Sunday, October 30, 2022

Dorothy Day Didn't Do It This Way: What It Really Means to Be Pro-Life in 2022

 Those dusty old dominionist douche bags in the Supreme Court really kicked the Democrats a Midterm field goal when they shot down Roe this summer. After tanking the fucking economy with their nuclear proxy war in Ukraine and electing what quite possibly might be the only quasi-sentient creature on the face of the planet more embarrassingly incompetent than Donald Trump, there exists simply no rational reason for any self-respecting white suburban Karen to vote Democrat aside from the threat of the other war party sending the National Guard into their local gynecologist's office.

Abortion has long been rendered a political third rail for centrist fence sitters in this country for the simple fact that it's just too goddamn complicated for anyone to virtue signal over without looking like an asshole to at least one half of the country. That and no one really makes any serious money off it. None of this however has stopped Republicans from doing a victory lap with an unwashed fetus in their arms over Samuel Alito's leaked rejection of bodily autonomy. In fact, many in the GOP have even doubled down on the issue by pushing it even further with statewide bans on abortion for freshly raped ten-year-old's then calling to make them national. 

To the uninitiated normie, this seemingly politically suicidal devotion to the Pro-Life cause might actually appear to be begrudgingly admirable regardless of your own personal position but what it really should provoke is a question that neither side seems to be particularly interested in asking anymore. What does it really mean to be Pro-Life in 2022? 

People often seem to be quite visibly shocked when I tell them that I consider myself to be Pro-Life. In fact, they often assume I'm joking. The notion of a genderqueer heathen anarcha-feminist being morally opposed to many if not most forms of abortion simply does not compute for people on either side of the rapidly expanding partisan divide, but this wasn't always the case. Before Roe, many of the original Pro-Lifers were left-wing Catholic populists like Eileen Egan and the Berrigan Brothers who marched with Martin Luther King and got thrown in jail for resisting the Draft.

For these OG Pro-Lifers, abortion was a human rights issue. They believed that a fetus was a human being and that the right to life was a civil right that God afforded to everyone. But many of these same Pro-Lifers were also often far more concerned with reducing the abortion rate than using the strong arm of the law to regulate women's bodies and considered abolishing initiatory war and nuclear weapons to be a part of the right to life as well. 

This movement became known as the Consistent Life Ethic, and it has sadly all but vanished from the face of the earth since former Pro-Choicers in the Christian Right like Ronald Reagan decided to use abortion like a drawbridge to police the post-Sexual Revolution vagina. But the Consistent Life Ethic and radical Catholics like Dorothy Day and Ivan Illich formed the foundation for many of my own stateless values even as their church scarred me for life for being an irredeemable pervert. 

My commitment to the sanctity of human life coupled with my experience as an emotionally abused Queer child whose life didn't seem to have any value whatsoever ultimately led me to anarchism as well as to another sadly morally passe collection of values known as the Non-Aggression Principle, which opposes the use of initiatory force for any reason by individual, church or state. And it was ultimately these same radical values, the same ones that led me to oppose non-therapeutic abortion, which also led me to oppose banning it.

If the goal of the Pro-Life Movement was to prevent the destruction of unborn life, then prohibition has been a massive failure, which really shouldn't be incredibly shocking considering that it almost always is. Barring people from seeking abortions legally only makes the risks of seeking them illegally a common occurrence and this isn't just a Pro-Choice talking point. 

Studies conducted during the early nineties and published on PubMed have shown that the estimated number of illegal abortions that occurred annually in the years before Roe V. Wade were on par with what was then the current number of legal abortions, somewhere over one million a year, and for poor people they often occurred under heinously unsafe conditions that risked the lives of the mothers right along with those of their unborn children. What all of this adds up to is the horrifically inconvenient fact that banning abortion ultimately costs more lives than decriminalizing these procedures. It also affords the state with a level of power over basic bodily autonomy which is far too draconian to be justified for any reason.  

I often tell bewildered partisan pod people that my feelings regarding abortion are pretty similar to my feelings regarding fentanyl. I think that it's fucking terrible, and I don't think that most people should have a goddamn thing to do with it but I'm also not willing to grow America's already bustling prison state in an insane attempt to prevent it that is pretty much guaranteed to fail to do anything but pack jail cells with more desperate people.

I much prefer to combat the degradation of human life by means that are both more moral and more effective like harm reduction. This means providing drug users with clean needles, Narcan and access to safer alternatives to hard narcotics and this means providing young people with contraception, Plan B and access to information regarding their own biology regardless of whether or not their parents or church elders agree with it. 

All of these services are provided by the type of free health clinics that today's so-called Pro-Lifers are working overtime to shutter, and this is probably why we've seen the abortion rate drop drastically since it's been legalized. The bitter fact of the matter is that many abortion providers have done a better job of preventing abortions than what has become of the Pro-Life Movement. 

This is because the Pro-Life Movement has been poisoned by the toxic sludge of the same partisan bullshit factory that has rendered many once well-intentioned movements into hives of counter-revolutionary virtue signaling imbeciles. Today's average Pro-Lifer doesn't give a flying fuck about making the practice of abortion obsolete.  They're much more concerned with scoring points and winning elections.

This is also probably why most people who oppose abortion are far more likely to embrace the rest of the western culture of death that the original Pro-Life Movement committed themselves to smashing. A culture that wipes out entire species just so we can drive bigger cars. A culture that sells entire generations into prostitution to the forever war machine. A culture that turns incarceration into a thriving industry that profits off of the practice of indefinitely warehousing drug addicts and desperate mothers who have fallen through the cracks of a society that puts no value on the life of human beings that can't be bartered over for a new iPhone. 

