Edward Abbey's Hayduke by poetry dispatch & other notes from the underground
Thoreau and Edward Abbey are Anarchists I Admire, But, They're Dead
I named a pet lizard I had once George Washington Hayduke. Shortly thereafter he started a small fire in his cage, chewed through the cord on my coffeemaker and ran off.
I started to keep a journal and live a season out in my garage but my ex-wife wouldn't let me, so I renamed our dog "Walden". She didn't ever respond or even look up -- she obviously preferred her real name -- Tilly. I think this place we live in is just like old Tilly, God rest her stubborn soul; Americans want America to be "America" and want to be called Americans with Democrat or Republican nicknames.
Quite a few folks are counseling not voting or voting for an impotent third party -- sending a message to America that it's time to change and change our names. I don't know anyone around me (except a trusted few) that would answer to "Greeney" or "Libey" or "Conny". After two hundred and thirty-six years Americans are pretty attached to their names. My pup Tilly was only three years old.
The "silly", "trite", "simplistic", "naÃ¯ve" stuff I wrote above is all of those things however, it's true, and, anyone advocating for a separate revolution; a revolution apart from the predominate popular culture is really kidding themselves. We are the 99% but many, many of us can still watch Monday Night Football while drinking a five-dollar beer and eating an eleven-dollar hamburger. If you don't believe me just take a drive through the retail zone in your town or hamlet.
"The revolution will be televised" and it will be televised on high-def, blue-ray, flatscreen televisions. Unfortunately for budding anarchists and revolutionaries "Dancing With The Stars" and "Honey Boo Boo" will destroy "An Evening with Noam Chomsky" in the ratings. Current alternative political, revolutionary rhetoric is abysmally turgid next to "The Jersey Shore". We erstwhile, 60's era inspired, Revolutionaries have forgotten something very important: the successful environmental and anti-war rhetoric and polemics of the 60's and 70's were designed and promulgated smack dab in the middle of the popular culture: music, fashion, journalism, etc.
If Me, Chris Hedges et al. think we are going to trot our middle aged, paunchy, L.L. bean clad selves out and demand significant change and get it -- we are nuts. Our challenge is to figure out how to get Justin Beiber to read "The Monkey Wrench Gang" and "Walden, Life In The Woods" and then write and perform songs based on the ideals of the books and sell t-shirts that say "Hayduke lives" on his website. This revolution will be marketed just like the last one was and the last one worked.
I think it's foolishly, wistfully romantic to envision a new America, an America who's collective thinking and acting has been rectified by intellectual pedantry and a new social and environmental literacy. That was part of the equation in the past but not the largest part.
We need to figure out how to sow the seeds and loose the worm from inside of the existent, traditional forms. Simply drive through your town and imagine taking down all of the fast food establishments and culture purveyors -- if you think you can do it, go for it. I'm voting for Obama.
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