patrick lichty
Since the beginning
Works in Chicago, Illinois United States of America

Patrick Lichty is a digital intermedia artist, writer, and independent curator of over 15 years whose work comments upon the impact of technology on society and how it shapes the perception of the world around us. He works in diverse technological media, including activism, printmaking, kinetics, video, generative music, and neon. He is Editor-in Chief of Intelligent Agent, an electronic arts/culture journal, part of the activist group The Yes Men, and operates IALA Gallery in Baton Rogue, Louisiana.
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Spectacle Fortuna Parade @ Second Life I AM COLUMBIA ISLAND!

Columbia College Chicago's Virtual Spectacle Fortuna Parade!
Led by Second Front, and many others!
Monday, May 7, 2007, 5 PM SLT/PST
I AM Columbia Island
Second Life!

As part of Columbia College's college-wide Manifest student art
festival, capped off by a live concert by Common in Grant Park, there
will be a spectacle-parade on the island I AM COLUMBIA on Monday May 7 @

Get the most over the top costume possible and take part in the parade,
which will be made into a machinima and played in Columbia College's
Hokin Gallery from May 11th throughout the summer.

The parade will include leading Second Life artists, beginning with
Second Front, Ian Ah, JC Fremont, and many others.

Join us for a grand experiment!

Patrick Lichty
- Interactive Arts & Media
Columbia College, Chicago
- Editor-In-Chief
Intelligent Agent Magazine
225 288 5813


The Collision of Extremism and Appropriateness

The Collision of Extremism and Appropriateness:
The Passion of Don Imus and Michael Richards

First, let me say that the answer to shocking language and socially
'inappropriate' behavior in the mainstream media is not to excise the
offending member. I'll try to explain my point on the matter.

Over the past few months I have seen comedian Michael Richards and shock
radio host Don Imus lambasted, or even excised from culture for racist
epithets. On November 17, 2006, Richards lost his composure with
hecklers at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood, California by alluding
to Lynch mobs, and repeatedly using the word "Nigger". What ensued was
a media frenzy in which outlets like MSNBC and CNN nearly preempted far
more important issues like warfare and hunger to keep Richards' face on
the air day and night for nearly two weeks, as well as demands by
subject Kyle Doss for reparations. This was despite statements of
contrition and (refused) requests for reconciliatory meetings with
African-American leaders such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and
articles on conspiracynet about linkages of Richards to his Masonic
affiliation and the Freemasons' linkage to the Ku Klux Klan.

Conversely, NYC shock radio host Don Imus referred to the Rutgers
women's volleyball team as "some nappy-headed hos" on April 4th, 2007 on
his nationally-syndicated program. The result was that shortly
thereafter, Imus appeared on Sharpton's radio show and admitted to going
too far, and on-air colleagues such as Bill Maher and Rosie O'Donnell
both defended Imus' freedom of speech and that an apology should
suffice. Subsequently, major sponsors of the Imus program pulled
sponsorship, and CBS President Leslie Moonves relieved Imus of his
duties, "in order to change "a culture that permits a certain level of
objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people."

This morning (April 15, 2007), on NPR's "All things Considered", there
was a conversation about whether other offensive language, such as the
use of "ho", and "Nigga" in rap music should be condoned, and how the
use of demeaning language by the oppressed group about themselves
supposedly made the difference. Also, there has been a great deal of
controversy about the "kick the Hooker" health strategy in Grand Theft
Auto, in which the male thug character has sex with the prostitute and
then brutalizes her in order to retrieve his money. My media arts
students usually giggle innocently at this controversy, but bristle at
the idea of "Super Columbine Massacre RPG", which I find ironic.

Back to Richards and Imus for a second - how much do we hear about Doss'
return epithets of 'Cracker", or Imus' contrition in meeting with the
team, which was accepted by the coach and teammates that indirectly led
New Jersey Governor Corzine being critically injured in a car accident?
Is there no possibility for real contrition in US culture?

What about Ann Coulter's murderous tirades against the left, and Rush
Limbaugh's comments against Michael J. Fox faking Parkinson's Disease.
Why are these equally harmful events not met with the same prejudice? I
would daresay that there are issues of capital, political will and
concentrations of power which prevent them from being Imus-level events.

What I see is a disturbing second stage of political correctness, not
driven by social justice, but by certain power elites and corporate
interests to shape public discourse by using draconian measures to
create quick fixes for epithetic remarks. Of course, Moonves' remarks
that this is a move to change an objectionable culture that has moved in
increasingly "EXTREME" forms, from sports to super-sized Red Bull energy
drinks to "EXTREME" ads for things as banal as magazines and soft drinks
has some merit. Everything in American culture is supposed to be Fun or
Extreme, and riding the line of the cultural limit of 'appropriateness'
seems to be the American game of "Chicken", in which the loser is
excised from culture for a period of time, perhaps permanently, like a
penalty box in a hockey game.

Why? Because American culture is not about social justice; it is about
maintaining the flow of capital and maintaining the appearance of
morality, while taking the difficult subjects like AIDS, Racism, Sexism,
Homophobia, Drug Abuse, Teenage Pregnancy, and reducing them to
15-second clips, and eliminating public conversation by either summarily
firing, denying or obfuscating issues, and generally distracting the
public from the eventual reality that the subjects will HAVE to be dealt
with, either reasonably or by crisis; usually the latter in the US.