I still consider myself to be a Pro-Life anarchist for the same reason I remain committed to other equally quixotic causes like environmentalism, denuclearization and military non-interventionism, because I believe that all life is sacred and worth defending against the scourge of Western Civilization and the Westphalian Nation State. It just shatters my heart that the movement that first lit this fire in me has been thoroughly infested by parasites like Lindsey Graham who only seek to use its language to camouflage their malignant culture of mass slaughter. 

So, what does it really mean to be Pro-Life in 2022? I've honestly given up on trying to figure out what these people fucking believe anymore, all I know is that Dorothy Day didn't do it this way, and neither can I.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH 

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

*  What Katie Did by the Libertines

*  Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana

*  Livin Thing by Electric Light Orchestra

*  Bellyache by Echobelly

*  Cherub Rock by Smashing Pumpkins

*  Late at Night by Buffalo Tom

*  Zombie by the Cranberries

*  Hurricane by Plains

*  Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way by Waylon Jennings 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

More Scary Movies For Anarchists to Watch in the Dark

 I've been compiling this twisted little list of frighteningly anti-authoritarian films for about four years now and a lot has changed during that short time for both cinema and authoritarianism. With the epoch shattering cataclysm of the pandemic and the colossal failures of both the Trump and the Biden administrations, American power has never been more naked and even the card punching normies can't help but to be revolted by the shocking fragility of a supposedly mighty creature no longer shielded by the Kevlar cloak of American exceptionalism. The world's most fearsome beast is wounded, perhaps mortally, and it has never been more unpredictable.

At the same time, perhaps uncoincidentally, American cinema has seen a totally unexpected renaissance in the once unjustly maligned artistic ghetto of the horror movie. After decades lost in a treacherous swamp of braindead Disneyfied remakes and PG-13 cyber slasher fluff, a small but thriving scene of uniquely inventive and thoughtfully cerebral horror movies have emerged from the mire with something far more relevant and far more terrifying to say than 'Boo!' While we still have a few miles left to go before we even approach the daringly guttural territory explored by auteurs in France, Japan and Korea, truly terrifying films like It Follows and Inheritance have begun to earnestly explore the guts of what terrifies Americans most in an era of unprecedented imperial decline.

Sadly though, with the possible exception of the at times overrated work of Jordan Peele, even brilliant American horror directors have largely shied away from addressing the omnicidal elephant in the room, even as its fearsome tusks drip toxic nuclear waste from Ukraine to Taiwan, but if a few good anarchists are still interested in being terrified for a cause, I still have another ten movies with something to say to keep you up at night. As usual, I tend to traffic in the strange and the misunderstood but if you really want to explore the grotesque genitalia of naked power, you should consider giving these shocking thrill rides a spin.

The Human Centipede (2009) by Tom Six- Widely maligned based largely on its impossibly appalling premise, Tom Six's surreal story about a wealthy retired master surgeon who sews unsuspecting tourist's lips to each other's assholes in order to create a human centipede is undeniably a work of exploitation cinema but so was Night of the Living Dead. Sometimes it takes the tactless tenacity of the grindhouse to say something simply too unsettling to be said politely and when it all comes down to it, what makes The Human Centipede truly shocking is that it really isn't all that implausible in the light of even recent medical experimentation. 

Doctors are afforded an enormous amount of power in Western Society and all too often that power has been abused in ways both arbitrary and strange. We may never know the true role that American government facilitated labs in Wuhan played in triggering the Coronavirus but the fact that doctors like Tony Fauci continue to play God with gain of function research even after such an earth shattering pandemic should terrify everyone regardless of partisan bullshit. When any institution imbues mere mortals with the powers of gods, it's only a matter of time before they abuse it just to prove they can. Doctor Laser's motivations to stitch people together ass-to-mouth can pretty much be summed up as "fuck it, why not? I am a genius after all..." This same line of thinking sowed our mouth to Putin's asshole with the nuclear bomb. 

Under the Skin (2013) by Jonathan Glazer- There has been a great deal of debate in academic circles over this strange tale of a sexually tantalizing extraterrestrial leading unsuspecting male suiters to their horrific demise in her inky black underwater web before she suddenly grows a conscience, and it does appear to have plenty of things to say about feminism, gender and human sexuality but what struck me as the most fascinating aspect of this arthouse Rubik's Cube is that it is perhaps the first alien invasion movie to thoroughly explore the ramifications of colonialism from the perspective of the interstellar colonialist. 

Scarlet Johansson's nameless temptress begins her mission with all the cold and clinical precision of a Navy Seal but the moment that she catches a glimpse of herself in one of her victim's eyes she very quickly finds herself exposed to being scorched by the same xenophobic impulses that once enabled her to conveniently unplug her conscience. There is simply no room for empathy in conquest. You can either light the match or get burned alive. Our best hope is to simply avoid touching that book to begin with.

High Tension (2003) by Alexandre Aja- This gruesome French shocker has received a lot of guff from my fellow Queers for its portrayal of an insane lesbian antagonist willing to murder her bestie's entire family just to possess her, but I think the more reactionary LGBTQ critics have really missed the boat on this one. What defines Marie's psychosis isn't her sexuality but its repression for the sake of polite puritanical society. It's no mistake that her split personality adopts the shape of a brutish cis-het caricature of toxic masculinity. In Western society even a heterosexual beast is considered less lecherous than a "straight" girl with a homosexual crush on another straight girl. 

