Of Riots, Bukowski, and Levi’s Jeans
The waves roll in and pummel a single rock, it is overtaken easily. Young people, depicted as living affective moments of longing, gazing into the classic tropes of abyss–oceans, city scapes–with that very abyss most certainly gazing right back into them. We, especially the young, peer into the abyss of capital daily.
It peers back into us, and as a result we are changed. We try to find our hustle, are keen on opportunism, we have no fidelity to anything–pure nihilism. We are changed, this is a fact, and when the opportunity comes, when that moment of rupture elucidates itself, makes itself real or felt, however brief, we pounce. We are opportunists, hedonists, degenerates, criminals. We lust for televisions, and nice clothing. Long for 100 thousand dollars of jewelry, cartons upon cartons of cigarettes, or liquor that doesn’t have the taste of urine. Yes, capital has changed us. And it is in and through this change that we too might change capital.
This is why London must burn, why there is no affinity with those pathetic local businesses, and why we might even stab each other in the midst of a flurry of reckless euphoria. With capitalists subjects turned loose on itself, it’s no wonder why one might go ahead and smash a storefront in order to steal hundreds of dollars of Levi’s. This is “our life” and, as the ad quotes from Bukowski, we’d like to avoid allowing it to be entirely clubbed into dank submission.
Poem from the ad:
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
–The Laughing Heart; Charles Bukowski