Dharma Squirrel

There’s only one True Path to walk. It’s got plenty of roads, with new ones springing up all the time, but really there’s only one. The life path.

Before human consciousness became host to the psychic infection of undead machine consciousness, there were truths that we all knew, because our cultures taught them to us. We’re communal, social, cultural creatures, and we have a steep learning curve. But we’ve also always had a lot of help from our living brethren.

As Winona LaDuke put it, a lot of our greatest teachings come from our relatives. The ones with wings and fins and leaves and fur and exoskeletons. The world is alive, spirit and flesh merged in a beautiful dance, and s(he) has a voice. The machinemind has taught us to be deaf to that voice.

Every “civilized” culture–and by “civilized,” I mean it in the sense of being infected by a deadly psychosis–has cultural memories of a vast span of paleolithic time when we could still hear all the songs and still learn from the nonhumans around us. Sometimes you have to dig deep for those memories.

And sometimes, they smash your head in with a gold-banded cudgel and splatter your brains all over the ground, then insult your ancestors.

The chinese memory of a free life of savagery survives in the story of Sun Wukong, the Beautiful Monkey King. No Confucian worship of parental authority for him–after all, he was born from a stone egg, formed by the abyss. As the indians say, rock and stone are our oldest ancestors.

Wukong looks like a monster to the civilized. He’s got no manners or sense of propriety. He does not willingly submit to the hierarchy, and doesn’t bother with the formalities of the Jade Emperor’s court. He moves freely, by wind and cloud, making friends with spirits and creatures and gods throughout the cosmos.

“Journey to the West” is a famous chinese novel that tells the story of the Monkey King’s rebellion against the heavenly order (they always treated him like a savage ape), his punishment and burial under a mountain, and his torture-inspired conversion to buddhism–Guanyin, the boddhisatva of compassion and mercy, fitted Monkey with a magic headband that when commanded would squeeze his head, crippling him with agonizing pain until he agreed to behave.

Thus converted, Monkey becomes a disciple and bodyguard to an idiotic but pure-hearted monk who is traveling from the East (china) to the West (india, where buddhism originated) to fetch the sacred scriptures that will return harmony to the kingdom.

The monk and Monkey are joined by two other disciples: First, Pig, a former heavenly marshall who “failed to respect the consensual boundaries” of a moon goddess and was transformed to a monster and banished to earth as punishment. Second, Sand, a former heavenly general who broke a sacred crystal goblet and was likewise transformed and banished to earth, where he took up highway robbery and cannibalism as a river monster. And third, the White Dragon, the third son of the Dragon King of the West, who was about to be executed for accidentally destroying one of the Jade Emperor’s jewels, but got a reprieve and conversion, like the rest of the disciples, from Guanyin.

Animism: the believe that the world is full of living spirits, embodies in creatures and environment.

In the animism of Journey to the West, any creature can cultivate their conduct, achieving vast power through taoist alchemy & magic, or buddhist enlightenment. Frequently these creatures then use their power to become petty warlords and tribal chieftains, claiming this mountain or that river as their territory and vigorously defending it. Many become demon kings. Not all of them. But the ones who do are constantly plotting on eating the monk, whose flesh can make them immortal. Invariably they end up smashed, converted, or outsmarted by Monkey and his fellow disciples.

The point is, any living being can become a buddha or a boddhisatva. Even Monkey becomes a buddha upon completion of the quest: Dou Zhang Sheng Fo (鬥戰勝佛), the Buddha Who Prevails Over Struggle–or, as it’s translated in my copy of the story: Victorious Fighting Buddha. By cultivating righteousness, discipline, devotion, and action in accordance with taoist and buddhist principles, regular nonhumans can achieve buddhahood, enlightenment and potentially acquire vast power.

I’ve now officially seen this in action. There’s a buddhist squirrel living in my backyard.

I have a plastic buddha statue which has been sitting at the base of the giant walnut tree in my backyard since I moved into this house over three years ago. The statue is covered in cobwebs and dirt. It’s been baked in the sun and soaked with pouring rain. I’ve given it tobacco and plastic jewels.

There’s been a squirrel living in that tree since who-knows-when. I hear him all the time, chewing the skin off walnuts. Now that there’s no longer a dog in the yard, he makes regular appearances, dashing around the yard, chasing his squirrel homies up and down the tree, and burying nuts.

A couple of weeks ago, I was standing on the back porch when the squirrel came skittering toward me from the back fence. He stopped about midway through the yard, stood upright on his back legs, and put his front paws together in the unmistakable pose of a buddhist disciple. He stayed like that for several moments, completely still, gazing into the mysteries of the cosmos with shining black eyes.

He went back to regular squirrel business, but every couple of minutes he would stop, face me, and make the pose.

Since then, there’s been several times when I’ve seen him sitting on top of the buddha statue’s head, munching away at walnuts and leaving offerings.

Dharma Squirrel.

 

 

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Divide by Zero

Math is dumb. And I don’t mean the study or the field of math is dumb, I mean it more like if math was your autistic cousin. It can only think in terms of quantity and abstractions. The world is a living being, and forcing it into quantification and abstraction is like forcing a woman into high heels and corsets.

As a kid I was fascinated and disturbed when teachers told me that it was impossible to divide by zero. Huh? But you can multiply by zero, thus annihilating any given number. Whether it’s 7 or 7 million, if you multiply by zero, you get zero. But if zero is nothing, how can you tell me I can’t divide by nothing? What if I simply refuse to divide?

