More wild things talking in balloons at False Knees.
*One of the nice things about the rise of Trump is that optimism is no longer easy. The downstream cost of cheap, shoddy optimism is obvious; we’re standing up to our necks in it. You want hope? Pick up the tools of doubt and learn how to use them yourself. You can’t buy it on Amazon.
Fremont Street, Los Vegas
There are lots of murals and other street art in and about old downtown Las Vegas, north of the strip. This owl adorns the side of a rather down-at-heel motel off Fremont St.
I spent a few days in Vegas in February just before Rona arrived on our shores, riding the city buses and walking about, snapping images with the lidless eye, while Mrs. Dr. Omed did bidness with the other money elves in a windowless conference rooms in a hotel on the strip.
On the strip, there were birds of other feathers, but I prefer owls.
Rules for Radicals
What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.
1. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.
8. “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.
11. “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up.
I found myself in self-quarantine alone in a friend’s house in the last ten days or so of March. Shortly after I arrived and just before all “nonessential” retail shops were closed in a statewide lockdown, I risked stepping inside a nearby art supply store, and bought myself a sketchbook and some pens. I begun drawing faces in my usual style, and I call them Plague Masks in honor of the pandemic that spawned them. I have now filled all but the last few pages of the sketchbook with these masks. I have another just like it (hardbound in black, 70 lb. paper, 11 x 14 sheets, just Goldilocks right) still in the packing wrap it was delivered in, ready to crack open as soon as the last page of the first is scratched in black ink with a face as pareidoliac as the man in the moon. I put images of some of them up on my Instagram account, and I texted almost all to Spike, my other half–the other half of my brain. Now that I’m back at the blog, I will post them on the Tent Show, maybe two by two, like Noah loaded the ark.
all the alphabets
that were in
you were probably
Forgive or do not
words so delicious
The poem, if you need to be told, is in form a parody of William Carlos Williams famous free verse ditty This Is Just To Say, about eating the plums his wife was saving. It was inspired by a painting by Angie Reed Garner depicting Greek harpies flying next to tree above a pile of letters, images of which she posted to her Instagram page. The poem took its own tangent, but I think she liked it.
Happiness is for opportunists. So I think that the only life of deep satisfaction is a life of eternal struggle, especially struggle with oneself. If you want to remain happy, just remain stupid. Authentic masters are never happy; happiness is a category of slaves.
We’re doing this work. Don’t expect to receive public credit for it. It’s not to be acknowledged that we do this work. We do this work because we want to change the world. If we don’t do the work continuously and passionately, even as it appears as if no one is listening, if we don’t help to create the conditions of possibility for change, then a moment like this will arrive and we can do nothing about it.
Once you have given service, what more do you want? Isn’t it enough to have obeyed the laws of your own nature, without expecting to be paid for it? That is like the eyes demanding to be paid for seeing, or the feet for walking. For that purpose they exist, and they have their due in doing what they were created to do.
Marcus Aurelius, To Myself
I’m back. Really.
Just don’t ask me where I’ve been. It’s dark in there. Just to be clear: The above image has nothing to do with the NFL Super Bowl aka Superb Owl to those of us who are aballists. I like owls, my mother collected owl figurines, I collect images of owls, and I’ve decided to post some of the pictures of owls I’ve gleaned (stolen) from the Internet; sometimes altered, sometimes not, in the new category, Superb Owl. I’m finding my way back to blogging by owl-light.
Who WHO-who who, who!