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uma guerra de classes

De narrativas, e autenticidade - mesmo onde menos se suspeita dela. Revisitamos sobre o mesmo tema: antifas, class war... em funny style?

That one of the most ridiculed music fandoms could become progressive protagonists in a serious political battle does, admittedly, sound like the punch line to a bad joke - in a year that has so consistently challenged the boundary between satire and reality.
in "Class Clowns" 15 set 2017

Juggalos. Da primeira vez que lhes demos a atenção -merecida, não a descartável- foi por uma peça de março que por coincidência é repescada aqui hoje via um outro artigo que a cita, e sabem como processamos coincidências: sobem pelo radar like a muthafucka. A base do artigo: Juggalos e Insane Clown Posse como identidade de classe.

Classificados de gang criminoso voltam a ser notícia por - por coincidência, outra vez - manifestarem-se nas Américas no mesmo dia e local que os nazis escolheram para a sua manifestação a acabar com todas as manifestações. Uma que, diga-se, ficará para a história como flop monumental: ponto juggalos - da sobreposição das manifestações podem ler em mais detalhe seguindo as ligações na página do evento. Antes mais uma entrada às teses, estudos culturais:

The Insane Clown Posse’s horrific imagery evokes the wretchedness of life in postindustrial landscapes, where ugliness and decay exist alongside hopelessness and alienation. Juggalos affirm that these broader structures of exploitation - and not any personal inadequacies - determined their failures, and ICP’s music replaces ugly desperation with acceptance and camaraderie.

The figure of the Juggalo, in other words, turns the shame of a damaged life into power.
in "Class Clowns" 15 set 2017

Da manifestação, e luta de classes:

The Juggalos’ day of action nevertheless represents a demand for recognition and equality. A mostly impoverished community will gather in the nation’s capital to wave their middle fingers at a system of power that has pushed them to the margins of society, then targeted them for managing to survive. The demonstration’s participants come into view as a community worth defending - and perhaps even an exemplar, however unlikely, of class solidarity. If we bracket their hatchet-wielding, face-painting, Faygo-spraying theatrics  -  and any other cultural trappings that allow so many outsiders to feel smugly superior to ICP’s acolytes  - we are left with a working-class community acutely aware of, and actively resisting, its profound alienation and social rejection. The Juggalo community shows how effectively class can bring people together. Its members have constructed theatrical identities as ninjas and hatchet-wielding clowns determined to fight oppression - and have a good time in the process. Such playful imagery expresses the frustration any poor or marginalized person feels when attempting to resist the indifference and quiet violence of those in power.
in "Class Clowns" 15 set 2017

Dos manifestantes:

Their followers were the outcasts, misfits, and fuckups in high school, considered too ugly or freakish to sit at the cool kids’ table. They are the cashiers at Walmart and the servers at McDonald’s, spectacles of misfortune either ignored or blithely exploited for cheap laughs. They live a life of menial labor that elite ideology insists they deserve.
in "Class Clowns" 15 set 2017

Da peça de março -

In a sense, they should be viewed as part of a larger wave of hyper-regional DIY hip-hop scenes that were occurring in [early 90s]

The point of all of this is that ICP represents a very real socioeconomic viewpoint within the downtrodden, post-industrial milieu that city, there was (and remains) real economic pain. In turn, that leads to social pain, which then leads to Insane Clown Posse. So, now that we've established that ICP is worth vaguely respecting from an abstract standpoint, let's go back to the issue of taste, or ICP's non-relation to it. Getting into Insane Clown Posse is incredibly difficult. This is not because Insane Clown Posse is "bad," per se; it's just that Insane Clown Posse does not conform to the conventional notions of taste as you or I understand them.
in "I Decided It's Time to Seriously Get into Insane Clown Posse" 16 mar 2017

De uma minoria espezinhada a apropriar-se de uma identidade e consolidar a sua cultura.