I see High Tension as being a sort of anti-Blue-Is-the-Warmest-Color. Human sexuality is a remarkably powerful force of nature and when this force is ruthlessly suppressed it finds equally ruthless ways to express itself outside the bedroom. It's not a coincidence that the Nazis sprang from the most sexually repressed society in pre-war Europe. To me, the most shocking thing about High Tension is that it highlights the deeply uncomfortable fact that even in our supposedly liberal modern bourgeoise society, casual violence is still considered far less controversial than the casual sexuality that could very well prevent it. 

Ex Machina (2014) by Alex Garland- If Valerie Solanas could direct, this jolting sci-fi thriller would be both her timebomb and her manifesto. When a polite, well-behaved, computer programmer finds himself selected, seemingly at random, to work on a special project with the secretive and enigmatic billionaire CEO of his Fortune 500 company at his secluded mansion in the Alaskan wilderness he thinks he's won the lottery. But the programmer quickly finds himself in way over his head when he's tasked with testing the artificial intelligence capabilities of a tantalizingly human android named Ava. 

It's only after he falls in love with the charming machine that he discovers that he has been played by the rapacious CEO and it is only after they are both doomed that the audience discovers that we have all been played by Ava, using the condescending chauvinism shared by her savior and her victimizer to liberate herself from their sexist competition. It doesn't take a radical feminist to get the message loud and clear. If humans exploit devices less capable of empathy, then the borderline sociopathic society that creates them the way that same society exploits women then humans aren't just fucked but we deserve to be fucked.  

Antichrist (2009) by Lars Von Trier- A deeply strange and terrifying opus about human fragility at the mercy of nature and spirituality, Lars Von Trier's Antichrist is as baffling as it is brilliant. At the end of the day, I can only draw conclusions about the meaning of this clearly personal project from my own unique point of view. On its surface, the story is about an unnamed couple, played by the equally brilliant team of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, struggling to come to terms with the grief and guilt they share over the tragic death of their infant son. In an attempt to fix his wife, the husband, a renowned psychiatrist, takes her to their secluded cabin in the woods only to find himself hopelessly overwhelmed by his mission. 

The wife is revealed to blame the tragedy on what she believes to be the innate wickedness of her own gender and resorts to embracing the monster this embodies as a desperate survival mechanism. The husband attempts to govern her grief much as foolish men in positions of power have long attempted to govern nature and is ripped to shreds by forces beyond any man's control in the process. There are no easy answers in this horrific masterpiece, only more questions and what few conclusions I've reached are undeniably tainted by my own history of trauma and abuse at the hands of organized religion and psychiatry, but I strongly believe that we owe it to ourselves and each other to ask these kinds of questions as boldly as Lars, Willem and Charlotte do. Great works of art provoke. 

Crash (1996) by David Cronenberg- Another deeply unnerving masterpiece that Hollywood despised because they're too goddamn stupid to realize that it's really just a mirror. David Cronenberg is at his cerebral finest taking on J.G. Ballard's brilliant novel about bored upper-class professionals ready and willing to obliterate themselves and others in gruesome car crashes modeled after the tragic deaths of celebrities just to get off. This is fucking Hollywood. This is America. This is what a lethally synthetic culture of glamour and carefully simulated stimulation has reduced us to. Anyone who finds this perverse tale shocking should take inventory and address that creature in the mirror. In a world emotionally numbed by the Novocain of technological isolation, destruction becomes the only form of penetration visceral enough to break the skin and connect with another breathing being's vital organs. 

Dogtooth (2009) by Yargos Lanthimos- The great Wilhelm Reich sagefully observed that authoritarianism begins at home and that their are few things more despotic than a healthy nuclear family. It takes a movie as profoundly bizarre and disturbing as the equally great Yargos Lanthimos's Dogtooth to properly expose the horrors of such evil most banal. Dogtooth is essentially the story of one wealthy businessman's attempt to exert complete control over his now adult children by holding them prisoner in his gated compound with a meticulously regimented penitentiary of strategic mythology and manufactured ignorance. His son and daughters are rewarded with stickers for learning the incorrect definitions of words and savagely beaten for their curiosity about the outside world. The results become hilariously absurd before the farce turns tragic, all in the name of family values and public safety. However, an infantilized class is only ever as safe as the sanity of their masters and sanity has a tendency to wane with that level of unchecked power.

Weekend (1967) by Jean-Luc Godard- The world lost one brazenly brilliant cinematic psychopath this year with the death of Jean-Luc Godard and Weekend catches that madman at his most fantastically unhinged. While not exactly a horror movie, Weekend is undeniably horrific in its brutal portrayal of a bored bourgeoise couple on a road trip to secure the inheritance of an elderly parent by any means necessary while both simultaneously plot to kill the other so long as the check doesn't bounce first. What transpires is a savagely hilarious circus of gruesome traffic jams, roaming cults of cannibals and Maoist propaganda that feels like madness until you realize that it's really about how insanity can become downright normal when it's reinforced by seemingly omnipotent institutions like marriage. Weekend is a very scary movie about the almost mundane violence that defines existence in the suburbs of late capitalism and only Godard could have made something so terrifying so hilarious. Godspeed you commie coot. You will be missed but never forgotten. We will always have the nightmares. 

