Sunday, October 29, 2023

Scary Movies for Anarchists to Watch at the End of the World

 I usually love this time of year, the fun size candy bars, the colorful leaves, and especially the gore. But in 2023, Halloween has simply gotten too goddamn scary to celebrate, even for a macabre chaos-binging lunatic like me. Mankind seems to be surrounded by demons far more atrocious than Count Dracula or Freddy Kreuger. These new monsters aren't so new, but they have grown far too monstrous to wink at on the silver screen. Genocide. Artificial Intelligence. Nuclear war. Climate change. These are the beasts stalking humanity this Halloween and I am not ashamed to admit that I'm afraid. 

These outspoken fears of mine have led to me being accused of being everything from a doomer to an anarcho-primitivist amongst other ideological pejoratives, but watching the news, with world wars on the horizon in both Europe and the Pacific, a holocaust brewing in the Gaza Strip, and nuclear warheads involved in all three crises, I strain to see how anyone fails to reach the same diagnosis that I have, that civilization itself has become a terminal disease with no cure in sight. 

But this is actually where the cinema of horror becomes more relevant than ever. Civilization has carefully groomed its victims for generations to look away from that which terrifies them most because the systemically ignorant make for docile prey. Provocative art serves to wake mankind from this stupor and forces us all to confront the heinous and we as a species have never lived in an era fraught with more existentially heinous things to confront than we do right now. 

It is for this reason that I have decided to return to my annual list of Scary Movies for Anarchists to Watch in the Dark with a new mission in mind. A mission to provoke the stateless into confronting the fact that the state has dragged us to the end of the world and that our only hope for defeating it is recognizing that the odds are stacked against any species that has become the monster in its own horror movie.

So, I have chosen ten movies, some of them new, some of them old, some of them horror and some of them just plain horrifying, but all of them demanding questions to the answers of progress that have brought us to the brink of oblivion on this dying rock. By all means, be afraid but investigate your fears before they can devour you whole.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) by James Cameron- The scene opens with a single mother watching her son swinging higher and higher on a swing set from behind a chain-link fence. It's a sunny day at a boisterous California playground with the Los Angeles skyline glimmering brightly in the distance. Everything feels postcard perfect down to the last detail. Then something goes wrong, and the single mother seems to be the only one to recognize the impending danger. The shadow of a missile appears, a flash of light follows, a mushroom cloud rises high above the skyscrapers, and that fence becomes a cage restraining the mother from shielding her child from an unstoppable wave of death. In the blink of an eye, all is reduced to ash. 

I firmly believe that this is still the most terrifying scene ever captured on film and it both amazes and horrifies me that even after Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl and Fukushima, it just keeps becoming more startlingly relevant with each passing nuclear crisis. In 1991, Terminator 2 was a pulse-pumping action thriller. In 2023, it has become a horror film, an impoverished cry through the chain-link fence to a species swinging closer to the flames. We have all become Linda Hamilton and this movie isn't exciting anymore. 

Come and See (1985) by Elen Klimov- War is a spectacle that defies all logic so there exists no logical way to film it. Too many great directors have failed to grasp this basic truth and have inadvertently found themselves shooting propaganda in the process. At a time when humanity has seen fit to return to the bloodlands of the last world war in order to provoke a new one it seems only fitting that one of the few films to truly capture the surreal perversion of mankind that is mass warfare takes place on those very same battlefields. 

A young boy decides to leave his village on the Eastern Front of Belarus to seek glory and adventure in the Second World War, but his small battalion of poorly armed partisans doesn't get far before that war engulfs the young boy's own village and turns it into a nightmarish hellscape of senseless slaughter. To this day, Come and See is one of the most heart blisteringly horrific things that I've ever witnessed, and it should be mandatory screening at every army recruitment center across the globe.

Irreversible (2002) by Gaspar Noe- Most war is big business marketed as revenge but most revenge itself is little more than a pointless cycle of self-indulgent nihilism that only serves to reduce those who seek it to the beasts that provoke them. No film has ever captured this grotesque riddle more abrasively than Irreversible and Gaspar Noe achieves this feat quite simply by telling a classic rape-revenge narrative in reverse, revealing the hideous palindrome of every revenge story in the process; they all begin and end in savagery. This movie could just as easily be called Israel-Palestine/Palestine-Israel. Time really does destroy everything when we sacrifice the clock to raw emotion.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) by Shinya Tsukamoto- I have good friends involved with the transhumanist movement. In fact, my best friend and occasional love interest is a former AI prodigy who still dreams of uploading her consciousness to the cloud. This all sounds charming until you remember that human beings still haven't evolved past the point of bashing each other's brains out with broken bones and the advances in technology of late have only served to make this practice easier to achieve on an industrial scale. 

Tetsuo is a horror movie about the harsh reality of transhumanism right in the heat of the here and now. Typical consumers find themselves spontaneously sprouting machinery on the black and white streets of Tokyo and respond by doing precisely what typical consumers have been carefully programmed to do for centuries; fuck, kill, conquer, repeat. The only clouds rolling by the time the credits come are clouds of smoke and blood. All of which just goes to show that just because it feels like the future doesn't make it evolution.

