Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Life's little moments

The officer stops a vendor on the street. The officer is wearing a flannel shirt and typical tunisian trousers. He's almost anonymous except for the swagger and the bulky radio that he's toying with in his palm. He smiles, and almost succeeds at looking amicable.

Everywhere here people need to carry identity cards. It's strange to think that I live in a country where such is not the case. Certainly, we need drivers' licenses, but nothing more - and if we don't have those on us at the time it's a small fine.

The officer takes the vendor's identity card. It's the ultimate power trip. Look! See! I've got ya now you capitalist-western-poor-and-therefore-aggressable-weak-and-it-makes-me-feel-good man... He bekons and the vendor follows him to the middle of the street to meet the two obvious officers. Those are the ones who bought from him yesterday, but today's another day. They have clubs at their hips, tiny guns tucked into holsters, French-style cuffs that tighten if you struggle and smug grins beside.

Today is not the vendor's day. He chats for a while - while they play with his identity card. He moves back to his mobile stall. He unhitches the moto - a Peugeot 103, pedal-start motorbike that tops out at around 80 clicks. He locks it to the rail and moves his little stall back into the shade.

No need to mention that he's been here every morning for the past four months. In plain sight.

He sits down on the curb behind an ineffectual guardrail.

Monday, September 19, 2005


**taken from strangebeast.ca**

A Rant By Loren Letourneau

It rises out of some blackened pit - bile and bilge, the scum that would quiet and distort the reality of living. Is life always a nice little place? No! Then why the hell should it only be reported as such. Who would dign to take offence at exposed sexuality, exposed brutality, exposed cruelty? It's there! No amount of shying away, no angel-eyed money-sucking politician can convince me otherwise. And yet, we're told that for the safety of our children, for the safety of our national stability, for the sanctity of our person, you've got to shut up or be shut down.

I loath censorship, with every fibre of my being.

But what of hate-literature, they scream! What of the evil belly that produces trash to subjugate, injure, and disseminate wrong?

Do you really think that it could hold up to truly open competition. Isn't it always the most inegalitarian and corrupt of societies that are the first to clamp down on free speech? What the hell's wrong with a society that it so needs to hide behind some mock public decency screen, to shelter itself from alternative views? Do you really think that given all the opportunity in the world to see and be heard - take money and power out of the picture - that only the slime would surface? Sure as hell wouldn't see the same ra-ra-America - or wherever you're from - dominating the picture, but is that really a bad thing?

Or a different question: do you think that the nasty shit that everyone rushes to condemn would have real staying power if it were open - to be read and criticised and exposed to the masses? Who'd want to pen that crap and put their name by it? If it stops shocking its readership into a willfull acceptance that it's okey-dokey to kill or abuse others, if it just can't cut through the voices screaming for life and liberty, if it loses its naughty little niche, then where is it? Exposed; thin; rooted in suppressed fear, helplessness, impotence, anger... Not powerful.

No. The real crime and the real criminals go on under cover of silence. No one's privy to their actions. No one's privy to their motivations. They lull unprepared, scared, and hurting masses to rally behind an empty cause, an empty promise, a power-trip that pumps them up better than the most depraved junkie.

We take the power from the people. We twist responsability into a grotesque cirque-noir grin. We pretend to know what's best for each other - on the people's dime. We shit all over our freedom, strap us into steel diapers and tie us to a post. They keep feeding us a line that says we can't take care of us - and there's the hooked barb - they'll do it for us. Sure we need police to stop from being robbed, raped or beaten. But wouldn't that be easier if it were all visible? Instead, they'll rob, rape, and beat our brains into submission... am I missing something?

Kill censorship, kill protectionist policy, kill privacy, kill opacity, kill this leash - by whatever name - that tugs us around, legs hobbled and arms torqued behind our backs.

I hate censorship. I can't possibly be sympathetic to it. I am an artist and it is antithetical to my purpose in life.

I live to expose and create.

The censor exists only to conceal and supress. How fucking virtuous.