Posts Tagged ‘spectacle’

Everyone Needs To Think, So Why Snip Off

27 May


Body of Workers


On 27 May 2010, at 09:33, Billy Asperger wrote:

I follow you regarding the craps hinted in the previous message. It's true that "you can lead todays lefties around by their dreadlock hair-extensions with the smallest tug". But at the same time we easily can admit that most of the people (doesn't matter whether they are lefties or whatever) really don't give a damn about the revolution a bunch of US had been theorizing (here or there).

I think what disconcerts me about the statement above is that it seems to take for granted a division between those who can "theorize" and the working class. If you are feeling a gap it isn't an intelligence gap it's a class gap; it's not about support for radical change it's over trust and sincerity in those who claim to know better what is good and bad and their good intentions to realize it. It's not because ordinary people do not or can not understand the workings and evils of the system it's because they know them much better: "intellectuals" more than often lack real knowledge of just what it is like to be born into trapped, exploited, cheated and abused neighbourhoods.

I'm working class and all the people I work with are working class (in fact at the moment every last one of them is black working class) and I can tell you a clear and certain fact—that I have heard more genuine insight, shrewdness and sincerity from the mouths of common people than from the pens of middle class and academic "vanguards of the working class", or from the white-people-with-dreadlocks brigade who are rooted nowhere and ultimately committed to nothing as a result.

But there is nothing wrong or pointless about "theorizing", though it's a word I do not find helpful. Discussion ought to take place to try and deepen understanding of how everything works. Those who can do it should do it—and take a clearer perception of conditions back to the communities in which they live and work. Everyone needs to think, so why snip off the activity of thinking, call it theorizing and divorce it ideologically and socially from its application in daily life?

I need to add though that not a lot of what takes place on lists like this, or seminars in colleges or in all the other supposedly intellectual theatres where this "theorization" is supposedly taking anything of the kind. On the contrary it seems to be a battleground where people hone and refine the very things they claim to be against; find new excuses to obscure the truth and divert others from coalescing around it. It is class war over the spectacle. It would be nice to have genuine discussion once in a while but in the absence of true common roots or listserv mediation it isn't very common.

Asperger: "People are enchanted and mesmerized by "the apparent" of the spectacle and that fucking pseudo(?) "objectivity" is good and is enough from their point of view. They feel comfortable being trapped inside the great show of appealing-consuming-producing-exploiting and so on. The spectacular society is reassuring for their simple and mechanical minds."

I can't begin to tell you just how condescending and spectacular a cliché that is. Instead I'll say something potentially more interesting. Human existence is existential: there must be something to fill the void and to structure everyday life, and there must be an ideological framework, a worldview, only within which all words, phenomena, values and beliefs acquire a place and a meaning and a value. Worldview, and all the habits that stream forth from it, is as fundamental and material a necessity as food water and air. It's the way we are made.
Therefore ultimately there is no complete distinction possible between what is spectacle and what is situation; or what is recuperation and what is detournement and so on. There are only inherited models from which to construct models. Very little truth, if any, is ahistorical; all ideas, appearances, meanings and values must exist in a perpetual war over ideas, appearances, meanings and values.

What is eternal is the wisdom of good conduct—of seeing and revealing the truth in all its partiality, of understanding the common interest of fairness and distributing needs and opportunities with equity. What is eternal also seems to be that which I call "original sin" -- the tendency to imitate and repeat evils and errors, to reiterate imperfect worlds from imperfect worlds; bad habits of mind and behaviour that not having been perceived for what they are cannot be rooted out: "karma". Thus life is not really composed of true and false images nor even right and wrong values so much as right and wrong choices. From the existential point of view, to be free means to be condemned to choose between the good and the evil within alternative possible actions—endlessly. No wonder they fall back into the provided routines, spectacles and social clichés: it is so much easier to have something that tells you what to do than to have to face each and every moment in a cosmic abyss of uncertainty.

And these "theorizations" you're referring to are simultaneously an attempt to defend an Ideology of distorted self-serving de/perceptions at war with the attempt to add and revise it with new understandings of the truth. The fact is, the "Left" (whose name itself is as spectacular a piece of nonsense as you could ever hope for) has been struggling with the contradiction between its moral outrage for the world's underdogs and the fact that the underdogs will not meekly back them up in return ever since it robbed the working class of its politics, at about the same time it started robbing rastafarians of their hair-dos, the genuinely homeless of their squatters movements and so on. All the class rhetoric and fashionware and shrunken heads by which today's radicals identify themselves have been stolen from somebody else—as if by possessing their tattoos and music, hairstyles and footwear you could somehow take power over their souls and legitimize yourselves.

But white men can't sing the blues.


Lampshades Made Of Flesh

11 Nov

Long and white pickings
of the litter slid past
this old television set
where filthy & famous
flying objects affectionately
gorge themselves on civics
the fool's camera, off topic,
some gorgeous idea devoured,
their own well-greased
bravado and beauty
to set Smith free from
the mules of mockery
of misery and forty acres
of danger, democratically.

Society of the spectacle
ain't without its icecapades
or pumpkins carved up for freight
until writing clay poems in short raids
scattered along the glittering class
loving then shooting on first sight
sane pigeons walking the awful plank
hands in nobody's pockets, nobody's
like some promised quack on the run,
we believe ourselves dutifully astonished
swooning at the slow taint of suicide songs
entering nations now as the thief moons
simple courtesy to some frenzied
God of the dead licking steroids.