Punishment Park (1971) by Peter Watkins- Panned upon release for its brazenly anti-American message, Punishment Park only becomes scarier with each passing year as its premise only becomes increasingly plausible with each passing administration. Shot as a documentary about a Nixonian martial law that bans decent but allows political malcontents the opportunity to escape the gulags if they agree to participate in what essentially amounts to a colossal game of capture the flag in the heart of Death Valley while being hunted down like dogs by heavily armed National Guard trainees. Punishment Park ultimately becomes a brutal lesson about the dangers of playing by the rules in a fixed system and expecting anything but treachery for your trouble. The communists in the competition band together to fight the guard and die trying but the principled liberal pacifists ultimately find themselves just as fucked even when they win. It may feel like a cruel lesson but Emiliano Zapata was right when he boldly declared that it's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. Punishment Park savagely reminds us that all too often those who kneel end up dying too by the same sword as those who resist.

Parasite (2019) by Bong Joon-ho- Every once in a pale blue moon those soulless dead-eyed sycophants at the Academy manage to dislodge their pea-brains from betwixt their pinched buttocks for just long enough to realize that the sun doesn't set on the Hollywood Hills alone. In fact, quite the contrary, those beams rarely pierce the smog at all unless they're being reflected off the lenses of South Korea's new wave of maverick cinematic terrorists. Bong Joon-ho's Parasite seemed to come out the smog like a bolt of lightening to shake Hollywood to its toxic core with one of the most devastatingly brilliant take-downs of the neoliberal class system recorded on any medium. Even Proudhon and Gramsci themselves would have been forced from their cheap seats in a standing ovation.

The Kim Family were just your typical lower-class Korean lumpenproletariats, cutting corners and hustling nickel-and-dime scams just to get by, when they got the brilliant idea to skip over a few rungs in the class ladder by slowly infiltrating a wealthy upper-class family. By posing just above their weight class and slowly replacing the help they hope to get just a whiff of the good life. The only problem is that the Kims weren't the first hustlers to come up with this scam and they quickly find themselves in a clandestine turf war with other desperate grifters jockeying violently just to get first dibs on the scraps of their totally oblivious overlords. It all comes to a bloody climax at a posh garden party that leaves few backs undecorated by a knife and nothing gained but misery for all the Kim's hard work. The family's fatal mistake wasn't merely their desperate attempt to fuck over the next equally desperate grifter to climb just one measly rung up the ladder. Where the Kim's really fucked up was when they assumed that those chickens wouldn't come home to roost. There really is no such thing as a free lunch in capitalism. There is usually a bit of blood in the porridge and all too often it's your own.

Just like Punishment Park and many of the other films on this list, Parasite is a warning against attempting to fix an existentially rigged system from within the guts of its perverted machine. Institutional hierarchy is a totally unnatural abuse of the earth's natural order. It only exists like a monster through the architecture of a laboratory of horrors that is totally unsustainable. Any attempt at coexistence with such a system won't merely fail, it will only serve to mutate its victims into accomplices in their own destruction. The Frankenstein monster of the state cannot be corrected with a wrench. It can only be obliterated by a united final-girl class with a chainsaw. We must bring this beast down in every manifestation from the doctor's office to the national bank before it can bring us all down with it and we have too little time to waste with flesh wounds. Uncle Sam's monster must be slain, and these are ten more reasons why.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH  

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Fuck the Parents, What About A Children's Bill of Rights?

"What about the children!" This has been the shrill clarion call of hysterical Karens on both sides of the aisle for generations. "What about the children!" A sure fire response to any politically incorrect question that would otherwise require a level of critical thinking that fails to translate into a conveniently empty-handed partisan soundbite. "But hasn't prohibition already been a spectacular failure?" "What about the children!" "But isn't putting the federal government in charge of regulating social media already a form of fascism?" "What about the children!" It never fails to torpedo any inconvenient conversation in a colossal shit-fit of bombastic virtue signaling and the worst part about this bit is that it might actually be a pretty good goddamn question if anyone actually bothered to use it for anything but political sabotage. So, what about those children?

The sick thing is that the same people who use children as a rhetorical broadsword against their political opponents could care less about the rights of young people and you can put today's Republican Party at the top of that sad list with bullet. "What about the children!" has been adopted as the official war cry for the GOP's latest jihad to retake the House, only this time they barely even pretend to acknowledge the existence of their conveniently voiceless scapegoats, skipping right over their children's heads and screeching "What about the parents!" instead.

After a couple of years of high-powered right-wing think tanks and super-pacs fomenting irate suburban soccer moms over looming paper tigers like Critical Race Theory and Transgenderism, House Minority Leader and would-be Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy has rolled out a Republican manifesto called the Commitment to America, the cornerstone of which is a so-called Parent's Bill of Rights, seeking to empower hopped up guardians against the inevitable scourge of their offspring developing minds of their own. 

The document boldly states, "Parents, not the state, have primary authority for raising their children and the organs of the state, including public schools, serve rather than rule the parent." But what about those children that you speak of with all the tender love and care of a lease for a pre-owned Hyundai? Why don't children have the right to not be ruled by the organs of the state or the grandstanding parents that they already jealously serve? How did the Civil Rights Movement skip over an entire class of Americans that we were all once a part of? Forgive me for being frank but fuck the parents, what about a children's bill of rights?

What about a child's right to roam the streets of their own neighborhoods freely, untethered by what essentially amounts to parental leash laws. Kids can't even ride their bikes to the nearest vacant lot without being hassled by strangers with candy in blue and white vans for going dangerously unsupervised for five goddamn minutes. Childhood has become a soul crushingly captive experience that affords young people with zero time unaccosted by meddling adults. 