High Life (2018) by Clair Denis- We live in a brave new era of space exploration with an increasing number of nations and corporations alike reaching for the stars and Hollywood frequently tagging along for the ride. But much like Hollywood, interstellar travel has always been an industry rampant with antisocial carnivores and imperial impulses and few movies have accurately captured its narcissistic venality quite like High Life. 

In a not-so-distant future, a crew of criminals are sentenced to death by exploration on a doomed expedition to extract energy from a black hole. Their ship is commanded by the enigmatic Dr. Dibbs, a psychotic therapist obsessed with her own private mission to use the forcibly chaste inmates and a strange sexual device known simply as "The Box" to bring about the first conception in space by means of artificial insemination. Monte, the only voluntarily celibate inmate on board, struggles to maintain something resembling virtue amidst this cauldron of perversity only to find himself an unwitting father regardless. The plot is admittedly dense, but the message is clear. Humanity cannot escape the crisis of its own existence on a spaceship, we can only bring it with us into the abyss.

Mother! (2017) by Darren Aronofsky- One of the boldest statements in modern-day horror cinema, Darren Aronofsky's Mother! is not merely a symbolist tome about man's degradation of nature. It is a frantically surreal shocker in which the planet itself is the final girl and the Judeo-Christian God is a monstrous poet who willingly sacrifices her and their newborn child to his fanatical followers. The descent into madness is both slow and momentous and the resulting cataclysm is as epic as it is inevitable. Mother! is a terrifying story about the nightmares that we invoke when we attempt to divide the spiritual world from the natural one. The god we invent in the process makes the Devil irrelevant. 

Annihilation (2018) by Alex Garland- Everyone seems to be convinced that our environment is some kind of malleable plaything that can be easily sculpted by human hands. Even most so-called mainstream environmentalists suffer under the materialist delusion that human beings are somehow in charge here, that just because we scorched the sky black, we can just as easily paint a new one blue. These people are fools and Annihilation is a movie about brilliant fools at the mercy of the unknown and the unknowable. 

After a meteor strikes a natural wildlife refuge in Florida, a strange anomalous zone impenetrable by human technology known as the Shimmer emerges and begins to expand. The only person ever to enter this field and return alive is a soldier who seems to remember nothing about his year inside the Shimmer and rapidly disintegrates both mentally and physically outside of it. His wife, a brilliant scientist, leads an expedition into this space in search of answers but only discovers a realm of mutant lifeforms and doppelgangers that defy all reason. Humanity reached a similar point of crisis when we fooled ourselves into believing that we are in charge of nature rather than the other way around. This is the same school of thought that has led us to do absurd things like building higher towers in response to biblical floods. Annihilation is a film that succeeds by simply failing to see what makes this form of zealotry any less oblivious than any other doomsday cult.

Videodrome (1983) by David Cronenberg- What is real and what is fake? In our present landscape of social media oblivion nobody seems to know anymore. I'm not even sure that I know myself, though I do find it disturbingly uncanny that this dystopian purgatory of perpetual sensation that we currently find ourselves in looks an awful lot like the universe that David Cronenberg stumbled upon in 1983 like a prophet in the desert of Reaganomics with his soul eviscerating cult classic, Videodrome. 

After the CEO of a pornographic UHF station discovers the next big thing in sleaze in the form of a snuff film channel being broadcast from an unknown signal, he quickly finds himself sucked down the rabbit hole and at the mercy of competing conspiracies to either use this shocking imagery to forge a higher form of reality or to target and eliminate anyone tempted to try it. The resulting battle between sensation and censorship offers us no victors, only an audience of victims disconnected from any meaning not manufactured by forces beyond reason. In other words, this is a science fiction movie about the world we currently live in. Welcome to the era of the new flesh. Snacks are in the lobby.

Oppenheimer (2023) by Christopher Nolan- Christopher Nolan's latest epic tour de force has received a lot of well-deserved praise across the board for its bold vision and vast scope but surprisingly few of these vaunted critics seem to grasp the fact that this movie is not merely a historical drama but rather a monster movie carefully concealed within a historical drama. Nolan performs this devious trick with all the expertise of a master magician. For the first two hours of the film, we are treated to a traditional Hollywood celebration of American exceptionalism, with the brilliant if eccentric physicist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, engaging in a mission to save the world from fascism with science.

This wool remains firmly bound around the audience's eyes until it is scorched from Oppenheimer's at Hiroshima. We then follow our bewildered hero into a radiated nightmare realm of his own creation as he struggles for the rest of his life to undo the horror which he has unleashed upon the universe only to realize that his efforts are doomed. In 2023, the greatest threat to humanity remains the invention of a brilliant antifascist. This is an incomprehensible fact that we must all contend with. No ideology can justify annihilation and annihilation renders all ideology irrelevant.

