Sunday, November 26, 2023

From Stonewall to Gaza: What it Means to be a Queer for Palestine

 When you are granted the awkward misfortune of being raised in the wrong gender in a conservative small town you get used to being the butt of every limp-dick breeder's stupid fucking jokes. I've heard them all before and they ceased being funny sometime between the pedophile priests and the exorcists. 

With that being said, in order to survive and organize as a radical Queer anarcho-populist amongst the rural poor in MAGA country, I have had little choice but to grow a thicker skin than most, even going so far as to take vulgar insults in stride and repurpose them as weapons of radical pride. Depending on my mood, my response to words like 'tranny' and 'faggot' generally fall somewhere between "Yeah, so what?" and "You're goddamn right I am!"

But some jokes go too far even for me. In the wake of the Al-Aqsa Flood attacks and Israel's subsequent mass slaughter of civilians in Gaza, the notion of "Queers for Palestine" has become the joke and it isn't just neckless yocals at the local filling station making it. 

It's self-proclaimed allies like Bill Maher and the staff of Reason Magazine. Supposedly enlightened liberals and libertarians who find the very idea of freaks like me marching for Muslim savages in the Levant to be silly. Let me make myself crystal clear right here and right now that these people are racist assholes, and I wrote this post to tear them a new one.

Like 99.9% of all anti-Zionists, I make zero attempt to defend the cowards of Hamas or even the corrupt fucking gangsters of Fatah. However, I do think that it needs to be pointed out that in spite of what the pro-Israel propaganda may tell you, Palestine is not quite the Queer hell that these bigots paint it as and Israel is far from Fire Island. LGBTQ rights actually very greatly throughout the Palestinian territories. 

Same sex sexual activities were decriminalized in the West Bank in 1951 and while they remain prohibited in the Gaza Strip under a code left over from the British Mandate carrying a sentence of up to ten years, there exists very little evidence that this law has ever actually been enforced and it appears to be largely obsolete in practice. In fact, the only record of anyone even being charged with this post-colonial relic came in the form of threats to silence the author of a book with a few Queer characters in 2017. 

This isn't to say that Palestine is some kind utopian bathhouse either. Hate crimes are not unusual and Queer rights groups like Al Qaws remain targets for legal harassment by the Palestinian Authorities, but we do in fact exist in Palestine and Queer organizations have been out and active since the Second Intifada in Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa and the West Bank with many in our ranks finding shelter and solidarity among left-wing secular movements like the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine. 

Israel, for their part in this charade, only plays nice with Queer folk when they're trying to get away with bombing the brown ones. Same sex marriage remains illegal there as does interfaith marriage and as late as 2008 polls have shown that over half of all Israelis still view homosexuality as a disease that needs to be cured.

This noxious practice of using the illusion of liberal tolerance to dress up colonialism in the drag of progress is known as pinkwashing and it isn't just being used as a license to kill Arabs, it is being used to destroy the very fabric of what it means to be Queer. 

My identity is more than just a collection of cultural tropes to be assimilated into the global neoliberal hivemind. We are a tribe, a complex social construct that is defined by our resistance to colonial repression and losing sight of this fact won't just mean complicity in Palestinian genocide, it will mean our own erasure as anything more than domesticated poodles at the foot of our master's bed.

Before the Romans hijacked Christianity and used it to revive the same flailing empire that killed Christ, Queer people existed openly in pagan communities across the globe, from the genderfuck priestesses of Cybele to the Hindu Hijra. The world was a complicated and at times violent quilt work of diverse and largely stateless indigenous cultures, with every tribe and every village holding their own interpretations of what gender and sexuality meant to them. 

This had to change once the Vatican was built in order to use the weapon of forced cultural universalism to consolidate every tribe beneath a single governable vision of social purity. Rural Europe was first to go with peasant heathen holdouts like my Druid ancestors being burned at the stake during the Inquisition for venerating gods who transgressed Catholic gender boundaries.

The "New World" followed. Before the Conquistadors, over 150 Indigenous American tribes acknowledged the existence of at least three genders, with many recognizing as many as six and some practicing a completely fluid approach to expression altogether that left the very notion of gender virtually irrelevant. 

