*Just in case you’re not very good at empathy, I’ve helpfully put some emoticons in the corner of the photographs to approximate how I was feeling.
Well there you go, after many years of protesting, I finally got what was coming to me all along…a kick in the shin from a police ‘man’. I put the word ‘man’ in quotes not because I’m about to go into some rehashing of contemporary gender politic, but because the word ‘man’ – in the context of policeman -implies the entity would be human. However, I’m not really sure we can take this for granted. Whilst I’m not suggesting the police are literally cyborgs or robots, in some situations they appear to lose their humanity. There are many reasons for this and whilst I dont agree entirely with her conclusions, @stavvers has written a really good piece on the police, and police culture here, if you’re interested. If the police were actually robots, at least we’d know where we stand. Life would be consistent, and we’d get a consistently winning smile, just like mr robocop on the right there. Just imagine that before your tents are blown to pieces by a plasma beam, or military grade armour piercing bullets, you would have that stony and heartless benevolent gaze looking down upon on you.
“REMOVE YOUR TENT.YOU HAVE TWENTY SECONDS TO COMPLY” he/she/it says.
“why should I remove it? its my right to peacefully protest”
“REMOVE YOUR TENT. YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY” he/she/it says.
“Your jobs next mate, why dont…”
“I AM A ROBOT. CONCEPTS LIKE JOB SECURITY ARE MEANINGLESS TO ME. I HAVE WD40 AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS. YOU HAVE THREE SECONDS TO COMPLY” he/she /it says
“We have solidarity with you, we’re all the 99…”
BLAM!!!! KERPOW!!! SMASH!!! KERPLUNK! YAHTZEE!!
Whilst the police may not literally be robots I think that most of us would be better off if they followed the Three Laws of Robots, as initially set out by Isaac Asimov.
1 A robot/police officer may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2 A robot/police officer must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3 A robot/police officer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Why? The police officer is a paradox. They are part machine, and part human, (and sometimes all idiot). This is an unresolvable conflict. Like the army they are tools, (in many senses of the word), to execute utilitarian decision making or principles. This means even if the system, and its laws, were perfect that at the very least, they will be forced into acting against a minority of peoples benefit for the supposed benefit of the majority. For a human being this is only sustainable as a pattern of behaviour if*:
*list not exhaustable
- You become desensitised to your own, and others personal distress.
- You have no personal political or philosophical beliefs.
- You have the wrong, (facist/authoritarian), set of beliefs.
- You can sustain high levels of cognitive dissonance.
For a robot the above points are not an issue. A T-X, for example, would not develop long term neurosis, self-loathing, seething resentment and misanthropy because ‘The Force’ wasn’t what it has cracked up to be, because ’the boss doesn’t get it’, because the wife was leaving or because job had slowly vacuumed all the humanity and love out of them until all the was left was a bleak, nagging sense that ‘something is missing’ and a cloying dread that ‘protesters might have a point’. A robot wouldn’t sublimate this into protester focused rage. No, a T-X, or R2D2** if you feel my imagery is biased, would just get on with it. More importantly, not only would R2D2 earn the respect of many citizens because of his/her/its ‘Sci-Fi roots’ it would also be able to be programmed to obey The Three Laws of robots. Yesterday, at Occupy, this would have meant that R2d2 would not have accepted orders to ‘rough up’ or intimidate protestors. R2D2 would have refused this because it was following law 2, meaning that orders are not to be obeyed if the result is harming protesters.
I am not proposing to robotise the police force. Only a completely irresponsible, short sighted, inept, destructive, monster in the clothing of a harmless bumbling oaf would ever suggest that creating unemployment in the vapid pursuit of cost cutting efficiencies this way is ever a good idea. What I am saying is that if the police are going to act like mindless automatons, they should at least do it properly, and start following the right rules.
**if you need a hyperlink to know what R2D2 is, you have no place here. There is nothing for you here. Nothing.
There is a genuine likelihood that 2012 could see a worldwide hyperbole shortage. Because of this your, once full, reservoir of vocabulary could become nothing more than a clichéd puddle of urine in a dusty concrete bowl. I hope that in your hour of need, whether you’re a journalist, TV pundit or an ordinary internet simpleton, this ‘Inspiration Board’ may assist you. Good luck my friend…
NB: hopefully you will have noticed I’ve tried to ‘spice things up a little bit’ by using innovative, incongruent and unusual fonts. This causes a sense of confusion in the reader, rendering them dull-minded enough to continue reading your torrent of bilge. Once again, good luck my friend.
