The Underground Lady [Page Fifty Two]

Besides reuse and retro, there is another method of resistance that appeals to me: re-cut.  This means cutting back in what has been excluded or cut out of the culture by corporatist influence.  Like a form of venereal disease, corporatist thinking tends to rot away at the body unless dosed with large amounts of antibiotics.  In this case, counter-propaganda is the cure.  Fahrenheit 9/11, for example, adds back many of the facts that were snipped from the American media by self-imposed censorship after the terrorist attacks: the close relationship between the Bushes and the Saud royal family, the slavish adherence to oil-industry demands leading up to the war in Iraq, and the bizarre attempts at appeasement with the very terrorist organizations that had planned and carried out 9/11.  None of this falls under the ridiculous conspiracy theories about the American government carrying out 9/11, but these facts go a long way towards explaining the prior relationship between the two dynastic clans at the center of the mess.  What it made clear, to those who saw it, was that the entire world was being held hostage by the animosities between two groups of rich worthless fucks.  In other words, the real truth about 9/11 was both more mundane, and more insidious, than any conspiracy theorist could imagine—because it pointed out the larger context of how closely guarded, strange and inbred, power has become under global capitalism.  In this sense, what also comes through clear, in the presence of these facts, is that 9/11 was the product of global capitalism, and not just some “cave dwellers” in Afghanistan.  These are the sorts of facts we need to add back into the mix, by any means—indy media, documentary, small and web publications, etc.  Facts that point to the larger context are always the most useful, and the most censored by corporate culture.  Refuse to let them die.  Replay them in multiple formats, in multiple categories of media and distribution.  Flood the culture with its own discarded shit.  Then, repeat.

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Reuse, retro, re-cut, repeat—this is a useful mantra.

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The destruction of the recording industry is a useful study in anti-corporate activism.  Of course, it didn’t start out that way.  And that is one of the most useful aspects of the whole story.  Created by a Swedish telecom operator and a Danish high-school dropout, Kazaa, the program that ended the ownership of music as we used to know it, quickly became the property of kids who were sick of being gouged by businesses that put out increasingly boring and lazy product.  And once the kids teamed up with embittered ex-rockers who couldn’t get a recording contract, the combination of consumer frustration and broken dreams was enough to bring an entire industry crashing down.  See, it doesn’t take a revolution.  Actually, it takes very little to destroy the top-heavy and clueless business model that has become the norm.  Marketing types are quite stupid, and can easily be convinced to accept the poison pill that will destroy their own company.  Working from the outside, or from within, it takes surprisingly little effort to collapse the whole junky project of today’s corporation.  Get to it. 

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Television and the film industry are slowly being digested by the internet’s ability to slice and dice any medium, any form, any product.  There is no stopping it.  Changing formats only accelerates the inevitable.  Taking legal action only enrages the rank and file who are busy nibbling away.  The net is like an amoeba, and that is why those who work in centralized media cannot understand or control it.  There is no center to the net.  There is only more net. . .in every direction.  Eventually TV and movies will succumb.   This is taking a bit longer than it did with the recording industry, but then these are larger sectors to begin with.  Already TV has been wounded, and large parts of it have been annexed to the net.  Movies are available for free, but people have not quite gotten into the habit of watching them online.  The amoeba continues to chomp away.

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The destruction of establishment organs like newspapers—which have largely become corporate newsletters—and TV news, is a great advancement.  The situation offers an opportunity for rapid advancement of any number of radical projects.  Publish, post, slice and dice away.  Keep it up.

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The Underground Lady says, “We are living in the beginning of a small-press age.”  Indeed.

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Despite my deep involvement in and commitment to all methods of resistance and corporatist-cultural cut-up, I am very traditional about writing.  I think that writers should publish books.  Fuck all the attempts to transfer old media to the online world.  None of them will succeed.  The net has its own dimensions, and its own potentialities.  It will only grow into those more, and further and further away from old models.

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Writing online is not really writing at all.  It is something else, something to do with intertext and its outlines.  Writing online is more like graffiti than any other form of communication.  The time-lapses and inter-linkages make it quite different from a “conversation.”  Online interactions are never conversations, in any sense.  These are new mutations.

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What are we doing here?  We are talking to no one.  What is the form?  We are leaving our tag on a virtual wall for others to come by and tag back if they want.  Why?  Because we require both anonymity and connection at the same time, and this is the perfect way to accomplish that—here is the real ontological reason for the internet, here is why it is what is.

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