broken — adjective — bro·ken | \ ˈbrō-kən \
Definition of broken
1: violently separated into parts
2: damaged or altered by or as if by breaking such as:
a: having undergone or been subjected to fracture
b: not working properly
Synonym: Government, Capitalism, Society, Plutocracy, (Current) System.
Antonym: Whole (also see: Community, Unity, Citizenry, (Future) System
We could have any world we wanted. If you don’t believe in fate or religious faith or fascism, you must be able to see that this global society we now live in, here in 2020 – the time of a global pandemic, gaping class divides, insidious socio-political polarity, economic recession, hyperbolic sex, lies & video-rape, normalization vapidity and anti-intellectualism to name but a few of our dystopic descriptors – is broken. Broken things are either mended or replaced. So, we’re clear, I don’t mean, let’s fix this like we’re Bob the fucking Builder. I mean it’s time to overthrow a system that is, by design, oppressive, unfair and favouring the white folks that decided on it. Some will think this naïve, as if change (borne by awareness) isn’t the catalyst for growth. Some will think this impossible because they only believe in repetitions of the probable. Some will decide that this is offensive to their patriotic duty of being bound to what is and not committed to what should be – think me a traitorous commie Dalton Trumbo and themselves the infallible HUAC (House of Un-America Activities Committee – I know, what a dumb fucking name, right?) deciding on my character, creativity and core beliefs because I question my prescriptions and inventory my subscriptions. Some will need to hear this, however. Just because things are, does not mean they should be. If we truly cannot act upon what needs to be changed and showcase morality and integrity in the face of ignorant, righteous hate, then fuck it. I hope Gaia mutates the coronavirus into a zombifying pathogen that allows us all to live our prepped-for apocalypses, ultimately resulting in the human race binge-eating itself into history.
In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. I’ve spoken these lines many, many times. I believe them still, years after my attentive mind summoned them as a mantra for my myopia. As a severely working-class boy in a severely working-class environment, I never had a deal of choice as a kid. What Mammy says, goes. She was single, serious and not be fucked with. She still is, but we’re best buds now too, with her supporting and enabling my every desire and telling me how proud she is that I did things differently, clawed my way out and am trying my best to be better and do better. Alas, as a child, choice was not something I could afford. Though I could learn things. Apply myself to all of my ‘weird’ ‘spazzy’ ways of loving art and sleeving my heart. To condense a Mike Leigh film, I got out, I’m now living in Barcelona with a First-Class degree, teaching English to Chinese children, skating everyday, sometimes signing copies of my poetry collection and novel, smoking legal weed, and sharing it all with my soon-to-be-wife. It is in this account I can see that I didn’t choose ignorance. I didn’t choose to be like everyone else – it is only in the past year I’ve found out my being a ‘strange spaz’ is actually a culmination of neurodiversity: Autism, ADHD, Anxiety and some Depression for good measure. That’s my journey though, not yours. Although this might be the long-awaited answer to those that questioned my collection’s title ArtBeat: The Ekphrastic Spastic for its flagrant ignorance and depravity. Ultimately, I am saying that I chose to be an author, a poet, an editor, a heterogeneous person dusted in cultures the world over. Sure, I worked too hard, mentally self-harmed too much, and wasted time worrying what the autonomous others thought. But as my Mammy so eloquently states, ‘Fuck them, boy. Fuck them all.’
If my mantra stands correct, we really could have had any world, any utopia, any fiction we’ve imagined, as a reality. From the beginning of our amphibious journey to land, there’s been unwitting choices as much as there has been morose decisions. We chose lines in the sand, killing ‘the other’, landowners, kings in crowns, religious zealousness, pomposity and privilege, white righteousness, black enslavement, capital superiority, hate, countries that are ‘Great’, dominance, pride, fear, hate, fear, hate, and the mundane state of comfort and conformity to whoever screams loudest and pretends to wipe our drooling lip. This might sound like a liberal flower’s humane take on Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire,’ but it’s simply the truth. And we all know flowers have thorns and that the truth be a massive prick. The problem is however that we as a bloated society want to risk nothing – if we’re privileged enough to have anything – but be rewarded with tailor-made trite that dampens insecurities. If you find this slice of Violent Expression is making you feel uncomfortable right now, then please continue to read (if you can manage it) because you are who I’m speaking to. Listen up, you fucking maggot *hear Gunnery Sergeant Hartman’s voice*. Your comfort zone expands every time you toe, step or leap past the line. Get up, get out and get some fucking self-awareness. We chose this. We can choose something else. What better place than here? What better time than now? So said, Zack De La Rocha in the mid-nineties.