The Spaniards responded to this display of diversity by feeding my people alive to their dogs. Similar atrocities were taken against the Bakla in the Philippines and the British Empire picked up where the Pope left off in South Asia, Africa, and Oceania, erasing the Mahu from Hawaii, the Mugwe from Kenya, and Brotherboys and Sistergirls from Aboriginal Australia.

The Muslim world was not untouched either. Islamic culture has a long and complicated history with gender diversity, but many pre-modern Islamic societies accepted the existence of third genders like the Mukhanath, later leading conservative revivalist imams like the Ayatollah Khomeini to grant fatwas protecting the right to gender confirming surgery. 

This isn't to say that things were perfect in pre-colonial times, but they were diverse, and diversity has always been the enemy of imperialism because diversity threatens the establishment of the single global order that empires depend on. This diversity that our masters fear most is also what came to define the very concept of Queerness. Purged from our original tribes and granted zero place to exist beneath the beige yoke of Victorian colonialism, sexual and gender minorities built a unique quilt work culture of our own in the shadows from the fragments of our pagan pasts.

But we only came out of the closet and into the streets during the maelstrom of the sixties when we were inspired by Black Power and other Third World uprisings to bash back with furious uprisings like the Stonewall Riots. It was by the light of those flaming cop cars that we found our way and forged a new identity defined by our open resistance to empire and we weren't the only ones. 

The Palestinians were another shattered people of many tribes who came together during this era to resist annihilation at the hands of puritanical European overlords. You see, despite what certain killers may tell the Queer folk of the west and the conservative Muslims of the Gaza Strip, we are not each other's natural born enemies, and I refuse believe that it's too late for us to become allies once more, especially not when there is so much at stake for all of us.

I don't have to agree with every Arab or every Muslim to find solidarity in our shared struggle against assimilation into a hostile foreign culture and I don't need the trinkets of tolerance chucked at my feet like scraps to a beggar by conquistadors like Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu. These baby killers can keep their marriage contracts and their military service papers. They aren't worth the price of our soul or our agency. 

And you elitist secular Europhiles sitting on your corporate pedestals can make any fucking joke you want. My people don't need your goddamn approval either. What we need is the vision to see through the pinkwashing lies of the same neoliberal order that fed our ancestors to the dogs and continues to let our sisters get raped in men's prisons while children are bombed in our names by the same putrid state. We need to break out of our safe spaces so we can rejoin a dangerously diverse coalition of anti-imperialists in the direct democracy of the streets.

But most of all, Queer people need to remember who we are and that means standing with all oppressed people from Appalachia to Palestine regardless of whatever differences we may have because it is in fact those very differences and the right to live them freely and openly that defines our shared resistance. Our diversity is our weapon and I say we use it to smash this fucking empire once and for all. 

All power to all the people from Stonewall to Gaza with unconditional solidarity from my tribe to yours. Together we will win.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana

* Heroes by David Bowie

* Champions of Red Wine by the New Pornographers

* Why We Fight by the Decemberists

* Working for the Man by Roy Orbison

* Ahead by Wire

* Spitting Off the Edge of the World by Yeah Yeah Yeahs & Perfume Genius

* Sin by Nine Inch Nails

* What Have You Done for Me Lately by Janet Jackson

* Oblivion by Grimes

* Pretend We're Dead by L7

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Will the Next Adolf Hitler Please Stand Up: America's Peculiar Genocide Fetish from Manifest Destiny to the New Nakba

 Not to be rude but America really does love to get all hot and bothered about genocide. From the news to the Hill, there seems to be a constant hunt for the next big holocaust that only America can stop with all its omnipotent exceptionalism. Another "good war" to prove to the world that we're still really the good guys after all. With this quest in mind, every two-bit, tinpot despot seems to get hyped as the next Hitler on the brink of another Final Solution. Saddam Hussein must be stopped before he can gas the rest of the Kurds. Muammar Gaddafi must be stopped before he can turn Benghazi into Buchenwald. Bashar al-Assad must be stopped before Vladimir Putin must be stopped before Xi Jinping must be stopped... 