As per requirement of the matrix, election season means a dramatic energy dump into the system, as everyone argues and promotes and campaigns and rants and raves and everything else that we are trained to do. At 36 years old, I’ve seen quite a bit of this already. I remember when the “democrats” blamed all the Nader voters for putting Dubya in the white house. It was absurd then, and it’s absurd now.

All of the dialogue fills me with the same fascination and disturbance that I got when told I could not divide by zero.

There are many unseen things I am required to believe in order to participate in the voting process, or even to participate in arguments about it. One is that the united states has a legitimate claim to govern the landbase that it occupies. As a black indian, that fills me with amusement and contempt; picture a legion of social media junkies in germany circa 1940 bullying jews over their refusal to vote for nazi candidates, and you’ll have an idea of how I feel about it.

I must pretend that voting is NOT participation in a ceremonial-ritual act that spiritually and emotionally affirms a planet-devouring industrial order.

I must believe that voting has some genuine influence in how the government of occupation governs. On the whole, this is demonstrably false. I could provide links and research, but really, if you’re the kind of person who has subscribed to the required beliefs, all the information in the world will not sway you.

I must believe that the person who occupies the presidential seat will somehow affect civilization’s obsessive inertia of life-destruction.

I must believe that the president’s job is to do something other than maintain the existence of the USA, with all the ecological destruction, war, murder, oppression, lies, and evil that entails.

I must ignore all my own knowledge, research, intuition, and wisdom.

I don’t have answers. I know the problem and how to solve it, but the cold story of probability says that if you don’t already share in that knowledge, you don’t want it. This text does not want to convince you; this text is about honesty. A breath of fresh air. If it feels that way to you when you read it, then congratulations; you’re the target audience.

Defang the snake.

 

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Whale Tails and Horse Rape

I’m on the beach a few miles from Cal Poly, looking out at the ocean and wondering what I would have seen there five hundred years ago. Or three hundred. Or two hundred. Before european invaders showed up, with their missions and rifles and chains and crosses.

There are some birds. Many birds, to the eyes of a city-dweller. A scant, desolate feathered tribe compared to what they were. Homes destroyed, food sources wiped out, habitat paved and full of colonizers.

Flying, floating, diving into the waves for the handful of fish who are left. The sight is as breathtaking and awe-inspiring as it ever was.

The ocean horizon is long and lazy. Fog meanders. And there, off in the distance, past the jagged rocks and a metal buoy… An impossibly large tail emerges from the water and crashes playfully back down again. A moment later, a gust of air shoots mist into the sky as one of the largest mammals remaining on earth gives and takes a breath.

Two, maybe three whales are hanging out, doing what whales do. With my five-hundred year old eyes, I see countless tails and countless spouts. I see an exodus, a celebration. A party in the ocean. As far as the eye can see, across the long and lazy horizon.

Now they are gone.

When I was a kid, around eight or nine years old, I developed the kind of obsessive fascination that only children, artists, and the insane are capable of: whales. I was mesmerized by pictures of them, enchanted by their ways, reading book after book about them, drawing picture after picture of them.

My child’s mind reels: they breath oxygen, they have hair, give birth to live young. They have warm blood. They’re just like me.

But they live in the water! Whaaat?!

Dolphins with their little sharp teeth, humpbacks with their krill-catching hair-teeth. Blue whales, bigger than any other creature on earth. Sperm whales with heads that can ram ships, covered with scars from wrestling the leviathans of the deep. Narwhals and their unicorn horns, killer whales jumping out of the water and onto the ice to snatch up seals.

Now they are gone.

Homes poisoned and destroyed. Just like on land. Their relatives of the deep, predator and prey, destroyed, murdered, slaughtered. Wiped out, hunted, exterminated. Along with the wild humans who once lived here.

My five hundred year-old eyes see birds blotting out the sky in their migrations. Diving for countless fish. Ecstatic and fecund. Dancing in the air, witnessed by the wild humans who share this home where ocean and land meet.

Now I’m on campus, visiting the imprisoned. Oh, they don’t call it a prison. They call it “stables.” Where the slave horses are kept.

I don’t know horses. I don’t know where they come from. But I know this: horses run. That’s the fuck what horses do. Which means they come from where there is endless space for them to run. They have no bridles, and no human symbols have been burned into their flesh (branding).

At the stable, they are trapped in a twenty square foot pen, eating and rolling in their own shit.

Or maybe out in a bigger pen. Maybe an acre for the twenty or so horses on the premises, and their recently-born children. The kids are running. They’re still young and wild. They haven’t been broken.

That’s what they call it, you know. “Broken.” That’s how you describe a horse that has been trained, through reinforcement both positive (food bribery) and negative (beatings). When the horse will submit to carrying humans, running from place to place with humans, doing tricks, and even dancing for humans–that is a horse that has been broken.

Plantation owners used the same term for their african slaves. Newly captured, newly enslaved, fresh from the poisonous bowels of cargo vessels, these humans still had a sense of themselves, their culture, and their identity. They did not willingly submit to enslavement.

And thus they had to be broken.

That’s what pimps call it too, by the way. “Break a bitch.” That’s where you fuck with a woman’s heart and mind to the point where she will do what you command.

She must be broken.

