So what was it that Eric and I did at A Gathering Of The Tribes on the 29th, that, despite getting us stopped after one piece (not by Steve Cannon, just to be clear) got an ovation and various inquiries from people who do other salons and events? What bit of rant fueled snark was I able to impart that complemented Eric’s ominous and dissonant percussives like a pistol refusing to be upstaged by haters shot into the air?
Oh it went like this. It was actually pretty funny:
Hello Youth Of America
Do you feel utterly shit on by this farcical imposed contractual obligation called Life? Well, that’s ok, because it’s totally true. You, yes, YOU! are being shit on by Life. But more about that later.
I know you’re going through a tough time right now. Your hormones are raging, your voices are changing, you’re sprouting boobs and dropping nutsacks and growing pubes on your zits and zits on your pubes and Dad’s a douchebag who keeps yelling at you to turn down that goddamn rap music, if he’s still even around…but probably the biggest skidmarks from that Cleveland Steamer you call your Life are those botched abortions who run the school with an iron fist of repressed psychosexual torture as they psychically feed off your pain.
No, not the teachers. Those apathetic alcoholics are just biding their time until happy hour and tenure…I MEAN THE BULLIES!!!
Because bullying is a really big problem, and if the adults in power act like we kind of care about it, maybe no one will notice all the cuts we made to the student hot breakfast program, after-school groups, art education, city resources for homeless youth sooooo, they got me to come here to tell you IT GETS BETTER! Which offers no strategy for maneuvering that psychopath gulag day in and day out until you graduate. But since the city did cut the breakfast program, you’re probably too lightheaded to catch that glaringly obvious logical flaw anyway.
The only problem is, I CAN’T promise you “it gets better”. Do you really believe I can predict the future of every last one of you hearing this message? Look, it might get better. It might get worse. It’s probably gonna be more of the same shit in a different format. You’ve probably heard adults tell you that high school is nothing like the “real world”. Or that you’ll be wildly successful because you’re smart and talented and all your dreams will come true, and meanwhile the bully will end up pumping gas at the corner station. Which you’re supposed to find demeaning, not because it depletes the Earth of resources or supports a military industrial complex, but because you know, poor people do it.
But sorry kids. High school is nothing but a microcosm of the real world. Those privileged little shits who are tormenting you have nepotistic ins with their bourgeois relatives, and they’re going to be your co-workers. Hell, they’ll probably buy their way into that dream job you’re way better qualified to do. Bullies will be your bosses. They’ll temporarily trick you into thinking they’re nice and become your abusive lovers. Bullies will join the police force. Bullies will enter politics even if they have to steal elections to do it. Bullies will infiltrate your spiritual organizations, your collectives and communes. Bullies will work on Wall St. Or on Madison Avenue, telling you what to buy, wear, do, and think.
Maybe you’ll gain a little prestige in some financial or social arena, and YOU’LL become a bully yourself.
How is it supposed to get better? We live in a culture that values dominance of mediocrity, not brains or talent. Mediocrity needs to prevail because mediocrity is comfortable. Being spoon fed the same myths we already have been raised to believe is reassuring, as long as we’re not one of………………………….Those People.
And if we are one of Those People? We’re told to sit and wait and twiddle our thumbs because “It Gets Better”. No one says when. But it does, so please stay docile. We’re on our last legs. We’ve signed our own order of execution with years of the glorification of stupidity and mediocrity. We’re going down and our collective suicidal demise will make for great Reality TV. But destruction and creation are part of the same act, aren’t they? So maybe it does get better.
NOTE: A few days after I performed this I read somewhere that the whole “It Gets Better” campaign was started by Dan Savage. I tend to think he gives very good advice in his weekly column, and it’s one of the things I make sure to look for when it occurs to me to pick up a Village Voice (as opposed to just clicking on whatever links Roy Edroso puts on Twitter), but I do find a number of things about the campaign, well intentioned though it be, problematic.