There are just so many goddamn Hitlers to be stopped and so little time. Just cut a fucking check to Raytheon already so we can save the world again! Don't get my sarcasm wrong, I'm not trying to say there aren't monsters out there. It just feels like certain Americans need a holocaust to stop a little too badly and all too often the result tends to be a lot of really stupid wars against over-hyped monsters that end up looking like rodents compared to the creatures we replace them with. And then there's Gaza.

Some 12,000 people annihilated in just over a month, most of them women and children. That is 1 out of every 200 people in the Gaza Strip or 0.5% of a population of 2.3 million impoverished people dead, wiped from the map in a blitzkrieg carpet bombing campaign that has reduced everything that moves in that tiny enclave to guts and rubble. Refugee camps, residential neighborhoods, apartment blocks, schools, bakeries, hospitals, mosques, churches... No target is off limits, and every last Palestinian is painted as a potential enemy of civilization. All while Benjamin Netanyahu, a flamboyantly racist gangster with an open disdain for democracy, consolidates his power and plots to push an entire race of people out into the wastelands of the Sinai Peninsula with a steam shovel or kill them trying.

Well, here it is America, here's your fucking holocaust giftwrapped like a holiday goose and complete with its very own Hitler and a clearly mapped out Final Solution. You wanna be the hero so goddamn badly? Here's your shot. Bibi's bombing babies and somebody needs to stop him before it's too late. We'll even let you wear the cape if it turns you on. 

There's just one little problem here. The campaign to erase Gaza from the face of the map may be the next big thing in genocide but it turns out that America-the-beautiful is the power behind the new Hitler making it happen. Every bomb, every bullet, every canister of white phosphorous that gasses the ghettos of Gaza comes directly from your pocket, and to make things even more confounding, all the usual assholes from the news to the Hill seem to be using the ghost of the Holocaust to justify committing another goddamn Holocaust.

The Israelis are Jews after all, and the Jews were the targets of genocide. There go, the Jews get to commit one free genocide against another stateless people even if they had nothing to do with the last genocide. By this bizarre logic, the Navajos should be allowed to wipe out the Basques and we should help them do it. It is a bastardly bewitching paradigm to fuck with but sadly, it is also far from a new one. In fact, this weird genocidal algebra is the voodoo that all modern western imperialism was built on.

An empire is an infernal machine that runs on a fuel called conquest and conquest requires two primary components to succeed, annihilation and justification. Nazi Germany and the original Hitler had the first in spades and they used America's conquest of the New World as a model for their plot to conquer the old one. Manifest Destiny was the first Reich, a savage campaign that successfully stole an entire hemisphere and turned that graveyard into a booming playground for a master race to reign over for a thousand years. 56 million indigenous people exterminated from Utqiagvik to Tierra del Fuego in just over a century flat.

This was the dream, the nightmare that Adolf Hitler aspired to. Contrary to popular mythology, there was nothing particularly special or even all that unusual about Nazi Germany. Fascism itself is just a colorful collection of excuses to elevate the state to take the place of God on the white man's mantle. The Third Reich was little more than an American copycat crime. Hitler just lacked the patience to pull it off. He tried to rush Manifest Destiny, killing 17 million civilians including about 6 million Jews in a decade before he could convince the world to let him get away with it. The Nazis failed because they committed their atrocities faster than they could justify them, which is half the game. 

America on the other hand succeeded because we used monsters like Hitler to justify our own atrocities. World War Two, the supposedly "good" war, became the template for this grift. America spent its first century and a half committing every single horror that Hitler copied twice and then we took our campaign global to stop him. With the fall of the Third Reich, America managed to reinvent itself as the only solution to every other final solution and it worked. 

It didn't matter that Hitler was actually done in by his fellow monster Stalin or that America vaporized entire cities like Dresden and Hiroshima just to steal his thunder, the mythology of America-the-indispensable-solution stuck and every time we get carried away with our latest massacre in Indochina or our latest quagmire in Babylon and our mask of sanity begins to slip, we just go right back to searching for another Hitler to stop.

