Saturday, January 18, 2014

White Baby Jesus Vs. Dark Ecology

Here is a video art piece my friend Bypolar and I created, exploring the spiritual crises white America is facing as the ecological catastrophe unfolds:


This collaboration is an example of freestyle research and rhizomatic learning, concepts and practices I'm developing on the Creativity Not Control blog.  I also wrote a follow up piece on the Black Orchid blog, situating our analysis within broader philosophical currents such as the "new materialism".

Here is the text from the original video art piece:

White Baby Jesus vs. Dark Ecology 

Have you ever seen a bumper sticker on an SUV with the words "what would Jesus do?"  That's an advertisement, not a real question.  Especially when it's on an SUV.  Anyone asking that question sincerely is fixing to get a horrifying answer.  The driver is not that open minded.  He is really saying "Jesus made me do it".

Like America, he is a baby trying to avoid responsibility for a major accident he is about to cause while he is bumbling around obliviously knocking into things like the planet's atmosphere, Iraq, and the Tar Sands:  "But I didn't do it, it was Jeeeesus…" 

My friend Bypolar the Toxic Cherub and I were kickin' it the other day,  and we ended up getting into a conversation about this.  We realized Americans act like baby gods.  This country is a porcelain Baby Jesus, a 237 year old Divine Prince who never had to grow up.  He shits all over the place and then yells and abuses the planet when it doesn't clean itself up for him.  He is desperately afraid of shattering. 

Bypolar turned this conversation into a set of memes called White Baby Jesus.  Here are the first two: 




Just because Bypolar and I can laugh about this though,  doesn't mean we're full-grown angels ourselves.   On bad days, my own bumbling makes me nauseous.  I get sick with anxiety. I worry about  bumping into things, and things bumping into me.  I worry about  people and objects dying, instead of loving them.  I am frozen by that fear, and I cut my actions short just when all of our actions could really start to blossom into some thing radically beautiful that might help unravel the catastrophe known as capitalism. 

 Like Timothy Morton said,  when it comes to global warming and the ecological crisis, we are all hypocrites. None of us know what to do.  While America is bumbling around, we're bumbling around inside it.  Protesting and rallying isn't solving the problem, and neither is sitting at home shouting at the television as the next hurricane or war approaches.  

What the planet teaches us is this: doing something feels like doing nothing when you compare it to the perfection of our idols.  But doing nothing is doing something because nothing doesn't exist. 

It is not possible to live a pure life in this spiritual desert.  There is no pristine mountain left that I can run to, where I can laugh cynically at the fools polluting their valley below.  We moved that mountain a long time ago.  

So I guess I should start by planting my ass somewhere,  in a blighted room in a blighted city or some blighted country, breathing smoky air with some friends, plotting our next moves.  If there are spiritual heights, honestly, that's where they start.  

I think this is what Morton means by "dark ecology"; he uses the word "dark" to mean something like "uncanny and discomforting".  A lot of white people might think that Bypolar's art is too dark because it is definitely ecological, definitely uncanny, and definitely not white. Whiteness is not just a skin color, it is an attitude- an attitude that puts the pursuit of happiness over the pursuit of freedom, solidarity, and sincerity. People who act white will avoid dark ecology for the same reason  they will avoid sincerely asking the question "what would [that dark revolutionary known as] Jesus do?" 

And just in case you are a white person reading this who thinks "I am not like those other white people", ask yourself, by "other white people", do you mean the poor white people who live where your pollution goes when you flush it away?  The problem is not just Nascar driving hicks.   We are all Nascar driving hicks.  I drive a Volvo and am addicted to work instead of Budweiser - I'm even more of a problem then the folks in Appalachia who live downstream from those moved mountains. 

When it comes to you America, there is no haterade I can drink, because you turned it into oil, and got me hooked on it.  It's toxins run through my veins.  Recently, we've been using it to fuel this spiritual road trip through our fear and loathing.  

But then we wake up suddenly nauseous from a bad hangover.  We realize that  haterade oil has been the fuel that's been running this Titanic world of capital for hundreds of years.  We realize a melting iceberg just hit us upside the head and now the floor is reeling.  It is not the ground.  It never was.  

That sinking feeling is exactly what we need in order to get our balance, put our feet back on the planet, and breathe the fucked up climate in and out of our faces.  Maybe that's our first baby step towards not breaking all the shit we touch. 

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For more hip hop liberation theology and spiritual ecology, check out High Gods Entertainment.
For more on  the Idolatry of God, check out Peter Rollins' site.   For more on dark ecology, check out this book





Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chorus for a song that isn't written yet

This image is from an advertisement
for products that can help remove
the bags from your eyes.

Capital sells us products
 to deal with the effects
 of the sleep deprivation
it requires us to undergo
in this era of endless work
in the boundless social factory 

Bags under my eyes
Packed like  a tech nine
Staring down the status quo
And flashing some divine sign
I can never buy time
So I'll have to steal rhymes
From the beats of solitude
That punctuate this hive's mind

The seven sacraments in motion



Expression of reflection taking shape in all directions
Dreams that matter turn to matter when we build connections
A labor of inception that
manifests conception and
twists itself through history like a hidden resurrection

Rebel born again, baptized in insurrection
Confirmed in contradiction and
Married to my weapon
That weapon is communion
What we build in revolution
As we read the last rites
To their dying institutions

But let me just confess to you
That I ain't the solution
We ordain this life together
Or we'll die of our pollution