Classist discrimination by law enforcement, which has harassed self-described Juggalos for seemingly no reason besides their cultural taste

That mockery is deeply bound up in who Juggalos are: largely lower-class whites, particularly in the Midwest and South. Juggalos tend to be poor and uneducated, from economically depressed small towns and broken homes. To use an inelegant term, proper folks tend to find Juggalos gross, disturbing on a biological level.
in "The Insane Clown Posse’s Juggalo March on Washington, explained" 15 set 2017

Aware of society’s opinion of them, Juggalos see themselves as part of a family that must look out for itself because no one else will. It’s a genuine community that accepts those who would otherwise be cast aside and allows the marginalized to express themselves without fear of ridicule. It’s sutured itself together through members’ shared understanding of their status as the dregs of society, a genuine example of class-consciousness that any socialist should admire.

Whereas many contemporary musicians fake class consciousness by dressing the part and aestheticizing poverty, ICP have constructed an elaborate narrative that embraces horror, fantasy, and sexual deviance to articulate the ugliness of class exploitation.

The Juggalo March on Washington presents the Left with an opportunity to start building [uma] coalition that exchanges the battle of cultural authenticity for the battle against oppression.
in "Class Clowns" 15 set 2017

Essa coligação já parece existir, com os suspeitos do costume - antifas. Do passeio desse dia:

The lyrics found within ICP songs resonate with the working class, so although you will find Juggalos from all walks of life, the vast majority are highly class-conscious proletarians. There are numerous Juggalo Antifa who we were keen to support this action. We promoted the Juggalo March extensively on our networks and organized to attend the event in solidarity - we offer our support to those targeted disproportionately by law enforcement using these unjust tactics.
in "The Struggalo Continues: Great Lakes Antifa Stands in Solidarity with Juggalo March" 18 set 2017

De uniões e solidariedade face à adversidade:

This type of government overreach can easily be applied to other groups

It is this potentially low socio-economic status which makes them easily targeted by law enforcement for exploitation. The police and F. B. I. overreach and targeting of Juggalos is a classic example of fascism. Something we can certainly relate to in the wake of news that Antifa are being illegitimately targeted as a gang and as a terrorist organization by the federal government.
in "The Struggalo Continues: Great Lakes Antifa Stands in Solidarity with Juggalo March" 18 set 2017

Do resumo de executivo a transportar para próximas reflexões:

You don’t have to like ICP’s music but you can recognize that these young men and women have found themselves, after generations of structural inequality, at the margins of an economic system that has intentionally pushed them aside in order to maximize profit. They did not turn on each other but instead came together, recognizing their shared interests. They have used this knowledge not just to throw a raucous yearly festival, but also to organize a march against a federal agency that stands for state violence.

Of course, the Juggalo community suffers from its share of racism, sexism, and homophobia. But regardless of its foibles, the mythology the Juggalos have embraced captures, and facilitates resistance to, the exploitation that structures the lives of poor and working-class people.

If the idea of socialists linking arms with Juggalos still sounds absurd, perhaps a little ridiculousness  -  a clownish embrace  -  is exactly what we need in the age of Trump.
in "Class Clowns" 15 set 2017

In a way, ICP and the Juggalos are the perfect group to challenge Trumpism. They’re a fiercely anti-racist movement based in working-class, mostly white communities. That gives them a legitimacy and credibility in combatting racist sentiment that more traditional political actors lack.
in "The Insane Clown Posse’s Juggalo March on Washington, explained" 15 set 2017

CONTINUAR

"The lesson journalists should take away from Spicer’s rebranding"

Outras narrativas de empatia. Nestas lições, recordamos que o Spicer está para o jornalismo como os jornalistas estão para as pessoas. Mas continuando: it's show business. O registo que importa fazer.

Journalists are feeling queasy about Spicer’s second act fueled by entertainers and academics

Jornalistas, os media de entretenimento e académicos numa só frase. I call "Bingo!" up on this bitch.

people tv...
Last week was a triumph for the rehabilitation of Sean Spicer’s image.