All too often this quest has involved genocide too. America has used quisling thugs like Suharto and Muhammad bin Salman to slaughter over 200,000 people in East Timor and nearly 400,000 in Yemen, respectively. We wiped out entire tribes in Central America in the name of fighting communism, including 200,000 people in the tiny slave colony of Guatemala alone. And perhaps the sickest thing is that America has all too often used genocide to excuse genocide, whether we're killing Gypsy babushkas in Kosovo or starving half a million babies in Iraq.

Israel is just following our playbook because Israel is our playbook. The ovens of Auschwitz weren't even cool when we weaponized the anguish of the Jewish people and directed it at their fellow Semites in Palestine in order to build another European-style ethno-state on the doorstep of the Persian Gulf. And then there's Gaza. Sunrise, sunset.

America is right to seek the destruction of the next Hitler because as long as psychopaths have nation states and standing armies to hijack, there will always be another Hitler. But America doesn't need to travel far and wide to find him. They need only to search their bathroom mirrors. America is the next Hitler because America was the first Hitler, and we can put a stop to a thousand genocides from Papua New Guinea to the Gaza Strip just by bringing the war home and confronting the enemy within.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: songs that influenced this post

* We Care a Lot by Faith No More

* Nazi Punks Fuck Off by Dead Kennedys

* Youth Against Fascism by Sonic Youth

* Kick Out the Jams by the MC5

* Rambozo the Clown by Dead Kennedys

* Cult of Personality by Living Colour

* The American Ruse by the MC5

* I Against I by Bad Brains

* Wolf Like Me by TV On the Radio

*Problem with It by Plains

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Anger Makes Me a Modern Girl: Weaponizing PTSD in an Age of Global Injustice

 In case you haven't noticed, the news has been pretty fucked up lately and frankly so have I. This isn't exactly a new development for me or the world. In fact, for as long as I can remember, it feels like the planet has been burning behind an unblinking lens while I bawl my eyes out in the corner but lately, I've been getting a little exhausted by all the carnage. Just when I thought that nothing could be more infuriating than watching wave after wave of conscripted slaves being blown to bits for NATO in Ukraine, Israel decides to respond to a completely avoidable terrorist attack by declaring total war on the children of one of the most impoverished places on earth.

Every day is body parts and rubble and screaming babies and I'm starting to break. I turn off the BBC every night and cry myself to sleep only to get up the next day and lose my shit in line at the drug store. It feels like I'm drowning in death. I can't get their faces out of my head. Broken, smeared with blood, eyes screaming 'why?' They all look so familiar and it's burning holes through my heart like a lit cigarette. 

So why not just turn it off? According to every other asshole, it's apparently that goddamn easy. Just pull the fucking plug, get offline, or better yet get a grip. "The world isn't all about you, Nicky. You have to learn to take these things a little less personally." I've been hearing that advice, often unsolicited, for most of my life and maybe, for the sake of my increasingly brittle mental health, I should finally suck it up and take it. Everyone from my elementary school teachers to my own editors have told me in so many words to settle down and get objective. So, why can't I just behave like a good little journalist and stop crying into my keyboard?

Because people have been telling me to shut the fuck up and behave for my entire life and my writing, for better or worse, is the result of a childhood spent being abused, ignored and punished for speaking out about it. This is my voice, and this is what I have to say.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Agoraphobia. Gender Dysphoria. Repressed Memory Syndrome. Fancy words that come with the torture of getting to know myself over the last decade in order to figure out why I spent the better part of the decade before it too terrified to even leave my house. It all started with me realizing that my gender identity had become a prison cell but the moment that I picked that lock I began plummeting perilously down the dark abyss of a bottomless black rabbit hole of things that I had purposely forgotten and things that I dearly wish that I could forget. 

These things seemed to go from harrowing to downright horrifying about six months ago when I bumped up my estrogen dosage from six to eight milligrams. That one extra blue pill seemed to come crashing through me like a stone through a stained-glass window. This was the dose that finally put my hormone levels within the normal female range and the moment I got there a whole lot of really scary shit began making way too much sense and this includes my apparently pathological inability to get the screaming children of the Middle East out of my head.