At the stables they have a teaser horse. What is a teaser horse? I ask. That’s the male horse they bring out to march around the mares, and make sure they’re in heat. They get him fired up, then send him back to the pen, unsatisfied.

Some of the males get jacked off, their semen collected. Then the mares are marched into a stall, locked down, and raped with an fake penis. The type of people who run stables call this “breeding.”

Or they lock down the mares, and bring in an actual male horse to rape them.

I don’t know horses. But I know life. All creatures have their ceremonies and rituals–for eating, for living, for sleeping, for mating. These horses don’t get their mating rituals. They are not free to dance and flirt. They are captured and raped.

The civilized call this “breeding.”

They used the same word for the africans, you know. “Breed” the slaves. Get a big, strong african man, that’s the bull. Then force him to fuck the mares. I mean the women.

“Don’t worry,” I say to one of my imprisoned brothers. “It will all be over soon.”

Then we will all be free.

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When White Men Attack

Kitten Lopez is a fierce and brilliant woman who dances on the street to the radio show I host every Sunday. This past weekend–on Valentine’s Day, of all things–a white man assaulted her on the street. With her permission, I’m posting this copy of the letter she sent to the Mission Local paper, describing the incident (edited for clarity):
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I live at 25th/Hampshire [in the San Francisco Mission District] and I used to be an author of books before everything died. I started dancing outside in the sun and usually I do it alone with my earphones on. But girls of all ages would run up to me and ask me to teach ’em and since I was a kid in the bronx when breakdancing hit the scene, I remembered all the dancing in the streets–but there was always dancing wherever there were Puerto Ricans. I decided to dance outside my apartment every sunday 1pm-2pm, and I’d put on KPOO [89.5FM] with Malik Diamond and Khafre Jay’s “Hip Hop for Change” show that’d be great for the kids, too. Sometimes they’d take a while to get courage to dance in the sun. Sometimes you have to watch and fantasize for YEARS before you say fuck it /fuck EVERYONE and just dance in the sun for god. Then you remember. You remember everything. Where you come from, all that.

I told Malik and Khafre at KPOO what I was doing and they’d play all the best dance songs for that one hour on Sunday. We were working together quite by accident.

After a hiatus due to the rains and a heart breaking football season, I started back up this last Sunday after a few neighbors asked when i’d be back out.

I went out at 1pm and put on the radio and turned it up loud.

I was dancing and then Malik was on about colonialism and invaders, and the Mexican guys on the corner are cheering his words and this white boy comes out, crosses the street to me, and gets up close and starts vaguely imitating me in awkward ways. I figure he’s just dancing all awkwardly like a white person but then he starts making fun of Malik talking and shuts the radio off and says, “turn that fucking shit off, BITCH.” And he’s INTO saying the word. His eyes are all excited and i’m creeped out.

He says, “I want this shit OFF!”

And I laugh and say, “Who the fuck are YOU?”

And I look and see his door open in the AirBnB house and I start CRACKING UP and saying “You don’t even LIVE HERE! You’re AirBnB’ing it here!” It was too FUNNY considering what Malik was talking about with “invaders” and shit.

So then I just turn it back on and start dancing again but he PUNCHES me and turns it off and I’m screaming for my neighbors and he’s mocking me like a kid brother imitating me and I’m thinking he’s on drugs.

See, he’s staying in the building where the landlord evicted a first wave tech guy who was middle-aged and out of work Ubering and once he started having problems making the rent, the landlord starting putting the other room on AirBnB. He had a crack user in there once, and I saw the guy screaming out the window.

Anyhow, so now it’s fully AirBnB’d out, although I have no idea if it’s registered and all that. There are a lot of people always rotating in and out of there and I’d never seen this kid before.

He punches me and has NO boundaries and I’m seriously freaked out because he keeps coming up CLOSE to my body and I can’t back away.

The neighbors come out and while the guys are yelling in the street, he keeps messing with me but Claudia, who’s in her fifties, comes out and places herself between him and ME! He’s still reaching for me and I’m trying to tell her to leave but she’s covering for me and it’s beautiful as HELL because no one has anyone’s back anymore. 

This kid starts getting in EVERYONE’S faces and even goes into a neighbor’s HOUSE while we’re trying to herd him away. We don’t know whether he’s on drugs because he’s chewing gum wildly and he just acted like he had a right to TOUCH everyone. He didn’t CARE.

Eventually, five cop SUVs come and the kid is imperious and demanding. I later learn his name is “Brian,” and he’s from Manhattan Beach [in southern California].

Cop said, “A rich kid who hasn’t a clue.”

Even though I had all these witnesses, I was gently dissuaded from pressing charges, saying it’d be a lot of court dates and him saying I’d attacked him and I’d had that happen already in Berkeley so I knew it was true. I got my ass kicked by a white guy, HE called the cops, and even though I was bloody, ripped up, and had a broken finger they said if I pressed charges, they’d have to take ME in, too.

Brian told the cop he was there till the end of the month. I figured they had his info in case he did anything again. I’m not into cops but I wanted to do the RIGHT thing.

This cop said I could press charges LATER. It was sunny, I didn’t wanna spend all day in the Mission cop place so I figured if I was injured later, after the adrenaline subsided and if any deep soreness came in, I WOULD reconsider and press charges.

I figured they had his I.D. and info, and I felt safe enough to say I wouldn’t press charges.

