Cannibal Capitalism the Birdman edition

Photo of Birdman’s RG (perhapsRich Gang) and YMCMYSL (perhaps Young Money Cash Money Young Stoner Life) tattoos. Thanks to The Smoking Section for the photo, I assume taken from Birdman’s social media.

Birdman is trying to sign Young Thug to his record label.  To prove his sincerity he tattooed several Young Thug associated tattoos on his hands and face.

Cannibal capitalism is the mediated experiences of human suffering projected for human entertainment and profit.   It is obvious that the bodily impact of Birdman’s tattoos is a particular kind of communication.  Tattoos have often been the indication of long-term committment for gangs, military units and fans of musical artists.  Birdman’s tattoo is amplified on social media and through dozens of rap blogs.  It is a public communication of his commitment intentionally articulated to bring his company more profit (by signing a strong young artist).

In some ways the suffusion of cannibal capitalism into many so-called reality television shows (cooking shows, real estate flippers) is an indication of the desperation of many people.   But Birdman isn’t desperate (not in the poverty sense) — he can give expensive cars and jewelry to friends and label-mates.  I heard on NPR he just gave a Bugatti to Justin Beiber.

Fleeting fame and the potential for profit have encouraged more than one reality TV contestant to become a public exercise in morality and exclusion. (Did you hear about Stephanie on Top Chef when she cut herself and she went to the hospital?!?! How about that Survivor episode where that guy broke his leg? What a wimp!)

Cannibal capitalism can be mapped whenever a human is harmed and it is filmed and amplified for other people’s pleasure.  When this happens a particular morality of self-sacrifice is usually articulated.  Announcers and other contestants express just how someone should take the suffering.  In some ways the harm done to the body gives access to comment on the body.

In the case of Birdman’s new tattoo’s the morality expressed isn’t how tough Birdman was for getting the ink, but rather how idiotic it is to tattoo to something as fleeting as a new potential corporate rap alliance.   Here is the Smoking Section‘s Gotty mocking the social costs of multiple face tattoos.

We recognize that the fact that Birdman will never have to go to a job interview ever in his life. The Cash Money CEO’s so loaded his kids kids most likely will never have to worry about working either. With that said, his continuing effort to ink his whole body with scribblings dedicated to Cash Money subsidiaries is a little odd.

Actually, the “RG,” presumably for his Rich Gang management company, added to his right cheek isn’t that bad because what the hell would two more letters do to a face littered in tats? It’s the “YMCMYSL” scripted on his fingers that doesn’t make sense. Assuming the letters rep Young Money Cash Money Stoner Life as in Young Thug’s movement, that’s more confusing.

via Birdman Permanently Pays Homage To Young Thug | The Smoking Section.

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Filed under capitalism, communication, hip hop, music, representation

pattrice jones: animals, ecology and injustice

The official title of this stunning talk is: “Animal liberation and social justice.”  But you should watch it, take notes, change your life and donate some cash to the Vine shelter.


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Filed under Animals, capitalism, do-it-yourself, feminism, human rights, intersectionality, kindness, representation, resistance, vegetarian

Sanitizing Waka Flocka Flame

I’ve noted before that Waka Flocka Flame travels a careful orbit between violent drug rhymes and friendly celebrity.  It reminds me of Snoop Dogg and Sean Price — they both sort of make visible the double-consciousness of famous black men. Simultaneously expressing fictional violent anti-social expressions (which are consumed for people’s pleasure) and at the same time in different venues re-representing themselves with a friendly comedic persona (which is consumed for people’s pleasure).

Here is Waka telling a story from his childhood about his grandmother punishing him stylized like a Charles Schultz Peanuts holiday special.

Let’s remember that only the voice is Waka’s the representation is the work of a whole team of experts (sound editors, animators, directors, artists).  And a company makes money on the whole thing.

It would be very interesting to map the choices of animated representations of the recent Trae and Waka videos.

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Bikers against child abuse video

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Social movements changing journalism and law: Canadian press against Rob Ford

Like most people who spend time on the internets I’m fascinated by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.  I watched his interview with Jimmy Kimmel and thought: this guy is invulnerable.  He has that teflon acumen to look the audience in the face and (according to many accounts) lie.

The Walrus has a cool accounting of the legal changes in Canada which led to the press freedoms to write about the bad-boy mayor.  Including training the next generation of journalists!  That is social movement work.

Rogers and his colleagues were already monitoring defamation cases in other common law countries, such as the US and Britain, looking for effective defences beyond truth and fair comment. A pair of landmark decisions in Britain’s House of Lords in 1999 and 2006 gave them what they needed. “Responsible journalism,” as the Lords called their new defence, posited that if a journalist has taken reasonable steps to verify that a story is true, and has given the subject an opportunity to respond, he or she cannot be found liable for defamation, even if the story contains untruths. Responsible journalism revolutionized British defamation law.

ADIDEM’s task was to persuade Canadian judges to follow suit, but how do you persuade a judge to rewrite the law at your behest? “You start,” says Rogers, “by using defences that are not yet part of the common law of Canada but that you think should be.” First, however, the group had to make sure Canadian journalists were writing stories that hewed to the spirit of responsible journalism, so they began preaching the gospel in their daily interactions with clients and in seminars at journalism schools. At the Ryerson School of Journalism in Toronto, Rogers and the Star’s Bert Bruser, considered the dean of Canadian media law, recruited reporters like Doolittle to the cause.

via The Story behind the Rob Ford Story ·

Thanks to for the recommendation.

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Moral pressure for food choices

Illustration by Laura Jones Martinez from Bitch Magazine.

Nice paragraph on food trends, privilege, corporate health food, and the price of kale in Bitch Magazine.  Worth talking about guilt, stress and ethics involved in shopping for food.   Salute to Soleil Ho (and graphics by Laura Jones Martinez) explains the moral dilemma presented to shoppers:

I need to buy this if I want to be good, if I really want to take care of myself and my family As it turns out, this moralistic way of framing choice is extremely profitable for food processors, restaurants, and produce retailers: we’ve been effectively held captive by our own consciences.

via The Cost of Kale: How Foodie Trends Can Hurt Low-Income Families | Bitch Media.


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Cannibal Capitalism: Nate Jackson’s medical records

How do you sustain the gladiators of cannibal capitalism?  The folks whose bodies we consume when they fall?

Keep their medical records from them.

Next to that piece of paper was a file as large as a dictionary that contained my injury history. Every injury I ever had was described somewhere in that file. But I never saw it. It wasn’t my property.

Had I owned that file, that information, I would have had a better idea of what was happening to me. Every treatment was in there. Every report written up by Greek or our team doctors. The results of every physical. And an unbiased report from the off-site imaging center that conducted our post-injury MRIs. These MRI reports contain information of great value to a player, because they are unfiltered. But I never saw the file. As far as I knew, I never even had access to it.

During my football career, I dislocated my shoulder multiple times, separated both shoulders, broke my tibia, broke a rib, broke my fingers, tore my medial collateral ligament in my right knee, tore my groin off the bone, tore my hamstring off the bone twice. I had bone chips in my elbow, bone chips in my ankle, concussions, sub-concussions, countless muscle strains, labral tears in either hip, cumulative trauma in the lower spine, sciatic nerve damage, achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis in both feet, blisters—oh the blisters! My neck is bad. My clavicles are misaligned. I probably have brain damage.

via My Injury File: How I Shot, Smoked, And Screwed My Way Through The NFL.

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