed to kill 9 Israelis.  There certainly would have been more effective ways to mitigate this problem.

Israel is actively trying to keep the Palestinians weak and helpless.  Israelis have wronged Palestinians to such an extent over the years that they probably have good reason to fear the possibility that Palestinians might ever be able to defend themselves.  Of course the other motivation behind Israel's policy might also be to weaken and starve the Palestinian people to the extent that they are eventually forced to flea...perhaps to Egypt.  Israel's likely goal is ultimately to control and settle the territory, so this might be a way to clear the territory.

They can continue to line up Israeli spokespeople on all of the news channels every day to argue their position.  They can stack all of the news shows with Zionists (I happened to notice, after doing some independent research, that 5 of the 7 people who appeared on January 4th's Meet The Press are Jewish and the 2 others are married to Jewish spouses).  But they can never convince fair-minded, intelligent people around the world that justice is on the side of the Israelis.  It is quite clear who is the oppressor and who is the victim.  The Palestinian's weak and ineffective resistance is quite like a rape victim helplessly kicking and screaming.  I am insulted when I'm asked to justify the rape for the simple reason that the victim is trying to fight back. 

I am not an anti-Semite.  I have several Jewish friends (though probably fewer after this post).  It is the violent, destructive, and immoral behavior which I am against, not the race or nationality of the people behind the behavior.  It is quite simply the idea that this type of action is acceptable which I am against. 

It should also be said that what the US has done to Iraq is absolutely no different.  In fact, the US invasion of Iraq was far worse.  Iraq had never harmed an American and posed absolutely no threat to the United States.  This was very well-known in 2002 to anyone paying attention, and yet the invasion and occupation of Iraq moved forward (on a much larger scale than the current Israeli aggression). 

Maybe we should just accept that "might makes right".  We can all just agree that powerful nations can do whatever they decide to.  In that case, can we at least drop the moral arguments, the lies, and the spin?  But if we're being asked to keep justifying these horrific acts with moral arguments...well then this is mine.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Absconding from commercial-cool

I've been reading Naomi Klein's "No Logo" these days, which has me thinking about branding and the idea of "cool".  For the past several decades, it seems as though notions of coolness have become almost inseparable from corporate branding.  I remember, in middle school and high school, when I felt pretty cool wearing my Nike sneakers and Levi's jeans.  In the 80's and 90's, successful corporations, in their constant quest for growth, learned to extend themselves beyond simply advertising.  The idea is to create a brand experience.  The names and logos of the most successful brands have almost come to symbolize something and mean something.  When we attach ourselves to these brands, we are told, we too become cool.

But what is coolness?  Cool is new.  Cool is rebellious.  Cool is anti-establishment.  Cool is bold, daring, smart, self-confident, dangerous...and for these reasons it is so very sexy.  Cool is what humans do, not institutions or corporations.  But in order for corporations to sell more product, they've actually attempted to become cool.  In order to become cool, they relentlessly try to move into that "human space" where coolness exists -- the clubs, the concerts, the city streets, the urban basketball courts...they had to metaphorically and literally get their logos on the behinds of the coolest women in order to become sexy.  And so they did.  Wherever cool was, corporations infiltrated that space, branded it, and exploited it.  This wasn't very difficult, as the icons of cool (the celebrities) have been quite willing to sell out for the right price.

With the success of companies like Nike and Apple, more and more corporations have pushed further and further into what was authentic cultural space to establish themselves as cool and culturally relevant.  Interestingly, as the beer companies sponsored and bought out concert festivals, artists such as Madonna, P. Diddy, Britney Spears, and dozens of others essentially were willing to essentially become brands, themselves (with sponsorships, cross-marketed product lines, etc.).  In other words, as corporations learned to act more like cool people, celebrities learned to act more like corporations.  And right up to the present moment, this approach would seem to be working.

But the problem is...nothing feels cool anymore.  While, on the surface, the symbols of cool are pervasive...the essence of cool evaporates the moment it becomes that which it is not.  When cool is sold out for a profit, it is no longer cool.  The symbols of cool are masks hiding something else.  Corporate-cool is lipstick on a pig.

Corporations are never truly anti-establishment, smart, rebellious, or independent.  Corporations are, and always will be, the opposite of cool; mainstream.  In fact, branding is only good at ruining cool in order to sell product.  Branding is a lie.  Rather than having to understand cool, having to live cool and embody cool, we are told that all we need to do is buy it.  As a result, we have a society of posers.  We have a society of thoughtless dorks masquerading as hipsters...and not even doing it well enough to fool each other.

All of this is obvious to me, on an intuitive level, as a musician.  I feel that my sounds and my ideas only have value to the extent that they are kept completely seperate from the commercial world.  Regardless of what happens in my future, my music will always be completely seperate from business.  I will never attempt to profit from my music and will never allow others to ride on the back of my inspiration in order to do so.  That's because what flows through my music cannot be understood within the context of the commercial world.  The extent to which my music is good is the extent to which it is authentic at a deep, human level.   I would never consider playing a corporate-sponsored event because such events are deflated of their meaning at the moment they are conceived.  I would never allow my music to be used to sell products, even if it meant massive exposure.  What good is exposure when all meaning and understanding is lost?

My inspiration comes from the spaces I have created between me and other people.  My ideas come to me in moments of silence...when I am looking inside myself and not at the world outside.  My music works when it finds...when it frees this same place inside the listener. 