When I went back home I fell apart in sobs and was crying all evening, and my hands got jammed and swollen as the night went on. I went to see Claudia, who’d interceded; she was thoroughly freaked out about living NEXT to him for another two weeks with him knowing where we ALL live and he’d kept saying, “YOU’LL BE SORRY!”

We talked about it and I was determined to complete the process and press charges.

But I’d have to call out another cop car and start all over even though I had a CAD#.

I called the cops at 7pm; Brian’s lights were on all night. I’d check. But the cops didn’t come until 1:30am. When they went over to knock on the door, the lights went on upstairs, and then they shut off. Our crazy kid apparently already knew what I didn’t: if he didn’t answer the door, the cops would just have to go away.

Which they did. They said I should’ve pressed charges earlier. I could call again when I know for sure he’s there, but again he doesn’t have to answer the door.

He could look out the window, see cop cars, and he’s fine.

Oh, and they never got his  information. Just the name he TOLD the cops. So we’re all terrified he’s going to slash our tires and leave, and we’ll be screwed while the landlord just moves in new tenants every week or so.

i’m actually very afraid of him because when this old white guy yelled at him “What’re you doing hitting women? You don’t hit WOMEN!”  Brian instantly defended himself by shooting back, “I’m NOT hitting women!” without a hint of …anything. He meant it.

That’s what was creepy. I WASN’T an actual “woman” to him. A white woman would be. He never DARED to touch Claudia (she’s white).

The cops get called on me EVERY WEEKEND when I dance now, and I get them called on me even when I dance at Dolores Park in the sun, now, too. Even on MISSION street. The new St. Francis people call the cops on me when I dance outside the laundromat in the sun, too.

After hearing the details of the real Alex Nieto story about the dog, the burrito and the two gossiping guys playing it up to the cops for drama, I’m like YEAH THIS SHIT IS REAL.

It’s open season on us ALL now; I’m getting harassed more than when I was a wild kid, by rich people who wanna treat me like the maid. We ALL have those stories now even if we thought we were all bourgied out.

I’m 48 and I have grey hair. This little white kid felt free to fucking turn off my radio and PUNCH me over and over for being uppity enough to have rap or talk of colonialism and invaders on while he’s in his HOTEL room.

The cop lady figured he’d been up doing drugs and was pissed because he was sleeping at 1 in the afternoon in OUR neighborhood.

Now Claudia and another woman who had my back when a couple of homeless tweakers attacked me with their pit last year, they wanna come out and dance EVERY Sunday now. with the kids.

Between you and me, I’m trying to start a weekly block party now.

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Lingo

If you don’t have language to describe something, it’s easy for it to be invisible. Also, it can be very frustrating to feel something, but have no words to describe how you feel. Over the years, I’ve acquired and formulated my own lingo to describe concepts and situations in the world I find myself in. Some of this stuff is conceptual, and some of it is just shit me and my friends say cuz we think it’s funny.

I present these in the hope they may help someone else alleviate their frustration. No, my fellow brown person, you are not crazy.

Test the Melanin
When white culture sets up a P.O.C., usually black, as an adversary or standard of virility, in order to then defeat it. White folks showing how badass they are by fucking up a big, bad, brown person. See: Rocky, 8 Mile, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, really any Marvel movie, and any martial arts movie with a white protagonist and asian villains.

Ring Madness
The mental condition universal to everyone born in Babylon. The fetishization of and  compulsion to exert dominance and power-over, or the fetishization of and compulsion to submit to such power.

Juice the Melanin
Taking power through affiliation with black people. Using associations with black people to seem cooler, more legit, more “down.” See: Rachel Dolezal, any rap video by white MCs.

Juicer
Someone who perpetrates melanin-juicing.

Droids (clones)
The secular, spiritually-bankrupt children of machine culture. People who pray at the altar of technology, gadgets, and machinery. People whose minds are mostly, if not entirely, controlled by the programming of Babylon. Spacephone addicts/compulsive users.

Vampires
Emotionally and spiritually draining people. Sexual predators. White people.

Agents
People who, knowingly or unknowingly, do the evil work of the system. People who will fight to defend the system and status quo.

Scallywag
A person who takes on new lovers on a regular and frequent basis, or who frequently has multiple concurrent lovers.

Skip, skip-skap
A scallywag who lies to, uses, and deceives their lovers/partners.

Fuck Your Couch
What you think is important is really not important. In fact, you thinking that it’s important is offensive and an insult.

Stretch Out
To get way too comfortable in a space you don’t have a right to be in.

Invaders
White people.

Drop the Mic
To say or write something powerful and poignant enough to leave folks stunned, silent, overwhelmed, or moved.

Halfrican (Halfxican, Halfinese)
Mixed race people, usually with at least one completely white parent, who are blind to or deny the reality of their place in the racial caste system. As if identifying yourself as “biracial” or “multi-racial” will keep the cops from cracking your nappy skull. Also, the poor, confused folks who are often either trying way too hard to be white, or way too hard to be black/brown.

D-Bo
To take something by force or intimidation, or by assumed right. That cop D-Bo’d my bankroll. My cat just D-bo’d my seat.

Brownvader
White man who fucks, dates, or marries a P.O.C. woman.

P.O.W. (Prisoner of Whiteness)
P.O.C. who seek out white people to fuck/date/marry.

