Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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20200330breannefahs

When we have anger and rage and radicalism, and a pushing back against politeness and respectability, we are also doing that from a fundamental, deep-seated place of love or hope - for what our country could be, or what humanness could be. It's not coming from a place of apathy, it's quite the opposite. We've created a false binary where hatred or anger or taking to the streets or radical protest is seen as the opposite of feeling fundamental love for fellow humans. And that's just not true.

Writer Breanne Fahs explores the power of the feminist manifesto - as a radical acts of anger, revolutionary documents of social change, and histories of futures to be imagined and read and fought for, together.

Breanne Fahs is editor of Burn It Down! Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution from Verso.

 


Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Disclaimer: an unholy slew of cultural references will follow.

The thought of Al Pacino as an Ashkenazi Jewish-accented Holocaust survivor made my sister not want to watch the new Amazon Prime show, Hunters, about Nazi-hunters in the late 70s, produced by Jordan Peele. She loves Peele, but didn’t like Pacino as Hoffa in The Irishman, and also, in a nod to identity politics, she wondered why they didn’t get a real Jew to play Nazi- hunting millionaire Meyer Offerman.

There’s a lot about the show that doesn’t work, and a lot that does. Pacino’s accent is not horrible. Saul Rubinek’s ebbs and flows. Carol Kane’s is perfect in a way I don’t understand why Rubinek’s isn’t. Josh Mostel, son of Zero, not Zoro, who played King Herod in the film of Jesus Christ Superstar – “prove to me that you’re no fool/walk across my swimming pool” – is perfect as Carol and Saul’s rabbi, although the writing doesn’t rise to the level of the performances. German actress Barbara Sukowa, who played Rosa Luxemburg in Margarethe von Trotta’s not- great biographical film of the Jewish anarchist, is featured in an episode as a possibly-wrongly executed possible Nazi.

Why this show? Why now? Because Nazis are coming out of the woodwork, all over the world, acting like “Nazi” is a valid lifestyle choice, and, somehow, whether or not it’s all right to punch them has been a persistent moral question. And that’s the big moral question of the show: is it all right to kill Nazis three decades after they committed their Naziness? Or does, as Nietzsche had it, the abyss gaze back into you? Do you turn into a monster if you hunt monsters and kill them? Another current show, The October Faction, tackles this question, and answers that, yes, monsters are people, too, and going around killing them is immoral. At least, it is in a world where monsters are people, too.

But those are vampires, warlocks and such. Not Nazis. In Hunters, the Nazis are irredeemable monsters. Mustache-twirling monsters. Obvious in their evil, evil in their declared ambitions. There’s even an idealized “Proud Boy” style monster. It’s a relevant show! It’s not anywhere as good as HBO’s Watchmen, though. I’m not even sure Hunters is good at... read more

Feb 25
Feb 24
Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

In 1224, two years before he died, St. Francis of Assisi had a vision of a seraph with six wings who gave him stigmata. He was the first one to do that schtick, wounds magically appearing on the body at the points where crucified Jesus had them.

I remember, at maybe age twelve, when I first read about people developing stigmata in, I think, The People’s Almanac, edited by the father-son duo who were two-thirds of the editorial team that brought us The Book of Lists, Irving Wallace and David Wallechinsky. It inspired me to seek more such entertainment. My world, for a while, was a magical one in which Sasquatches, yeti, and Moth Men appeared and disappeared, evading empirical confirmation of their existence. Mysterious meteors with no apparent source punctured car windshields on cliffside roads somewhere in the British Isles. Frogs, or yellow rain, or fish, fell from the skies, reported by locals but defying explanation by experts. On stone plains, ancient aliens once made uncanny designs, still visible, but only from high above the Earth. Kaspar Hauser, The Elephant Man, lycanthropes, and other historical human enigmas peopled my inner universe, along with disembodied spirits. I grew up in the boring suburbs, so a Fortian cosmology was my escape.

So by what right dare I mock those who say there’ll be pie in the sky when you die?

I suppose there are many who believe in the sky pie. After all, crazy beliefs run rampant these days. There’s a huge number of voters devoted to Donald Dump, the actual worst human being under all circumstances: at a party, he’s boorish, social climb-y, pussy-grabby, and a crappy dancer. In politics, he’s a liar, a kleptocrat, and a narcissistic, capricious sack of bile. In business, he’s a cheat, a purveyor of poor-quality goods, and a deadbeat debtor. On the golf course, he’s a wiffer, a piker, a poor sport, a cheat, and he cuts a gruesomely ungainly figure in his garbage attire and even trashier torso. These devotees believe he’s being persecuted worse than Jesus was.

Cicero asserted that all peoples, regardless of the silliness of their specific beliefs, have some concept of the divine. He considered human belief in divine power, or divine something, to be a law of nature. Although we balk at generalities like this about human nature, or nature vis-a-vis humans, it’s... read more

Feb 19
Feb 18