Saturday, July 05, 2008
Enjoying Our Symptom
By Nicholas Allanach
“Scratch the surface of any cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”
– George Carlin
As our train sped back to Penn Station, Ena and I listened to Kayne West on my Ipod, and watched as fireworks burst in the sky over Long Island’s suburban landscape. We had spent the afternoon at my brother’s taking part in the proverbial customs of any backyard 4th of July barbeque: burgers, beer, splashing in the pool, and tossing a football over green grass. It was a good day to be with family and friends, eating copious amounts of food, and being an American.
Although I’m certainly critical of “our American way of life” - I am what I am and cannot ignore the system of power that created and creates me. I acknowledge my privilege, limitations, and perhaps, still idealistically believe this two-hundred and thirty-two year old experiment has not failed and can (like any human organization) be improved upon. Or maybe that’s not true? For although I believe my idealism is not unfound, since it is inspired by the experiences and conversations I’ve had with the people in this country, I still think my idealism is a cop-out. Although I’ve always been angered by injustice, I have also simultaneously supported the same system of production that causes these crimes.
I am both a fatalist and an idealist. I try to be always honest, yet cannot shake my very vocal cynicism. I suppose I am, like America, diseased. But instead of getting all bent-out-of-shape about my sickness I’ve decided to –as Slavoj Zizek prescribes –“Love your symptom.”
Like my country; I’m in debt, unhealthy, and pushing away any and all rationale suggestions to slow down, take it easy, or behave. My disease wants new shoes, fast cars, and beautiful people. There are not enough drugs, alcohol, or non-renewable energy resources for this insatiable appetite to consume. This disease will get what it wants, even if it must infect everything to get it. One can see the infected, because they smile as they kill and make lots of money doing it.
Other countries, such as our neighbors to the north, are beginning to clearly see the symptoms of our sickness. Although I do not know the cure, I can see the disease, and hope we shake it before it shakes us. We can become an America that is weird and wonderful in its idealism, creatively expressive, and concerned with pursuing happiness instead of a restless greedy and maniacal hate. But that is all up to us, assuming the infection hasn’t already infected our will.
Well, just some thoughts I’m having on this post Independence Day. The month has been fast, far more than the last. In fact, as I was jumping and jostling around in a sweaty crowd at last month’s Mindless Self Indulgence concert with my good friend, Ian, from Maine, I couldn’t help but think this frenetic energy just keeps building and will not slow down. Good.
Well, that’s enough rambling with the net for now, wanted to ensure I made at least one report this month. Now, time to get to some of these other projects before the next distraction; or, maybe I’ll go check out a movie?
Enjoying the symptom.
Self-creation through destruction.