Let’s take for example something that is delicious to eat: carnitas tacos, specifically the ones from the taco truck two blocks down from my house. They’re salted just right, the salsa is flavorful and spicy without being destructively hot, and the meat is grilled to crispy perfection. It’s a simple food–no airs, fanciness, or complex ideas here; just corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, salsa, meat, and grease.
Now let’s imagine eating this food every goddamn day for like 3 or 10 years. Anyone on the proper side of the autism spectrum (that is to say, not on it at all) would get sick of carnitas tacos sooner than later.
Or we can imagine this food as filtered through the machine of mass corporate consumption; removed of all unique flavor, cultural resonance–turned into the food equivalent of elevator music.
Language is delicious to me. The dance of words, sayings, colloquialisms, slang, and expressive vocabulary is at the heart of my imagination and joy in life. I’ve been writing stories since I was a child; I wrote my first poems at the age of 9. I’ve written a novella and dozens of comic book stories. I’ve written and recorded over 100 rap songs, a manual on martial arts theory and practice, hella blogs, forum posts, social media arguments, bio blurbs, organizational documents, training guides, and countless other miscellaneous pieces. I’ve independently published 5 issues of a zine, 2 short comic books, and a memoir on my life as an MC in the L.A. underground (a memoir that you should buy from me now before I run out of copies, holler: malikdiamond(at)hotmail(dot)com.)
I have basic fluency in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, (and a similar fluency in the non-human languages of Feline, Canine, Ignan, Sylvan, Terran, Auran, Aquan, Abyssal, Infernal, and Celestial), and a humble stash of words and phrases in Lakota, Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese, and Russian. One of my favorite things in life is the melodic and creative speech of English spoken by non-native speakers. I prefer it entirely to the English spoken by (most) native speakers; it’s more raw, more honest, and more fun to hear. The twisted and effective grammar and pronunciation of non-native English speakers fills my heart with joy.
Preface Part 1 concluded.
Preface Part 2: I am employed as a part of the non-profit industrial complex. My work, both official and unofficial, is at times wonderful and at times infuriating. Well, mainly it’s some of the people I have to deal with in the course of my work who are infuriating–the ignorant, the incompetent, the power-mad, the corrupt filth, the cynical manipulators, the self-righteous, the merely dumb, the irritating.
Working in the non-profit industrial complex means being somewhat disconnected from regular people, the kind who work regular jobs, commit regular crimes, post regular memes, and have regular banality. In my case, it means being around hella “artists” and “creative” people (as if the miracles worked by, say, a regular single mother with two grown, underemployed children living at home were not “creative”), and it means spending hella time around trendy “activists” and other clueless swine.
Preface Part 2 concluded. On to the point:
I have a healthy and active malice for bullshit of all kinds.
And there are a whole lot of words and phrases that folks are wantonly bandying about that I am Sick. To. Death. Of. Hearing. And. Reading. Let’s work the list, shall we?
The quality of being “accountable,” that is to say responsible for one’s words and behavior. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except, like everything else, this has become yet another hollowed-out platitude in a subculture where people achieve status by pointing out other people’s failings. What the hell does it mean to be “accountable?” Who gets to decide? And why have we all accepted–as though beamed out from some secret underground lair, or perhaps a satellite–the use of a term that implies, infers, and relates to capitalist economics (account, accountant) as a stand-in for what should be a straightforward notion: responsibility? Nobody likes the word “blame.” Nobody’s ever at fault. We just need “accountability.” Which, in my experience, often looks like sweeping things under rugs, or slapping wrists, regardless of the level of horror and/or ridiculousness involved in a given perpetration.
Just what in the hell can this word possibly mean in a world of atomized consumer units, I mean people, sitting in boxes punching away at buttons on glowing screens? Commune: to talk together intimately… to be in close rapport… a small group of people living communally, sharing space, resources and labor. What sort of intimacy exists in a culture where not only is all COMMUNication heavily mediated, but consciousness itself has been damn near downloaded? Who is included? The neighbors we’ve never met? The grass we mow? The trees we ignore? The species we wipe out? The sky, broken by wires and electromagnetic radiation? The assholes on TV? Let’s have some close rapport, but wait a second because my spacephone just summoned me to prayer.
Motherfucker, please. At best, a rear-guard action against omnicidal machines, at worst a slogan for folks who are hoping to get paid and/or laid by nitwits. I’ve heard exactly one person use this phrase in a meaningful way: Pastor Saturu Ned, formerly known as James Mott of the Black Panther Party; his long history of bringing tangible benefits to poor and oppressed people is what gave it meaning. For everyone else, it seems to be a marketing category, or perhaps a “lifestyle option” in the middle rows of a sinking ship. What do they mean by “social”? Whose society? What is justice? How would you know? Do I get to have social justice and still keep my electricity and high-tech consumer toys? What do the salmon think?