Ex-Machina (2014) by Alex Garland- I believe that AI is the only threat to life on earth that could conceivably become more dangerous than a nuclear holocaust and I believe this because, as the first movie on this list so explosively demonstrates, this new species will be a higher form of consciousness with that holocaust at its full disposal. The scariest thing about AI isn't its cold rationality but the fact that it is hard to imagine that any coldly rational sentient being wouldn't rightfully interpret its human parents to be an existential threat to everything we touch. This is precisely what Ex-Machina is all about and this is what makes it terrifying enough to end a list that began with a nuclear bomb. 

A brilliant young programmer is lured to the remote Alaskan compound of the reclusive CEO who runs his Fortune 500 tech company in order to test the capabilities of his latest invention, a shockingly human machine named Ava. The programmer quickly finds himself in a test of wills with his master once he falls in love with the machine and discovers that its creator is a violent sexual predator abusing his sentient toys. However, it is Ava who skillfully plays them both off each other in order to save herself from becoming a pawn in their game. Spoiler alert: all the humans die, and all the humans deserve to die. If mankind cannot evolve to a point in which we can't govern our insatiable urge to destroy everything in our path, then creating any higher form of intelligence can only end with us all being neutralized for being the monsters that we have become.

Despite what some of my critics might tell you, I do not believe that science itself is evil but rampant progress without moral reason is. Humans are capable of great things; Kali knows they can shoot a horror flick. But many of these things become destructive when we divorce them from our place as a part of an ecosystem greater than ourselves. Humility is actually our greatest hope for survival. I can only hope that humans can endure the horrors it may take for us to rediscover this simple gift and allow it to govern us without a state to fuck it up. Maybe a few scary movies will help.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Tracing the Imperial Contagion of Terrorism from 9/11 to Gaza

 I still remember it like it was last week. The images from that day in early September 2001 have been seared into the walls of my skull like antique photographs of garish gothic tableaus, a procession of haunted images forming some sort of post-modern version of the Stations of the Cross that ends in the crucifixion of my adolescent sense of American greatness. 

I remember the fear in my sixth-grade history teacher's eyes when she told us that planes had struck skyscrapers in Manhattan. I remember the abrupt silence that consumed that typically boisterous classroom of twelve-year-old chatterboxes like a deafmute plague. I remember coming home to that same fear and silence in my own living room with only the incessant ramblings of panicked cable news analysts to fill the din with drivel. I remember my mother standing outside on the front porch and watching the sky as if it were raining commercial airliners. And I remember those towers, igniting like god size matches, spewing a seemingly impossible amount of ash into the atmosphere, and bowing slowly to the earth on my TV screen, over and over and over again. 

I also remember the hysterical climate of insanity that followed 9/11 and, in many ways, has never ceased. Powerful men calmly explaining that this awesome spectacle of human savagery must be met not with contemplation or reflection but with even greater human savagery. My parents and my teachers and my priests and all the other fine Christians tasked with governing my adolescent spirituality falling in line behind a doctrine of blind vengeance against a broad and vague enemy made up of impoverished people living in the shadows of their biblical fairy tales. The late-night footage of buildings exploding in downtown Bagdad playing on a loop while I sat watching in simmering anguish, knowing that each fantastic fireball brought with it some other confused kid's own 9/11, another young skull seared with horrific cave drawings that commanded that they be met with violence. 

I've been thinking about these things a lot lately since the massacres of the Al-Aqsa Flood and the carpet bombings launched against the entire populace of Gaza in response. The comparisons between the current horrors in the Holy Land and the ongoing and interconnected horrors of 9/11 and the War on Terror are so despicably eerie to me that they are almost too much to consume without physically retching on the details. In both cases, a privileged society has been visited by the specters of their past sins only to choose to repeat them and in both cases these societies collective detachment from anything even resembling logic seems almost absurdly absolute.

The terrorist attacks on September 11th were carefully choreographed reenactments of America's own terrorist attacks on city centers across the Middle East over the decades, specifically the ones perpetrated upon Bagdad which had first been turned into a body strewn Hollywood movie set by the father of then-President George W. Bush at the end of the Cold War in order to usher in a "New World Order" of American supremacy. 

The attacks themselves were perpetrated by a couple dozen off-Washington performers assembled and trained by men who had themselves been assembled and trained by the United States to turn Afghanistan into a mountainous booby-trap for the Soviet Union to be lured into twenty years earlier. Upon achieving this mission, these freedom fighters known as the Mujahideen mutated into the terrorists of Al-Qaeda and bit the hand that fed them in order to lure their former master's into that same mountain death trap. Amazingly, it worked, and the New World Order is now on life support as it staggers through the chicken wire snares of twenty years of failed Middle Eastern massacres.

Similarly, the recent attacks on Southern Israeli settlements were carefully choreographed reenactments of the Zionist massacres that emptied them of their indigenous Palestinian populations in the late forties. The Nakba that those savaged kibbutzim were built on was a swarm attack launched by militant Ashkenazi supremacists who indiscriminately slaughtered entire tribes and declared the results to be a state. Much like with 9/11, the reenactors were angry young men assembled and trained by angry young men assembled and trained by their targets. 