Zero time to climb trees, skin their knees, break bottles or experiment with the girl across the street. The wonder years have been affectively colonized by a level of round the clock surveillance that makes any right to privacy young people once had a pipe dream at best. This infringes on a supposedly Constitutional right to peacefully assemble, most egregiously with totally arbitrary curfews that have been statistically proven to be totally ineffective at preventing any crime but the freedom of movement. 

What about a child's right to be seen and heard. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes in a public school as anything queerer than a teacher's pet can tell you that these places are federally funded black holes for free speech. Why the hell should a teacher be granted rights that even a bootlicking GOP pigfucker wouldn't afford to your average cop? Children should have every right to tell any adult who disrespects their dignity to fuck off and get a life, and perhaps no right to free speech is more existential than the right for a child to tell an adult "No!" It is the total non-existence of this right and the autonomy it contains that make children the easiest targets for abuse in this country, both by the state and other predators empowered by their class status as undebatable adults. 

What about a child's right to choose what form of education suits their needs best? Not only is America's compulsory school system a spiritually draining industry of steel reinforced conformity but it affectively amounts to involuntary servitude. Child labor laws in this country achieved nothing more profound than ensuring that children would go from underpaid servants in corporate sweatshops to totally unpaid indentured servants in government sponsored ones devoted to making them more compliant employees once some role-crazy bully with tenure has affectively stripped them of their dignity and individuality for twelve years straight.

The labor rights of young people would have been much better served by helping them to organize their own damn unions that could empower them in either school or the work force and afford them the agency that only coexisting with their elders as equals can build. If schools really want greater student attendance then the responsibility should be on them to provide an experience that young people find beneficial enough to take part in voluntarily and this is going to mean treating them more like people and less like agriculture. Respect is earned, so fucking earn it or fuck off.

And this bleeds right into an equally neglected right, the right for children to be properly informed. This means giving kids access to any information they seek regardless of how the adults who occupy their lives may feel about it. Public libraries are by far the greatest schools that children could ever hope to access because they provide raw and unedited knowledge untethered to the educational bondage of some other asshole's curriculum. 

These spaces should be governed communally by all those who use them in the form of educational mutual aid societies and they should be ungoverned by the conditional aid of the state or the perilous whims of censorious parents who only seek to blindfold children from subjects that they deem inappropriate. This kind of paternalistic censorship only ends up pawning naturally curious kids off on the corporate wolves of the internet who are more than happy to objectify them in ways William Burroughs and Toni Morrison never would even if they could. 

And what about a child's right to bodily autonomy, the right to their own bodies without exception, the right to seek or refuse medical treatment of any kind including access to hormone therapy or reproductive healthcare provided that they are properly informed of all the risks involved, the right to be educated by their physicians rather than infantilized like some ward's show poodle at the local vet, the right to explore their own sexuality and gender identity freely, to figure out exactly who they are and what they want as individuals while they're still in the process of biologically developing. 

What gives any adult the right to fuck with that process? What makes telling children who or  how they can fuck any less dehumanizing than any other form of sexual violence? And I'm the fucking groomer here? Adults need to stay the fuck out of kid's bedrooms and that only becomes enforceable when we afford children the right to make their own mistakes and the access to the means to make them.

This includes self-defense and yes, that includes the right to bear arms. No segment of the population faces a greater risk of physical abuse and no segment of the population is afforded with less means to defend themselves from this abuse. This is not a coincidence. A wide variety of adult authority figures in this country are granted every right to physically assault a child and call it corporal punishment but if any child makes any attempt to defend themselves from this state sanctioned abuse, they become subject to a one way trip down the school-to-prison pipeline where they can only expect more abuse.

No one, let me repeat, no one should be given blanket immunity to commit aggravated assault and when that right becomes conditional to include the abuse of only one segment of a population then this double-standard officially becomes a caste system. Children deserve the right to fight back against their abusers by any means necessary, whether that means having access to a pistol or the ability to emancipate themselves from their guardians so that they can seek the shelter and guidance of someone who makes them feel safe. 

It shouldn't have to come to this but as the Republicans love to harp, freedom isn't free. Right's don't exist in a vacuum unless that vacuum is filled by an individual who can defend them themselves. America, like most countries, is affectively an ageist apartheid state. This matters to me because I barely survived my own childhood as a mentally disabled Queer person at the mercy of adult power structures reinforced by a government that I was afforded zero right to participate in.

But youth rights should matter to everyone because the whole purpose of America's institutional child abuse industrial complex isn't simply to manufacture compliant children susceptible to adult subjugation. It's designed to create a compliant nation of domesticated adults susceptible to government subjugation. So, I'll say it one more goddamn time, and I'm not telling you, I'm asking you, what about the fucking children?

 Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

*  Younger Us by Japandroids

*  Wake Up by Arcade Fire

*  School by Nirvana

*  Zero by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

*  The Prisoner by Iron Maiden

*  Criminal by Fiona Apple

*  Buddy Holly by Weezer

*  Bad Kids by Black Lips

*  1979 by Smashing Pumpkins

*  Best Ever Death Metal Band From Denton by the Mountain Goats

Sunday, October 9, 2022

The Fine Art of Blowing Up Pipelines in a Post-Truth Era

 I've always found conspiracy theories to be fascinating, not just individually, but as a concept in and of itself. I spent the darker portion of my teenage years happily lost down dark-web rabbit holes, searching for deeper meaning in the shocking War on Terror that shaped a generation of antiwar misfits like myself. However, I've come to spend more time as an adult asking the far more existential question of what exactly defines a conspiracy theory? The general opinion seems to be that a conspiracy theory essentially amounts to a narrative with a lack of evidence to back it up, but in reality, what makes any particular narrative a conspiracy theory is largely defined by the generally corporate manufactured popular public opinion surrounding its source. 

