[-empyre-] "hooded children of the revolution"
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- Subject: [-empyre-] "hooded children of the revolution"
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- Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 14:18:38 -0600
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On Nov 7, 2005, at 7:00 PM, James wrote:
Paris 2005 (Have Burroughs?s Wild Boys been born? Maybe not
Hooded children of the Revolution By James Button, Sydney Morning
Correspondent in Paris, November 8, 2005:
They wear hoods, baggy jeans and brand-name sneakers and their heroes
American rappers such as 50 Cent. They describe their antagonists as
"white", hate the police and when they are fighting they say they're
"dancing with wolves".
this quote is from further down in that article:
"Dr Roy did not rule out the possibility of some of the youths turning
to radical Islam. Some militant Muslims were using the riots as a
recruiting tool, while others were trying to mediate an end to the
But so far the differences between the two were too great. "Radical
Islam asks these guys to give up their lives dealing drugs and going to
nightclubs," Dr Roy said. "Many of these guys don't want to do that.
They want to have cars and girls and smoke hashish.""
i was watching some footage of demonstrator-police clashes during the
OAS meeting in Venezuela, and it occurred to me how much it looked like
any demo at any WTO/FTAA/IMF summit that i've ever been to. i know this
has been repeatedly theorized, in terms of the script that is followed
by both authorities and "protesters," but i think there is something
here very related to discussions of commodity fetishism that goes
beyond those analyses.
the article on the French "riots" are interesting in that they compare
them to the 60s "race riots" (though they carefully use "youth" as a
stand in for "race") in the US, but simultaneously places those
participating in France in a clearly commodified position, which
isn't/wasn't done for those rioting in the US in the 60s (or even in LA
i think what i'm interested in here is the blatant attachment of
fashion (different from the much earlier Zoot Suit Riots of 40s LA) to
such a large scale display of dissatisfaction. as if we can understand
what people are trying to express when they set a car on fire by the
clothes they wear rather than the action itself. all the analysis is
about interpreting (whether through economic or symbolic languages) the
actions of people who apparently the authorities don't think can speak
for themselves (or rather, don't want them to).
what does this have to with our discussion of art?
i'm not totally sure ;) but the method of framing political action
through the language of aesthetics has a certain resonance for me.
Robby's points about making a living as an artist are well taken, for
sure... but i keep coming back to the "as an artist" part and
Christina's questioning of commodification as a potential necessity.
How do we stop being the "hooded children of the revolution" in a
scripted headline? i certainly don't mean this as an empty/symbolic
gesture of alliance with the "rioters" in France - that would just be
silly - but rather i mean it in the sense of our expressive actions
being interpreted as necessarily commodified (fashion, professionalized
aesthetics, etc). Is "art" in a sense acting as our hooded sweatshirt
in this discussion?
i'm also not implying that i would find the discussion more productive
if we rid it of art, but that art as a practice is so bound up with
connections to capital that it seems necessary to really pull them out
of the hat when talking about art, politics and comm. fetishism.
perhaps this is what marc was getting at when he talked about "really
describing a work"?
reading this after writing it, i realize now that this line of thought
is spurious, at best, but i'll throw it out there anyway...
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