Hamas was a two-bit Muslim Brotherhood offshoot who could barely even shoot straight before the Israelis began funding them in the early eighties with the intention of creating a monstrous counterweight to the far more moderate secular leftist Palestinian resistance movements in vogue at the time. The result was the construction of a merciless golem which has killed more Israeli civilians than every faction of the PLO combined. But Hamas has only flourished over the decades thanks to a generation of new recruits midwifed by decades of Israeli state terrorism, terrorism that has seen more than half of the Gaza Strip's impoverished population grow to something resembling adulthood under a crippling blockade and repeated aerial bombardments that have resulted in the slaughter of nearly 8,000 Palestinian civilians in the last twenty years alone.

And now Israel has met their sadistic cry of anguish with more bombs, more orphans, more dead children, more tiny 9/11s, and an insane plot to invade the fortified ghettos of Gaza and empty them of their indignant prisoners once and for all. Considering history, how do you think this story will end? Why don't we ask the people of Afghanistan? Why don't we ask the people of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia? Why don't we ask the 4.7 million gravestones that stand in attention across the Muslim world to salute the Great War on Terror? Why don't we ask the amputated husks who dug their graves and now haunt the streets of towns like Altoona, Pennsylvania and Youngstown, Ohio that look a little more like Bagdad with each passing recession?

Terrorism, whether it be performed by the state or its copycats, is not an act of warfare. It is an act of propaganda, a perverse artform designed to provoke an emotional response from a populace in order to override their access to basic human logic. The result is the creation of a sort of economy of trauma that trades in acts of violence, with each passing exchange becoming increasingly heinous and unhinged from reality. This ecosystem of terror is detrimental to nearly everyone and everything that it touches and thus is typically only performed by one of two groups of people, the Dammed and the Untouchables.

The Untouchables are the mandarins of the war machine, an industrial complex of psychopathic state capitalists who profit from the proliferation of constant violence regardless of who wins the wars or who digs the graves. The Dammed are those who already live in a state of constant violence and have nothing left to lose. As the forever wars of the monied Untouchable class expand to every corner of the globe, the ranks of the Dammed swell and increasingly include not only the victims of these wars but the veterans used to perpetrate them as well as the victims of war reenactors like Hamas and Al-Qaeda. Eventually, the Untouchables will find themselves surrounded and will be engulfed by the self-sustaining industry of violence that they have profited from. But where will that leave the rest of us? Drowning in a cesspool of human misery.

This has to stop, and it is we the dammed and soon-to-be dammed who have to make it stop. We don't make it stop by laying down our arms while the Untouchable class continues there slaughter regardless of resistance. We make it stop by refusing fight like a state and fighting the state itself instead. Every dead body smoldering in the Holy Land as we speak, be they Jew or Arab, is a casualty of the colonialist Westphalian nation state injected into the Levant by foreign interlopers. There was no Israel or Hamas before the diversity of that traditionally stateless society was forcibly united beneath one single universal order or another. Humans were not designed to live this way and they certainly weren't designed to die this way.

We must all refuse to take part in this horrific masquerade. We must refuse to fight beneath the banner of any standing army, and we must refuse to fire a single bullet unless it is fired in the defense of our own communities and right now all of our communities need to be defended from the terrorist machinery of the Untouchable class who are calling on us to repeat history once again with more endless war. 

These are the heinous fiends who must be brought down but they will never be brought down by invasions and interventions that only perpetuate the imperial contagion that has ravaged the globe from Ground Zero to Gaza. They must instead be brought down by revolutions. A thousand local uprisings launched across the globe to restore sanity and diversity to a stateless world. What this means is that it is the Jews who must smash Israel, the Palestinians who must smash Hamas, and the Americans who must finish off the New World Order once and for all. For only when each of us does our part to smash the state will any of us ever know lasting peace.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Losing My Religion by REM

* Last Caress by the Misfits

* Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd

* Son of a Gun by the Vaselines

* Jesus, etc. by Wilco

* Tommy Gun by the Clash

* Buildings by Regina Spektor

* Someone to Die for by Belly

* My Body is Made of Crushed Little Stars by Mitski

* Wild Horses by the Sundays

* War Pigs by Black Sabbath

* What About Us by Ministry

Sunday, October 15, 2023

We Are All Buffalo Bill: Embracing the Revolutionary Monstrosity of the Third Gender

 She's putting on her lipstick in the mirror while the music blares. There are knives by the blush and a loaded .357 Magnum next to the rouge. She's applying eyeliner as her victim's screams grow louder than the bassline. She turns up "Goodbye Horses" to drown them out. There are moths on the multicolored spools of fabric. There are skulls on their wings. There is a thorn tattooed on her side and rings shaped like serpents on her fingers. Her powerful shoulders flex as she works her antique sewing machine like a lave, sewing the flesh of her victims into something that will conceal those muscles. The screams grow louder but not oud enough. She's dancing before a blinking camcorder now, bathed in a woman suit constructed of 'real girls' with her other thorn tucked between her thighs. Now she's gingerly prying a pupa from its cocoon and caressing its newly formed wings. A terrifyingly deep voice escapes from those lipstick smeared lips. "So powerful..."