The smiling, happy-go-lucky Sean Spicer of last week was a long way from the combative, condescending, and "less and less available" Spicer of earlier this year. And some journalists were appalled by the transformation. On Twitter, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie wrote, "The degree to which Sean Spicer has faced no consequences is a glimpse into the post-Trump future," and Fast Company’s Joe Berkowitz wrote, "Let’s not let people like Spicer and Mooch become Cute Things. They were lying mouthpieces, utter disgraces. They should be shunned forever." On Facebook, Dan Rather added, "It is not funny that the American people were lied to. It is not funny that the press was attacked for doing its job. It is not funny that the norms of our democracy have been trampled…To have Sean Spicer now lead us in laughter about all this makes me uneasy."

Spicer’s recent star turn is also a reminder that holding the powerful to account doesn’t end the moment they step down. If Spicer is appearing on national TV and speaking in Ivy League lecture halls, he’s still wielding significant influence. Reporters should remember this. Spicer is an American celebrity now; that much is indisputable. But when we cover him, journalists owe it to our readers—and to history—to explain the far-from-comedic way he became one. Anything less is active participation in what Gore Vidal called the "United States of Amnesia."
in "The lesson journalists should take away from Spicer’s rebranding" 18 set 2027

narrativas self-made

CONTINUAR

novelas gráficas

Perdoem-nos a confissão.

O debate que o Público conseguiu (inadvertidamente) causar entre a comunidade de interessados, quando optou pela designação de "novela gráfica" para a sua colecção de BD iniciada há dois anos, passou-nos ao lado: o termo era-nos tão decalcado de uma tradução literal estrangeira como as que encontramos diversas vezes naquela outra língua irmã –o brasileiro -, que arrumámos o tópico numa gaveta mental a que chamamos de "preciosismos dos cómicos" - esta é, afinal, uma comunidade muito dada a discussões de hermenêutica.

Há data vários textos fizeram o seu caminho ora defendendo, ora contradizendo a opção feita, e recomendamos a leitura das justificações dadas pelos autores que em um momento ou outro foram convidados a prefaciar a coleção: são fáceis de encontrar online e mesmo se fazemos depender a importância dos seus dizeres exclusivamente dessa associação, é um critério de selecção que pelo menos possui uma relação directa ao objecto e exclui as milhentas opiniões do Facebook – as quais, por razões técnicas, não rezará a História (*).

* Azar.

Pessoalmente, tornou-se uma expressão muda –"invisível" ?- para nós: por força do hábito – e somos criatura de hábitos vincados – o graphic novel precede a novel novela gráfica a ponto de nunca termos feito uso dessa última: quando a lemos ocorre um qualquer automatismo que a reverte à designação original antes mesmo de a processarmos. Somando a esse auto-correct o viver numa bolha pessoal – vide criatura de hábitos –, qualquer interação com terceiros sobre o tópico faz-se sobre a designação geral de "bd", ou quando muito, excepcionalmente, de "ban-da-de-se-nha-da" – assim, alongada e a desfalecer de cansaço pelo final pelo que raramente nos merece o esforço. "BD" para os amigos, momentos constrangedores exigem um "banda desenhada" desnecessariamente mais categórico, simplesmente "o livro" se a intimidade o permite: e desse modo vivemos os últimos dois anos protegidos do uso daquela expressão.

Até hoje.

Não seguimos a coleção assiduamente: a primeira série é talvez a mais completa mas longe de o ser, da segunda série devemos ter talvez dois volumes se tanto, desta terceira vamos no nosso quarto – contabilidade não confirmada mas é como a sentimos. Temos pois o hábito –isso- de pedir a dedo o livro –tu que nos lês: somos íntimos- que queremos, e no acto de o fazer ouvimos hoje pela primeira vez alguém nos replicar em alta voz a famigerada tradução.

Até um "banda desenhada" com um longo "aaaaaaaa" a morrer no fim de uma língua desmaiada no canto da boca e baba langorosamente a escorrer, os olhos revirados e a merecer um chapadão na cara para lhe sacudir o torpor teria sido menos estranho.

