Anything and anyone can be neutralized by being commodified. They knew they would never lose control over the population when they had realized this.
They would give them the floor to pull out their teeth.
“There’s a revolution going on. Our generation shall not be silenced!”
“We will not be ignored!”
Like infants, all they desired was attention.
“We brought the war to an end with our voices.”
“Here, have this job, this car. Take the mike. Tell us your story.”
They offer the would-be dissenters a defilement of a kind they could be in love with. Allow the leader; the alpha activist, to be the Righter of Wrongs, dealer in shock, assistance free of charge is presented outside the usual circles of penny counting organizers. They all have a weakness for poverty.
When an attack was launched, they took hold of its manifestations and ran with them. Previously they had hunted dissenters down, making them disappear, making their public personas repudiate any effective ideas they had previously advocated.
“I’m fighting the battle from the inside.”
“We will be more successful changing the system from within.”
Of course, from time to time someone had to disappear. They achieved this by making the most dangerous ones famous.
Group communication was carried out in code. We had plans. Meetings were never announced. Imperative operations were of necessity secret. We would carry out surgical strikes on the dominant culture, and then repair to a safe location to compare notes. We would spike trees, plaster subtly altered posters over advertisements in the subways to make people question what they were seeing. Congratulations all around. It was beautiful. We would make them see for the first time in their lives. Once they could see their world, their safety and identity for what it was, they would join us in tearing down the tyrannical structure.
Aesthetic Shock Tactics.
Freedom was palpable, a promise sure to be delivered, delivered by us, for which History would be forever grateful to us. Our sex was for liberation. Our dress was a form of political statement. Our couplings, triplings, quadruplings and toinfinituplings were revolutionary acts, challenging the whole structure the tribes, families, schools, nations had been based.
There was a tremendous energy in those days. We began to feel a need to take it further. We wanted to identify ourselves, declare our presence, stand up and add our voice to the general discourse. Plans were made, with an eye to add these public statements to the activities we were already carrying out.
“Release your psyche.”
The first step was the publication of flyers, then a magazine. Artists among us, of course, we were all artists, found alternative spaces to show. We hosted events that brought out police, the press, motley crowds of deviants, feeling at home in the world for the first time. Identities and behaviors that had previously been kept hidden for fear of imprisonment and death emerged into the light of day. Latex queens, new primitives, rivetheads, poets, sex heretics, nudists, pagans, post-everything artists, madmen, lefties, potheads, homeless prophets of a new tribe. We were the future.
Venom, God love them, venom was sold as a means for their emancipation. Devices, mental, chemical and philosophical, that would expand the mind had to be replaced with the tools for their destruction, so we could offer the hand of help, tell them the manacles were ornaments. If they could feel their Anarchy, that was usually enough. Needed things being illicit, this illegality made it easy to identify harmful things with the same creative revolt.
They were flooded with their own desires.
They were beautiful in the bloom of their first stirrings.
The music was the easiest to assimilate. The machine was in place, the attention of young people was already riveted to its icons. In the past they had tried to shut the artists that were opposed to them out. This brought the artists more power. Insurrections seemed impervious to the resistance of the greatest power that had ever been held. Subversion was indeed unstoppable.
Expressions were polemical; we were powerful in our unrelenting self-expression, angry in our protest. Crowds at our events were growing. Our images were flying through the air on the vibrations of electrons, penetrating homes, and flying through bodies of the populace. He gained a name. That name became a shibboleth of gargantuan proportions.
Fury bloomed on the road to our destruction, the science of being; that dissection of nothingness, seeming such a vital intellectual approach at the time. At first we noticed a dispersion of our frame of mind: the damage to the consequence. The celebration killed us. Our triumph was a skin; pulsating and growing larger, the glaze started to be slowly sucked away in eagerness for our image as grotesques; media outlets diminishingly resisted our disguise. We had arrived as inhuman presences in the fiendish morass of normalcy. Acceptance was seductive. We were beautiful. More than ever, we were beautiful.
Are we now the present?