*** Klediments: “In the Beginning Was the Sausage.” Joseph Brodsky
*** SATAN YOUR KINGDOM MUST COME DOWN: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MASTERS AND OVERLORDS OF THIS WORLD
(part one of what is evolving into a extraordinary series written by a growing list of insightful and talented writers and theologians that will hopefully be available in some format somewhere else on the internet in the near future):
cc Miley Cyrus, Sinead O’Connor.
Re. “The society we know, our own culture, is based upon the exchange of women....The passage into the social order, into the symbolic order, into order as such, is assured by the fact that men, or groups of men, circulate women as commodities among themselves. Commodities can only enter into relationship under the watchful eyes of their ‘guardians’...and the interests of businessmen require that commodities relate to each other as rivals.” Luce Irigaray, “This Sex Which Is Not One.” pg. 170.
My Overlords, I acknowledge that you have won yet again, but then you always win, we always lose (especially women when it attends to monetized forms of specular phallic functions). Even when you let us think we are wining we are losing; winning itself is always and everywhere just another form of losing. If a celebrity like Miley Cyrus chooses(?) to strip herself naked before us you win. If she later covers herself head to toe with a burqa you win. If Sinead O’Connor shaves her head and rips up a phot of the pope you win. If Miley later joins the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus you win. And if Miley or Sinead twerks Satan himself during the Super Bowl halftime show you win; you always and everywhere win because we are all prostitutes down on our knees before the power of the logic of the marketplace. And when we squabble over who is the biggest whore? You win even more.
Overlords, I do understand that each click of my mouse and every letter I type here is more money in your pocket; each word is tracked, counted, categorized, tranched, assigned value, resold, leveraged, and used to increase your power. And if I become outraged and take to your streets to demonstrate and dissent, you win, because you not only own the streets but you also own the ‘news machine’ and control and define “news,” itself. Thus you have the power to copyright my “resistance” and market my images of outrage back to me. You profit on the protest signs I print and carry, the soles of the boots I march in, the windows I break, the police and the baton I am struck down with, the judge who sentences me, and the jail I am locked away in, you even take your tiny cut from the cough drop I suck on to ease my sore throat from screaming in rage as I call for your destruction. The more I resist and fight the shadows and mirrors of your power, the stronger you become, the weaker I get, and the more you win.
Knowledge, information, and critical understanding, will not translate into an over-coming power but merely function as its diplegic spectre. Even when I pay for the privilege of attending your universities and buying your diplomas, and even if I major in studying your strategies and deconstructing your discourses and become conscious of the force and potency of your hegemony and omni-presence; I may only come to further acknowledge the hopelessness of my resistance and the impossibility of change. And so you profit again from the hospitals and doctors who treat my symptoms and prescribe the placebo’s and anti-depressants I use to cope with my powerlessness and exploitation. Sometimes you afford me the privilege of making a spectacle of my dysfunction and suffering and you commercialize and broadcast the broken images of my anguished face and you entertain and pacify others with the pictures of my torment and your dominance over my life. And when all that I am or might have been, and all that I have has been given over to you, and when I have reached the place of utter despair and I am sitting alone in the darkness and I put your gun, that arch-symbol of my personal freedom into my mouth and blow my brains out, you even take your percentage from that bullet and you win.
Overlords, all this is to say, for now, I just want you to know that I know.
Update: Perhaps the case of “Bansky,” the so-called, “subversive, anarchist, counter-cultural, anti-capitalist, revenge” street-artist pointedly affirms my thesis above. Whole buildings have been taken down (and squatters de-homed) to dismantle and transport his art and send it to auction houses in NY and London were our Overlords bid against each other for possession. In the current system even our generosity and the free gift of our creative selves is confiscated, colonized, re-appropriated, and installed into the market system (and yet here I sit writing with a silver crucifix hanging around my neck, oh the spiraling circles of irony!).
*** I was reading again (and weeping over) the letters of Van-Gogh and his brother Theo last night as I did some preparation for another painting attending to Vincent's writing on Jesus and the Pieta. I strongly assert that Van Gogh was not “crazy.” I think that he felt and saw more clearly the actual state of the world than most of those other artists around him. His self-killing was not an irrational act but very much a conscious and deliberate response to the de-humanizing and Spirit crushing cultural system that tried to imprison him. Yes, that system and it’s overlords eventually broke him down and then exploited his death and image, but even so the realities that he “worlded” in the language of color, and the light that he brought into the world though his art, has never been extinguished. The painting I’v posted is the view from the window of the asylum that he chose to live in. Many of my own paintings are from the perspective of my own asylums.
Vincent’s brother Theo’s letter to his sister Elizabeth, 5th August 1890, 4 days after his death.
To say we must be grateful that he rests - I still hesitate to do so. Maybe I should call it one of the great cruelties of life on this earth and maybe we should count him among the martyrs who died with a smile on their face. He did not wish to stay alive and his mind was so calm because he had always fought for his convictions, convictions that he had measured against the best and noblest of his predecessors. His love for his father, for the gospel, for the poor and the unhappy, for the great men of literature and painting, is enough proof for that. In the last letter which he wrote me and which dates from some four days before his death, it says, “I try to do as well as certain painters whom I have greatly loved and admired.” People should realize that he was a great artist, something which often coincides with being a great human being. In the course of time this will surely be acknowledged, and many will regret his early death. He himself wanted to die, when I sat at his bedside and said that we would try to get him better and that we hoped that he would then be spared this kind of despair, he said, “La tristesse durera toujours” [The sadness will last forever]. I understood what he wanted to say with those words.
A few moments later he felt suffocated and within one minute he closed his eyes. A great rest came over him from which he did not come to life again.