Gavin Mueller

is a graduate student in Washington, DC.

All Things Colonized: A Review of Jared Ball's I Mix What I Like

All Things Colonized: A Review of Jared Ball’s I Mix What I Like

What do Ira Glass and Jean-Marie Le Pen have in com­mon? To fol­low the argu­ment of Jared Ball’s recent book I Mix What I Like, they both rep­re­sent a counter-insurgency against col­o­nized pop­u­la­tions. The allegedly pro­gres­sive NPR, writes Ball, is the con­tem­po­rary equiv­a­lent of Radio-Alger, oper­ated by the colo­nial French gov­ern­ment in Alge­ria. From post-war Alge­ria to the ghet­tos of the United States, colo­nial power requires pro­pa­ganda in order to function.

Be the Street: On Radical Ethnography and Cultural Studies

Be the Street: On Radical Ethnography and Cultural Studies

There wasn’t much to wax roman­tic about in the Detroit music scene at that time. The cul­ture indus­tries were under­go­ing a restruc­tur­ing for the imma­te­r­ial age. Vinyl was no longer mov­ing. Local radio and local music venues had gone cor­po­rate, squeez­ing out local music. DJs who wanted local gigs had to play Top 40 playlists in the sub­ur­ban mega­clubs instead of the native styles of elec­tronic music that had given Detroit mythic sta­tus around the world. Many had given up on record labels entirely. Every­one looked to the inter­net as the sav­ing grace for record sales, pro­mo­tion, net­work­ing – for every­thing, prac­ti­cally. Some of the more suc­cess­ful artists were attempt­ing to license their tracks for video games. Almost every­one had other jobs, often off the books. I wasn’t embed­ded within this com­mu­nity, as an anthro­pol­o­gist would be. Instead, I made the 90 minute drive to Detroit when I could, and spent the time inter­view­ing artists in their homes or over the phone.

Steal This Data

Steal This Data

“The rul­ing class in the United States,” as McKen­zie Wark puts it in the recent spe­cial issue of The­ory and Event on the Occupy move­ment, “is less and less one that makes things, and more and more one that owns infor­ma­tion and col­lects a rent from it.” Every time you buy a CD or DVD, even every time you stream from YouTube or Net­flix, you’re not fund­ing artists. You’re fund­ing the 1% and their per­sonal army of met­ro­pol­i­tan police, whose major inter­est right now seems to con­sist of gassing stu­dents and tear­ing down barns. What’s a polit­i­cally informed media junkie to do? Prob­a­bly what you’re already doing – pirate.

Occupy Franklin and Never Give it Back

Occupy Franklin and Never Give it Back

A week ago, may­ors across the coun­try, work­ing with shad­owy law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tions, coor­di­nated a crack­down on the occu­pa­tions in their respec­tive cities. Wash­ing­ton DC’s own occu­pa­tion was untouched. As cops cleared parks and trashed tents and famil­iar cities made it into the head­lines – Den­ver, Oak­land, Man­hat­tan – DC, yet again over­looked, felt like it hadn’t been asked to the dance. My feel­ings were com­pounded when a few days later, on Novem­ber 17 – a day of action in response to the crack­down, with thou­sands march­ing on Wall Street – Occupy DC marched in sup­port of a jobs bill with the SEIU, who that day had endorsed Obama for pres­i­dent. As police beat jour­nal­ists in New York, DC pro­tes­tors tweeted pho­tos stand­ing with arms around cops, wav­ing. As 30,000 peo­ple took over the Brook­lyn Bridge, Occupy DC boasted of barely imped­ing the flow of rush-hour traf­fic over the Key Bridge in Georgetown.