Por um lado, notamos o aspecto positivo da clarificação que se sentiram na necessidade de fazer: porque o Público publica tanta banda desenhada (*), é agora preciso ser explícito na peça que queremos.

(*) Aparentemente, o Público também publica uma série de super-heróis em collans mas não poderemos precisar: se a conjugação "novela gráfica" nos é invisível, imaginem a nossa capacidade de retenção da existência de uma série dedicada ao spandex.

Um bom momento para a bd na frente livreira - contrariamente a elitismos como os que descobrimos por via do Isabelinho, achamos que há espaço para todos, desde que não se confundam 14 sep 2017. Se o povo quer fantasias homo-eróticas, há que dar.

Por outro lado, para se evitar a confusão anterior, perguntam-nos se queríamos o spandex-em-collans, ou, "a novela gráfica".

Oy?!

Anjos morreram no Céu, e se não morreram, deviam. Hell, dêem-me uma machine-gun e vejam-me a metralhá-los numa orgia de violência: este já não é um mundo que mereça seres graciosos.

"Que caralho ‘tá-me este gaijo a falar...?!" Milésimos de segundos que pareceram uma eternidade –vide: mentalmente, estava no Céu a massacrar seres alados entre gargalhadas maliciosas de quem nitidamente acabara de ceder a uma espiral de demência. Havia ouvido pela primeira vez em uso corrente esse novo termo, destinado a criar barreiras entre mim e qualquer interlocutor que nos fale de BD nesses modos.

É de conhecimento geral a razão de ser por detrás da origem dos graphic novels, uma associação de ideias se perdeu na tradução – porque esta não se perdeu no caminho.

São novelas, e os gráficos parecem-nos evidentes. Wha-?!

Nesse tópico, outra designação que nos é "muda" e já tivemos oportunidade de o estranhar no passado é, estranhamente, "OS POSITIVOS" (*).

* ou P+, ambas sequências de caracteres que por hábito interpretamos como símbolos visuais sem som associável, não como palavras a ler.

Nunca os chamamos pelo nome, e nas conversas são simplesmente denominados de "a tua cena". Os poucos que os enunciam denotam uma certa distância no fabrico espaço-temporal, e os que notam a hesitação no olhar enquanto tento perceber a que se referem rapidamente acrescentam "a tua bd".

Também aqui queremos declarar uma nova distinção – questões de hermenêutica, compreendam.

OS POSITIVOS não são mais "bd".

Os cómicos tiveram a sua oportunidade de os incluir na bagagem nacional de banda desenhada – e podem dizê-lo em alta voz assim mesmo, por extenso.

  A "cena" é agora o zine. Repetimos: OS POSITIVOS na sua encarnação actual não são uma banda desenhada, são um zine de banda desenhada, um zine com banda desenhada, um zine sobre banda desenhada, e sobretudo, um zine de-com-sobre bd e outras merdas – e esse "e" é parte constituinte a merecer imensa consideração.

Fuck me se vamos viver num mesmo mundo que se confunde com novelas gráficas.

CONTINUAR

Art Young


"I wanted those damned DEVILS!"

Populismo? Empatias? Conseguiremos trazer tudo de volta aos comics? Sim, regressamos justamente ao início destes: o cartoon na imprensa norte-americana em finais do século XIX, inícios de XX, onde tudo começou. Segway fornecido pelo TCJ de ontem com uma sugestão de leitura do ano passado à mistura que aproveitamos tal-qualmente. O personagem: Art Young (1866–1943), cartoonista, "most famous for his socialist cartoons, especially those drawn for the left wing political magazine The Masses between 1911 and 1917", in Wikipedia set 2017

A exposição faz-se a propósito da edição do To Laugh That We May Not Weep: The Life and Art of Art Young" 2017 pela Fantagraphics, mas online podem encontrar uma outra publicação de há uma dezena de anos atrás sobre o mesmo tópico.

Tens também uma cópia disponível no libcom.org. Voltaremos a este num futuro próximo.

