The Rev says “All of life is becoming a kind of porn.” He has a cure for that.
Dear Reverend Billy,
You talk a lot about the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction. But you always call for non-violent protest. If things keep getting worse, shouldn’t we be ready to stop this madness by any means necessary?
Well, yes, the violence by Chase, Blackrock, Citigroup, Exxon, Shell — they have made the dark decision. Killing the planet’s life systems is their big profit center. But don’t be tempted to play into their hands. They have the police and courts set up for our protests to be vilified in the manner of rape victims. Manuel Estaebon Paez Teran (aka “Tortuguita”), shot in their tent defending the Welaunee Forest from being cut down to build Cop City. Anthony Lowe Jr., the double amputee, shot while trying to escape on his stumps. Christian Glass, shot by police while parked in his car.
Shootings of all kinds have expanded in parallel to climate violence. Knocking on a neighbor’s door is becoming deadly at the same time as the climate crisis invents new nightmares like the atmospheric rivers in California — deadly waterfalls coming straight down from jet streams.
It is not the time to protest in their gun sights. And yet, as actual living becomes impossible, the virtual life of the screen cooks our dopamines. The other side of their strategy, less clear to us, is that they are converting actual living into virtual living.
They are managing the general psyche of the public as never before. A gigantic simulation is growing around our eyes. All of life is becoming a kind of porn. So where does this leave the social change that absolutely must happen for equality, justice and the turnaround of the Earth’s crisis?
We must GO OUTSIDE! They don’t want us to reenter public space for some of our random, rhythmic full-body story-telling. When we become predictable in our rallies and marches and occupations, then we are vulnerable to their guns, their defamation, i.e. public-safety-as-trauma. We are safest and more effective as resistance to this madness when we are creating original culture. They won’t be able to aim their guns or aim their screens.
The answer comes to us in the explanation of medieval carnival by Mikhail Bakhtin. He says that the opening ritual of the carnival was to depose the King, replace him with a Fool and then depose the Fool as the party devolves into unchecked mayhem.
A fanfuckingtastic modern and political carnival took place over Earth Day weekend in London. Two hundred ecology-centric organizations responded to the invitation by Extinction Rebellion (XR) to lay siege to the fossil-fuel politicians in their Westminster offices. As Big Ben loomed above, a carnival of greenies — 60,000 of us — from Greenpeace to your local recycling group began a mile-wide circle dance.
It took the form of a constellation of drumming chanting rallies. Each group had its own spot, but within range of the others. The main stage was there, but there were portable stages called rickshaws and parades and dancing and music. Music, and more music. Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.
In the UK the bobbies don’t have guns. But you could see that the police were disoriented by the strange arrangement of partying, workshops, drum-circles. The XR leadership was laughing a lot. I was asked to give a blessing, and while walking to the stage, going through my script in my head, a co-founder of XR Gail Bradbrook stopped me and began rubbing soma mushroom oil into my arms while delivering a laughing lecture about witches making love to their broomsticks… that’s how they flew, you see… and that’s how my blessing flew…
The demand by the 200 groups of the government, the setting up of a special Earth-sensitive National Assembly, was not met. The new prime minister is, after all, a billionaire investment banker from Goldman Sachs. The vision of a democracy for the Earth was created, shared, and planning has begun.
The King and other Fools with crowns were marched to the Tower of London but the doors were left ajar.
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