9.25.2004

hodgepodge.

Just some quick shit:
I realize I have chosen the best possible time cultivate a misanthropic rage (see below), as Converge's new album just came out. I'm very glad it isn't Jane Doe part II; I don't think even the mighty converge could pull that off. Instead, this is... taking me a couple listens to get used to.
It's less cohesive as an album than Jane Doe. There's more emphasis on actually understanding the lyrics, which is good, because they are wonderfully done. I would like to have met this woman that broke Jake Bannon's heart. She must have been something because he's mined the heartbreak for two albums worth of killer material.
I played the shit out of Jane Doe. It was like a revelation. It was impossible for me to not break a sweat listening to it. I ended up memorising every part of it. I don't think this new album will be quite as powerful for me, but that's probably asking too much from one band. And damn, it's powerful medecine.

Hey fellow antiglobalization kids. Read this. I'm sure you'll find it as outrage-inducing as I did. Refreshingly so.
Wal-Mart is one of the few bones with a little meat on it that America throws to its tens of millions of lower-middle and semi-middle classes. Goods that once may have been unattainable are now attainable, almost free, thanks to union busting, employee abuse, Third World slave labor, the destruction of over-priced ma and pa stores, the homogenization of Middle America and every other horrible sin. When I said "Fuck 'em," I didn't mean it in the sense that I'd turned coat and gone right-populist like some David Horowitz. I just meant that I needed those cheap dishes. And I understood how, from the point of view of the economically struggling millions, you could mistrust and loathe all the natty left-wing intellectuals, all the rasta-haired, chin-studded anti-consumerists who want to steal that one bone that you've been given: access to goods. Goods that allow you to keep from slipping down yet another terrifying notch on America's cruel socio-economic fortress walls. You may not have health insurance, job security or a pension, but if you have goods, even inferior imitations of Crate & Barrel, then at least you're not entirely out of the picture.

This guy is calling us out. He's right. So much activist effort is wasted on vanity projects, rather than on real material injustices.
I've spent a good chunk of my time in "the movement", y'know, the one with all the signs and chanting and stuff. I know that it's so damn easy to take a Nike logo and make it evil. It fits on a placard so easily. But it's vanity politics. We all show up somewhere. The cops show up because we are there. We are being oppressed because the cops are there. We have a strange tendency to manufacture these heroic little narratives, where politics are torn down to bare essentials. We have The People in this corner; they are dancing because that is what people do. We have The Villian, and they stand in a line with guns and shit. Most of all, we have The Press, whom we are trying to reach. And we have the rest of the world which sees through this shit amazingly quick. This is why activists are often reviled in middle America.

Please, I'm not trying to tear anyone down. I'm still going to these protests. But the sad truth is that there may not be a whole lot we can do about poverty. We can't start our own economy (yet). And it's so very important to feel less powerless. So we go out and demonstrate and flex our community's muscles. Whose street? My street. It's very fulfilling. Not for the spectators though. We're probably not nearly as inclusive and welcoming a clique as we would like to think.

I think we're getting better though. I'm definitely trying to expand beyond the occasional protest. But it's tough, and a lion's share of the work is still impossible. A guy/gal can barely shoplife enough for themselves, much less the working poor of Vermont. Ach, enough depressing talk. Now we dance.

Just two quick notes. Those who know me know that I don't dance to anything that other people dance to. By dance, I mean:
Stay in my room. Put on Converge. Dim the lights. Put on headphones. Swing my fists in the air like a motherfucker.
Also: I noticed to misspelled 'shoplift' as 'shoplife.' I like it. I'm going to keep it.

1 Comments:

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Robert said...

good rant, good rant...

 

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