Hatred and phobias best in news
best in show, framed for flight
no time for sergeants or shirtless Jews
no cross-bearers, no Zen numbers, no holy waiver
to rot this new perspective, only
the icy pool of blood to spend
words in a book of terror
left as Joe Mohammed's
calling card
to each of us who doubt
we're on the invitation list
engraved by fourteen centuries
of lust wandering the sands of time's
last stand. Time is the detonator.
Time is the fire, the flame, the scream.

Time in due time will prove itself the liar,
or bring back lampshades made of flesh.

[ 2002, Washington, DC ]

Two Kinds Of People, Reprise

05 Nov

Voting Patterns

Voting Patterns


Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 14:13:01

Just wanted to go on record that of all those waking up from last night's America today, there are only two kinds of people. People who vote, and those who don't. It's no startling headline that the non-voters can be, in some self-flattering way, more political than the vast majority of the voting population who do however associate themselves with the process by ballot. Whether one believes in the process is irrelevant. Just because it is a fun and a different sort of thing to do, to waste away a few minutes, or hours in some cases, and for those of us independents—having no ego party of our own, who only vote in November elections, we can lodge a repeated memory association of the slightly crisp November air under the bright stunning orb of morning sun beaming down upon neighbors of all flavors filing in together brings to the occasion a special feeling worth celebrating and abiding.

The fact that a huge chunk of zombie voters mope around in a state of cluelessness not only on certain issues, but remain fogged in by the sheer unbearable lightness of the candidates' stances on the issues no more solid than pieces of bad paper blowing in the wind, their conflicts, and their similarities, changes nothing. Distrusting the vote is not a revolutionary act. Staying home does not improve your lot in life. Experiencing the ballot box, however, might very well impact your day in surprising, pleasant ways, and revolutionary ways if you know how to listen to the world around you.

Those who resist the vote merely parrot their own sense of uselessness, supposing themselves above the fray, which is just not true any more than their reluctance to work elevates them from poverty. The non-voters miss out on the chance events, the derivé of the ballot box spectacle, which is okay for those who lead busy revolutionary lives, but for one who rarely leaves the house, I enjoy myself on these annual November outings under the guise of fulfilling some ephemeral patriotic duty to god and country, beggarman, thief, doctor, lawyer, indian chief...

This bit's for Blum. Yet another example of how a picture is a thousand times more damaging that a misplaced word. Poor guy should have been down at the docks soliciting an unused portion of a dirty magazine rather than downloading and storing such junk on the US Navy's nuts and bolts. And he better wash off that virtual tattoo he had burned into his private idahos just before the sugar hit the fan...

Here's somebody on the Spectacle site asking a silly question:"What about Windows? I don't have a Mac." My response, "Given your situation? My advice? Love the one you're with."


"I fought with my twin, that enemy within, 'til both of us fell by the side..." —Bob Dylan

"If the pen is mightier than the sword, the send button is a heat-seeking missle..." —Gabriel Thy

Mopping Up The Money Shot

05 Dec


Sketch & Fetch


Originally composed on December 5, 1995

So lutely! Great shakes! Cringe past losses. Mix the matcher air with maels minutely charmed. I repented I'd recognize the fare, pull my socks up to my knees together & organize the counting crusader's crude anatomically correct fair, take spat with the common, adopt a sudden stare, blanket all receding wing and split water wares chosen to imitate, now squealing beside themselves, yes to codify the cruxifictionaries, no to ban the bottomless pits, maybe withstand the bottomless bums, accept the irresolute and the unacceptable, bargain the scrap table and the tank blossoms, the sliding spectacle boss and his jolly umpires in the sun, and the quiet rose from the dead characters copywritten by fools not knowing or knotting the snot-nosed difference BE tween fingers and the spare tools time imagines we never corrupt but take for granted as we stagger both feet first to the thin lined edges of this year's lovely bodacious PX.

There were times when eyes wrote the words.

Thinking chains link to something.

Trying this more than that.

Possibly 5.










By the way, on the way to the mesmerizing dust bins of history does it upset the crumb to bee the remainder beyond the sum of the best western civilization ever ranked not counting a half dozen star-spangled pin-striped Yankees?

To spell the name of GOD I had to accept the limitations of a glass of water.
To break those laws into twos I had to divide by the examples of U & O.
Slurfish I awoke dry between the quips thinking of a taylor maid.
She shined my buckles tho I claimed no boots infallibly struck.
Punctuation a false idolicular beamed the mad yeast coy.
Besides the oh river yesterday swam lewd as a vine.
Asking rather questions like fame or rich I fled.
Spooked in zero the twelve remembered.
Fast idea idiots often cheat degrees.
Placer beckons discontinental nix.
Favors quickened glances set.
If riders studied road aims.
Fish duties knowing.
Marry Ots irons.
Staking fund mentals.
Allotted only so much sheetwise.
Pregnant she thought Oi.
Defiance sailed with.
Tweaking imaginary.
Numbers felt up.
Not friend oh mine.
Savor seconds as much if.
Thirds became her basement.
Personality quotas drilled a scissor.
Expecting noise routinely for harried.
Isles nor ailes he scoffed seasonally.
Never snit much qualify marched.
Mess ages fail to intrigue conned.
Con stages bewhipped battered.
Better buttered clip-ons scale.
But even legs give lessons.
Tired beyond complaint.
Textures corpus fully grasped.
Addition ally spiked without irony.
Failure to communicate points rung up.
B4 seven measures of implementation charged.
Samantha combed back tresses nooooooo window could sail.
Without obedience even floods forget purposes exist but for Aunt Sue coins.
Commons needs inspired common diseases furled beyond evidential true serum therapy.
Every node west of the north pole and west of the south intracted sake begotten ID.
Orthographic dispensers the grape shrew goddess unveiled to wails of admiring me.


"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""