Glasnost Lost 
... A Blast from the Past Unheard 'Round the World' ... From the 'reality lit' Archives ... the first ...'Mission Statement' ... definitely not dot calm

~ A Note from the Mismanagement: This "Mission Statement" was written somewhere around Boston, Ma, probably a couple of coffee spots, in mid-December, 2000 A.D. I've owned a few cars since then. All beaters. License is renewed, many states, many times over ... O, the best laid plans. The whole idea lasted about as long Thoreau's various encampments at Walden Pond ... then you go up periscope for a while, then down again ... pretty impossible goals, here ... and now, I'm only slightly invisible ... usually during full moons and solar storms ... dot calm ...

Dec. 13, 2000 will be remembered in history as the day our institutions conspired to fail us. If you haven't already forgotten and moved on to the consoling video stream of the virtual presidency, where President Martin Sheen says all the things we always wished our presidents would say, that drab Wednesday in American history was a very real, certainly material, corrosively visceral version of what we like to call convergence. Or, far better, convergent metamedia, now pouring through the anticipated cataclysm of the future like a bad -- but well publicized, rendered in 3D -- dream.

The whole constipated poop shoot of the dog-eared promise of the New World jammed into the screw-tight orifice of the next century and instilled an overwhelming dreadgeist of collective disappointment. Every human soul within earshot of any report or anguished groan over what the U.S. Supreme Court had failed to do: that is, be Supreme, and all voters, counted and uncounted, felt that gong of doom from the very bowels of hell.

"It Can't Happen Here," apparently, can. That much was obvious.

Spreading like a contagion of fire across the networked landscape of the globe via talk shows, television news updates and e-mail flame war preventing even the most modest real estate developer's home page to upload in a slow sludge ball of bad bandwidth as grief overdosed every pedestrian on Main Street, the deep truth we'd always expected, but never fully understood, pierced the broken heart and fogged the mind's eye of anyone able to read, think, love, hate and -- especially -- vote.

If that had been it, from my view, I could have happily moved on, much in the same way that I push forward after the end of the Super Bowl by thinking about baseball or planning a snowboarding trip. But that ceremonial autopsy to the post-democratic ideal, with the suspected murderer, the corporate nation-state, winking like an O.J. Simpson after the verdict, wasn't all there was to it. No, if the end game of the past presidential campaign ended the political playoffs with the bad call by the referees who refused to review the play, every conceivable valued institution of American life -- that is, my life -- joined in a cacaphonic concert of screaming cats crushed beneath a steam roller called human fallibility.

It all made me think of that line by W.B. Yeats in "The Second Coming" about "mere anarchy loosed upon the world." But then, most things do.

    The tired fable, taught since grade school along with the story about Santa Claus, that stuff about the basic virtues of home, marriage, commitment, moving on up the ladder toward the Protestant work ethic, then to the second floor of American myth of the techno-savvy capitalist as the benevolent shopping site to the world, then the top tier -- that we live in a free country, where speech is free, guaranteed by the First Amendment by the U.S. Constitution -- well, they all crashed like a house of cards.

To my shell-shocked psyche, it was a sound much louder than the historic miracle of a mere decade ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall.

You remember: When a little meme called "Glasnost," the post-Soviet call for "openness," a tiny word that nonetheless dissolved the antiquated authoritarian regime of a really terrible century in the acid bath of truth, first broadcast, on a daily basis, by Radio Free Europe.

As a result, I did the only thing I had the immediate means to do: I revolted.

A private revolution, small yes, but potentially significant, I hope. What did I do? Well, it was a three-point strategy intended to disgrace every material bond to the earth within my immediate domain:

    First, I refused to ever work in a corporate cube farm again. I vowed to vacate my cube at Access Internet Magazine, in Needham, Massachusetts, just a bus ride from Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau managed to tune out for an entire year, and the site of the "First Shot Heard Round the World," where a small band of well-networked colonials banded to slay the dragon, another guy named George.

    Next, I resolved to never own or drive a car, vying instead to work from home in order to write the God's honest truth, as far as my limited faculties could tell, for the remainder of my life.

    Finally, when it comes up in a week on my birthday, Dec. 28, I will refuse to renew my driver's license. A small necessity that will be declared officially expired, ironically, by the state of New Hampshire, which has the famous motto to mock this entire charade, "Live Free or Die."

By shedding this holy trinity of personal necessities in the hopes of reducing impossible suffering of mankind, especially my own Job-like trek through Mythville, as well as to slow down the destruction of the biosphere, I decided to become a living experiment in what I will now call the "science of dissent."

By destroying the very box-like weave of systematized ties to the world, my ongoing performance will unlikely end quickly or badly or both, but if there is ever a time to break free, it would certainly be when the System seems to be rendered ever so apparently obsolete.

"Impossible," you say? Maybe. But for at least a short time, before the digitized deputy dawgs of Urizen hunt me down me like one of the over-aged guys in "Logan's Run," it has been at all points so far an instructive mapping of the basic problem of our inter-dependent ties to the autocratic demands of America the Database and the centralized city-zone of urban sprawl and decay.

For an ongoing tracking of the grisly details so far, join the fun at Glasnost Lost a virtual adventure, recorded in real space, by the good folks at Mythville MetaMedia, where the mysteries of mankind are revealing themselves, by wearing a circus animal's collection of mythic costumes, in a wide variety shapes, sizes and colors. If it sounds like fun, well, it is, if the pain of rebirth is your style, or, idea of fun. Let this be a cautionary tale, working its way back, like an oil rig drilling deeper, ever deeper, into my history, which I now share as the only decent thing an astronaut brings back from the dark side of man's moonish daydream.

All golem ride free. Always the best policy when you are a traveler in living hell ...
That was 11 years ago.

Douglas McDaniel
Mythville MetaMedia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Art by Jean Michel Basquiat