A small collection of insights into the human condition.
5. Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Teen Carolina.
4. Ladies and gentlemen…actually I couldn’t find the name of this contestant. Hero biscuits for anyone who can get me her name.
3. Remember those eight Florida teens who not only beat up a classmate, but videotaped the beating and, even better, posted it to Youtube? Well here’s the video of them being released. Listen to the parents…American presidential candidates should be using sock puppets to win votes from these people.
I never knew how similar the face of evil is to that of brainlessness.
2. More people than you think actually do this. Search “baby bounce” on Youtube. Eesshh!!
1.Ladies and gentlement, the Westboro Baptist Church.
I found this one as a response to Westboro Baptist Church. I’m not religious, but I like her.
Hey, they stole the Shaft song!!
The headline of this installment was inspired by a line from Luciano Iacobelli’s poem entitled “Notebook 1: On Stuttering”.
Voting is one of the few things where boycotting in protest clearly makes the problem worse rather than better.
This is embarrassing. After two decades of joining protest marches in Toronto and Vancouver, six years of professing my political opinions on Latchkey.Net, a one-year subscription to Adbusters, and a two weekends at an Alaho Valley Anti-Logging Camp, I must confess to you that I didn’t start voting until I was 28.
Reasons? It wasn’t apathy. I wasn’t shy of hitting the streets and demonstrating my political views with others. As well, my interest in politics had been strong since my early twenties; my curiosity was fervent enough to lead me to a communist cell meeting during my U of T years. But thinking about it, perhaps here, in this cell meeting, is a good place to start.
The interest in other systems was sparked by pessimism towards my own. An Elections Canada survey, published in 2003, lists the top ten reasons participants decided not to vote. The top three are: 1. just not interested, 2. didn’t like parties/candidates, 3. vote wouldn’t matter. Numbers two and three could best describe the reasons for my voter abstinence. Both reasons were fueled by my burning cynicism, and the culture of my twenties bolstered this cynicism. The books and magazines I read condemned any individual who dared to lead, regardless of their political party or persuasion. The system was a corrupt sham, and anyone who joined it was corrupt by having become a part of it. Looking back, it seemed that the only ones who were of any virtue to me were those who were trying to undermine the system. No wonder the original movie, The Matrix, resonated with so many people of my generation. When I think of the main character, Neo, pulling himself out of that tub of amniotic fluid, I can’t help but think of the front cover of Kalle Lasn’s book, Culture Jam depicting the back of a man’s head with a bar code tattooed to the back of his neck.
With the idea of culture jamming, popular methods of subverting the system come to mind. Faux slogans like “Is there a GAP in your life?” and collective boycotts like “Buy Nothing Day”. I see now that the operative word in the latter concept is “nothing”. Buy nothing from the system, contribute nothing to the system, do nothing for the system. If you don’t like a job, leave it. If you don’t like a newspaper, don’t read it. In the 1990’s we voted with our feet. The idea was to choke the system with our absence, and if the system failed to notice us gone, then stage a protest (with the municipalities approval, of course). Though this wasn’t social apathy, I’d call it aggressive apathy. I really did want change, but I was terrified of becoming part of the system and therefore selling out. What I had to sell, I have no idea, now. A few poetry chapbooks?
Regardless, the idea of aggressive apathy has two flaws. Let me explain. At the core of my twenty-something cynicism were evil multinational corporations like Monsanto and Philip Morris. (I haven’t thought of these companies for years, this brings back memories….sigh) As I saw it, these companies could do whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. They had minor governments and armies in their pockets and they answered only to the shareholders. The public was powerless to stop them. Now, the connection I failed to make was that the public also has shares. Like shareholder, every individual, or citizen, to be more exact, is a part owner, not of a company, but of a country. And like the collective power of ownership shareholders have over their multinational corporations, as a taxpaying Canadian citizen, I OWN small part of Canada and I have a little bit of power over who runs this country. And I consider the Voter Information Card I received before an election proof of this ownership.
Now, in the aggressively apathetic mindset, the weapons of choice are subversion on a prankster-ish scale, public demonstrations, and boycotts. Here lies the second flaw. The single article of power I have over my country, I cannot execute through any of these methods. The years and energy I spent trying to force the system to change could have been better spent simply walking to my nearest polling station and casting my vote. This is not to say that public demonstrations and boycotts are ineffective, but they are useless gestures without the electoral participation of those involved. If you want to hit them where it hurts, vote. The rest is window dressing. This is what I’ve learned.
Now, if you take what I have learned and apply it to the American Gore/Bush election in 2000, you might cringe as much as I do. The voter-turnout in the US has always been dismal, and if only a few more people, disinterested youths perhaps (like myself, a Canadian counterpart at the time) would have cast their vote, things would have no doubt turned out much different in the world today.
an open field
and my mother
she touches my shoulder
she says -look up
you can tell if its a hawk
by the curls in its wings
I am being carried
with slow drifting sight
from the curl end
of her voice
into the sun
after 10 years
the height of dreams
along the span of day and night
I recede from the backseat window
finding my self
in the final
of her voice
holding me again
in open fields