I know I'm not alone in this.  I know that what is really cool has never changed.  Cool is not caring what people think.  Cool is uniqueness, not fitting-in.  Cool is perceiving others deeply and not being afraid to express it.  Cool is being too busy perceiving beauty to go out shopping for it.  Cool is a cup of coffee in the liveliest part of town.  Cool is a body free of corporate logos.  Cool is who you are, not what you have. Cool is that connection between two people so powerful that it creates an entirely new universe.  Cool is the idea that what is doesn't have to be that way.  Cool is being completely misunderstood by normal people.  Cool is being perceived by those very few, very special people.  Cool is an original idea.  Cool is acting on an original idea.   Cool is reading.  Cool is listening to music that nobody else knows.  Cool is truth-seeking.  Cool is creating.  Cool is doing all of this while staying strong enough to live a healthy, reasonably successful life.

In some ways cool has become harder to find, and in other ways it is easier than ever.  Abscond from commercial-cool.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

The next revolution is the "personal revolution"

There is no longer a way for us to fight the system directly. The system is designed to crush all those who directly oppose it. We have to find ways to "opt out".

Opt out from the commercial media
Opt out from debt
Opt out from consumerism
Opt out from conformist thinking and conformist behaviors
Opt out from sucking up the earth's resources for no good reason at all
Opt out from our sense of self importance and our sense that we can single-handedly change the world

Opt in to being the unique genetic mutations that we truly are
Opt in to authentic human relationships
Opt in to all of life's beauty and pleasure
Opt in to great music, art, films
Opt in to a great sex life
Opt in to travel
Opt in to new ideas
Opt in to life
Opt in to being you

If enough of us do that, the revolution will have happened before the establishment even notices.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

How money and success destroy art

Eddie Vetter of Pearl Jam has said that his music was originally fueled by anger, and that it was challenging for him when that anger went away and was replace by happiness and contentedness.  Even the style of his music, itself, was originally a product of the angst and frustrations of a common life.  What meaning could it possibly have within the context of overwhelming success and riches? 

Did Eddie's success choke his ability to create the kind of meaningful music we knew and loved?  Consider his early song Jeremy in relation to the following lyrics from a recent song, Big Wave:

I scream in affirmation
Of connecting dislocations
And exceeding limitation
By achieving levitation

Got me a big wave, ride me a big wave, got me a big wave.
Got me a big wave, ride me a big wave, got me a big wave

OK that's just embarrassing.  You have to hear the song, set to the angst-ridden sounds of grunge music (a sound, by the way, that he hasn't bothered to evolve so that it might more accurately reflect his daily reality) in order to get the full picture of how badly this song misses the mark.

We see the same thing happen in Rap music all the time.   The art form itself is a reflection of the brutal realities of inner-city life.  Throw some money at it and what starts out as meaningful, anger-fueled and angst-ridden lyrics so quickly turn to boasting of cars and brands. 

Meaningful art has to arise from the life and experience of the artist.  One might expect the successful rocker or rapper to experiment with new, happier or more blissful sounds.  But in the case of both the rapper and the grunge-rocker, their style of music cannot be allowed to change so that it might more accurately reflect their new lives.  To do so would be to risk losing the very foundation of that success...the support of fans who originally loved them for who they once were.

And so it is, with overwhelming success and subsequent riches, art itself becomes inauthentic crap as the artist becomes a salesmen just trying to continue fueling an excessive lifestyle. 

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

The wall of perception

The music.  It's begging, pleading, screaming, enticing us to feel better...to escape the cage of our worried minds which are filled with cries of loneliness, sick with too much information, swimming in fear and self-doubt.  The sights, sounds, tastes, sensations, ideas...all surrounding us at all moments...we lack nothing but the ability to perceive and receive.

Could anyone have imagined?  After we have torn down all the old walls...censorship, social pressures, national borders, taboos, traditions...we would find that one insurmountable wall remains: the invisible wall that surrounds each of us.  This isn't a wall that filters the garbage emanating from us, but filters all that comes toward is.  It is lack of perception...small-mindedness...failure to see and to hear.  It is the sound of the voices in our heads drowning out a world rich with sounds, colors, ideas, pleasures, and sensation.

We have achieved a world in which anything is possible but nothing really happens.  What is real exists only in our isolated minds...which is to say it doesn't exist at all.  Because, in reality, nothing can be real if we cannot allow ourselves to forget ourselves...to be tickled by that which comes from another!  Everybody is talking but nobody's listening.  It is the last wall standing...the great bottleneck.

And why?  Because we all want attention.  We want to receive the gift, not give it!  We reach out to the world selfishly, with such a loud and obnoxious tone like "LOOK AT ME!!!!"  And in so doing, we forget that we all want the same thing.

So the language of attention-seeking needs to become the language of perception.  We need to reach out to others in a way that satisfies their needs...to write songs and books not about how great I am, but about what you feel...to walk down the street not hoping somebody smiles at me, but to smile at another...to say that which we all feel but have never said.

It is also important to realize that to be perceived is not necessarily to be heard, noticed, understood.  To feel perceived is also to hear a song that speaks to you, to read a novel that says what you've always felt, to see a painting which reminds you of your childhood, a beautiful woman who reminds you of your dreams, a smile which reminds you we're all the same.  Perception is two-way and cannot be any other way. 

So listen to people, get some new music, read a new novel or poet or philosopher, go to that obscure art exhibit, find stuff that speaks to you and soak it up in silence.  But don't waste your time with the language of attention-seeking (mainstream music, TV, preachers, and ideologues).  You will only remain frustrated and alone.

How can you be perceived if nobody is listening?  How can you expect perception if you aren't listening?

 
Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).