A Chinese couple on a bicycle take cover beneath an underpass as tanks deploy
overhead in eastern Beijing, on June 5, 1989. (AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing)
Twenty-three years on June 4th, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) violently cleared Beijing’s Tiananmen Square of protesters, ending a six-week demonstration that had called for democracy and widespread political reform. The protests began in April of 1989, gaining support as initial government reactions included concessions. Martial law was declared on May 20, troops were mobilized, and from the night of June 3 through the early morning of June 4, the PLA pushed into Tiananmen Square, crushing some protesters and firing on many others. The exact number killed may never be known, but estimates range from several hundred to several thousand. Today, China’s censors are blocking Internet access to the terms “six four,” “23,” “candle,” and “never forget,” broadening extensive efforts to silence talk about the 23rd anniversary of China’s bloody June 4 crackdown. Here is that story, in images and words.
‘To my mind, the thing that’s exploding into relevance in our era is not mass culture but the critique of mass culture — the Barthesian dissection of everything, no matter how trivial. This happens everywhere now, often in real time. And this critical analysis is often as vital and interesting and consumable as the culture it discusses. Consider, for instance, the way the TV recap has evolved into a nearly independent creative form. So the critical analysis of pop culture has itself become a kind of pop culture. We seem to be approaching some kind of singularity — a collapse of creativity and criticism into one.’
‘Today, all our wives and husbands have Blackberries or iPhones or Android devices or whatever–the progeny of those original 950 and 957 models that put data in our pockets. Now we all check their email (or Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, or…) compulsively at the dinner table, or the traffic light. Now we all stow our devices on the nightstand before bed, and check them first thing in the morning. We all do. It’s not abnormal, and it’s not just for business. It’s just what people do. Like smoking in 1965, it’s just life.’
Campaign: The Spear of the Nation
Brand: Goodman Gallery
‘In 1956 William Whyte argued in his bestseller, “The Organisation Man”, that companies were so in love with “well-rounded” executives that they fought a “fight against genius”. Today many suffer from the opposite prejudice. Software firms gobble up anti-social geeks. Hedge funds hoover up equally oddball quants. Hollywood bends over backwards to accommodate the whims of creatives. And policymakers look to rule-breaking entrepreneurs to create jobs. Unlike the school playground, the marketplace is kind to misfits.’
‘The social network is taking something much more important than money from its nearly one billion members. By sabotaging what it really means to be human, Facebook is stealing the innocence of our inner lives.
Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells us there’s a “shift” from an analog world in which our identities are generated from within, to a digital world in which our sense of self is intimately tied to our social media presence.
But this shift to a Facebook world of incessant “friending,” Professor Turkle correctly warns us, is a “seductive fantasy” which is weakening us both as individuals and as a society. The problem, she explains, is that a “capacity for solitude is what nurtures great relationships.” But in today’s always-on social media world, our solitude has been replaced by incessant online updates, which both weaken our sense of self and our ability to create genuine friendships.’
‘The Internet has already changed the television industry significantly, and will continue to do so. But the idea that the web will cause the TV business to “collapse” is fantasy. The reality is that, yes, the TV industry will change over time. Some of today’s winners will become tomorrow’s losers, and new entrants may grow to dominate. But barring some unforeseen technical or creative revolution, it’s going to happen a lot slower than you think.’
‘A food-testing lab in Zurich, Switzerland is sounding the alarm after discovering that a batch of mushrooms shipped from Ukraine contained too much radioactive cesium-137. Ukraine had cleared the mushrooms for export.’
‘My top highlight was the last night (after 6 nights of raging, mind you). Wavves were taking the stage and I turned to my friend Dave and said, “Dave, do you have enough in you for one more?” He smiled back, and said, “No.” Which definitely meant yes. We began pushing our way to the front and every time someone tried to stop us I would tell him, “I’m going to rage. Do you want to rage with me?” They would say no and let me pass. Finally, one guy had the balls to say “Fuck yeah.” And we all pushed as close to the front as we could.’
‘The Youtube video of 12 year old Victoria Grant speaking at the Public Banking in America conference last month has gone viral, topping a million views on various websites. Monetary reform—the contention that governments, not banks, should create and lend a nation’s money—has rarely even made the news, so this is a first. Either the times they are a-changin’, or Victoria managed to frame the message in a way that was so simple and clear that even a child could understand it.’