Speakeasy volume 32 no 5 May / June 2018
Seize The Means Of Creating Culture
Former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka recently made the observation, “From Wakanda with its ‘Black identity extremist’ and nice CIA agent to Hoover’s FBI as noble and honest institution, the ‘American’ people are propagandized to their very bones. Critical thinking is replaced by fear, mindlessness and the manipulated passions of the herd.”
The movie Black Panther has sparked a lot of much needed dialogue. It features a heroic white protagonist from the warmongering CIA for no good reason, a villain who just so happens to embody the “black identity extremism” label which has been invented at the FBI and the movie tells the story of a leader of an isolationist nation slowly discovering the wonders of globalism.
I don’t know how all that gratuitous pro-establishment messaging found its way into a movie that was supposed to be a cultural triumph for a viciously abused group of people. The US defense and intelligence agencies have a well-documented history of extensively influencing mainstream Hollywood film. At best, the movie was the product of filmmakers who have lived their lives saturated in establishment propaganda.
“We are led by the least among us,” the late Terence McKenna once said. “The least noble, the least intelligent, the least visionary.”
Culture shapes our minds. If we are to create a true grassroots revolution to overthrow the ecocidal, omnicidal oppressors who are driving us toward dystopia at best and extinction at worst, we need to transform not just the way people vote and organize, but the way people think.
A true bottom-up revolution will necessarily entail a revolution of the ninety-nine percent shrugging off the boxes they were told to stand in and rebuilding culture from their own authority where they stand.
In the old days, rulers relied on religion to shape culture. Obedience and humility are supreme virtues. “Heathens” were converted not just into a new religion and loyalty to the Holy Roman Empire, but into a new culture which consumed and annihilated their old tribal cultures and campfire mythologies. Control the culture and you control the power structure.
Now they use Hollywood.
One of the most pernicious tropes that almost all commercial art pushes is the “deus ex machina”, the-hero-saves-the-day. From Jesus to Bruce Willis to Superman. It’s now so obviously insane that we’ve gotten to the point where half of America is hoping the intelligence agencies will save them, and the other half is hoping the reality-tv star president will save them.
They don’t want us learning to look at the world with fresh eyes, unobscured by the cataracts of authorized filters. They don’t want art which points to the inherent beauty and dignity of the living, which exists prior to any heroic accomplishments. They don’t want art which wakes us up to new perspectives.
All art is political. In a society dominated by elites who use art to manipulate the public, art can only ever be political. You either (A) make art directly in service of the ruling class, (B) make art indirectly in service to the ruling class by promulgating dominant orthodoxies, (C) make innocuous mall art which sits there placidly distracting everyone while the world burns, or (D) make revolutionary art, born of inspiration.
Start making art. You can only get it right. Your you-ness is the prism through which the light dances. Just let the light shine through you and draw the shapes that it makes. Or dance them. Or sing them. Or sculpt them out of mashed potato..
Tend your spark. Become playful in your everyday life and look for opportunities to make something. Put one rock on another rock. Write a little love letter on a wall. Gather a posy of flowers and found objects. Put it in a vessel in front of your television so the light makes shapes on the wall. Draw the shapes.
This is how you build a fire. Shine as bright as you can to draw interest and attention toward the authentic and away from the inauthentic, toward inspired art and away from propaganda. Collapse the machine from its very foundation with a people’s takeover of artificial culture.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, bogan socialist, anarcho-psychonaut, guerilla poet, utopia prepper and unapologetic rabble rouser writing out of Melbourne, Australia.
volume 32 no 5 May / June 2018 p 6
4 thoughts on “Speakeasy volume 32 no 5 May / June 2018”
I really appreciated your article. When you wrote, “Control the culture and you control the power structure”, I thought of the sad statistic which I read last week. 87% of university students from a UK study are unsatisfied with their lives and feel that it isn’t worthwhile (Student Academic Experience Survey 2018). That leaves only 13% happy and who find their lives worthwhile. Is this where controlling the culture has led us? How many more people will follow the road of anti-depressants numbing their minds and bodies?
You said, “Start making art. You can only get it right. Your you-ness is the prism through which the light dances. Just let the light shine through you and draw the shapes that it makes. Or dance them. Or sing them. Or sculpt them out of mashed potato. Tend your spark. Become playful in your everyday life and look for opportunities to make something.” People have forgotten how to play and how to enjoy living. Even creativity in art has become something studied and not spontaneous.
Bad news, the cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Rob Rogers, was fired after 25 years as their cartoonist and after winning numerous awards because he drew critical drawings of Trump. Isn’t this what cartoons are all about? As Rogers said in The Guardian, “I was trained in a tradition in which editorial cartoonists are the live wires of a publication – as one former colleague put it, the ‘constant irritant’.”
Where freedom of the press has gone out the window, American culture, but not only American, is now extremely controlled, leaving me surprised that the article below was still allowed in ABC News, the NY Times and other US newspapers. Perhaps it’s only a question of time when they too have to relinquish their publishing. Our daily news diet is the same everywhere, leaving the real information and truth for the very few who are close enough to the source to actually witness it.
Wouldn’t Rob Rogers make a wonderful contribution to the New Art Examiner as your cartoonist?
Cartoons in the New Art Examiner would make a great contribution to the writing, which I really enjoy reading. Perhaps one day the publisher could add a course for aspiring cartoonists of the art world? What about a space for readers to contribute their own cartoons?
The New Art Examiner would be delighted to receive cartoons from readers, with one simple provision; they should be concerned with the so-called art world. Also ideas, comments and suggestions for coverage are welcome.