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TOXIC THOUGHT SYNDROME

"This is the trouble with complacency, folks. People don't mind taking the passive aggressive route and muttering profanity under their breath, but they do what they are told. Don't rock the boat, especially when you're in it, right? What happened to us? Remember what you felt like the first time you saw The Breakfast Club, or Pump Up the Volume, or even Boyz in the Hood. You walked around for days feeling different, like you were connected and a part of something great. Where did that go?"


01/20/2002

As I write this, I'm listening to students in the lab at the school I teach at. They are talking about their instructor evaluations. They are complaining that the information that they provide to the school is disregarded. I'm fairly certain that this is a common complaint amongst students at every post secondary institution.

It pisses me off, though. They're talking about either just writing fluff comments about their instructors that won't be beneficial, or more often than not completely ignoring the process. Guess what, folks? We got us an old fashioned vote strike.

So why is it that an anarchist like me feels that a vote strike is a bad thing? I'm supposed to be anti-participatory, right? Well, at least in my world that isn't anarchism. To me, anarchism requires the personal responsibility as a counterbalance. Without that responsibility you wind up in real trouble. If I have carte blanche to do whatever I want and no responsibility around the decisions I make and the actions I take, then we wind up with that vision of anarchy that everyone sees in their heads with the fires and the cruel gangs of muscle boys raping and pillaging. To me, that just doesn't get the mojo working.

Vote strike is submissiveness and apathy. Anarchism is neither. Anarchism requires disinterest, the ability to stand back and figure out the best possible solution to a problem. That's why I can get all bugged.

If you don't raise your voice, how dare you complain? Whether you're a nazi soldier who just went along with things because it was too dangerous to stand up, a student not providing useful feedback, or a grumpy baby boomer not bothering to vote in an election because it doesn't matter anyways.

This is the trouble with complacency, folks. People don't mind taking the passive aggressive route and muttering profanity under their breath, but they do what they are told. Don't rock the boat, especially when you're in it, right? What happened to us? Remember what you felt like the first time you saw The Breakfast Club, or Pump Up the Volume, or even Boyz in the Hood. You walked around for days feeling different, like you were connected and a part of something great. Where did that go?

They give us these carrots, a good job and a nice house and exciting video games with exciting graphics where you (yes you) can run some stupid make-believe critter through a ridiculous obstacle course with equally ridiculous enemies lurking around all corners. These carrots are what we use to define ourselves. How many families do you know that live below the poverty line and still manage to own a Playstation 2 or an X-Box?

Shut up, eat the carrot. Don't rock the boat. Get a credit card, that means we own you on a month to month basis. Buy a house, that means we own you for up to 25 years, and that's if we can't somehow make you see the light of a double or triple mortgage. Spend spend spend, but never question question question.

Me, I refuse that life. I'm a bitch. I see the things that are wrong with the world, but instead of muttering profanities, I write columns like this one. I write letters that get printed in local papers. I argue with friends. I bitch and I bitch and I bitch, and it makes me a bad citizen and a bad consumer, but I'm okay with that.

I never asked to be a demographic.

Dissent, children, is so much more rewarding.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Martin is one of those people who can start a sentence with "The problem with democracy is that jerks like you get to vote" and end it with your wanting to be his friend. He hosts a website and has been published by Mob Hit Productions, Images Inscript, House of Pain, Scapegrace, and here at 3am.











 
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