Culture Dose | Stolen Focus | Don’t Look Up | The Rebel Beat

Read: Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

One word. Obsessed. This is how we feel about both this book and the author. (even though that admittedly sounds creepy!) The subtitle of this book, Why you can’t pay attention and how to think deeply again should be enough to get you interested. We all know that our attention spans are supposedly less than a goldfish or whatever is the latest viral rot grabbing our attention by telling us how little we have. It’s easy to dismiss this as inevitable due to technology but Johann Hari shows how
1. It’s much more than just technology. All kinds of things from diet to drugs are effecting us.
2. This is a major issue but it is not inevitable that you or I become mindless fodder for app developers and the advertisers that pay them.

In many ways this reads like a call to arms to reclaim our focus and along with it our humanity.

In Stolen Focus, he introduces readers to Silicon Valley dissidents who learned to hack human attention, and veterinarians who diagnose dogs with ADHD. He explores a favela in Rio de Janeiro where everyone lost their attention in a particularly surreal way, and an office in New Zealand that discovered a remarkable technique to restore workers’ productivity.

from the publisher

This book is both informative and engaging as Hari speaks with experts all around the world and fills it in with the stories they tell as they’ve researched our attention spans and the root causes of our issues. I think this book should be required reading by…literally everyone. And while I’m at it a shout out to one of his earlier books, Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope. Another book I would call revolutionary and highly recommend.

Watch: Don’t Look Up

If you haven’t already tuned into this overly star studded flick, well…you should. Streaming on Netflix, it will bounce you back and forth from quite funny and light-hearted (who doesn’t need that?) to a pitch perfect satire of our troubled times. Watch and laugh, watch and weep, just watch and then get out and let’s fight because, despite what Musk and Bezos would have you believe, there’s no Planet B.

LIsten: The Rebel Beat –Episode 104: A People’s History of Godspeed You! Black Emperor

The Rebel Beat is Firebrand Records podcast of radical political music across different genres, and across different continents, hosted and produced by Aaron Maiden on unceded Mohawk territory in Montreal. It is the mixtape to a riot against police brutality. It is your nightly newscast set to bass and beats. It is a rallying cry against apathy. It is protest anthems from Hong Kong to Istanbul to Ferguson to Montreal. The podcast drops once a month, and features interviews, collaborators, and accomplices. Get it through Firebrand Records’ Soundcloud page, or Subscribe on all your favourite podcast platforms!

Although from last May we found this conversation particularly interesting and worth checking out.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor released a string of albums from 1997-2002 widely recognized as redefining what protest music can be, where longform instrumental chamber rock compositions of immense feeling and power serve as soundtracks to late capitalist alienation and resistance.

The band’s first four releases—especially  F#A#∞ (1997) and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (2000)—are variously regarded as classics of the era and genre. Godspeed’s live performances are lenendary. Featuring multiple 16mm projectors beaming a collage of overlapping analog film loops and reels—along with the distinctive iconography, imagery and tactility of the band’s album artwork and physical LP packages— further defines the sui generis aesthetic substance, ethos and mythos of this group. GY!BE has issued two official band photos in its 25-year existence (the second, left, a 2010 recreation of the first from 1997) and has done a half-dozen collectively-answered written interviews over that same span.

The band has never had a website or social media accounts. It has never made a video. Few rock bands in our 21st century have been as steadfast in trying to let the work speak for itself and maintaining simple rules about minimising participation in cultures of personality, exposure, access, commodification or co-optation.

Following a seven-year hiatus that began in 2003, Godspeed returned to the stage in December 2010 (curating the UK festival All Tomorrow’s Parties) and the band’s post-reunion period has now lasted over a decade, marked by hundreds of sold-out live shows and three additional albums, all of which have been met with high acclaim.

–KL Dunn

More Recommendations

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Read: Gay Bar, Watch: Licorice Pizza, Listen to: Women In Music Pt. III
Read/Watch/Listen: All About Andre Talley
Culture Dose | 12.17 The Holiday in NYC Edition