In my opinion the speech you have just listened to is one of the most inspirational speeches ever spoken. Although the speech is from an anti-nazi satire made over 70 years ago it seems more than fitting for today because…
The grip of capitalism on our imagination has become so strong it feels like a concrete fortress. As Zizek says – we cannot even imagine a different world. Subjugated by advertising and mainstream propaganda, I would argue that we are experiencing a fascism of the imagination. Read the newspapers, listen to ‘our’ politicians speak and you only hear one message. The message is a homogeneous bland gruel that describes a creeping tolerance of our flawed and bumbling drudgery. The very fabric of our lives is reduced down to bite size managerialisms where the starburst nebula of hope is downgraded to ‘opportunity’, and where the bone snapping gore of murder is upgraded to ‘collateral damage’.
This is not a problem of the left or the right, it is a self serving anaesthetic we all need that protects us from reality. We are grateful for this somnambulant grip. We are glad because without this calm re-assurance, every ounce of our materialistic pleasure and leisure, comes with the knowledge it has been wrung from a distant someone else’s neck.
The words of the speech resonate with me because they point to an alternative, not based on complicated theory, but based on basic principles that are accessible to all. The speech also resonates because of its delivery. Unlike the deluge of monotonal mulch that spews from parliament, the speech is spoken with a genuine passion for something different – an epiphanal moment of cloud-busting hope. Can you remember the last time you heard ‘a leader’ with any power speak with a passion? If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely then lets have a look at what this corruption means. Beyond the obvious self serving gluttony that we associate with the elite there is another form of corruption. This corruption is the loss of hope and the degradation of imagination. I believe that those in charge have no hope. At this point in history assumed omniscience is far more dangerous than naivety. Realism is vital for implementing change, but it is not the fuel of imagination – and without imagination there is no hope. Our leaders are dead on their feet. They are slowly facing up to the realisation that the numbers tucked neatly inside the palid spreadsheet green offer nothing. As the latest parade of shuffling advisors appears all they’ll be able to notice is the creases in the suits and the missing shirt buttons. Its up to us now. Naivety – creativity – we need you. I’d rather be optimistically wrong than pessimistically right. What’s the alternative?
It feels like gravity has finally won. The wall paper of your mind is nicotine stained yellowing flock and is no longer available in the shops. In the grip of inertia the outwards is dragged inwards and eventually downwards towards your chipped sideboards and patchy brown carpet. Leaving behind the intertia wall paper, the pizza crust crumbs, and fag butt – coffee cup – gloop, you venture outside… but you are segregated. Separated by an invisible film and trapped in a salt water bubble you cant really be present – and are somehow always there, never here. The magic of a trillion pinball variables is nowhere to be found and X is no longer = Y + 3 – Z+ 4.7231, X=X…at best. Inertia’s trick is to keep you looking backwards and life has, once again, become a visit to a museum. A beige coated janitor shuffles along a dust blanket dim corridor. Portions of micro history from his decaying life, are layed out in single file. Behind a dulled translucent glass are the exhibits…
item 234.56 “The time we called in sick and made love until there was nothing left”,
item 4567.23 “another attempt to fuse two separate souls”,
item 234.5 “The dancing light on the Thames”,
item 678.99 2 “The greatest Joke I’ve ever told”
You dust off another exhibit, and no matter how hard you try you can only vaguely make out the form behind the thick glass. There is one trick that the museum of life has to offer the depressed visitor. Good exhibits are almost impossible to see. They are badly catalogued and poorly mounted. All you can really see is the proud techni-colour gristle of your failings.
item 897.34 “A brass rubbing of an awkward silence”
item 931.35 “letting your girlfriend down”
item 1051 “all the things you never said”
Ultimately, the exhibition makes you feel powerless. Depression’s illusion is to make you think that the exhibition is life. It is not. Life is the 4D sprawl that fizzes and pops outside the museum exit. Outside the museum, life still twists and turns with never-ending variety and if you look closely enough everything is different.
Unfortunately, one of our greatest strengths – our ability to adapt – can lead us into trouble. As easily as you can get used to the temperature of a room, the cloying sense of damp or the existence of Jeremy Clarkson, you can segue into an entirely different psychological continent without even realising you’ve left your front room. Melancholy does not always hit you in an ‘all at once’ cinematic crush, sometimes its takes days, weeks, years even to realise things have changed. I believe that’s what’s true for us individually also can be observed of us collectively. We often hear or say phrases like “you don’t need more than that do you?”, ”its the simple things that are the most important”, “you’ve just got to make the best of it haven’t you” but I’ve come to think that, as valid as these are, they are the ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ of a battery chicken. Once we were free range. Now we are battery. However, as I write this more, and more people across the world are waking up.