Do sítio de apoio ao "‘‘Cartooning Capitalism’’: Radical Cartooning and the Making of American Popular Radicalism in the Early Twentieth Century" por Michael Cohen, um primeiro excerto a definir contexto:

Arthur Henry Young was the most widely recognized and beloved cartoonist of the golden age of American radicalism. Nearly unique in the history of political cartooning and the American Left, as an artist Art Young was capable of leading a mass anti-capitalist movement while also reaching deep into the mainstream of American media.
in Cartooning Capitalism" s/d

Dele tecem-se pois comparações mais imediatas ao público de hoje e preferências do yours truly:

It took me awhile to really understand how "modern" his style was.

As important as Robert Crumb, and in his time was just as relevant and conscious as Crumb was.

I consider Young to be the Harvey Kurtzman 50 years before Kurtzman was. Both started with the "QUESTION AUTHORITY" attitude, which I subscribe to.

The message of Young’s work struck me. It wasn’t only about the artwork. This work was alive and relevant. I had to keep reminding myself that most of these pieces were approaching 100 years old. This sudden exposure to a sleeping giant was powerful.

in "Art Young, To Laugh That We May Not Weep: A Conversation with Glenn Bray and Frank M. Young" 14 set 2017

Mas ao fim de 100 anos mantêm a sua relevância? De contemporaneidades, e comparações possíveis:

I never fully understood the patriotic and xenophobic hysteria that hit World War I-era America until I researched the details of Art Young’s trials. The accounts of intense xenophobia and the rhapsodic propaganda seemed familiar.

The most powerful lesson, overall, was my understanding that history seems doomed to repeat itself in America. Our people and politicians make the same bad choices, with the same bad effects, and it seems no lesson is ever learned. That is why so many of Art Young’s cartoons could be run on today’s op-ed page of the newspaper.
in "Art Young, To Laugh That We May Not Weep: A Conversation with Glenn Bray and Frank M. Young" 14 set 2017

E cruzado às teses um comentário complementar do autor ao fecho da frase anterior:

(Assuming any papers still exist with the guts to print his work)
in "Art Young, To Laugh That We May Not Weep: A Conversation with Glenn Bray and Frank M. Young" 14 set 2017

Sim, ao fim de um século a história repete-se, com variações: uma espiral, já o dissemos. Desta, o fim da press mesmo. Ao qual se acrescenta da sua importância cruzado à sensibilidade da sua obra. Mashup:

Who was Art Young? (As a 20th century political artist and as a voice of conscience?)
Art Young is a prime example of the gentle but powerful voice sometimes seen in American media. He never raises his voice to the shout level we’re used to in 2017 mass media. He makes his points persuasively but allows the viewer to draw their own conclusion. There is always a sense of the human comedy, and of careful consideration of the entire issue.

Art Young’s humanity —the soul of kindness— offers us a sense of hope as it acknowledges the train-wreck around us. 2017 has been a nightmarish year, but a study of Art Young’s work reassures us that America has been through similar horrors and survived. While there is an understandable lessening of hope (...) here is still hope. To realize that hope, we must be more humane beings. We must step back from corporatization, mindless consumption, greed and the hard shell we put around ourselves and be decent, caring individuals.
in "Art Young, To Laugh That We May Not Weep: A Conversation with Glenn Bray and Frank M. Young" 14 set 2017

Sentiram a empatia? Enter populismo agora:

Art Young shows us one way to speak up without ranting or foaming at the mouth. Most of us experience political discourse via rants and ravings on Facebook, which may turn out to be the worst possible forum for such a discussion. Instead of shouting matches or physical conflicts, I wish the antifa protesters would paper buildings with blow-ups of Art Young cartoons [*] –or create new work inspired by Young’s voice.
in "Art Young, To Laugh That We May Not Weep: A Conversation with Glenn Bray and Frank M. Young" 14 set 2017

* Que, sempre importante, aquilo do $$$, recorda o autor com mais um parentesis:
"(These images are in the public domain, gang, so go for it!)"

