This is going to be hard. Already, I’m sure you’re thinking about how “this is going to be hard” could — as well as being a simple precursor to a plea — be a sexual remark: that it takes on a sexual register that you can’t ignore because we’re recreating a break up; and since there’s a sexual relationship, it’s a fair assumption that you might have a gender (or that I might), but how can an abstract concept have a gender? Unless gender has less to do with genitals and depends more on a relational axis on which… See? We’re doing it again and I need us to stop. I know that you’re all about free play, but I need you to be serious for minute.
We’ve had some really amazing times together. Remember, “A screaming comes across the sky”? That was amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how you worked so hard to hear out people who usually didn’t get heard. Remember “Can the Subaltern Speak?” We really hit a peak then. Those are treasured memories that exist outside of a system of exploitative commodification — just like how you always wanted. Together, I think we made a real difference: an important difference, which makes what I have to say next so difficult.
We’ve been together for a long time, but I think it’s time that we gave each other some space… maybe permanently. The problem is that I think people are taking you for granted, and you’re letting them do it. There was a time when you were a rebel: something dangerous with dangerous ideas that took a real hard look at everything and then spit into everything’s panopticonal eye. Now though, all the rules are gone. Our rebel is old, and I don’t know where you’ve gone. Actually, that’s not completely true; I see you everywhere. I see shades of you in “alternative facts” and “reverse racism.” I see you in the arguments of Facebook posts and in angry YouTube videos.
What changed? Well, there used to be rules. “Free play” came with a guide book, but we don’t read the same way anymore. We still have signs, signifieds, and phallogocentrism, but where are the signifieds gone? That’s the rule you stopped enforcing, that everything still has meaning. Hell, it’s like you taught us: everything has multiple meanings. None of that is important anymore. Being vogue is all that matters and being vogue means not being the master narrative: it means being, if you’re on the right, “alternative” or, if you’re on the left, “marginalized.” The two are asymmetrical and that’s exactly the problem.
What you’re doing is you’re sharing capital out of the center, but you’re not being careful about who gets that capital. I understand that you’re a right, but you’re also a responsibility. I don’t think enough people are taking that responsibility seriously anymore and its starting to show. I can’t hear another word about “men’s rights.” You used to take the absurd and mess around with it for a point: forty years ago, “men’s rights” would have been the stupid point you made to level any kind of gender disparity. People take that shit seriously now.
I’m open to us staying friends, but we’re going to have to make some changes: 1) you’re going to have to enroll in a Rhetoricians Anonymous program and figure out how to talk like a person again; 2) you need to take a step back and remember what made you so great: be thoughtful and fun again. We all miss that; 3) I think this one is the most important: stop being such a tool. In both senses of the word: own how you’re used and that’ll take care of the second part of this: stop being such a dick.
Until you make those changes, I hope you’ll be happy in the spotlight. Who would have thought, huh? A troublemaker like you a media and cultural darling. Remember that the “real” is unreachable and your fifteen minutes is anything but.
A(n) a/political consumer