Stop snoozing, start losing. I’m sick of it. I’m repelled by the facts that we could have changed at so many (too many) pivotal points in history and didn’t. Chart the history of civil rights, whether they be the African American journey from slave, to segregated, to still-hated for reclaiming identity and righting your wrongs. Or Alan Turing’s chemical castration after saving the world from the 20th century Screaming-Man-With-Villainous-Plan. I’d ask ‘Why can’t we learn from the earliest yet most morosely obvious example of subjugation, oppression and (Yes, you guessed right with the top two answers, dear reader) hate and fear. But if I asked that, I think I’d give up hope, turn my laptop off and MacGyver myself an armoury of instruments that will be all the better to lop and chop your groaning head off with. I do have fibres of hope in witnessing the zeitgeistal changes: that give voice to so many who had theirs taken from them; that embolden identity from diverse artistic representation; that a seventeen year old girl with Asperger’s is the passionately inspiring mouth of dying Mother Earth. All culminating to make our globalised society produce tastier honey for cultural cross-pollination. But that the Black Lives Matter movement is so needed and relevant right now, 2020, this long after Malcom, Martin, Rosa and Angelou is sickening. A pivotal factor in Black Lives, like any other Lives, Genders, Creeds that aren’t middle-to-upper class white-folks without brains, is our system. I can’t and won’t synopsise seven seasons of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but I can and will say capitalism, especially this deteriorated, crumbling version, keeps so many underfoot of the gold-rimmed boots of those that were born into money, and money that came from Empires, Landowners, Royalty and Church. It was never and will never be dispersed. If your family could afford slaves, you probably still benefit from them.
“This is how potent cultural & artistic cross pollination can be to the spirits it get’s bopping and the structures it screams at.”
Coronavirus aside, 2020 is like the season finale of a manic satire of modern life and antiquated values. The fallacy of the system has been proved by the phallacy (see; phallic) of those in charge of it. Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. The world leaders of arguably the world’s worst-led c(o)untries. I don’t say that with ignorance toward dictatorships, poverty-stricken nations and Russia, but because Britain and America have always thought themselves the unofficial Double Dragon of the English-as-lingua-franca, ‘first-world’. The mentors of how dumb shit is done. Their connection, and influence to other countries sharing the same low-functioning brain isn’t some Power Ranger morphing into a Megazord but a directed-by-Brian-Yuzna Society orgy of deviant dicking inside a grotesquery of flesh and faecal matter. Trump and Johnson were voted in by a lot of people. Cool, democracy. Trump and Johnson were voted in by a lot of people whose interests, backgrounds, and dearest beliefs are antonymic to surviving in their society. Cool, mass-media lies, reportage via shared capital interest, technological subterfuge utilising the streams of data you willingly give. But you don’t care if Alexa listens to you, you’re not bloody James Bond. But you will buy the Bond Boxset on Black Friday because you’re told to.
Let’s take 2020’s most vile talking point – Donald Cunt, sorry Trump. The questioningly-organic(?) FAKE-news agent with a mouth like a flatulent feline’s puckered little bum hole and skin like the stitched prepuce’s of Rabbi The Hutt’s entire congregation. That he got in after the videos of his prideful pussy grabbing, ridiculing of republicans as an easy votership, and general incestuous, molesting, desperate façade of man-shaped waste material from the Paper Street Soap Company was unbelievable. Now, we’ve just had four years of that bullying, unloved cretin getting stiffies every time literally anyone says his name, regardless of context. It was another Roast all over again, but we can’t dash and run after the appetiser for real entertainment. We are the contestants of his desperate show. We’ve had to sit through every excruciating mouthful of narcissistic, spiteful, dollar-eyed shit that perverse and prideful Bruce Bogtrotter has vomited. And what a gleeful time he’s been having force feeding us. This detestable, horrible, revolting predator with the brain power of a land-locked Magikarp has been The Most Powerful Man In The World for four fucking years. Yes, Biden won and it felt good, real good, to feel like a victory has been had for sense and progress but he is just another old rich white dude but that’s for 2021.
“Celebrating a victory.”