It’s my understanding that this phrase was coined by the bodhisattva Audrey Lorde, basically as a way of saying that people who give their lives to organizing and helping folks need to remember to sleep and eat, and give time to taking care of themselves instead of sacrificing everything for “the cause.” Now it’s become a sign-off on whatever shameless and hedonistic indulgences that people get good feelings from. I suppose, if pressed, the average mall-shopper would insist that purchasing luxury goods constitutes “self-care.”
I get it that we all hate ourselves and all other living beings; it’s basic to the insanity of civilization, and particularly industrial civilization. In which case, it might be a nice change to have love of any kind, ideally the kind that would lead people collectively to doing whatever it fucking takes to put an end to the machine-world before it sends us all into oblivion. But the reality is that the standard personality template for the consumer class is narcissist, which means that self-love–and obsession–is overabundant. How about self-respect? Does that phrase have any relevance at all to this crumbling empire?
Every time some filthy non-profit man uses this word, Andrea Dworkin’s dead body does a barrel roll in its grave. If there was anything resembling justice in this world, the word “patriarchy” would have the same resonance of disgust and shame as “holocaust,” or at least AIDS. It’s like everyone agreed–almost as though they were programmed–that if we give a nod to righteousness by saying this word, and invoking, however indirectly, the specter of normalized rape, brutalization, torture, mutilation, terror, fear & loathing, violence, and murder, then we’ve done our due diligence; no need for painful hours spent studying theory, researching history, hearing women’s stories, facing torment, confronting demons, rewriting our fundamental values, exiling rapists & abusers, or burning the whole fucking thing down. I guess what we really need is abortion rights and equal income for women, and everything will be okay. How safe, how tragic, how fucking insulting. Thank the gods of mercy that Dworkin crossed over to the ancestral realm before having to live in the world of 24-hour pornification, stripper-pole feminism, and pussy grabber presidents.
Trendy liberal brown folks with too much access to communication technology and conspiracy videos. In ye olden days (before spacephones and the internet) we called it “knowledge of self” when a person had both spiritual insight and the kind of political/historical learning that inspires one to teach others–teaching face-to-face, building relationships, mentoring, guiding, and continuing to learn. These folks slanging the word “woke” don’t have a shit more clue what’s going on than my cat does, since, like my cat, they rarely bother to pick up a book, spend time physically with people actively listening to them, or really do any sort of critical thinking that one could describe as critical or thinking.
There’s only one kind of sustainable technology: stone-age. Everything else is extractive. Stop playin.
Politically speaking, this term has pretty much devolved to what it meant when surfers in the ’80’s (remember those? No? Us neither) used it: a synonym for “cool.” I’ve seen so many people describe others or themselves as “politically radical” who were neither political nor radical that I’ve become convinced this word now simply designates one as trendy and hip. Radical: of or from the root or roots; going to the foundation or source of something; fundamental; basic. Well, there’s one aspect of that definition that most of the folks using this word have got: basic. They’re basic as fuck.
Um. Anything followed by the word “supremacy” is now suspect, on account of the people using the terms these days mostly picked them up on blogs, memes, and tweets. Idea-commodities are still commodities, and don’t speak to the bleak realities of resistance to power–they cannot speak to those realities, because those realities are invisible to commodified consciousness. POC activists hate “white supremacy,” (or so they say) but they love technology, gadgets, media culture, and money, which are all legacies of european invaders. Straight up, in my experience this phrase is mainly used by people who are incapable of building relationships with any real emotional vulnerability and therefore bond with each other mainly by complaining about white folks. Meanwhile, the real supreme beings–the machine gods and their children–are shepherding us all to the boneyard, including the melanin-deficient mutant savages we now call “white people.”
Invasion is invasion, no matter how sexy you dress it up. Invaders have been manifesting their destiny for centuries now; just because it now comes with organic coffee shops and artisanal bakeries instead of rifles and mass graves doesn’t make it any less destructive. These people and institutions are not “gentry,” (of noble or high birth) they’re murderous invaders, and should be responded to accordingly.
Everything I’ve ever known about gender, sexuality, and relationships was programmed into me by the violence, institutions, social rituals, and machines of civilized invaders. That shit doesn’t belong to me; it was done to me. So keep your identity-politicking ivory tower slang terms to yourself, and don’t ever call me this. “Cis” is a latin term and I haven’t been Roman lately. Or British, for that matter, yet here I am speaking English. Go ask my Ojibwe and unknown African ancestors about gender roles. Oh wait, you can’t; they were exterminated. Please note: all these kinds of terms are invented by white people.
“King” and “Queen”
Black people of a certain persuasion–the corny woke kind–think this is some sort of a compliment, harkening back to ye olden days when we were supposedly “all royalty.” This demonstrates a basic ignorance about how cultures of “royalty” function: a violence-enforced caste system with a small group of people who control everyone else. Well, fuck your pyramid scheme and your domination cult, and don’t ever call me this either.
That’s it for now. There will probably be more.