Come on, Stanley. You devalue the tear when you do this. You really do.
—Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers
But were you excited when Obama was elected president in 2008?
Politics has very little to do with ideals. All through the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama said, “I’m a pragmatic, middle-of-the-road, pragmatic, compromising politician.” The right looked at him and said, “No! He’s a secret Muslim, secret socialist who pals around with terrorists and has a soft spot for Palestine,” while the left looked at him and said, “I think he’s winking at me.” Why did they think he was winking at them? He was saying the truth. And the other thing he said that was very telling in 2008 was he was asked by Stephanopoulos, “Who would Martin Luther King Jr. support?” And Obama’s response was, “He wouldn’t support any of us. He’d be in the streets building a movement for justice.” That strikes me as something only a community organizer would say, and it strikes me as absolutely true. Why should everyday people spend our time looking worshipfully at the sites of power we have no access to: the White House, the Pentagon, Wall Street, and Congress? We spend too little time looking at the power we do have access to: the community, the classroom, the streets, the farm, and the workplace—and that’s where we ought to spend our energy. Voting for someone in the two great war-making, capitalist parties? Why would they do what you think they ought to do? So to say Obama’s smarter, more compassionate, a more decent human being, that’s all true. But it has nothing to do with policy.
What about your policy of “direct action” in the form of bombing strategic targets within the U.S.?
The Weather Underground, while we certainly crossed lines of propriety and legality, we never killed or injured anybody. So what we did was a lot of vandalism. One of the most extreme actions that the Weather Underground took credit for was placing a bomb in the Pentagon which apparently, through some water damage, destroyed some computers and caused $1 million in damage. And that same day, 1,000 people were murdered. So how do you compare those things? A million dollars was the same cost as one hour of the war in Vietnam. As a culture in this country, we frame this issue in such a way that what we did was off the hook and completely violent, whereas John McCain has not had to answer that he killed civilians deliberately—that’s a war crime by any international standard—and yet he portrays himself, and apparently the powers-that-be agree, because he’s still consulted on foreign policy even though he’s been wrong his whole life, as someone who knows things, but how does he know things? He’s a war criminal whose crimes have gone unaccounted for, uncharged, and he’s unapologetic, and those who were trying to stop that war were people who were really crazy.
“I return to the inn, now wreathed in the kind of Christmas-in-New-England-Warm-Hearthed-Cheery verisimilitude that Ralph Lauren would burn down a synagogue to achieve.” - David Rakoff, Fraud
Touch Your Insides to My Insides
by Mira Gonzalez and Heiko Julien
I am trying to create a tangible experience
in your car and my hair is wet.
It is 3 in the morning.
We are at a gas station.
You are thinking about distance
and about wrinkles on our brains,
how we are permanently…