Over 70 million people still voted for Donald fucking Lannister. The system remains in the same awful way, and God forbid it change in the ultimate Age of Hypocrisy we live in (see; The News for the past ten years). Trump being Hypocrite 001. Fake News! Says a neurotic liar. Make American Great Again! It hasn’t been great since the First Nation’s lived peacefully with the land – so for good measure he’s been the most harmful president in history to indigenous peoples. I’m a businessman! Says the guy who was handed millions by Daddy only to go bankrupt several times and star as a caricature of capitalism – little did we know this jerk didn’t have a modicum of self-awareness. What Trump has done – other than make me realise, for all of my gory talk, desensitised morality toward mortality mixed with integrity, justice and some squeamishness: I could kill a human being (from the guy who will never go fishing except in a Zelda game because he couldn’t murder Nemo); kill him with righteous fucking aplomb – is show the world the American Nightmare: truly anyone can become president in these here United States of America.
I think the reason why change hasn’t come sooner, even in the face of overwhelming far-right zealousness, is that liberals are soft as baby shit. The far right is contemporary fascism. The far left is contemporary modesty. It’s all so idiotic. Politics is supposed to be about the coming together of those THE PEOPLE employ. Not allowing despots to run amok. But that amok state happens because people have never been so polarised. Of course we don’t want to acknowledge the myriad cracks that proves our system is broken beyond repair. There is no middle ground now. The right picks its nose, rubs it in the left’s hair and laughs. The left reacts by chopping off the snobby lock and trying to show the world how good they are that they won’t let the right affect their vision, in spite of enabling them. This toxic culture we live in of: mine is better than yours, the red team beats the blue team, this is the greatest [insert film, game, book, person…] ever!, this is the worst [insert film, game, book, person…] ever, you can’t say that because I believe in my right of free speech… etcetera, is not only exhausting but it enables all the wrong people. If someone rubs snobs in my hair, and, after questioning their motives, they continue to pick their nose and look at my salon-quality locks, I’m breaking that nose with a sharp straight jab.
The left want to be seen to die on their shields (fuck me, man, I hate twitter for this reason, especially trying to be within a community of wonderfully open-minded writer’s without an actual writer in sight, only academics and people who think writing is transcribing their every nubile thought) whilst the right live by the fleshy sword and think that means they’ll never die by it, because they’re immortal. What’s immortal is the insistence that antiquated parameters of governance is the only way. But, like I’ve been screaming for years – simply repeating Ginsberg, Thompson, Angelou, Moore, Hicks, Atwood, et al – words are weapons. The greatest piece of technology we ever mustered. All modern tech is is just a glitzy, exploitative, and expensive way to refract words. Words can’t be unseen, or unfelt. And it’s this belief that I hold most dearly. I have a superhero complex. I am Quixotic. I believe in the power to change the world. But my spirit’s HP gets ever lower in seeing it change for the worse, time and time and time again.
We’ve identified that our world is really fucked up. We’ve identified that we could have had a utopia, or a world at least where humanity understands that humanity, by very definition, incorporates ALL humans. We’ve identified the systems like capitalism, two party politics, poverty (never forget that it’s man-made), governmental/corporate institutions (and their institutionalised bigotries) all perpetuate what needs to die. And for all you Leftist twitter twats, ‘amwriters’, vampiric academics and gullible, gawping agents of believing what’s right is what your teacher tells you, I’ll put it in terms of a franchise I used to love as a kid but you have since ruined for me for pure negligent reading awareness: we won’t defeat Voldermort (capitalism, fascism, authoritarianism, bigotry, conformity, nationalism, neo-liberalism are the horcruxes) if we don’t say his (their) names. We must bellow them. We have to not just say they’ve done a bad thing and not repeat the bad word. We owe it to any who don’t want to live in Aaron’s New World Order of a Romero zombie-post-capitalism world. And if you’re on the other side of the ruined flower garden (because we all know the true pussycats of politics are, in fact the bratty, spoiled, childish Right), then don’t call a Black person a spade because you believe rhetoric is regal, but call a cunt, a cunt. Including yourself. A lot of my mental health issues over the past few years have come from trying to be the writer the modern world wants but doesn’t deserve. Fuck that. If I get a Delorean, I’m going back to the Beat. If I don’t, I’m not gonna take this shit anymore. I’m learning to love being the outlier, the one who writes earnestly, honestly and wildly, the man many judge as being an aimless handsome shell, but since learns is so dense in passions, interests, talent and love that he still surprises himself. And that’s what I won’t take. A world that pats itself on the back for so much that it makes us fervent and frantic workers cower at ever saying we are worth something, or that we’ve done a good job.
