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.”—Hanna Hurr and Tyler Reinhardt, Blame Us For Trying