You see, once upon a time, I didn't know that I was supposed to be a boy. I was very small and perfectly content with not being saddled with the expectations of a concrete gender identity. I was a fragile, dreamy little creature who adored Madeline books and Tim Burton movies. I wanted to be Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. A girl stitched together by her own hand from all sorts of different things that other people didn't want. But at some point, it became painfully clear to me that my parents and seemingly everybody else expected me to be like my older brother.

As far as I was concerned, this wasn't fair. They had it all wrong. So, I tried to tell them in the only language that a three-year-old child is fluent in, the tantrum. Thousands of them. Each one more epically obnoxious than the last. I screamed. I shouted. I broke things. I refused to eat. I refused to use the bathroom. I refused to behave at all as long as I was expected to behave like a boy. My parents wouldn't listen. They just got mad and told me to settle down and shut the fuck up.

My Catholic preschool seemed to agree and when the adults at that fine institution began pushing their great big hands all over my tiny scary body, I assumed that it was all part of the same punishment for my misbehavior. I learned my lesson. My body did not belong to me. It belonged to everyone but me. It belonged to my parents, my teachers, the Church, the Pope, and Jesus Christ and in these people's hands, it clearly wasn't safe for me to be a little girl anymore. So, I made that little girl disappear. I buried her deep beneath the floorboards of my subconscious and became the only kind of boy that I was capable of being, a silent automaton drifting through the grades in a numbed-out daze with the fires of hell roaring at my back. That is until 2003.

I reached puberty the year that George W. Bush invaded Iraq on the basis of a lie that was obvious to a fourteen-year-old zombie in a fugue state but somehow seemed to fool everyone else. Suddenly, all those pious adults who taught me to turn the other cheek while they groped me were ready to blow up the world on some cheap revenge kick after being caught off-guard by 9/11.

Soon, Bagdad was burning, bloody broken little girls were being dragged out from under the smoldering rubble, and I couldn't be silent anymore. A thousand childhoods were being smashed a minute by grown-ups who I finally realized were nothing but hypocrites and liars. So, I screamed, I shouted, I dressed in all black, I wrote Black Flag lyrics in the margins of my textbooks, and I refused to stand for their Pledge of Allegiance or bow to their false idols. I finally found a voice that felt like my own and the adults crucified me for it.

They called me a monster. They accused me of dressing like a gang member and supporting the terrorists. They told me that they were afraid to leave me alone with the younger students. They accused me of plotting to shoot my classmates and burn down the school. I tried to tell them that I was just a pacifist who was appalled by their war against children, but once again, they didn't fucking listen. That's when I finally learned that adults hear only what they want to hear so that's precisely what I told them from that point on.

I burned my peace flag and became their monster. It seemed like a better option than returning to my vow of silence, but the goal was still the same. Keep the prying hands of the world off of that little girl inside the boy. I stopped smiling. I watched Taxi Driver twice a week. I shaved my head into a mohawk and dressed in an old army jacket and combat boots. I became an adolescent terrorist and relished in my newfound ability to horrify people who still thought they were in charge of me.

At first, it felt pretty good playing Travis Bickle, but I could only blow away the hypocrites so many times before I realized that I was really just Iris behind that army jacket and that girl deserved to wrap her own fingers around the trigger. I collapsed beneath the weight of my own armor after high school and by the time I finally found the courage to take it off and let that girl out it was too late. The clock had run out on her childhood. She could never go back to being that innocent child reading Madeline books and dreaming of a body stitched together from all the doll parts that didn't fit.

I've had to live with this anguish and grief for a very long time, but it only truly began to make sense to me this October when I watched with horror and disgust as the western world agreed that another generation of little girls deserved to be buried alive beneath the Gaza Strip. Maybe it is selfish to make this war about me, but I didn't invent PTSD and I can't help the fact that I still see that little girl in the searing eyes of every Palestinian child begging 'why?' I know why. Powerful adults break children because they can, because children don't have the strength to push back and aren't afforded the voice to say 'no.' Well, I'm fucking saying it.

If you sanctimonious gangsters think that I am going to just sit by and watch you get rich selling bombs to bigots so they can blow up children for their stupid fucking god, then you have another thing coming and so do the rest of the adults telling me to keep it down and be objective. Fuck all of you. Objectivity is a privilege you ripped from my body so you could break it between your fingers. I can't blow those fingers off with a .44 Magnum. I can't take my childhood back from your bloody hands. I could burn every last one of you churches to the ground and it wouldn't be enough to avenge that little girl you stole from me. 