In much of the criticism of the ‘occupy movement’ there is an implicit phallacy that is constantly alluded to. Although its never been published, many people seem to have read: ’How to successfully overturn a global hegemony and create utopia in one blinding flash of revolutionary glory – for dummies‘. Apparently, the history of revolutions is one of carefully thought out diamond-cut-crystalline logical 10 point plans. Apparently a small band of people with amazing FSU skills, (like the A-Team), can single handedly overturn an infinitely complex web of interdependent financial collusion.
Broken windows can be repaired, marches can be stopped, people can be arrested but ideas are invincible, and this is what ‘They’ are afraid of. I believe in violent and non-violent, direct, and indirect action. I believe in activism. I believe in tents. I believe in general assemblies. I believe in all of these things because their existence causes people to think differently. Entering into a depression is as simple as thinking differently. Escaping from depression is as simple as thinking differently. The #occupy movement is beginning to cause people to think differently and is infiltrating the mainstream media. When anti-capitalism is being discussed on ‘The One Show’, I think we’re heading in the right direction. The combination of sanitized and non- sanitized protest is as powerful a combiniation as we need. Every tent at #occupyLSX will give the inevitable images of the Nov 9th a context that may provoke, and not deter, more thought.
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
The economy is slipping into a depression, and we are coming out of one.
#occupyLSX #occupyfs #ows #occupy #nov9 #nov30
“GOD DAMN IT GEOFF!!”
“JESUS…YOU SAID HE WAS SIGMA 7…YOU….SAID!!”
“I know… I f***king know already, I’m sure he mentioned it – we…we were talking about stuff when Allan, uhm… started going on about MS projects and Prince 2…and…Alan’s always”
On the 43rd floor of Epicentre Towers, something had happened. Something terrible had happened. The temperature was now fluctuating rapidly as wave after wave of real breeze™ gushed in, frothing and flowing with the 75° air con. Three out of 8 Windows on the East side were completely missing. Those that remained were spattered with jagged fracture lines & suppressed violence. In here geometry had fought for survival. It was a hollow and pyrrhic victory.
In the centre of the open plan office a huge human being lay crumpled and motionless at his desk. This bloated wretch resembled a jelly tightly packed into a bulging sweat water-bed – it was once a crisp white shirt. The monitor, which he had been using with only moderate success, was flickering on and off at a frequency immune to algorithms. Only nature understood this. Even though the screen was only visible for micro seconds, the Windows™ trained human eye could still detect the dead-end alley zombie attack that is the MS blue screen.
“FATAL EXCEPTION ERROR”
A sweaty cheek was pressed in tight communion with the Aero QWERTY keyboard. From a gently twitching lip, a dribble trail reached the letter ‘k’.
Sprawling out to his right, his pork pink fingers desperately clasped a Microsoft optical mouse. You have just been introduced to Tim Pacalis. Tim was Vice President of Global Project Management - SE Asia & Europe. Until 11.27am today, he had an unblemished track record. It was also of note that it was only within the last few hours that Tim had become acquainted with the slang: “Cluster F**k”. This expression was being helpfully projectile vomited into existence by Ken. Ken was an angry and frustrated man. He hated himself. Luckily the world of corporate project management allowed him to transmogrify the acrid and bitter smack of his personal vacuum into “GETTING THINGS DONE®”. He was only capable of speaking in UPPERCASE, Font size 72, IMPACT.
Through the shattered windows the air continued to ebb and flow. The photocopier spun and clunked its inkless grinding loop – it was focused and intent on only one outcome – self-immolation. Soon it would no longer be a Cannon 156a Colour-Copy™. Soon it would be a machine martyr. In amongst the never read meeting minutes, millions & millions of photocopiers around the world would sneak in copy after copy after copy of 156a in its plastic flame melt glory.
The gentle bubbling blue of the water cooler had been mutilated by a cubist. The bulbous blue was now a jigsaw of bent plastic angles. The coolers contents, (on average 5 Gallons), had been absorbed by the revolting brown carpet tiles. Beneath the UPPER CASE shout down you could hear the snap, crackle and hum of live electric current. A mesh of tangled wires had broken through the ceiling and they dangled like the roots a of huge electric tree. The roots quivered and swayed in the gentle breeze only inches above Tim’s head. Nonchalantly they waited for their sweet connect. From 25 handset hang ups a chorus of engaged tones played with no conductor. The kettle was a Dali remodel melt, and steam from its entrails had transformed the kitchen. Its weeping pot plants luxuriated in the tropical mist, and a column of red ants carrying post-it notes scurried out towards the great open plan. They march across the brown tiles, and onto the blue blubber. They marched around a huge melancholy eye, across the head, and around the spout they marched and they marched, and now onto the huge blue open expanse – they marched, heading East towards the tail and the 43 floor drop. The post-it notes flicker and flutter in the wind. Visible from the pavement below, its tail flipped from side to side as it slowly drowned. Its only hope – (the worlds largest crane) – was unhelpfully stationed in Dubai.
