Sunday, July 08, 2007

Open Letter to the Editor of adbusters

I wrote this in response to an editorial question proffered in adbusters #72.  The question was: should adbusters run its [anti] ads in the New York Times -- or in more (Left) sympathetic magazines, like Mother Jones, et al.

And my advice is that there is little benefit preaching to the converted -- but that in trying to reach a broader audience, the Left must offer cogent solutions in addition to or instead of mere shock therapy - e.g.

  1. Public (only) funding of elections.  There is nothing wrong with Democracy – just it’s being for sale to the highest bidder.
  2. Public (only) health care – Michael Moore’s analogy (“Should your FIRE DEPARTMENT turn a profit?”) is a good one!
  3. Local and Populist instead of  national, global and corporate.
  4. Open Source software and other products.  There is nothing wrong with technology – just hegemony.

In short, we that understand the brokenness (though many of us have profited and become comfortable as a result of it) must somehow begin to demonstrate the viability of a new and well-intentioned anarchism.  An anarchism that builds on the emerging, implicit knowledge in each of us (not just the reflective) that every huge, centralized, top-down construct we have been taught to believe in -- is crumbling today before our very eyes – either imploding to insanity like the Church and Iraq or frantically spinning out of control, beyond self-regulation, like our biosphere.

To this end, adbusters’ Dow (up) Earth (down) chart from issue #72 exemplifies the “shock and awe” of the collapse – But, again, what is the extreme Left’s answer?

In my opinion, it is that the world outside each of our front doors is our world – that in moral and ethical terms our world is far smaller and less forgiving than we have been led to believe;  that the day-to-day realties of our world do not substantiate illusions of surplus and progress perpetuated by our media and ingrained in our culture.  And if we are not happy, we must realize that it is not because we have the wrong shoes, sex partners or income.  It is, as adbusters proffers, because our culture has lost its touchstones and today has no semblance of, or even words to describe -- authenticity.  It is because the materialist, arbitrage-dependent economies of the West have abstracted being and therefore made it nothingness.  And this unholy merging of the two poles of human existence -- into the least stable one -- has broken our moral compass.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Quai des brumes

I just watched Port of Shadows, a 1938 French cinematic masterpiece, on TCM...

  "The high artifice of Port of Shadows, meanwhile, might best be understood if the movie is considered as a kind of song: a boy, a girl, surging love, lurking death."  And the noir and the character of the "sadistic weakling," dilettante gangster -- played by Pierre Brasseur [who wins in the end] -- inspired me to write a poem about George W. Bush...

 

Shrub

Wealth and Inheritance.  In you, it is synonymous with corruption, rot and decay.

Power.  In you, it becomes boorish, stupid and flaccid swagger -- as ineffectual as the liberation of Iraq -- or FEMA after a hurricane.

Politics. Wall StreetWashingtonW.  They're all the same thing now.  And I hate myself for not having the courage to violence, to fight instead of merely clamoring, like most everyone else, like an abandoned, spotted dog -- for the discarded, trickle-down scraps from your banquet.

Jesus Christ.  If he is your savior, then surely THERE IS NO GOD!

Life.  A world where you are President of the United States twice is a pointless and sadistic moral and intellectual torture.  Mr. President, to me you represent the whole of humanity reaching for the lowest possible rung on the ladder, holding on tight, and being satisfied with it.

Death.  Open the Seventh Seal and pour out the abyss, for I am ready now.  Just let me live long enough to see the end of it.  Bang?  Whimper?   I could care less.  Because there is no denying that the cancer has metastasized.  Shrub, I pray only that, with you, our end has finally begun!