But I can use her rage for fuel, enough fuel to power a million microphones for a million girls lost beneath your rubble. Making sure that no adult can ever ignore their screams again is my jihad. This is our voice, and this is how I get to make it right.

My unfiltered PTSD is my gift to the unheard and the ignored. I may not be a daughter of Palestine, but anger makes me a modern girl and you will grow to fear her.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Modern Girl by Sleater Kinney

* My War by Black Flag

* Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails

* Doll Parts by Hole

* London Calling by the Clash

* Rape Me by Nirvana

* Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine

* Hate My Way by Throwing Muses

* Kind of Girl by MUNA

* She Walks on Me by Hole

Sunday, November 5, 2023

A Call for Two, Three, Many Intifadas

 The Gaza Strip has gone from a prison to graveyard this fall, and the numbers are startling. Since Hamas pulled off a barbaric massacre that apparently everyone but Benjamin Netanyahu saw coming, Israel has stepped up its own barbarism against the people of Gaza to unprecedented levels and turned the month of October into a blood harvest straight out of a Stephen King novel. In the first month of this onslaught alone over 9,000 Gazans were slaughtered beneath a driving rain of American-made military ordinances. 

Nearly 4,000 or roughly 40% of the dead have been children, along with nearly 2,000 women and hundreds of the elderly, and by nearly every estimate, this number is expected rise exponentially, considering that thousands of Gazans remain missing and are likely trapped beneath the rubble of demolished tower blocks. We have been told that there are also a few terrorists in this graveyard of innocent civilians as well, but that's the thing about bombing literally everybody, if you're an asshole with a decent enough poker face you can lay claim to targeting pretty much anybody. I'm sure a few ventriloquists were probably buried in that deluge of death as well, perhaps Bibi would like to take credit for that tactical victory.

The dead have also included scores of UN relief workers and well over two dozen journalists. Entire families have been wiped out as entire neighborhoods have been flattened. With 2.3 million people packed into just 139 square miles, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on earth and nearly half of that population is now homeless with nowhere to run and no place to hide. Even hospitals aren't off limits. As Israel declares that anyone found guilty of moving in places too trashed to be evacuated from will be considered a terrorist, a population already congested with refugees finds themselves scattering like dead leaves from one hovel to the next, just waiting for another bunker busting hammer to come dropping down on their heads.

There is a word for this genre of non-fiction horror, it's called genocide, and we all need to start fucking saying it out loud. That word is no longer just a post-colonial theory or a clever historical allegory, it is a stone-cold analytical fact that no one with a functioning brain can afford to deny without being considered complicit in this unfolding tragedy. The Israelis themselves have all but admitted it. 

A proposition leaked from Israel's Intelligence Ministry that Bibi's own government has acknowledged to be legitimate explains the plot in rigid detail. A three-step process that begins with tent cities and "humanitarian corridors" on the southwest border of the Gaza Strip and ends with the entire prison colony being emptied out into the barren deserts of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. This is the exact same plot being bandied about simultaneously by the right-wing Zionist Migav Institute, headed by Bibi's former National Security Advisor, Meir Ben Shabbat, and while the Biden Administration plays to their strengths by playing dumb, a slice of their $105 billion dollar bill to fuel World War 3 in three separate theaters has been officially allocated to "the potential needs of Gazans flooding to neighboring countries." Countries like Washington's second biggest client state, Egypt.

In other words, this slaughter is happening, and it has been happening for far too long. The current campaign to evacuate half of what's left of Palestine may have taken on downright monstrous proportions thanks to the sick miracles of modern-day military science, but it is largely just a seamless continuation of the siege on which the Israeli state was formed over 75 years ago in 1948. 

This was the year that marked the beginning of a two-year mass purge known as the Nakba in which at least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and ancestral lands at gun point. 530 villages were razed to the ground and 15,000 civilians were slaughtered as 78% of historic Palestine was hijacked by a people who survived the Holocaust only to have their grief manipulated by American mandarins in order to officiate another final solution and build a western colonialist rump state on the doorstep of the oil rich Middle East.