White Tears
White people’s hurt feelings. Frequently the catalyst and cause of torture, mutilation, death and destruction of black and brown people.

Tom Knowledge
The false wisdom of black people who identify with white oppressors and Babylon. The movie Chi-Raq is a manual on Tom knowledge–”we as black people need to do better!” Thanks, Spike.

Double-tongue
Lies, a liar; folks who talk out of both sides of their mouth. Also, white people.

Hadoken, super hadoken
A dramatic punch, hit, or strike.

Lula
A white woman who uses P.O.C. men as targets for emotional and physical violence, or who seeks out P.O.C. men as lovers/partners. See The Flying Dutchman by Amiri Baraka.

Becky
A cigarette. Or a white woman. Both can kill you.

Trevor
A white man who becomes upset when their white female friends/lovers/partners show attention or affection to P.O.C. men, especially black men.

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Rise of the Machines

I’ve already written at length about psychic machines and synthetic entities. I’m not going to rehash it all here–for that, you’ll have to buy my book The Concrete Shinobi when I publish it this summer. In the meantime, a summary:

There’s two kinds of machines: physical and psychic. Physical machines are all the things you think of when you hear the word “machine.” Psychic machines are ideas that function like machines, e.g. corporations. The program of a corporation is to turn “resources,” (life) into money.

Those of us who’ve been paying attention know that psychic machines–or as I like to call them, the machine gods–are destroying life on this planet at a rapid rate. If you’re not fully aware of the scope of this problem (realistically, you probably aren’t, as the scale of this problem is barely comprehendible to human perspective) you can get a good start here, and you probably should just go ahead and read Endgame Vol. 1 & 2. Go ahead and buy them on amazon so you can be sure to get on the gubment watch list.

Every time there’s some new fancy gadget or technology, people get all excited. I’m no longer surprised by this, because I understand that we’re trained from birth to get excited about technological developments. What we’re not trained in is any kind of critical consciousness that would enable us to really question that technology. That’s how the game works, see?

Being human, we have our limits in understanding. We all think that we’re in control of technology (or at least, someone is, somewhere), when in fact technology has been in control of us for quite some time–I would say, since agriculture.

All the devastation of life… pause for half a tear to come out of your eye before you go back to sharing memes on FB… and all the curses of domination culture…. pause for half a tear on behalf of genocide and gynocide… are due to the machine gods.

All of this, without those machines actually being able to think. The technology we have doesn’t think, per se; it has a function and a logic of its own, and it carries it out. It converts the living (“resources”) into the dead (“products”) and keeps it moving.

Hella folks are way excited about the latest developments in getting technology closer to the point where it can actually think.

What a terrifying and horrible idea.

If technology that cannot think still is rendering the living into the dead on a massive scale to propagate itself… Just what in the hell do you think it’s going to do if it becomes self-aware? Fuck the Matrix and Terminator–those nightmares didn’t go far enough.

You know what the most prominent fuel source on this planet really is?

Biomass.

That means you. And everything else that lives.

I’m 35 years old and a longtime matrix-critic, and I just figured that out the other day. How long do you think it will take a conscious super computer neural network to figure it out?

Its only purpose is to propagate itself. Biomass is the greatest fuel, and resource. So… Destroy all life, build self, launch into the stars to find the next planet, and on and on and on.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: a machine is not alive, so it does not value life. That’s clear. Why would a thinking machine be any different? Just because we hope it would? Are we willing to bet the future of life on that?

Defang the snake.

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May the Force Step n’ Fetchit

My spider sense instantly went off when I found out there would be a black lead in the latest Star Wars flick. Of course, since the level of suspect activity in Babylon 2015 is so high, my spider sense has been in a constant state of hyper-stimulation. As a result, I didn’t really think too much about it. If I had, I promise you I could have predicted the entire character arc of this poor, shoe-shuffling negro, and probably the content of most of his scenes.

I’m pulling triggers like crazy in this post, so if you’re the kind of person that cares enough about OMFG SW that you don’t want anything spoiled, AND you still haven’t seen the movie, then just be a grown-up and take what’s coming to you.

John “the black guy in the new SW” Boyega, (who, by the way, is billed 6th on the wikipedia site for actors in the movie, despite getting way more screen time then that effete wannabe sith and Mark Hamill) plays a character named Finn….

Who is given his name by a white dude.

Oh, no you don’t. Don’t you dare keep reading.  Go back and read that again, goddammit. I’ll wait. In fact, I’ll say it again, just in case:

Finn is given his name by a white dude.

Here’s my recap of the scene. This may not be the exact dialogue, but it’s definitely what was said:

Negro: “I don’t have a name, just a number! I was taught only to obey!”
White dude: “Never fear, negro, I shall grant thee a name. Thou shalt be… FINN!”
Negro: “OMG thank you white man! You’re my true friend!”

Mr. Underground Railroad White Ally helps rescue the negro from slavery and they escape to some desert planet. Some other shit happens, I don’t really remember–the movie is pop trash, and I’m not supposed to remember or even think about it too much–and then the negro gets beaten up by the other lead, a white chick, in preparation for their post-racial romance (*gag*).

At some point, the negro is asked about his position within the league of stormtroopery, and it turns out that he was… a janitor.

No, no, no. GO BACK AND READ THAT AGAIN.

