America is Waiting 3x

Odd that in this age of immediate accessibility of everything, Bruce Conner’s film for Brian Eno and David Byrne’s “America Is Waiting,” from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, is not currently available on-line in a full length and reasonably high quality version.

First, here’s the best quality version, but it’s only 2 minutes of the 3:44 film:


Here’s a full-length but low quality version from a Korean site. You may have to put up with an ad.

Here’s a full-length version of the song on YouTube, with video that I think captures the spirit of Conner’s work. I left a silly comment at YouTube advising the creator to check Conner out, but it’s obvious on second thought that “0ldfinger” already had:

America is waiting - David Byrne & Brian Eno

I would not be surprised if all three of these videos are extinct within a few months -- I’m guessing taken down for rights infringement -- but maybe the original will turn up again somewhere else by then…

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3 comments on “America is Waiting 3x

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  1. Completely unaware of this until now. Musta been in a different America in the 80’s, no doubt still am, just didn’t think it started that early

    • Have been a Bruce Conner fan for a long time, but what I find interesting isn’t the different America of the ’80s, or in particular the America of 1981, but the similarity of that moment to this one as represented in the film(s) – exhaustion with symbols of national power/militarism, “no will whatsoever,” yet possibly pointing to resuscitation (question in a lot of my posts esp since East Ghouta). So, in 1981 a leftist/post-modernist/anti-Americanist might have watched the movie/heard the song smugly anticipating further decline and fall, but, as we know, history had a different idea, and all of that cowboy Jacksonian machismo disturbing the dreams of the anxious sleeper came back in fashion quickly, or Reaganism filled the abhorrent vacuum: The little boys with the super-rifle and helmet walkie-talkies became Rambo, and today’s Special Operators…

      Was prompted by a twitter chat last night about Obama/Syria/IS.

      OTOH – I wouldn’t have expected you to tolerate them at all! With the sound turned down??

      • Yeah did get that – could update the video with clips from just the last 20 yrs or so.

        There is a feel to things now that seems very mid century – atomic agey.

        At any rate, the video was worse than the audio, apart from the content, the visual effect is kinda flashing lights. So my listening/viewing strategy was short bursts of play/pause/play/pause.

        The echoing of that past into the present gave me the motivation to persevere.

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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