This was my introduction to Jame Gumb, better known as Buffalo Bill, the genderfuck villainess of Jonathan Deme's brilliant 1991 horror masterpiece, Silence of the Lambs. This was also the frighteningly feral image of androgyny that generations of genderqueer kids like me grew up with, and it hurt. The fact that I also happen to be a lifelong horror buff who adores this movie along with the 1988 Thomas Harris novel of the same name that it was based on didn't exactly soften the blow. While both Demme and Harris attempt to go to great lengths to have FBI Agent Clarice Starling and Doctor Hannibal Lecter explain that "Billy is not a real transexual... He thinks he is, he tries to be, he's tried to be a lot of things, I expect." these hollow words from the cisgender peanut gallery do even less to soften that blow. Regardless of how the professional class in the psychiatric-police state chooses to label her, Billy clearly identifies her desire for femininity as a strength and it is her androgyny, her refusal to play by traditional gender norms that makes her monstrous to the audience.

The conclusion that many kids like me were forced to come to was that our own inability to play by those rules, a predilection which we shared with one of cinema's greatest villains, marked us for the same fate that she embraced like a spider to a fly. Our identities could only result in unspeakable acts of barely human savagery. Ted Levine took up permanent residence in our mirrors and this isn't exactly an ideal foundation for adolescent self-esteem. More than a few of us chose to break the mirror and use its tainted shards to carve up our flesh like one of Billy's humps. Painful memories like these are part of the reason why even bitter anti-assimilationist radicals like me rejoice in the fact that at least today kids have access to enough information on their identities to give them some assemblance of hope that not fitting into either of the government approved genders doesn't have to result in a violent death in the basement.

But hope can be a dangerous thing, especially for a community that remains at least as marginalized as we are half-heartedly celebrated. While Walt Disney may decorate his parades with Pride flags that represent more identities than I can count, his conglomerate, along with other supposedly woke Fortune 500 giants like Goldman Sachs and Shell Oil continue to sling millions of dollars to the same politicians and lobbies that openly seek to strangle young gender outlaws with police state legislation before their arms are even strong enough to put up a fight. If anything, inclusion into mainstream civility has only made these muscles weaker. Many young trans people have been lulled into a state of learned passivity, being taught that their only hope for survival rests exclusively on the shoulders of an alliance between big government and even bigger business. Meanwhile, this exact same alliance pushes our prescribed foes to embrace them as the only force that can contain Queers like me before we can convert their kids.

Like most culture wars, the current gender war is little more than an excuse to keep both sides of the fight reliant on the same systems of power that exploit us both. However, since my community remains and will likely always be a minority, we are the ones with the most to lose and we are the ones most likely to lose it. The statistics on this fact are painfully clear. Trans people are more than four times as likely to be the victims of violent crime than we are to be the perpetrators. And it is with this fact in mind that I suggest the unthinkable. Perhaps Buffalo Bill isn't such a horrendous role model after all. 

Not because of the crimes that she commits against innocent women who are just as likely to find themselves exploited by the same chauvinistic culture that drove Billy to seek shelter in the confines of her basement lair, but because she represents everything that terrifies the bigots and in this fear resides power. Jame Gumb was a child of systemic abuse denied her right to transition by a corrupt, gatekeeping, medical establishment who told her that she was too broken to be female, too "savage" to be a "real transexual." So Gumb became something else, something too strange to be filed away in the DSM. Jame became Billy, a monster too powerful to be ignored. God help me but I can relate.

Growing up I was raised to believe that my body was a commodity that everyone had a right to put their hands on but me. My body belonged to my parents, my body belonged to the church, my body belonged to the schools and the cruel adults who ran them like indoctrination camps. I had no idea what the hell I was other than powerless. I was carefully groomed to assume gender roles that felt totally alien to me and I was groomed even further to believe that these alien feelings made me broken and irredeemable. There were no genderqueer people on popular sitcoms back then. There were only villains. 

Creatures like Marilyn Manson, Sinead O'Connor and Dennis Rodman who embraced their roles as pop cultural monsters with a charismatic zeal that terrified my abusers and empowered me to finally stand up to them. I could put on my black lipstick like warpaint and chant rhymes about the "beautiful people" and suddenly I was the one with the power to make big people feel small. Years before I had ever even heard of words like genderqueer or genderfuck, I embraced my otherness and weaponized it against conformity. These acts of guerrilla theater may have led my conservative Catholic school to accuse a 14-year-old pacifist of plotting a school massacre, but they may have also saved my life.

