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Prime Cuts 2013

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As Was Witnessed On The Pages Of Modern Times Magazine In 2013, News From 10,000 Miles Away And An Event 10 Feet From Your Backdoor Can Be Equally Relevant, Thanks To The Interconnectedness Of Worldwide Systems


By Chris G. Braswell
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 30, 2013 — Arguably, this year has been somewhat of an anti-post-apocalyptic letdown, after the Mayan calendar’s doomsoothing inaccurately predicted the world to end in December 2012. So, in the graceful purgatory of 2013, the good news has been that the world’s still turning. However, the place still needs a lot of work.

Moreover, the world may not have ended, but the past is certainly gone forever as we leap toward the future on a vehicle powered by amazing things like nanotechnology and the Internet. Meanwhile, critical questions regarding such things as bioethics, deep societal change, global energy demand and food supply challenges, climate change, and international cohesion loom large over all citizens of earth.

Fourteen years ago, we partied like it was 1999. But the partying is over, and in case you haven’t noticed, there is plenty of work yet to be done before the credits roll and humanity rides off into the sunset. On that note, here are Modern Times Magazine’s most-read Nation/World articles of 2013, during the new millennium’s first year as an awkward teenager.

No. 7 “The Stigmata Of Symbolism”
The Rainbow Flag, the Barred Cross, and their stigmatization. Symbols, aesthetic context, intent, meanings, and their chain of custody in the marketplace of ideas.

This year on April Fool’s Day, writer Gentry Braswell (now our managing editor Chris G. Braswell) mused regarding modes of knowledge transmission, applied forensics, economic and intellectual marketplaces, and how it all relates to mind:

“We, I, you, us—our minds, hold the power of causation. Projected phenomena are not enfranchised with the power causality, and when they are mistaken as such, an off-the-mark and potentially perilous cognitive error is committed, reflecting a fundamental misunderstanding of the surrounding world.”
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No. 6 “Occupy Movement Still Surviving, To Hold Gathering”

Image by david_shankbone and used under a Creative Commons lisence.
The Occupy movement of the past few years has indoctrinated an incumbent generation of activists, and confronted all sorts of corporate and political grievances through civil disobedience, protest, and demonstration. All sorts of situations and locations have been occupied, in the name of bioethics, the environment, privacy, war, race relations, and institutional policy.

This year’s Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering was Aug. 21 to 25 in Kalamazoo, Mich., envisioning “a world where race doesn’t determine who controls things.”

No. 5 “Talking Memory With Marilu Henner”

Image by Jeff Katz and used under a Creative Commons License.
Actress Marilu Henner’s first role in the public eye was on the television program Taxi, but these days she has gone off-script and taken up the pen.

In May, the paperback edition of her book Total Memory Makeover came out. It discusses her superpowers of memory, called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. The book is an attempt to help people reach their full memory potential, and the author believes everyone has the potential to maximize their memory by training one’s mind to pick up on events that happen throughout a day by using their key memory senses.
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No. 4 “The Irrational GOP Love For Calvin Coolidge”
The 30th President of the United States Calvin Coolidge, who was at the helm of this great nation at the eve of the Great Depression, is frequently regarded with dappled, wide-eyed adoration by Tea Party constituents for his austerity policies, such as tax cuts and his lack of aid to the depressed agricultural economic sector.

“Today, he is like an underground cult hero from the black and white, flickering days of yesteryear who is emerging as the new hero of the conservative right.”

No. 3 “Dialing In Jay Mohr”

Image courtesy of Fox Sports.
In September, Modern Times Magazine regular freelancer Wayne Schutsky won a contest called “The Twitter Hat Trick” (for the third time) on nationally syndicated sports talk show Jay Mohr Sports, ultimately resulting in this Q&A session with the actor, comic, sports aficionado, podcaster and radio personality.

The two gentlemen discussed Jim Rome, Oprah and the Internet, and the L.A. Dodgers with respect to Survivor. The interview took place before one of Mohr’s performances at Stand Up Live! in downtown Phoenix:

“My favorite author is Albert Camus, which surprised Jay. He doesn’t really like the existentialist label because it is often misused. For example, Albert Camus is labeled an absurd existentialist but rejected the existentialist label. Charles Bukowski, on the other hand, is seemingly existential but rarely receives the label. I promote Camus’ absurdist philosophy to Jay and tell him that the author’s life and random death prove the tenets of the author correct. Jay thinks it is all conjecture. He tells me I label things too much, which I blame on my English degree.”

No. 2 “Facebook Lawsuit: Network At Your Own Peril”
The Fraley v. Facebook class action litigation hearings in San Jose, Calif., at the U.S. District Court-Northern District of California, considered Facebook’s non-consensual use of account holders’ names, profile pictures, and identities for the social media site’s advertisements.

“When a group or culture pushes past the boundaries into new realms—whether in a digital or analog environment, abstract or linear, contextual or aesthetic—the relevant precedents of the common law of the sea always stand with the infinite glory of instant karma. The sword cuts both ways.”

Writer Gentry Braswell (now our managing editor Chris G. Braswell) argued that regardless of contextual venue, it is important to define and retain appropriate physical boundaries among intellectual property, privacy, right of way, identity, identity, marketplace, currencies, value, and exclusivity.

“Simply because an activity is opportune in one venue and not so in another (“There is no rule against it”) does not define the ruling ethic nor should it govern behavior. And, if something seems harmless after the fact (“People will get over it”), it does not expressly denote ethical behavior nor is this a practical way to define community terms.”

No. 1 “Suicide Girls Bare Bodies, Souls To Build Ideals”
Ahhh, October.

This year, the Arizona autumn brought the Suicide Girls’ North American Burlesque tour to the Marquee Theater in Tempe. Fearless Modern Times Magazine staff members caught the show, and afterward we had the privilege of interviewing its heavenly founder, Missy Suicide.

“Go into any museum in the world and you are going to be inundated with nude female imagery. Many Americans are trained to be ashamed of their bodies and to not really treat their bodies as positive aspects of themselves. Sex and sexuality is something that everybody does and probably should,” Missy Suicide said. “These images are very empowering and you should feel sexy and positive about your body. Feeling sexy and feeling confident is a big part of self esteem and if everybody in the world felt more confident and had adequate self esteem, the world would be a much happier place. People come to the site and see the girls as a common touch point.”

After this stop, Blackheart Burlesque (the Suicide Girls’ touring company) continued on with performances through early December with stops in Brooklyn, Indianapolis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans.
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Chapter 18: “This Could be the Last Time”

The galaxy-class astral catwomen paint by numbers way out in the Fornax Void, and grease some filthy-dirty alien werewolves in the process.

Beyond The Hill

An exceedingly intelligent homeless amnesiac finds a dear friend on the streets who is not really from the neighborhood, but beyond the hill.