The world needs to stop dreaming and wake the fuck up from this nightmare. We can't pretend this isn't happening anymore and we can't pretend that we aren't all complicit in the bloodshed. I myself have adopted the tendency to air on the side of strict isolationism over any form of internationalism because I have seen firsthand how even earnest internationalism can all too often veer into reckless "humanitarian" interventionism, but what is rapidly unfolding like a funeral shroud over the Gaza Strip is not merely an Israeli genocide but a genocide made possible by the Atlantic elites of a declining Western Civilization and their pompous puppets can throw all the fits they want about the need for calm and restraint. Their guns and wallets speak the loudest.

Israel has become a martial superstate largely dependent on the largesse of American taxpayers. They have already received a record shattering $3.8 billion dollars in American military aid for the fiscal year of 2022 which itself is only one piece of an even larger deal signed by Barack Obama in 2016 to furnish the Zionist Death Star with $38 billion dollars in homicidal machinery by 2026, and even this is just the tip of a $263 billion dollar iceberg paid in yearly instalments since 1948. 

What few people outside of the Middle East seem to grasp is that what we face with the Nakba isn't merely an act of ethnic cleansing which is rapidly approaching a full-scale genocide. This is a western proxy genocide and Europe's hands are nearly as filthy as ours. After all, the EU is Israel's second largest supplier of military technology with peace loving Eurocrats licensing nearly two-billion Euros in contracts over the last decade alone. America may build the death machines, but it is the Swiss and the Italians that ensure that all the body shredding gears are up to snuff.  

Westerners can no longer stand idly by with our conscience in our back pockets while one of the most marginalized communities on the planet is left to fight for their basic right to exist alone against the collective strength of the most powerful nations on earth. But what can we do? At the risk of being banished from every last corner of the internet for an eternity, this Queer anarchist suggests that we look to the Shiites for guidance. 

We now know for a fact that the only reason that Benjamin Netanyahu waited as long as he did to send IDF ground troops into the ghettos of Gaza was because of the Biden White House's fears of opening up a second front to the north with Lebanon's Hezbollah. Other Shia militias from Yemen to Iraq have taken notice and done their part to reign hell over the American military presence being used to hold off the horrified Muslim world while their brothers and sisters are systematically annihilated. Say what you will about these crude shellings but they have more than likely been affective in saving lives and while their exact machinations may lack the imagination necessary to prevent the final solution to the Palestinian question, I do believe that these swashbuckling militiamen have the right idea.

We, the stateless anti-imperialists of the world must do anything and everything we can to open as many fronts as possible. To paraphrase the brilliant Marxist strategist Che Guevara, we must launch two, three, many intifadas. We must swarm the embassies of the United States, Israel, and the EU across the globe with millions of irate protesters. We must expand the BDS Movement to include every institution that does business with any facet of the western military industrial complex. We must hack the servers of every intelligence agency engaged in surveilling the people of Palestine. We must provide cryptocurrency markets for the starving prisoners of the Gaza Strip and ghost guns for the unarmed shepherds of the West Bank.

Anarchists, communists, libertarians, conservatives, Jews, Christians, pagans and Muslims must all build a robust and united front against the white supremacy of Zionism as well as any attempt to smear all those who criticize this evil as antisemites. In short, we must come together and use every tactic available short of terrorism to sabotage the western conspiracy to erase the Gaza Strip because the lives of millions of innocent civilians depends on our willingness to shut down our own masters. If not now, then when? If not us, then who?

As sickeningly cruel as the irony may be, this new Nakba may very well become our generation's Holocaust if we don't stand up with fists raised high. Never again means NEVER again.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Late at Night by Buffalo Tom

* Jesus by the Velvet Underground

* Toxicity by System of a Down

* Afraid of Heights by boygenius

* The Killing Moon by Echo & the Bunnymen

* Zombie by the Cranberries

* Buildings by Regina Spektor

* Instant Karma! by John Lennon

* Panic by the Smiths

* Pennyroyal Tea by Nirvana

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.