While I am of the "hegemonic majority" of being a white male (with a
little Indigenous American), I feel like a cultural tourist, a Simmelian
'Stranger' wherever I go. I'm a Northeast Ohioan who was not accepted by
the white community in South Louisiana, and became one of the only
whites in the black community for several years, part of a
Fundamentalist/Unitarian/Jewish family with very mixed heritage, and a
rural suburbanite who is now adapting to the rhythms of urban Chicago.
All this means is that these experiences have taught me much about core
differences in humanity, and the difficulties of interpersonal
understanding, which are vast. Real communication between two
individuals is arguably the most difficult thing there is, and taking
Imus and Richards directly to the pillory is the easiest and most banal
thing US culture can do. This is not punishing 'inappropriate'
behavior, it is truly something else entirely, and not only are the
people making the comments to blame, but also the ones criticizing them
while not allowing reconciliation as well.

Perhaps the most difficult, and perhaps the most productive thing we
could do is to use these moments as opportunities for real, meaningful
conversation as the beginning of a real cultural reevaluation that is
not a simple fallback to 'old-fashioned values' or an excision of
inappropriate language. In the old days, we would just not talk about
it until there were riots. Furthermore, one asks about for whom is the
language inappropriate, and how that is decided. .

As I begin to close my commentary, I'd like to make a few points. Make
no mistake, I am quite critical of Richards' and Imus' remarks, and that
they _should_ be held accountable. Perhaps Richards' comments are
endemic of personal issues (possibly stress, anger, etc.) that should
certainly be addressed. From seeing the video, it was obvious that he is
a person whose job is to create affective rhetoric, and he used it
violently, but Doss also lashed out, and is also to blame. I see
Richards' comments for now as violence that included racism. For Imus,
he uses incendiary polemic for ratings, and he pushed it too far - his
sins are the canary of the media coal mine. I'm not apologizing for
their actions, and it is my opinion that their actions (personal or
systemic), need to be addressed, systemically (without becoming a pious
censor-state) for Imus, and personally for Richards.

Individuals like Imus and Richards, as well as the targets of their
remarks are potentially invaluable resources for public discourse on
hatred and the fracturing of society that is happening under the
collision of "Extreme" and "Appropriate" culture.. What about having
Kyle Doss and Michael Richards going on a national forum tour together
discussing racial issues? How about Imus changing his format, being
reprimanded, and subsequently doing a week with the Rutgers team?

Of course, if media are the dreams of the collective unconscious of a
society, then one has to consider why US media has its dominant threads
of thought. What do Imus and Howard Stern, The Man Show and the Juggies,
while contextual nudity in primetime media is banned, and celibacy is
the chosen method of sex education in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 4th in the
nation for HIV, and the "Kick the Hooker" maneuver in GTA indicate? It
indicates a Lefebrian "Culture of Terror" of neo-Roman bread and
circuses that keep the public at a fever pitch while immobilizing them
in a perpetual stream of frozen media violence and objectification. And
what is equally disgusting is the self-righteous Evangelicals who build
150-foot Calvary crosses while thousands starve. It's all spectacle
that keeps us from confronting any substantial issue.

Can figures like the subjects of my essay actually accomplish a national
discussion of social injustice? To actually _consider_ a US analogue to
a media culture version of the South African Truth and Reconciliation
hearings is antithetical to "Extreme" culture, and also goes against US
media culture's agendas of capital and control. It's actually too
humane to consider at this time, more likely than not.
And besides, it's boring. Reconciling things don't allow Christians to
sacrifice Philistines, while the bikini-clad dancing girls jiggle around
as a tragic Greek koros.

What is obvious is that Reason is not anywhere to be found in the
capitalist media po(w/s)er circus, and the train keeps steaming down the
track while the "correct" argue at opposite sides of the track arguing
about which side of the track the tied-down body of culture wriggles on
the rails should be removed. What is needed is for people like
Richards, Doss, Imus and Rutgers to take the initiative and consider
driving a conversation of reason within American society, and not the
''offended' pontificators, as I'm convinced they really don't care
specifically about the matter except as another volley in the Culture
Wars. Besides, they don't want to make up anyway, as it's really not in
their interest to do so.

It isn't that I'm reiterating Rodney King in saying "Can't we all just
get along?" What I'm saying is that US society has got to start dealing
with the ills of acting like a horde of 18-year-olds fresh out of Mom &
Dad's house, thinking they can do whatever they want because no one can
tell them what to do. Maybe I'm being way too idealistic, but let old,
blind Tiresias have his say.

Patrick Lichty
- Interactive Arts & Media
Columbia College, Chicago
- Editor-In-Chief
Intelligent Agent Magazine
225 288 5813

"It is better to die on your feet
than to live on your knees.


Re: voting

Less Filling.

Patrick Lichty
- Interactive Arts & Media
Columbia College, Chicago
- Editor-In-Chief
Intelligent Agent Magazine
225 288 5813

"It is better to die on your feet
than to live on your knees."

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of T.Whid
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 8:43 PM
To: Rhizome
Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: voting

Love the new voting system. Works great :-)


Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Where did everyone go?

Well, with the burst of activity in the fest and gallery scene, I figure
everyone's off trying to get seen.

I have always love lively conversation, but when it's promo, that's what it
tends to gravitate to.


Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Where did everyone go?

Well, with the burst of activity in the fest and gallery scene, I figure
everyone's off trying to get seen.

I have always love lively conversation, but when it's promo, that's what it
tends to gravitate to.