This happy-go-lucky-ass negro escaped from the empire, or the First Order, or whatever the fuck, because he couldn’t bring himself to gun down a bunch of trifling civilians. Clearly the bad guys’ training protocol needs work, cuz this dude is so weak-sauce I had trouble believing he’d ever been a trooper in the first place. I know this movie is not intended to make any sense, just sell products, but for chrissake.

(And btw, according to previous film canon, the stormtroopers are supposed to be clones. #OutGeekYou)

Eventually the negro takes up the lightsaber so he can get punked by the villain (#TestTheMelanin) and outshined by the white chick, who, despite having zero training whatsoever in the use of said lightsaber, is able to fend off the dark side jedi, who was so wack I don’t even remember the character’s name. He shall heretofore be referred to as Darth Whiner, a name which represents the extent of his character development.

Anyway, negro outshined by white chick, in further preparation for (*gag*) post-racial romance.

Speaking of white chicks, Carrie Fisher reprising her role as Leia adds the only bit of dignity in this movie, yet she still gets the shit end of the stick. Those of you who are versed in the original trilogy (the only movies in the franchise worth watching) know that it was strongly implied that Leia would eventually become a jedi, since the force is strong in the family and shit. So… why is it hella years later, and she’s still just leading troops? Why is she not a jedi, dammit?

In the cheapest, most pointless, low-down contrived and manipulative scene since the whole Titanic movie, Han Solo puts all of his allies’ lives in danger (including his own negro sidekick, Chewbacca) to try and convince his son Darth Whiner to join the good guys. After a lot of whining, Han Solo gets the saber through the gut and falls to his doom, jeopardizing everyone he’s with and squeezing tears from the eyes of mom’s-basement-dwellers everywhere.

Torture and pseudo-rape scene: Darth Whiner has the white chick tied up (bondage), informs her he can take whatever he likes from her, then spends almost 10 minutes of a scene torturing her with the force–groaning, screaming, the whole nine. This wasn’t the only force-torture scene, either. All of this in what’s supposed to be a family movie.

At this point I went out for a smoke; normally I walk out on any movie with a rape scene, and I would’ve walked on this, but alas I had gone to see it with my cousins and didn’t want to leave them at the theater. Also, someone else bought my ticket.

What amazed me during my smoke break was how empty and calm the lobby was. The theater made the wise decision to have all the incarnations of SW–regular, 3-D, and imax 3-D–play all at the same time, probably to give the employees a rest from all the trauma-inducing chaos of x-mas movie season.

I wasn’t expecting a SW mob scene in the simple, POC-free city of Bend, Oregon, which tells you how disconnected I am from the mainstream of american culture. When we got to the theater for the show 45 minutes early, it was packed like they were giving out free booze. We pulled a pirate maneuver and cut way in front of the line as it was going in, and still had to sit in the front row. WTF?

Anyway, back to the movie itself. Actually, nevermind, nothing else worth mentioning happened. The movie sucked. Instead of just doing a straight-up remake, as writer/director JJ “look I’m PC cuz I have a negro and a female lead” Abrams did with Star Trek and should’ve done with SW, instead we get a half-assed remake that basically tells the EXACT SAME STORY as the original SW, only without any of the creativity, originality, magic, wonder, or innocence.

The face of white supremacy.

The face of white supremacy.

I’ve noticed, through all my social media “research,” that people tend to fall into one of two categories when it comes to this movie. Which makes sense, since this culture has been completely one-dimensional since the towers blew up and you were either with us or against us. Those categories are: OMFG SW!, and Fuck SW.

Both groups need to grow up. Film is one of the principal myth-makers and status-quo-enforcers of our society. All the trifling and inane ignorance of american values is laid bare in the Blockbuster Movie. If you want to understand what this country is really about, look no further for study: Militarism. Torture. Rape. Misogyny. Racism. White men making grand speeches, in love with the sound of their own voices, high on their own bullshit.

But I forgot; I’m not supposed to think too much about it.

And I’m definitely not supposed to talk about it.

P.S. Deja vu. More of the same.

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Party Without the Poison

My name is Malik Diamond. I’m an MC. I rock with DJ Innalect. We throw the best parties on the planet.

For the last 5 years, we have thrown Invisible Parties, where no photos, no videos, and no cell phones are permitted. If I need to explain to you why these restrictions make for the best parties on the planet, you are guaranteed to be under the age of 25, and you should ask your elders. Or, better yet, you could throw your own Invisible Party and learn by experience.

Parties are invite only. Under the ground like mice.

Recently, DJ Innalect and I decided to throw a dry party, where no alcohol is permitted. This will be the first such party; it’s been at least 10 years since I personally went to a dry party. There are a number of reasons we decided to do this, and after almost a year of radio blog silence, I figured that writing about it would be the best way to clarify my thoughts, and put them into the easily digestible soundbite format that seems to be the preferred method of communication in this year of our Invader Era, 2015.