Basically, the zeitgeist decides, and he who defines the zeitgeist defines what evidence is considered reasonable enough to make any given conspiracy more than just another crackpot theory. Thus, the revolving door of big government and big business that governs our mainstream media also governs our truth. This essentially makes the entire notion of the conspiracy theory a largely arbitrary and inherently elitist concept, especially when you consider the absolute bunk that our all-knowing corporate overlords shovel into our skulls as absolute truth on a regular basis.

What makes the theory of Saddam Hussein's mythical weapons of mass destruction any less unhinged than the theory of bombs being planted in the World Trade Towers? How is putting your total trust in an establishment that essentially acts as a glorified Speak and Spell for the most violent military on the planet any less irresponsible than buying into whatever monster-of-the week Alex Jones has conjured up to sell more dick pills to incels? 

The cult of the conspiracy theory is built largely on a sort of blind faith in the "official story" as told by the same fine folks who brought you the easily debunked mythology behind such gems as the USS Liberty and the Gulf of Tonkin. Not to mention the fact that once maligned conspiracy theories include since proven facts like MK-Ultra and the Tuskegee Experiments. It is in this foggy minefield of crowdsourced truth and manufactured consent that we are forced to comprehend the growing crisis surrounding the destruction of the Nord Stream Pipelines.

Nobody denies that this was a blatant act of deliberate sabotage. On Monday, September 26, a series of underwater explosions blasted gaping holes into both of the Nord Stream Pipelines which were designed to carry Russian natural gas to Germany under the Danish waters of the Baltic Sea. These pipes were also designed to be virtually indestructible, steel reinforced concrete cables built to withstand the direct impact of the anchor of an aircraft carrier. 

NATO, Russia, Denmark and virtually everyone else at the scene has declared this dastardly deed to be an act of war and this is an act of war that very few military forces on the planet are even capable of pulling off. What we are talking about here is a very powerful and well-choreographed series of controlled demolitions performed miles below sea level with high-tech modified underwater drones. There really are only two militaries on the planet that could pull off this kind of high concept, James Bond-style, skullduggery successfully and they're both currently locked in an increasingly apocalyptic death struggle-by-proxy for the soul of Europe deep in the bloodlands of Ukraine. 

Naturally, the all-knowing Western Zeitgeist blames those wicked Russians for what essentially amounts to the most colossal terrorist attack ever committed on the European continent. On the surface this accusation comes across as totally reasonable. After all, if Vladimir Putin has proven a goddamn thing over the last two decades it's that he is one sneaky, cold-blooded, motherfucker. But once you get past this fact and come across the rest of the facts at hand this narrative very quickly falls apart.

Putin certainly is a soulless snake willing to make millions freeze to achieve his aims, but he was already achieving this sickening goal with those pipelines intact. The Russian state-run petroleum behemoth Gazprom is the sole owner of the Nord Stream 2 and the majority shareholder of the Nord Stream 1, which provides Europe's largest economies with 40% of their natural gas. Putin has already responded to western sanctions by turning off the spigot and telling the EU to sue for peace in Ukraine or shiver. His ability to play God with Europe's thermostat was the greatest opportunity that tinpot Czar had to exert leverage over Europe and even Uncle Sam admits it. 

In a recent press conference, that dead-eyed department store mannequin with a kill list known as Secretary of State Antony Blinken openly gloated about the "tremendous opportunity" those supposedly Russian attacks on their own infrastructure offer to end Europe's dependency on Russia's natural resources and "take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial goals" going on to call these attacks "very significant" and astutely observing that they offer a "tremendous strategic opportunity for years to come." For once, I agree with this creep, though I would add that the most significant opportunity these bombings offer is the opportunity for the US to weaponize Europe's carefully manufactured energy crisis as a means of advancing our own imperial designs in the region.

The only question left here that I can think of to ask is 'Is Vladimir Putin a fucking moron?' I am being completely serious because this is precisely what the US government and their pets in the establishment Speak and Spell are asking us to believe. They readily admit that demolishing the Nord Stream Pipelines is an obvious strategic win for Putin's enemies while simultaneously pushing the hopped-up conspiracy theory that that Mad Russian slaughtered his own cash cow. And naturally, anyone sane enough to suggest that this narrative is tinfoil-hat-crazy is the real fucking conspiracy theorist. 

So, is Putin recklessly stupid enough to blow up his own pipelines just to spite NATO's face? You be the judge, but my bullshit detector is screaming 'Fuck no!' on repeat. Putin is a petty and evil neoliberal gangster just like his opponents, but the man is not an imbecile. The Nord Stream wasn't just a pair of pipelines. it was a weapon of mass destruction, a double-barrel shotgun aimed straight at Europe's throat and with that weapon dismantled he loses all the leverage that made it truly lethal. The so-called logic behind Putin performing such an act of devastating self-sabotage makes absolutely zero sense whatsoever, but this is the latest conspiracy theory to be officially granted the status of the "official story" by the powers at be.

Obvious snow jobs like this are precisely the kind of bush league shenanigans that really killed the truth in this country, the fact that the self-sainted Fourth Estate thinks that we're all fucking morons while they go out of their way to make the "official story" itself the wildest conspiracy theory online. These corporate media hegemons have poured billions of dollars into crippling critical thinking in this country by selling blind faith in their brand as a virtue before discrediting the very premise of truth by abusing this allegiance with a deluge of establishment friendly conspiracy theories sold as Gospel truth.