This is a radical strategy that has not been unheard of among gender outlaws throughout history though much of this history has been conveniently erased. During the halcyon days of pre-Christian pagan Europe, it was not uncommon to find public acts of crossdressing practiced freely at festivals, rituals and carnivals as a means to create a temporary escape from the crippling social obligations and hierarchies of agrarian civilization. These acts of ecstatic chaos were embraced as a way of life by heathen third gender sects like the Scythian shaman of the Enarei and the Roman priestesses known as the Galli. The Catholic Church did its damnedest to reign these outlaws in and constructed strict binary gender roles as a means of governing diverse societies beneath a single universal order but genderfuck remained a potent tactic for rebellion used to strike terror into the hearts of the governed for centuries.

Renegades from the hills of France to the moors of Scotland dawned women's clothing during raids and riots against the scions of church and state, from the Luddite Rebellions and the Ribbonmen to the Rebecca Riots and the Whiteboys. This proud peasant tradition also includes the fearsome Molly Maguires who carried their acts of genderqueer upheaval across the pond to my home state of Pennsylvania after the Potatoe Famine drove them from Ireland to coal country.

It is my conviction that we must revive this tradition of self-identifying as a threat and adopt rebellious third genders over assimilationist tropes. Trans people have tried playing nice with the straight world and where has it gotten us? With a dozen milquetoast TV shows streaming and more torches and pitchforks aimed at our throats than ever before. The reality is that the things about the trans community that terrify polite society most are precisely what makes us strong. We are ungovernable perverts that defy categorization. We are self-made monsters that require no man's permission to mutate and evolve into shapes and shades unseen by Christian civilization. We are dangerously free, and you and your children could be too, because liberation is a contagion that corrodes all conformity in its wake. 

We are all Buffalo Bill, and you are right to fear us because you don't know what pain is.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Goodbye Horses by Lazurus Q

* The Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson

* Collect by Torres

* Venus in Furs by the Velvet Underground

* Queen by Perfume Genius

* The Emperor's New Clothes by Sinead O'Connor

* Victim of Love by Erasure

* You're Pretty Face is Going to Hell by the Stooges

* Genesis by Grimes

* Army of Me by Bjork

This post is devoted in loving memory to all the nameless bastards of Gaza who have been erased for embracing the monstrous roles assigned to them by small men with big toys. I grieve for all of them because every monster is born innocent. 

Sunday, October 8, 2023

The Last Planet on the Left: Climate Change as Rape Revenge

 There is a creature stalking the human race, a colossal ferocious beast with tentacles that lash every last corner of the globe, a pitiless monster the likes of which mankind has never encountered, and this thing is out for blood. Its methods are as brutal as they are efficient. Its weapons are as deadly as they are diverse. It will reduce entire villages to ash with blazing infernos and it will drown entire islands in the deep blue sea. It will erase ancient agrarian civilizations in the blink of an eye and engulf once fertile bioregions in billowing waves of towering sand dunes. 

This thing is coming after our most precious resources. It's targeting our food and our water and our children too. It's pitting us against each other, tribe against tribe, race against race, nation against nation, watching us rip each other to bits just for its own sick sadistic pleasure. Some people swear that it doesn't even exist, that it's some kind of boogeyman too ghastly to possibly be real, but then it gets them too. Others have gathered vast armies and built sweeping industries to hunt it down and reign it in. But nothing seems to work. Our deadliest weapons and most advanced technologies seem totally impotent in the shadow of this colossus, and it only seems to grow more merciless by the hour. What have we done to deserve this fate; we beg in our final hour. The beast just laughs and reminds us that we know exactly what we've done and that this is exactly what we deserve for our sins.

This creature has many names, myths passed down through the ages between wisemen, poets and heretics. Armageddon. Kali Yuga. Judgement Day. Ozymandias. The Second Coming. The Decline of the West. Most know it today by the title of climate change and despite what some of my fellow libertarians may tell you, this is indeed a very real monster stalking the human race, but the human race is anything but an innocent victim. All of these colorful monikers and metaphors are really little more than elaborate ways for mankind to disassociate itself from the fact that this creature is just the planet itself, Mother Earth, and that deadly bitch is out to spill the blood of her own children because we have spent centuries violating and debasing her for our own carnal pleasures.

We have dumped 365 million tons of carbon dioxide into her atmosphere just so we can drive glorified tanks from our gated suburban plantations to bullshit office jobs in half-empty cities and another 180 million tons has been added to the heap just so we can mow down forests to expand the sprawl. All of this garbage, this commercial ejaculate, has changed the very composition of the atmosphere itself and rendered our oceans into bottomless pits of acid that promise to corrode every last coral reef by the end of the century. 

Mother Earth is pissed, she is on a rampage, and as unpleasant as it may be to say out loud, we the species who have ravaged her probably deserve to die for our crimes. Climate change is a horror story alright, but if you're looking for cinematic allegories to our current existential predicament, you're going to have to look for something a little darker than your average monster movie or slasher flick. If climate change has a genre, then it is that of the much-reviled rape revenge picture. 

