Text from We are here / We are everywhere / We are an image from the future; image from vom Wilzenberg cattery, via here.
Text from Greil Marcus, ‘It’s Fab, It’s Passionate, It’s Wild, It’s Intelligent! It’s the Hot New Sound of England Today!’ in In the Fascist Bathroom: Writings on Punk, 1977-1992; picture from von Halterner See cattery, via here.
So, yeah, I made a bunch of pictures using MS Paint and German cat breeder websites. Text from “TEACHERS YOU PUT YEARS ON US”, leaflet produced by 16-18 year old apprentices during struggles in France 1986-7, found here; picture from "of little Buddha" cattery, via here.
We feel honored to have a companion like autocorrect who trusts that, despite surface clumsiness or nonsense, inside us always smiles an articulate truth.
Just now, for example, I reached for my phone and bashed my finger pads against the glass to see what wisdom autocorrect might read from me today. I started in the general vicinity of the letter d and then just let loose, trying to tap at random across the characters. The first time I tapped out dcisnence and drew existence. The random string dzyjzynxe produced distance. The third time I went a little longer and beset my keyboard with descinnztsb. This instantly transformed itself into deacon stab. And there it was, a little potted history of humanity: first birth, then exile, and before you know it somebody’s gone and shanked a priest.
We write something and immediately take responsibility for it; we see something in the world and, as charitable interpreters, want to believe that it contains meaning.
Years ago, we were smoking outside of a punk collective house.
In those days we discussed ‘possibility’ all the time, and this particular time was no different. We had been spending our time doing ‘possible’ things. Organizing, protesting, distributing literature, having weird-as-shit polyamorous relationships. Someone suggested that these activities were substitutes for the impossible things we ‘truly desired’ (I know, right?). It was true: none of us wanted the tedium of activism at all. What we wanted was to blow holes in the walls of prisons, to unlock grocery stores, to writhe in orgies by the hundreds, to disarm the police, to throw politicians into the back of vans and drive off of bridges into lakes. To be warlords or whatever. These were the impossible things for which our day-to-day activisms played surrogate.
This conversation may sound naïve and stupid now, but it represents an important moment in our lives. Once you realize that your desires are impossible, an obvious dilemma presents itself … either:
You pursue your desires knowing that they are impossible, like some kind of priest or terminal workaholic or … (what’s the word for suicide bomber that isn’t weird to say on the internet?) or;
You decide ‘not to waste your time on the unrealistic’. Shortly thereafter, you realize that you can never do what you want to do and that your life is just full of the shit you’re doing instead. Then finally: “Given that I won’t be doing what I want, what should I do?”
In both cases, the distinction between activism and careerism becomes imperceptible. People who choose the first option … at least in the interesting circles … end up imprisoned, ruined, or killed. Those who sit in prison, or are ruined for life, or bleed out on the battlefield … they are our gladiators. They pay the ultimate price so that we will always have something to argue about at dinner parties, or share on Facebook.
The rest of us, like it or not, have made the second choice.
the older I get, the more I understand squidwards anger
You either die Spongebob, or live long enough to see yourself become Squidward.
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I discovered that if Mountain Goats songs teach you anything, it’s not pessimism or bitterness or melodrama; it’s loyalty. Not to the people you’ve loved, exactly, but to the fact that you did love them. Maybe you don’t anymore, but that doesn’t invalidate the choices you made when you did. If you listen to enough Mountain Goats songs you learn that there is a kind of dignity in honoring feelings you no longer have. John Darnielle’s people fall out of love, yes, but they never forget that they were in it.
Which is, I suppose, why people love the Mountain Goats so shamelessly. That’s a feeling, after all, and we honor it, along with the sadness that made it possible. If we are very lucky, we grow out of that sadness eventually. But the songs remain, along with our Pavlovian responses to them, as relics of former selves that—as John Darnielle is constantly reminding us—we need to respect.
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