NAFTA will bring middle-class Americans prosperity! Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11! Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can stop Donald Trump! The Russian invasion of Ukraine was totally unprovoked! Vladimir Putin is an even bigger moron than you are! The audience isn't fucking buying it anymore and they've been rendered so paranoid from having a supposedly infallible establishment gaslight them into one geopolitical clusterfuck after another that they're willing to believe any asshole with a homespun accent who tells them that China is tainting their tap water to turn their children transgender. Donald Trump didn't poison these people's logic, CNN did.

So, who do we believe now in this post-truth era? I realize that this is going to come across as a bit depressingly jaded even coming from me, but I would honestly suggest no one, at least not exclusively. The contrived notion of objective journalism is a fallacy. Everyone has an ax to grind and the more they try to bury that ax beneath the camouflage of "objectivity" the more deluded by preconceived notions their narrative becomes. Blind faith is the true defining characteristic of the conspiracy theory and combatting that bullshit in this house of mirrors takes discipline and homework.

My personal approach, for whatever that's worth to you, is inspired by the ancient Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant. The fable goes that several blind travelers were asked to describe a massive creature that they had never encountered before. Each man felt a different section of the elephant- the tusk, the trunk, the leg, the tail, and thus each man described a radically different creature, and each man was right, and each man was wrong. Only when their descriptions were taken together collectively did they come close to truly comprehending the beast before them.

The moral of the story is that agnosticism is a virtue unto itself and that all narratives should be both considered and taken with a hefty grain of salt. So, I read a little bit of everything that isn't tainted by the revolving door of power and even a few things that are- CounterPunch, Reason, Al-Jazeera, the New Conservative,, the World Socialist Website, and even then, I refuse to assume that I ever have all the answers. Maybe Putin really is stupid enough to blow up his own shotgun. Maybe after decades beneath the pressure of a gaslighting NATO colossus he finally snapped like the rest of us and started believing some mealy-mouthed Rasputin's conspiracy theories. Maybe, but I'm not about to take Aderson Cooper's word for it and you shouldn't take mine either.  

Think for yourselves, dearest motherfuckers. In a post-truth era, it's the best self-defense we have against the beasts that brought us here.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

*  Free to Decide by the Cranberries

*  Atmosphere by Joy Division

*  Atlantis by Donovan

*  Posing for Bondage by Japanese Breakfast

*  Baby's on Fire by Brian Eno

*  Nocturnal Me by Echo & the Bunnymen

*  Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails

*  Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics

*  The Bends by Radiohead

*  Are "Friends" Electric? by Tubeway Army

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Assimilation or Genocide: Queer Revolution in an Age of Partisan Misdirection

The Republican Party wants to erase trans people. Over the last couple of years, they have made this sickeningly clear, not just with their colossal barrage of brazenly bigoted legislation overwhelmingly targeting children in one of the most tragically suicidal demographics in the country but with their increasingly unhinged and deliberately dehumanizing rhetoric. In fact, according to GOP rock stars like Ron DeSantis and Gregg Abbott, people like me don't even exist. We have been reduced to a conspiratorial ideology known as transgenderism, a perverted cult poisoning the brains of young children and convincing them to mutilate themselves with experimental pharmaceuticals and draconian surgical procedures.

Never mind the mountains of analytical evidence that has led a typically bigoted medical establishment to finally admit that being transgender is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Never mind the decades of exhaustive and conclusive evidence that transgender children denied the right to transition chose to destroy themselves in alarmingly high numbers. Never mind the fact that there are historical records even in the goddamn Bible of third genders existing for as long as anyone has bothered to keep them. Just never mind the fucking facts at all because these people aren't interested in them. They are only interested in securing the endorsement of the Zionist Christian Right and the Christian Right is only interested in using big government to erase my people like Palestinians by any means necessary. 

These means include bills that do far worse things than banning trans kids from sports. They include bills that flagrantly violate the First Amendment by making discussion of their very existence in compulsory public schools a crime. They include bills stripping public libraries of all literature that so much as even acknowledges our history. They include bills that bar minors from access to harmless medications like puberty blockers that have been proven over decades to reduce suicide rates by the double digits. They include prosecuting doctors that even provide this care with felonies. And perhaps most disturbingly of all, they include investigating parents who simply allow their kids to be themselves for child abuse in hopes of ripping their children screaming from their arms before placing them into homes that will force them back into the closet and erase them from public existence. There is a word for this and I'm getting tired of avoiding saying it out loud for fear of getting gaslit by my straight friends. That word is genocide.

I have always contended that being Queer is about far more than just sexuality and gender. We are a nation unto ourselves. Queer people are a unique race defined by our biological and spiritual inability to conform to the rigid confines of Western colonialist puritanical values. We were violently banished from our once affirming Heathen tribes during their forced conversion to State Christianity and left with no other choice but to forge a tribe of our own from the ashes. What we built from those ashes was a diverse and vibrant culture defined by our shared values of radical individuality and resistance to conforming to the White Anglo Saxon gender binary. We stubbornly refused to allow ourselves to be defined by what some progressive eugenicist or child molesting priest contended that our genitalia were supposed to mean.

