RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Monday, November 27

Ja Ja Krupert November 2017 number nine "auditorium"


The cover of Mos Def’s The Ecstatic is a still from Killer of Sheep, a black-and-white movie made in the ‘70s by a dude named Charles Burnett. It is one of my all-time favorite movies – just an amazing fucking flick, but considered an artsy flick (although real as fuck) so lost to artsy flick world. I’ve thought about it a lot though with the media hype after Jordan Peele’s Get Out last year, as well as the awards laid upon Moonlight, all of which is deserving in my opinion (which it should be noted my opinion doesn’t matter ultimately), and especially after I saw Cornel West talk, and thinking in my life about voices from the marginalized (which, though a white male, to some extent what I come from is a marginalized place, although I certainly am able to put on the right type of costume and appear to be one of them who makes all the voices heard, if I could ever overcome my own feelings of fraud and discomfort). I tend to visualize the margins in my mind as the tall grasses at the edge of manicured society, right at along the edges of truly feral (the woods), and to be honest, I feel far more comfortable in the tall grasses (and even lost in the woods, but not really lost, just out there, like that old Leon Russell song) than assimilated. That does not seem to change, no matter how much work I do to make myself a more whole person.
Movies like Killer of Sheep hit me. Last night I actually watched Alambrista! (which also was pretty great), and one of the benefits of working at a TRADITIONAL PUBLIC IVY UNIVERSITY is having access to their libraries, which includes a pretty great DVD collection. (Yes, I still be watching DVDs. Young Dirtgod didn’t have access to a VCR until the ‘90s, so I was born to a behind the technological curve people due to finance, and am fine checking out what’s left of the fancy library DVD collection while y’all straight stream cyberbeams direct to  your pineal gland.) The weird thing is I feel stupid for wanting to watch good movies from other times, being trained to CAN’T MISS the latest yawner of epic media hype. That’s why voices from the margins tend to speak to me. Moonlight did not feel like a complete waste of time to me, like most movies do. Same with Get Out (though – as all horror/sci-fi movies tend to be – it had a gotcha finish where you’re not exactly gonna go back and rewatch it once a year like I do with Killer of Sheep).
A tag I use on this page is “gentrification of the internet” which on one hand is a ridiculous concept but on the other hand is perfectly true. The marginalized voices which used to be able to be found easily have been sort of graffiti muraled over by this common false-quirkiness (best personified by *weird twitter* or *dank memes*) which sort of makes light joke of all non-normal voices. But a true understanding of marginal voices is not attained. It just seems like shit’s a big fucking former bad neighborhood turned into coffee shops serving kombucha and microbrews, but as websites. However this political era reshapes the internet (current net neutrality talk) isn’t really reshaping so much as codifying what’s already been reshaped. Outsider voices are already impossible to hear through the din of social media and paid promotion and people with degrees well beyond baccalaureate branding their personal existences.

What does all this have to do with a Mos Def song? Nothing. But my man has found solace in Islam, as well as Africa, and I’d like to hear voices like that. And nothing is really stopping me, other than having to go down internet back roads instead of the traditional information super-highway with its stupid fucking billboards. And I guess Killer of Sheep speaks to me because I feel a lot like Stan (the main character), and I’ve had engine block after engine block get fucked up on me, often beyond my control. When I come out from the tall grasses into the manicured larger culture, I feel naked, and often can’t think straight, and tend to fuck up, or at least look out of place enough others more comfortable from lifelong existence in that realm are able to be super-predators of the legal kind on my ass, and after fucking up (yet again), I flee back to the comfort of tall grasses, and sometimes even back into the woods. And to be honest, rather than continuing to do the inner-work and feeling comfortable in that manicured (gentrified internet) civilized space, I’d rather all that fall apart, and go feral. Fuck your comfortable world; I don’t want it. I don’t want your values nor your non-soul-satisfying rewards. I hope all this forced order through digital control that’s been applied to everybody’s metaphysical existence fractures the psyches of the young into beautiful feral jihadists who destroy this poison culture (finally).

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