Saturday, January 1, 2011

While watching a Capital punch a Penguin...

I enjoy ruminating over mixed messages (which is, essentially, a misnomer). Power coerces, and the mixed message provides concealment... no no, look at my other hand, Power insists.

At Compulsory Social Conditioning — CSC or, as it is more commonly known, school — I like to ask the kids: Why are you told (repeatedly and ostensibly sincerely) that violence should not be used as a means to resolve problems? Or, more colloquially, why are you told, "Violence is not the answer". I'll grab the hand brake at this point and ask the kiddos to "define" violence — this takes forever because the kids can't speak clearly (the ULTIMATE, ahem, GOAL of making noise) and when they do it's often nonsense... but we slog on.

So — we return to the question — why does CSC teach you to reject violence? I mean (I'm baiting them here) The great arbiter of All Things, Thee State, employs a backbreaking load of violence... right? So... why can't you to lift the proverbial rock and smash it on the head of your proverbial brother?

Now, the kids are familiar with the company line. Some kid will speak about the goodness of the judicial process, World War II absolutely gets a mention (sometimes violence is the only option, says the parrot) someone will blather on about the necessity of punishment for those who break the law... bingo! The bait taken. IOZ, an adroit composer, foe' sho':
Even if one admits to the necessity of punishment, a necessity that I find categorically problematic to begin with, then the only decent attitude is regret. To see punishment as an affirmative good is to be on the side of the barbarians.
While in a post-work wandering stupor, I walked into a mugging. Pleasantries were exchanged, and I came out of it with a broken eye socket and a few less dollars... unscathed! Seriously. No scars. No problems. In fact, I enjoyed months of sympathy (I was in college, working in a ritzy eatery. My fellow workers put together a "sorry you got pistol-whipped" fund... I came out on top). Anyhow, many of my friends were angered by my nonchalance towards the bad guys... why wouldn't I be out for blood? I was wronged! Beaten and robbed! Surely, those fuckers needed to be punished. Yeah, maybe. I remember considering, had the bad guys been caught (which they weren't) would I help prosecute them? I never came to a resolute answer, but now, I'm rather sure I would not. I don't want to hurt anyone, and what else is prison? The youngish men who mugged me were total shitbirds. I'm not inviting them over for dinner, fuck em'. But to participate in their incarceration? Why?

To ensure they can't mug another? Hell, how would I know they would mug another?
To deter others from robbin' and beatin'? I'm not an accredited social scientist... I don't know about such things.
For revenge? Nah... sounds stupid.

Compulsory Social Conditioning loves bullshitting. Like the parent who, upon watching one child hit another, screams: Say you're sorry! Hmm... just say the "right" thing and we're all good here. Somehow, punishment has become the right thing for so many: and it is loved, revered, deified. Punishment is Good. Kill Bradley Manning! We need it. And to suggest otherwise is to be a fool, or worse, an agitator.

Stay where you are, agitator... Power will see you in a moment.


  1. way to start off the new year - something to munch on over the weekend...