Saturday, January 31, 2009

A dose of Bill Hicks

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Be seeing you!"

Broken Sea Audio Productions has finally posted the first episode of its full-cast dramatization, The Prisoner. It’s terrific. The podcast is actually an adaptation of the DC Comics mini-series sequel by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith from a decade or more ago, not the original TV program. Here’s a quick description of the set-up:

“Alice Drake wants out. Out of her career as an intelligence field officer. Out of her unhappy marriage. A long solo sea voyage seems like the perfect escape. But she doesn’t know about the obsession that has gripped her ex-husband Thomas, another MI6 operative. He’s been editing the memoirs of an old man who claims he was once the chairman of a top secret colony of spies. Now he’s intrigued enough to use Alice as an unwilling scout, sending her yacht to an island that doesn’t exist.”

The podcast, produced by Gareth Preston, is dedicated to the memory of Patrick McGoohan, who died just last week.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Meet the new boss...

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama cult runs amuck

This Obama candle was spotted in the Mission District in San Francisco. This, friends, scares the hell out of me. (Hat tip to

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Sunday, January 18, 2009


In the past week or so, I’ve heard a couple of young anarchists offer comments on J. Neil Schulman’s 1980 agorist novel Alongside Night. Neither were disparaging, but both remarked that the book is “just okay,” “coulda been a lot better,” and that a truly great agorist novel is still to be written. I agree with them on the last point. But overall, my gut reaction is to defend Schulman’s book enthusiastically, to come out punching.

You see, when I first read Alongside Night some 28 years ago, it re-radicalized me. I’d been in the libertarian movement since high school, but I’d grown discouraged, first with the watered-down anti-statism of the Libertarian Party and then with the lack of oomph in the movement itself. While seeking philosophical renewal at a libertarian conference, I met Samuel Edward Konkin III for the first time and left with an armload of goodies, including Sam’s New Libertarian Manifesto, back issues of New Libertarian magazine, plus Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night. I loved Konkin’s stuff, but Neil’s novel really put it all together for me. And as a longtime reader and fan of Robert A. Heinlein, I appreciated what Neil had done with his book; Alongside Night is the sci-fi agorist “juvenile” RAH himself would have written if he’d been called to do so.

Granted, Neil Schulman and I haven’t been working out of the same playbook for more than a decade. But I think Alongside Night still stands as the Atlas Shrugged of agorism, the first and (so far) only novel to detail the revolution SEK3 talked about. It’s radical, it tells a good story, and it’s the perfect little book to pass on to friends when they greet your ideas with creased brows.

I’ve probably read Alongside Night a dozen times since the early ’80s. Each time, it recharges me. If you haven’t yet read it, let me recommend it to you.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Never a number (1928-2009)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nixon's the one!

Today on, Jeff Tucker writes about Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995), one of my favorite political films. I recommend that movie highly, but would suggest as a companion piece Secret Honor (1984), Robert Altman’s movie adaptation of the play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone. I saw Philip Baker Hall’s extraordinary performance as Nixon on stage in Los Angeles a year before Altman captured it on film, and I think the movie is indispensable. All fans of political drama should see Secret Honor.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Refuse to be afraid!

My friend Brian Richardson, whom I've known for -- oh my gawd! -- going on 40 years, has always had a special gift for cutting through the crapola, as my dear grandmother used to say. And his skill is laser-sharp in his latest, brilliant blog post, which is not to be missed. Here's a taste:

"Refuse to be afraid. It's hardest to keep your fears under control when so many forces are trying so hard to alarm you. No doubt they have fearful purposes of their own, but they feed on our fear. Refuse to be afraid. It's the first step on beyond the paralysis of fear, the first step toward freeing yourself and following your dreams."

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Committing a nuisance"

OK, City of San Diego, I give up. What constitutes "committing a nuisance"? And whatever a "nuisance" is, what makes it permissible at the street curb but nowhere else?

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Look who's on the Grassy Knoll!

A new Japanese trailer for this spring's much-anticipated movie adaptation of Watchmen shows that the Comedian fired the fatal shot that killed JFK. Jeepers!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Anarchy 101

What this movement needs is a good “short course” on anarchism.

But wait, we’ve finally got one! In the past couple of weeks, two slim volumes have been released that — bundled together — provide as good an Anarchy 101 course as we could hope for.

The first book is Anarchism for Beginners, the latest addition to the For Beginners documentary comic book series. This is an English translation of a book first published in Spanish five years ago in Argentina. Written by Marcos Mayer and illustrated by Héctor Alberto Sanguiliano (aka Sanyú), it provides a good, quick, 170 heavily cartooned page overview of anarchism, touching almost all the bases but limiting its examination of individualist anarchism to just Max Stirner, ignoring Spooner, Tucker, De Cleyre, and the rest. Of course, no mention is made at all of Rothbard and the radical market anarchists, but that’s not particularly surprising. Even with these shortcomings, Anarchism for Beginners is a handy little history lesson and a non-intimidating philosophical introduction to anti-statism that’s perfect for any young (or middle-aged, or even old) radical seeking knowledge.

The second volume is, as Brad Spangler’s already reported elsewhere, the most essential libertarian book of 2009 — and we’re only six days into the year. It’s Samuel Edward Konkin III’s An Agorist Primer, published posthumously just this month by Victor Koman at KoPubCo.

A lot of us have waited two decades for the release of this slender tome, written and ready (but not financed, alas) for publication way back in 1986. And although the delay is unfortunate, it proves to have been worth it. Clocking in at just over 100 pages, An Agorist Primer offers not only a simple-but-thorough explanation of what agorism is, it also builds a rock-solid case for it. Sure, I’m biased. Yes, I’ve been in the agorist “camp” of Libertarian Leftists for almost 30 years. Granted, SEK3 was my philosophic plumb-line for a long, long time. But trust me, Konkin’s well-structured argument for a free society of the open marketplace (“as near to untainted by theft, assault, and fraud as can be humanly attained”) is compelling. And he shows convincingly that such a society is absolutely achievable and sustainable.

Sam’s book truly is a primer; he strips down heavy-duty economic theory and libertarian philosophy without diminishing either of them. An Agorist Primer may be a quick walk through the basics, but it never shortchanges the reader. And best of all, it’s awfully entertaining.

We lost a terrific libertarian thinker and writer when SEK3 died five years ago. But this little treasure stands ultimately as a testament to the vitality he brought to modern libertarianism — or, as Sam himself used to call it, This Movement of Ours.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Mad Max rides again!

There's nothing quite like launching into a new year with some post-apocalyptic fun! Those talented folks at Broken Sea Audio have added a new, one-hour full-cast audio drama to the legend of the Road Warrior -- Mad Max: Tomorrow's Road. You can find the MP3 download right here, but be warned: it's not for the kids or the faint of heart. (The music by Ray Gun Girls, incidentally, is terrific!)

Also of note: there's an ad at the tail end of Tomorrow's Road for an upcoming Broken Sea Audio production of an all-new, 21st century The Prisoner! Can't wait!

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