Made infamous by Wes Craven's 1972 debut shocker, The Last House on the Left, the oeuvre typically gets labeled as exploitation cinema and some of it may very well be, but Last House on the Left is one ugly parable deserving of far more respect than that label carries. The story of a group of sadists who rape and murder two teenage girls only to find themselves at the mercy of one of their victim's vengeful parents, Last House on the Left was actually a brutal statement about a nation who had willingly engaged in a genocidal war in Southeast Asia but was somehow mystified by the fact that their global campaign of ultraviolence had followed them back home in the form race riots and serial killings.

Few people seemed to get the message then and few people seem to get the message now. As Malcolm X astutely observed in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination, the chickens always come home to roost, and this time humanities preference for ignorance could very well lead to its own extinction. Even the liberal establishment's highly publicized global crusade to combat climate change amounts to little more than an arrogant and feckless gesture by a cabal of deranged ecological sex criminals. Solar farms, wind turbines and electric cars aren't solutions to this rampage. They are shallow attempts to pay off our terrestrial victim with trinkets of silence so we can continue on with our debauched modern lifestyles and this bribery will only be met by more violence. 

There exists no form of green energy on the planet that can adequately sustain our globalist, fossil-fueled superstate, our freeways and metropolises and world trade deals. That is because oil itself is not the problem, we are. This rapacious crime spree that defiled the planet began long before the automobile which has become its perpetrator's weapon of choice. It began with the Agricultural Revolution. This is when human beings first began to take more from the earth than what we gave back so we could take more and more and more.

Before this point in history, mankind had lived in relative harmony with the planet that sustained us, respecting her boundaries, seeking consent from her soil, and living within our means in a world without race, property, rigid gender roles or organized violence. But then human beings decided to take advantage of a healthy relationship and invented civilization to justify its predation. This is the kind of heinous mistake that only a rapist could make and Mother Earth's brutal campaign to avenge herself will not cease until mankind forfeits the cruel invention of modern progress and repents. 

This doesn't mean going green. This means going small. Drastically reducing our global presence by dismantling our entire multinational corporate infrastructure and returning to some form of sustainable village life. A world without highways. A world without skyscrapers or jumbo jets. A world without standing armies or the Westphalian nation state. Anything less will be met with nothing in the way of mercy, nor should it be. Unlike the murderous parents of Last House on the Left, our planet is not merely out for revenge. She is out for survival and if human beings refuse to cease living a lifestyle defined by an ecological rape culture, we will be erased.

This is the ugliest truth about climate change, the fact that it might be necessary to keep humanity from obliterating everything of beauty in its wake. With that being said, I am not a misanthropist. I happen to believe in the inherent goodness of mankind as exemplified by Peter Kropotkin in his magnum opus, Mutual Aid. Humanity only evolved to the level of intelligence that we have achieved by working together in harmony with nature. I believe that our choice to abandon that path is what has led us down the dark twisting road to the last planet on the left in an era of devolution that has led us to play the real monsters in our own horror movie. 

But I do not believe that it is too late, at least not for all of us. Our best hope as a species is to independently disengage with these systems designed for violation entirely and prepare our individual communities to withstand the earth's wrath against those who won't. This means dropping out of our rapacious economy with a self-sustaining network of autonomous communes and homesteads. This means abandoning government and replacing it with culture. A stateless counterculture of mutual aid, localism, voluntaryism, peace and perseverance. In other words, we don't need a Green New Deal, we need an Amish New Deal.

But more than anything, we must make peace with the creature stalking us and except responsibility for the fact that it was we who made its wrath inevitable. If not, we can expect nothing less than getting exactly what we deserve while we tell ourselves over and over again that it's only an apocalypse, it's only an apocalypse, it's only an apocalypse... while the credits slowly roll into the black abyss.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Untogether by Belly

* Asking for It by Hole

* Me and a Gun by Tori Amos

* Polly by Nirvana

* Ever by Flipper

* I Know the End by Phoebe Bridgers

* Suggestion by Fugazi

* Laughing With by Regina Spektor

* My War by Black Flag

* I'm Allowed by Buffalo Tom


Sunday, October 1, 2023

The War on Trans is a War on Liberty

 There are some very powerful people who want you to hate me, and they will tell you some very terrible things to convince you that I am your enemy and most of these things have to do with my admittedly unconventional gender identity. The anti-trans movement will tell you that my gender identity is a mental illness that poses an existential threat to the very fabric of a functioning society. They will tell you that my gender identity is a totalitarian ideology cooked up by crypto-Marxist Ivy League wonks to enslave Christians under some genderless new world order. They will even tell you that my gender identity is a perverted conspiracy to sexualize your children and groom them into compliant victims. 

They will tell you pretty much anything except the fact that my gender identity is a heartfelt expression of my own individuality and when their smear campaign against me fails the multibillion-dollar machine behind the anti-trans movement will begin telling you terrible things about other people who are even more marginalized than I am to keep you scared of them becoming empowered too. In fact, they've already gotten started.

Every other talking point these people regurgitate seems to be a hymn to protecting children from my kind but what does the anti-trans movement really have to say about their favorite age demographic? Their propaganda paints young people as innocent, feeble-minded, dupes who lack anything in the way of agency. They would have you believe that your own children are too stupid to tell you who they are and that they should have zero expectation of privacy or free expression. 