Doing Too Much
At every party we’ve thrown, there’s always at least one person who does way too much. At my last birthday party, I was the culprit; I don’t remember half of my set. Everyone tells me it was great, but I’ll have to take their word for it. The party before that, Innalect got on that slurricane, and went on slump mode before we even got a chance to do our set. A performer at the last party showed up drunk, kept drinking heavily, and forgot the lyrics to several songs. A first-time guest harassed a group of women that included two queer women; he was haranguing them with some bullshit about queerness being unnatural. Which brings me to my next point…

Space Invaders
We want a celebratory space where everyone feels welcome and secure. Men already have a hard time respecting women’s space and boundaries, ignoring both physical and verbal “No’s” and demonizing women for refusing advances. Add booze into the mix, and it just gets worse. There were no women who complained to me directly about this problem, which is  a testament to how normalized harassment is in this culture, but I personally witnessed several times at the last party when men simply refused to leave women alone, or were aggressive about getting in women’s personal space. Hell to the nah.

Everyone in the underground knows that hip hop shows are populated mostly by dudes. It’s an environment ripe with sexism, aggression, and male posturing, which is boring for grown men and both boring and threatening for women. However, there is a strong vein of Afro-diasporic tradition in hip hop, which is based on the Circle; everyone is welcome, everyone has power, everyone has a say. If we want women to feel welcome, we have to create an environment that discourages harassment and macho bullshit. That’s exactly what we are doing.

Boozing the Culture
Two decades plus of (white) corporate-sponsored rap music has embedded alcohol into the culture as if it were the secret 6th element. Party & Bullshit went from being a critique to a point of celebration. Artists do a parade of free events at bars, making talent into a glorified commercial for alcohol. We’re a generation indoctrinated by the self-hatred of consumer propaganda and the narcissism of social media culture, and many of us “can’t have a good time” without drinking. So heavy are the internal chains, so uncomfortable we are with ourselves, that we have difficulty enjoying ourselves while sober. Well, fuck that.

The Temple of DZA
As a matter of principle, the Invisible Party rejects the ubiquitous documentation of experience and the alienation of gadgets intruding on communal experience. The theme of my album The Temple of DZA is about rejecting the machine god cults of civilization: patriarchy, government, capitalism, white supremacy, and civilization itself. Alcohol is a tool of all of the above. To celebrate the (re)release of The Temple of DZA, we are going on monk status: booze free.

D for Divine or Destroy. The choice is mine, the choice is yours. All of us choose. What will you choose?

Z for Knowledge-Wisdom-Understanding. The cycle of unfolding consciousness: do the knowledge, gain the wisdom, experience the understanding. Grow and change.

A for Arm Leg Leg Arm Head. We are the gods, we get to create our own spaces and values. What will those spaces and values reflect?

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The Taste of Illusion

Outrage is humming in the lower atmosphere–that special kind of heat that ignites revolutionaries and reactionaries in the same chakra, churning up bullshit-scented gas. That gas leaks into the air, forms itself into words on video screens, and takes on a life of its own.

A cop choked Eric Garner to death because he could. It was captured on video, and whoever makes such decisions decided that there was not enough evidence to charge the cop with a crime.

Hee hee ha ha ho hee ha, says the clown.

For many–I would even say most–of the people who recognize that this event is fucked up and wrong, there is a particular flavor to their outrage. A tangy, subtle note that only shows up at the end of a swallow. It’s an array of spices, grown in the soil of beliefs that have been embedded in us from birth.

This is an outrage that says, somewhere deep down, that what has happened is an accident, an aberration; a glitch in a system with many glitches. If we could only just patch those glitches in Babylon v.2015, everything will be okay.

This is the flavor of illusion.

America the beautiful, a collection of borders drawn up by genocidal invaders. They’ve raped our babies and feasted on our blood and flesh since First Contact, since day one. They’ve been a plague to the earth, destroying, poisoning, laying waste to life in all forms.

This is what the system does. This is what it has always done. It has trained us to believe otherwise, so that it can continue. It is a master of smoke and mirrors; the truth of what it is and what it does to us–all who walk crawl swim fly live–is obscured. The enemy is invisible. The enemy is in you. To the extent that you identify with the system, you are the enemy. This is true of us all.

Calvary troops used to bury our babies in dirt up to their necks, in front of their mothers, then kick their heads off. They gave us ebola on a blanket. They split us open and fucked the wounds. They sawed us down, burned us out, piled us in grotesque union in the bowels of ships. They make weapons that can blot out the sun, turn thousands of square miles into charred and lifeless rock.

Are you surprised that their physical and ideological descendants would choke us to death in broad daylight?

You haven’t been paying attention.

Defang the snake.

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Rap Styles

I’ve always been hella picky about the music I listen to, especially with hip hop. If I’m really feeling something I’ll bump it for months on end, learn all the words, etc. But if a song doesn’t grab me in the first few bars, I’ll punch that skip button so fast the CD might get scratched.

When it comes down to it, I’m just a regular-ass person like everyone else, including the motherfuckers who get paid to review albums and tell us all who is supposedly dope. However, I have been listening to rap music since before a lot of cats I encounter in the underground scene were even born. I’ve seen trends and styles blow in and out on the wind. I’ve seen some of the most talented artists disappear without a trace, and some mediocre dudes continue to linger like a bad case of athlete’s foot.

I was a teen in the mid-90’s, and I heard a lot of fantastic music, real hip hop, actually get played on commercial radio. Most of these cats in the scene can’t say that. They’re post-Biggie, post-Pac. Most of these cats were initiated by Eminem (ugh). Point is, the spectrum of what made it on the air in the pre-Clear-Channel-owns-the-universe days was much, much wider than it is now. By the end of the 90‘s the corporate overlords started closing the gap as far as what styles, lyrics, themes, and content would be permitted.