Tim Capalis slipped into a dreamy stupor and Pamela Anderson presented him with a cheque. He was project manager of the year again.
Two men are sitting at a table. On the shoulder of one of the men sits a yellow macaw which twitches and skits, listening intently to their conversation. The table was manufactured in the 1970′s as it proudly boasts a marble chess board built into its surface. Tired super-tan fingers scrape the pieces back and forth across the board, and the game creeps asymptotically towards a stalemate. Stalemate. Just beneath the cuff links a fake Rolex peeks out and winks in the sunshine. The two participants appear to be old friends and whilst opposing views are exchanged the levels of interest or consequence never reach any further than that of a salmon and broccoli quiche. They are drinking Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio. There is nothing remarkable about their appearance. They are a montage of every person you’ve ever seen, in every shopping center, in every town and every place that exists outside of zone 3. They are pine. They are I-stock.
‘Tweet tweet’ says the Macaw. It is happy , it likes being at the table.
The table is positioned on a vast concrete plain, that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Far, far away on the horizon, a battle rages. Bones are crushed and buildings mangled. Technicolour death rays pitch and swing, to the rumble and crunch of megaton footwork. Godzilla grabs a nameless wretch by the throat, and it’s G-force slammed into a multi story carpark. F-16′s are flying in, and nuclear options are being considered- (again). A Range Rover crumples like tin foil and, shortly before their demise, its occupants are forced to consider that driving to ‘Habitat’ might have been pointless.
Back at the table, the distant hum of the behemoth death match apocalypse is barely audible.
“Of course…of course, well you would say that wouldn’t you?!…I mean its always “
“Oh come on, you lot are exactly the same aren’t you? Becuase..”
“Yes but under the previous government…”
And they stared into the abyss. Underfoot lay damp crumpled leaves, mingling stones and twigs, all enmeshed with unctuous woodland squelch. The Timberlands held firm, the logo visible – but tarnished. Trails, wisps and eddies of curdling fog slowly wound and wound, in-spiral tango - upwards and upwards towards oblivion. Beneath the precipice shone the 80′s film set under-glow. Half human, and half cinema they stood there, motionless.
“Its not safe here, is it, it…”
”No off course it f-fucking isn’t”
“Dont you think…”
Until this moment, time had followed its usual course. The sweating BPM blips, the clammy cold sweat hands, and the flick switch glances had all died down – they had all died down to simple, simple, fear.
“Derryl, how did we get here? I mean this is so kind of, offff…whats tha///”
1,2,3,4,5, snap fracture and splinter. The bark from the surrounding trees cracked and split, revealing white husks unseen. The trees leaned in. The stars switched off and across the cold black sky the rustling canvass caved in. As the first leaves touched their frozen bone white cheeks someone flicked a switch.
Derryl stared at the remains of his ‘Chicken in a basket’. He was laughing at a joke that had eminated from his nuclear father. It didn’t make sense but everyone else was laughing- so he did to. As the steroid pumped swill churned around his mouth he wondered why his father kept glancing at the waitress. Some breadcrumbs plunged towards the peas and mayo. Once again he realised he really, really, really liked Harvester.
The waitress slipped on slapstick prop & dad broke wind
Mum said: “This isn’t fucking garfunkles you spanner”.
Everything was in its right place.
The room temperature was approximately 22 degrees Celsius, and it would remain so until the sun died. Nothing would ever change here, becuase here lies suburbia in all its polysterene glory.
Zone 4 forever.
I have decided to write a timed blog. In an unnessesarily rigid process I will publish whatever happens once ten minutes is up. If the blog is poorly spelt, lacking in structure, sense, or any of the kind of validity that would necessitate you spending time reading it – then I apologise in advance. Yes, Its already taking me ages to find the oversize image you see before you. This isn’t going very well at all.
What you are witnessing is ones mans struggle to complete an impossible task. Is it really possible to say anything interesting with no preparation in just ten minutes? I feel the answer is NO. However…
Not for the first time I am left considering what ‘ten minutes’ means. Ten minutes is often a throw away segment of time.
“i’ll be there in ten minutes” has a casual ring about it.
“I’ll be there in half an hour” is much more resounding and serious. its a far more assertive expanse of time. In that sense 10 minutes is a bit like the portions of concrete that intersect junctions and crossroads like left overs from messy fractions. Please read JG Ballards concrete island for more on this. 1o minutes is the corner of a room that servers no purpose