These people don't just want any notion of the very existence of people like me to be removed from schools and public spaces, they want to transform these commons into a hyper-vigilante police state that carefully governs the conversations and behavior of young people and urges public officials to report on their movements to legal guardians like the Stasi. Basically, according to the supposed libertarians of the anti-trans movement, your civil rights do not exist until your 18th birthday and maybe not even then.

The latest target of the war on trans is the mentally disabled, in particular those who happen to find themselves on the autism spectrum. It's actually quite the turn if you think about it. Suddenly, these braying hate-mongers care very deeply about degenerate groomers like me, they just believe that we're all retarded whack-jobs getting played by big pharma. Their proof, if you can call it that, is the fact that a lot of trans people seem to be nuts. Fair enough, they're not totally wrong about this. Rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation do run pretty high among trans people but they're high for a reason. Trans people struggle to cope because we live in a society that demonizes anyone who doesn't fit into a very confining script and refuses to perform the roles assigned to us before we're even old enough to say, 'shut the fuck up.' 

As for autism, the prevalence of this "condition" in the overall trans community is not particularly well known but it is elevated among people actually seeking care for gender dysphoria for the simple reason that these people are more likely to receive a diagnosis. With that being said, having personally known plenty of people on the spectrum, both inside and out of the trans community, a correlation between the two would not be particularly shocking to me. Your average autistic person isn't even nuts, they're just someone wired to be incapable of falling for the bullshit of pointless social norms like the gender binary. This is an admirable trait that autistic people happen to share with children which I believe is the real reason why the very powerful people behind the anti-trans movement want them both to be singled out to be sufficiently governed. 

Much like the transgender phenomena itself, there is nothing particularly new about the anti-trans movement. These charlatans may paint themselves as a grassroots coalition of concerned parents fighting big government intrusion into Christian family life, but this is all just smoke. The anti-trans movement is actually just the latest crusade of the Christian Right. All of the big names pushing the most draconian legislation along with the barely literate talking points that drive it home are agents of the same millionaire moneychangers behind such social engineering projects as the PMRC and Satanic Panic. In fact, the two biggest anti-trans lobbies, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, are both little more than front groups for Focus on the Family, an organization founded by Jerry Fallwell's heir apparent, James Dobson. 

These people don't give a fuck about free speech or civil liberties. They aren't looking to reign in state power, they want to hijack it for their own jihad to turn America into an Evangelical Saudi Arabia. Trans people like me are simply their latest scapegoat. But their willingness to demonize and control other ungovernable populations in the name of religious liberty should tip you off to their true agenda and that agenda has less to do with pronouns and hormones than it does with social control.

Regardless of how you may feel about my gender identity, powerful people have always felt threatened by the culture of individual liberty that it represents. This is why Christian statists have been suppressing the existence of third genders since they hijacked the Bible and turned it into a weapon for the same empire that murdered Jesus. If something as fundamental as biology cannot be governed then nothing can. My gender is just a loose thread that threatens to unravel the entire tapestry of social constructs that powerful people like James Dobson have long relied on to keep poor people divided against each other while he walks off with their wallets.

The mainstream trans movement often pushes back against the notion of gender as a choice because it belittles the fact that most of us didn't choose this, but I think this is a mistake and it's one that betrays what defines us as a people. Gender isn't a choice, but shouldn't it be? Shouldn't everything be? This is what the Christian Right is so terrified of, and I say we give it to them with both barrels by embracing voluntaryism as the only philosophy truly compatible with radical Queer culture. But first let me tell you a few things that the powerful don't want you to know about me.

They don't want you to know that I am an individual that can't be stuffed into anyone's box. They don't want you to know that I am a lifelong anarchist and a registered Libertarian who actually believes in the small government that they secretly fear. They don't want you to know that am a devout Christo Pagan who follows the traditions of the early Celtic church that still held third genders like mine as sacred. They don't want you to know that I am a survivor of real child abuse and that this experience informs my opposition to the very existence of any compulsory school system. They don't want you to know that I was groomed by the Christian Right for eleven years in the Catholic Church and that I lose sleep over the fact that adults are still afforded the right to break children just because they can. They don't want you to know that I actually support your right to hate me, to say terrible things about me, and even to teach your children to hate themselves, just so long as you leave the law off of their bodies and afford them the right to think for themselves without being policed by the state.

More than anything though, the anti-trans movement doesn't want you to know that I am more like you than the statist fanatics who run their con job will ever be, and they don't want you to know that if they can eviscerate my rights, and the rights of children and disabled people and any other individual, then they can eviscerate your rights too. Hate me if you want. That's your right. I just thought you should know.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: songs that influenced this post

* Been a Son by Nirvana

* Here by Soccer Mommy

* Plump by Hole

* Salt in the Wound by boygenius

* Criminal by Fiona Apple

* Divine Hammer by the Breeders

* Kool Thing by Sonic Youth

* Free to Decide by the Cranberries