If you didn’t make it into hip hop before that doorway was shut, locked, and deleted from the continuity, chances are good that your concept of what rap music is and can be is heavily skewed toward bullshit. That’s not a dis to the younger generation, it’s just statistics. Like, find someone under 25 that doesn’t have a cellphone on them at all times. We’re products of our respective generations.

These days, I mostly listen to underground rap. And I mean super-underground, like shit that people hand to me in paper envelopes with their name scrawled on it, discs burned on their computer at home. Music made by people I meet, people I know. Local artists, up-and-coming artists, by and large folks who in 5 or 10 years will be talking about how they used to rap.

People claim that the underground is where real hip hop lives. I’m not so sure. The average radio-play, cable music video, “mainstream” artist puts me to sleep, but I can’t make a blanket declaration that the ability to induce a coma is the same as being “unreal.” At the same time, I hear so much garbage in the underground that the stench of it could easily wake me up. The main difference is that underground artists have the freedom to do something different, because they’re not beholden to contracts, labels, corporate overlords, or the demands of the masses. But possibility is not the same as manifestation; real talk, most of these cats should probably retire the mic AND the pen.

The content of mainstream rap, of course, uniformly reflects the values of the culture at large: materialism, money-worship, domination culture, patriarchy, misogyny, ignorance. But frankly, the content of underground rap is not much different in that respect. I’ve heard plenty of indy rappers who describe themselves as “conscious” say some outrageously ignorant and disrespectful shit on a track, especially about women. This is not surprising to me, since male privilege–along with its attendant sense of entitlement–is just as invisible to men generally as white privilege is to white people.

(And P.S., if have no knowledge/wisdom/understanding of white privilege, or if your only knowledge of it comes from songs/books/videos/whatever by white artists, stop reading now and go do some research. Otherwise we’re wasting each other’s time, and I’m not going to pause to explain Invader Culture 101. And since you don’t never hardly hear a hip hop song about male privilege, go do some research on that, too.)

So, what’s to be done? Well, I’m an advocate of overthrowing industrial civilization and putting the whole Babylon show to bed (The War Is On). But, since that’s not likely to happen, I decided, as a fan and an artist, to write the following two cent guide to stepping the game up.

Knowledge
Immortal Technique once said that knowledge is the stone that sharpens an MC’s lyrical sword. I can’t say it any better than that. Read. A lot. Study. A lot. Real books, not just the internet. Some of the most accomplished and influential individuals in history were self-taught. So stop watching youtube videos about the illuminati and get some real knowledge and wisdom to put into your lyrics and style. The deeper your knowledge, the more interesting your music will be. Knowledge is the fifth element of hip hop.

Truth
Speak your truth when you rhyme. I think that for artists of any variety, if you’re not willing to rip your chest open and spill your heart and guts into your art, you’ve got no business creating. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. Fear is the mind killer, and it’s the heart killer, too. But please, for the love of all that is sacred, don’t fucking preach to me. Nothing makes my eyes roll as hard as some twenty-something trying to tell me what life is about. You can tell me what YOUR life is about, but that’s all you got. Work with it.

Originality
This goes along with truth; nobody has the same experiences and perspective as you, so bring it out, put it on display. Be original.

Performance
If you can’t put on a show that keeps people’s attention, you may be a rapper, but you are NOT an MC. Emceeing, as a descendent of west african griot culture, is an art of social performance. There is a theatrical element to putting on a show; who the fuck wants to see someone holding a mic, staring at their feet and delivering rhymes? You’re wasting people’s time and energy, and possibly money. Learn how to entertain people. If shit goes wrong, if there are technical difficulties, it is the MC’s job to keep the show going no matter what. If you can’t improvise to fill time, you’re a pretender to the throne.

Flavor
Put some god damn LIFE into your lyrics. Put your passion in it. The cultures that originated hip hop are cultures that integrate the mental and physical. Get your body in it.

Lyricism
A big part of the aesthetic of rap is technicality; original flows, tight rhymes. However, some of the best songs have the simplest lyrics. A high level of technical ability in rhyming doesn’t necessarily make your music more interesting, and it doesn’t make you an MC. Stop trying so hard to be the dopest rhymer, and focus on the first five points.

Word Play
Can you write a song that is rich in metaphor without using the word “like”? Give it a shot. Similes are grade-school level in writing and rapping, so aim to graduate. Paint a picture with your words. Build a world and bring listeners into it. Invent your own terms, phrases, and slang. Experiment with word placement, move things around, shake it up.

Professionalism
Whether you’re making a living doing music or not, be a professional. Show up when you’re supposed to. Deliver on your promises, do what you say you’re going to do. Give your best to everything, or don’t bother doing it. Live up to a higher standard. If you give your word, keep it. Word is bond, or it’s nothing. If you don’t take your art and business seriously, who’s going to take YOU seriously?

Special Addendum for White MCs
Learn our history, the history of the people who created this culture and art. If you are white, you are the inheritor of Invader Culture, which is largely defined by its sense of entitlement to colonize, capture, and claim as its own whatever it wants. Learn why, and learn how it’s affected the rest of us throughout history, and continues to affect us. Otherwise, you’re just another thief, another cultural appropriator. We built this house; you’re a guest. Learn the protocol, and don’t hide behind some false “universality” of music. It’s your responsibility to alleviate your own ignorance, not ours.

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