A menção a antifas introduz-nos à segunda peça que trazemos a este espaço. Esta, escrita por outro nome reconhecível entre os cómicos: Art, Spiegelman de apelido. Diz-nos ele:

Nowadays, satire and ridicule have effectively moved to late-night TV comedy, but it’s the cartoon’s ability to essentialize that we so sorely need now. The Occupy movement might’ve had longer legs if it only had a great T-shirt designed by Art Young.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016

Da sua exposição:

Art Young? He was the greatest radical political cartoonist in our history.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016


"Capitalism"

História americana, entendidos, mas o que seria dos comics sem o cartoon norte-américa da imprensa nesse virar de século onde encontramos o Art-Y? Antes, duas grandes notas associadas. Primeiro, porque tudo volta aOS POSITIVOS, como de habitual :) Notem o overlap:

He happily accepted the term "propaganda" to describe his work, which he saw simply as propagating his own ideas.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016

OS POSITIVOS: nós também.

His contempt was reserved for the editorial prostitution involved in drawing for an editor’s convictions rather than one’s own.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016

O nosso contempt partilha do sentiment.

He’d studied to be a painter, but said he preferred a large audience to being displayed on a rich man’s walls. He was impatient with pictures that didn’t make a clear point.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016

Vide OS POSITIVOS vs artsy-fartsy.

E finalmente, o Arty, aos quarenta, morde a mão que alimenta:

Young confessed that he didn’t have convictions until he was about forty, when he put his mouth where his money wasn’t — refusing lucrative commissions from mainstream magazines and newspapers to take the vow of poverty that comes with working for the radical press.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016

Nesse aspecto, again, o overlap às nossas convicções sobre o $$$ estão em perfeita sintonia:

I am antagonistic to the money-making fetish because it sidetracks our natural selves, leaving us no alternative but to accept the situation and take any kind of work for a weekly wage [...] We are caught and hurt by the system, and the more sensitive we are to life's highest values the harder it is to bear the abuse.
in Wikipedia set 2017

Segundo, um generoso parêntesis ao estado da arte no cartoon – mas recordamos que o texto do AS é de 2016, e este ano em particular requer tratamento a pinças.

In Young’s day the power of the political cartoon to shape thought and mobilize opinion was a given.
As circulations dwindle and newspapers disappear, the political cartoonist has become an endangered species.

[The] difficult process as making an image that, once seen, can never be unseen: Young was a world-class master at distilling his thoughts into unforgettable formulations. A cartoon’s power derives from its capacity to echo the ways our brains work. We think in small bursts of language and in stripped-down icons.

Unfortunately, political cartooning, like socialism, has fallen on hard times, and Art Young’s job description no longer really exists: A Radical! Political!! Cartoonist!!! "Political": The word evokes C-SPAN–scale boredom and clouds of toxic rhetoric. The only concept less inviting is "political radical," which conjures up images of dangerous bomb-throwing anarchists — what could be worse? Oh, I know: Cartoonist! A creator of trivial diversions, only worth the time more fruitfully spent dozing if the creator is (a) hilarious, (b) salacious, or, preferably, (c) both. In fact, one of the few phrases more snooze-worthy than "political" may be "political cartoonist".
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016

Um terceiro parentesis que entra em letra miudinha aqui porque ainda demasiado abstracto para poderem fazer sentido dele. Essa nota será relevante em textos por vir no tópico de autenticidade, papel e digital. Da peça anterior, diz-nos o autor:

I became more interested in Art Young via his original artwork, rather than the printed page.
in "Art Young, To Laugh That We May Not Weep: A Conversation with Glenn Bray and Frank M. Young" 14 set 2017

Voltando ao presente, como antes, a sensibilidade do autor na perpetuação da sua relevância que se revela no humor:

Young’s ability to hate the sin but not the sinner arises from his deeply ingrained sense of humor.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016

Um pouco a razão de ser do título de ambas as peças citadas: "To Laugh That We May Not Weep", igualmente coincidente de um "humor & depressão" que nos é familiar? Mas ao contrário desse último, cruzado à sua relevância, obviamente:

Because he kept his eye on the fundamentals, his cartoons are rarely musty artifacts from yesterday’s papers but seem like urgent dispatches from tomorrow’s news.

