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A Guerrilla in Our Midst?
Journal of a Futurist - 10 July 2003
From PornoPop® to Agit Prop, the Coming Age of Global Justice
As with many of you who land here, my needs and desires are self serving and basic. Cozy footwear, freedom of speech, a roof, fine shagging, ice cream, thrills from the arts and a sense, now and then, of doing something with a hint of worth. Punctuated by moodswings, crises and descents into the bog of inertia. Compared to the struggles of faraway strangers depicted in docos and newsflashes, the lot of a citizen in a 21st Century western democracy is mostly a Godsend. Or is it?
Could there be soul-rat gnawing away at your equanimity? A toxic cloud at the edge of awareness, a sensation that something is amiss?
Like being at a resort in the third world, where beyond the vista of pina coladas & limbo antics, beyond the security fences, you catch a glimpse of raggedy kids scavenging the dump. Ive earned this holiday, you say to yourself, turning back to the crab racing and karaoke. And yet you hate this holiday. Something is wrong. The staff are competing for acting-happy Oscars.
The documentary, Life and Debt, set on the island of Jamaica, is distillation of the life going on behind our backs, right now, in most parts of the world. Every minute, every day, every year. It wont change anything at the once-a-day screening, the backstalls were empty. Most people who scan these words want me to switch to the subject of PornoPop®, which I will in a minute. Life & debt contrasts the cocooned frolics of podgy, beer swilling tourists with the financial asphyxiation of Jamaicas inhabitants.
Crying Over Spilt Milk
Even if were cognisant with the maths of exploitation, the media protects us from looking into the eyes of its victims, of hearing their stories, of witnessing the devastation of families and communities. The war against the poor never stops. In Life & Debt, hundreds of gallons of fresh milk are poured into the gutters, as the subsidised powdered brands from America are stacked at the supermarket. The same again for the local potato planters, the onion growers, the banana workers
As George Monbiot points out in a new book, The Age of Consent, most Third World poverty stems from the unfair rules of trade imposed by institutions and banks controlled by the major powers.
In almost every case, the involvement of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) makes matters worse. The debt payments of Sierra Leone, for instance, consume almost 90% of government revenue. No wonder its a basket case. Between 1980 and 1996, the nations of sub-Saharan Africa paid twice the sum of their total debt in the form of interest, but they still owed three times more in 1996 than they did in 1980. Neither the World Bank nor the IMF can ever be reformed, as all major decisions require an 85% majority. The US possesses around 18% of the votes in each organisation, enabling it to veto any proposal, even when supported by all other members. Mmm, like the UN, only worse. This tale of poverty enforced by the West repeats itself again and again, invisible to our eyes, as we focus our attention on the dildo clad dykes in BBC specials.
The Rise and Rise of PornoPop®
For those of you not stuck in the Gaza Strip of the mind, the fortress Australia of John Howard, the last world leader on Earth to concede the documents linking Saddam Hussein to nuclear weapons were forged, though he still maintains and that the prisoners of Camp X-Ray will find justice in a us military court, this man, this warmongering truth murderer, is running a government which, on top of everything else, is reviving the ancient sport of censorship. One of Howards best mates, the Reverend Fred Nile, a gay hating creationist, got the police to raid a planned public screening of banned art movie, Ken Park. On TV it looked like a swoop on a geriatric ward, kind of polite and pointless.
And dumb. No-one could possibly instigate a raid on Ken Park, if they had ever watched South Park. Perhaps todays politicians are so busy dismantling our civil liberties and extracting re-election funds from visa needy foreign conmen, that they havnt noticed the merging of popular culture and pornography, ie, PornoPop® . Often funny, mostly titillating, even confronting, especially when watching it with a 14 year old daughter. (One friend was so embarrassed by a family viewing of American Pie, she watched it with a blanket on her head.) I spotted PornoPop a few years ago, when I took a gang of giggling girls to see Road Trip, thinking it would be, oh, I dont know, Jack Kerouac meets Gidget at the high school prom. The plot centres on a a boys self made porno tape of his one night stand, and the risk of its falling into the hands of his girlfriend, full of prurience and charm. Not the sort of stuff to take offence at, more to be surprised by its mainstream acceptance.
My Life as a Gerbil
A woman from the classification board revealed Ken Park was banned for its depictions of fellatio and auto erotic asphyxiation, in relation to the underage characters. Yet the new age tear jerker, My Life as a House, opens with a lingering teenage choke-wank scene. As for fellatio, pulease. Its on its way to becoming an Olympic Sport. The pre-pubertal kids in South Park have moved beyond mundane decadence to witness their teacher whipping his gay toyboy and putting a gerbil up his bum. Not entirely for sexual pleasure, it must be said, but in order to get sacked and achieve a massive payout. All through the episode, we get to see the gerbil roaming around in the submissives lower intestine, an incredibly funny and vicious attack on political correctness.
PornoPop is not restricted to movies. You see it on the catwalk, in fashion mags, at the BBC from soft core historical porn, like Harem & Casanova to the raunchier lesbian romp, Under the Velvet. SBS has been screening the stuff for years, much to my enjoyment, though its usually more porno than pop. And its lucky for the dot com gen that their baby boomer parents are either so alienated from FM or going deaf, that they havent a clue that half the hits celebrae bonking, blowjobs and bumthumping, in ways which are not always sensitive and gender blind.
Theres more to say about PornoPop, what it means, where it might lead, whether it will could administer a fatal heart attack to religious fundamentalists at a hundred paces, and so on, but it will have to wait, as Im packing my bags for a trip to AmeriKa, where Im merging with a global cabal of world futurists, many of whom, alas, work for Defence Contractors, thus helping to shape the kind of future we dont want. Youll be the first hear whats hot & whats being excluded from view. In return, how about submitting some suggestions and comments on PornoPop?
The Ice Cream Revolution
Meanwhile, the other day I came across a person I never knew existed, Aleida Guevara, the daughter of Che. She was in Sydney to launch a fresh collection of her fathers writings. Based in Cuba, Aleida is a doctor and a prominent anti globalization activist. She spoke passionately about the isolation of Cuba, the mistakes of its rulers, the commercialisation of her fathers name. The T-shirts she could tolerate, but not the Che Guevara ice cream. I wanted to ask about Castros rounding up of his critics, but was out manoeuvred by another voice, who asked about her politics. Aleida replied, I am proud to be a communist, and the room became deliciously silent. In Sydney youre only supposed to discuss investment properties and what the 5 star chef is planning to cook for dinner. It was a nostalgic interlude, a flashback to a time when seeking an authentic life was not a sign of dysfunction. Our revolution is not something we carry in our mouth to speak about, she told the audience, quoting a piece of recently spotted graffiti, we hold it in our heart to die for. Still, Im curious about the Che Guevara ice cream. I wonder how it tastes. Ends.
For the story behind the intruiging graphic by Erica Chappuis, visit www.thehumanbean.com