I’ve given up on looking at the news as a looping scroll of mundane, brash, puerile end-of-the-world scenarios as I’m finally getting a hold of who I am, how I am, and what the fuck I can do – hence, after eight years of writing, I now have my own column titled Violent Expression where I discuss this shit!. Identifying as left and liberal when all these labels do is dissect our collective selves deeper into mineable data is futile. I will always try my best to be polite (yes, I swear and summon sweetly sickening images, but am a polite, mannered man who always has time for people), offer help, compassion and encouragement. But fuck forgiving fuckers that don’t deserve it. The most dangerous thing in this neutered but no less Neanderlithic world is enabling. And by not saying something, not standing up for you and yours, trying to be right to be right – and never, ever wrong –, allowing your racist family to get away with it for an easier life, and feeding into monopolies that want to rule the world when they’re just a website for searching porn and that actor’s name you can’t remember, we are enabling. Whilst many people say they no longer want to bring a child into this world because, well, have you seen it, I am the inverse.
I didn’t want kids until about two years ago. One of the reasons is because I won’t deny myself the chance at family fulfilment and being the father I never had. The other is that I’m sure we (me and my fiancée) will raise an astounding human being(s) that will help heal the world we scream that is broken – and if not, they’ll be an excellent swimmer in the inevitable Waterworld. They’ll be utterly colour blind for the ever more diverse society we are living in – in spite of the best laid plans of lice and men. They’ll have an autistic sense of moral, mental, spiritual integrity. They’ll skate, create and practice martial arts better than me because they’ll start young and I’ll be their teacher – always reminding them that care, understanding and knowing your worth (understanding your weaknesses is a true strength) creates a more just society. Or they’ll be none of the above but still be a human being raised right and believing they can change the world. But before then, we all have a lot of work to do. Defund the companies that control you as much as you can. Support independent EVERYTHING – not after Christmas but now! Don’t buy in to buying-in. Learn to appreciate conflict for the chance to grow AND learn. Stop waiting for your turn to speak and retort to what has been said. Stop saying, ‘Oh yeah, I knowwwwwwww.’ See the words in the day-to-day (adverts, chain emails, product descriptions) and realise they are the arsenal of capitalism, and the plutocracy that controls it. Be kind, especially with words. I love to tell my loved ones I love them. Skaters can’t help but know I’m at the park when I’m ‘Yas Kween’ing’ their steeze. My friends will always be enabled by my belief in them because I can’t function otherwise. We are in the time of eclectic, diverse, heterogeneous voices becoming the norm. Take it from this working-class Welsh boy who’s been through the ringer to negate his demonic privileges and guilts, now a working-class writer who’s as vocal as his motley minds and realises that seeing the varied perspective is his super power, and that words are his cape.
Of course, our revolution is televised, broadcast, live-streamed and used to sell Coke. But we always, in every single second, have the power to re-appropriate what’s been stolen from us, embolden our identity, and enable (yes, you heard that right) our loved ones in feeling loved and supported. I kind of wish I had a clean equation for revolution and upheaval but I wouldn’t be me then as I’m shit with numbers and don’t believe you can quantify feeling. It’d be nice to finish this article with a tick-list that leads to anarchy – again, re-appropriate these words, relearn meanings and understand that, like ‘communist’ ‘terrorist’ and ‘patriot’, words are dressed in drag nowadays thanks to the masters of marketing, rhetoric and policy subverting, and thus, negating meaning. If 2020 isn’t the year when all of our neuroses and negligence came to a head, then let’s not allow it to get worse. We will come out of our collective lockdowns and curfews, and there will be the need for control to be taken back. Like we saw with many governments fumbling the ball (and continuing to fondle the balls of their sponsors) during this pandemic and the subsequent fallout of socio-economic ‘norms’, there’s no going back. Try as your neighbours might to do everything as before, but just with a facemask on and clean hands, it isn’t going to work. Too many of us are jobless – I was until very recently with the teaching job – unable to feed into a system based on capital that has been hoarded by the scaley Smaug’s we allow to govern us. There is no normal anymore. And anyone (British folks, I’m looking at you) who just wants everything to revert back to finishing work, coming home, putting your feet up and rinsing and repeating every fucking night, it isn’t going to happen. It can’t happen. As I said, the fallacy of the system is phallic. We do need to tear down the statues, defund the authorities, redistribute wealth (if we choose a form of capitalism) and stop holding the mic for morons. Action is needed. An easy life can’t be had, try as your comfort and boredom might. As a writer, I’ll write. As a fighter, I’ll fight. As a teacher, I’ll right. But I need a whole civilisation of people willing to do the same as I’m shit at everything else – seriously, I don’t know if I’m given the right change and I can’t put a bookshelf up correctly. Broken things aren’t losses, they’re lessons. And if they can’t or shouldn’t be mended, we can get creative together and start designing anew.