All Queer people began as gender outlaws of one kind or another. There is no divorcing "transgenderism" from the Queer experience because it is fundamental to our provocatively transgressive way of life. Boys fuck girls because girls wear dresses because human beings require rigid categorization to be properly governed. When the constructed biological basis of the current patriarchal power system becomes fluid, anything becomes possible, and everything is up for grabs. Maybe race and class become fluid too. The order, the caste system, divide and conquer, it all falls apart in glorious anarchy. This is why transgender people are so fucking dangerous, no matter how powerless we are. And this why we must be stopped, and the GOP aren't the only ones conspiring to stop us.

Transgender people, especially those of us who brazenly reject the binary altogether, are the last vanguard of the Queer Nation because we are the most resistant to assimilation and assimilation is the preferred answer to the Queer Question proposed by our supposed allies in the Democratic Party. On the surface this appears to be a far gentler and more equitable approach to diversity, but its conclusion remains identical to that of the openly genocidal Republicans, erasure, and this ain't the first Queer holocaust to prove the synergistic effectiveness of this bipartisan method either.

The AIDS Virus offered the Christian Right with their first viable opportunity to annihilate us with a conspiracy of silence. An entire generation of Queer revolutionaries were wiped out by that suspiciously convenient plague while Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used the federal government to keep the medical establishment at bay and divorced from any viable attempt to contain it. But the fags refused to just die quietly. Even with a viral timebomb strapped to our chests, the Queer Nation used the tools that we had sharpened on the thick rock-like skulls of pigs at Stonewall to make our suffering too grotesquely visible to ignore. Groups like ACT-UP used an aggressive campaign of highly publicized direct action in order to provoke empathy from the better angels of the straight world. These martyrs came out of the closet to die so another generation could live to torch cop cars.

Sadly, the Democrats had other designs. It was only after it had become viscerally clear that Queer people had survived the plague and the Republican party's attempts to weaponize it for votes that the DNC finally opened its doors to us, and many Queer people were simply to shellshocked to say no to such a warm welcome, but what exactly was it that these fair-weather allies were really offering us? 

They offered us the heterosexual ritual of marriage provided that we mind our manners and shut the fuck up about fixing a crooked insurance system that still leaves most Queer people dying in the cold.  They offered us protection from hate crimes provided that we consent to growing the police state where the greatest hate criminals thrive for a government paycheck as well as that colossal heterosexist animal farm known as the Prison Industrial Complex. They offered us the honor of serving openly in the straight man's army so long as we forfeited our commitment to solidarity with other colonized cultures in the Third World. And of course, they offered us access to their totalitarian medical and education systems where our kids now find themselves soft targets for the Republicans latest jihad against our existence. The message is clear, conform to one half of the duopoly or the other will crush you. 

The Democratic Party's solution to Republican terrorism is to use our terror to strengthen the state that the GOP uses to terrorize us and even this booby-trapped gift comes at the price of our autonomy. Ironically, these are also the same twisted mind games the Republican Party plays on Christian conservatives. What was once an insular and largely self-sufficient minority has been successfully assimilated into the state apparatus they once rightfully feared with the promise of protection from Queer scapegoats in exchange for conformity. 

The Democrats torch a bunch of Jesus freaks at Waco and the Republicans offer them protection from fags like me if they agree to fund the same feds who cooked the Branch Davidians alive. The GOP governed CDC twiddles their thumbs while Christopher Street becomes an open-air morgue, and the Democrats offer to hold off the fag bashing hillbillies as long as we give Anthony Fauci a raise for waiting so patiently for us to die. It's all part of the same sick fucking shell game of divide and conquer that inspired the invention of the gender binary in the first place. Every American becomes some other American's demonized other in order to manufacture all of our consent to be ruled. But when that other becomes disposable the stakes grow higher.

Queers, Blacks and Chicanos face the constant threat of extinction because we were never supposed to last as long as we have. Our races, our nations, were designed for the express purpose of resisting our annihilation which made these very identities even more lethal than the bodies they protect because they encourage everyone to join our resistance. This is why both parties are committed to crushing us by any means necessary. The Republican means are far cruder but far less affective. It turns out that even your average straight white American yuppie has a hard time watching Black transgirls slit their wrists to avoid being forcibly displaced. The Democrat's solution is to leave our bodies be and quietly dismantle the identities that empower them. We have nowhere to turn. Or do we?

This Queer turns to Malcolm X. Malcolm saw through the hoax of liberal integration being trafficked by Democrats to quell furious ghettos like Watts into compliance with white power. Malcolm new that the only people who could save Black people from the Faustian holocaust of extermination or assimilation were Black people themselves. Before the government could have him killed, Malcolm called on his people to create their own institutions that could operate with total autonomy from the state. Many fools continue to misunderstand this message to be one of racial separatism as if that were the only alternative to government subjugation, but Malcolm had tossed that bullshit in the rearview mirror with the Nation of Islam. What Malcolm was actually advocating was an old African tradition that honkies have come to call anarchism, a system of a million minorities coexisting without a massive, centralized caste system to divide us against each other.

This is the only way that the Queer nation will survive. The state is a system designed to destroy individuality and the diversity it inspires in the name of order. This only ever leaves any tribe with three options, assimilation, genocide or revolution and the third option doesn't come in a ballot box.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

*  Under Pressure by David Bowie & Queen

*  Mississauga Goddamn by the Hidden Cameras

*  Candy Says by the Velvet Underground

*  Been a Son by Nirvana

*  The Walker by Christine & the Queens

*  Shoplifters of the World Unite by the Smiths

*  Cop Car by Mitski

*  Easy on Your Own by Alvvays

*  I Think That I Would Die by Hole