His ability to boil complex social issues down to memorable symbols, drawn with justifiable anger but permeated with genial warmth, would be an immeasurable asset to explaining the realities of today’s class war to its casualties.
in "To Laugh That We May Not Weep" 2016


"The Uprising of the Proletariat"

E, porque as ironias entre cómicos nunca estão muito longe ao virar da esquina, a advertência no topo na página da Wikipedia: "Art Young" is also the name of a DC Comics editor who co-founded the Vertigo imprint."

mais lições irónicas

CONTINUAR

narrativas de empatia popular

Ontem: populismo e empatia entre os nice folks? Antes, dos livros que nos resumem em artigos notíciosos/de opinião? Sigamos a deixa, esta no "George Monbiot: how do we get out of this mess?" 9 set 2017

Political failure is, in essence, a failure of imagination

Our problems look intractable, our leaders dangerous, while voters are cowed and baffled. Despair looks like the only rational response.

E para não cedermos ao desespero, o autor apresenta uma proposta em contrário, uma que não temos qualquer reticência de registar às teses.


I


First observation: it is not strong leaders or parties that dominate politics as much as powerful political narratives.

Da importância das narrativas:

This should not surprise us. Stories are the means by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret its complex and contradictory signals. We all possess a narrative instinct: an innate disposition to listen for an account of who we are and where we stand. When we ask ourselves whether something "makes sense", the "sense" we seek is not rationality, as scientists and philosophers perceive it, but narrative fidelity.

A string of facts, however well attested, will not correct or dislodge a powerful story. The only response it is likely to provoke is indignation: people often angrily deny facts that clash with the narrative "truth" established in their minds. The only thing that can displace a story is a story. Those who tell the stories run the world.

E das narrativas que temos:

The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarised as the conflict between its two great narratives: the stories told by Keynesian social democracy and by neoliberalism.


II


The second observation: although the stories told by social democracy and neoliberalism are starkly opposed to each other, they have the same narrative structure. We could call it the Restoration Story.

Que goes like this:

Disorder afflicts the land, caused by powerful and nefarious forces working against the interests of humanity. The hero revolts against this disorder, fights the nefarious forces, overcomes them despite great odds and restores order.

Da importância dessa narrativa:

Stories that follow this pattern can be so powerful that they sweep all before them: even our fundamental values. We overlook the conflict with our own priorities because the stories resonate so powerfully with the narrative structure for which our minds are prepared. Facts, evidence, values, beliefs: stories conquer all.

Aplicadas às duas grandes narrativas identificadas atrás:

  1. The social democratic story explains that the world fell into disorder – characterised by the Great Depression – because of the self-seeking behaviour of an unrestrained elite. The elite’s capture of both the world’s wealth and the political system resulted in the impoverishment and insecurity of working people. By uniting to defend their common interests, the world’s people could throw down the power of this elite, strip it of its ill-gotten gains and pool the resulting wealth for the good of all. Order and security would be restored in the form of a protective, paternalistic state, investing in public projects for the public good, generating the wealth that would guarantee a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land – the heroes of the story – would triumph over those who had oppressed them.
  2. The neoliberal story explains that the world fell into disorder as a result of the collectivising tendencies of the overmighty state, exemplified by the monstrosities of Stalinism and nazism, but evident in all forms of state planning and all attempts to engineer social outcomes. Collectivism crushes freedom, individualism and opportunity. Heroic entrepreneurs, mobilising the redeeming power of the market, would fight this enforced conformity, freeing society from the enslavement of the state. Order would be restored in the form of free markets, delivering wealth and opportunity, guaranteeing a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land, released by the heroes of the story (the freedom-seeking entrepreneurs) would triumph over those who had oppressed them.

III


Third observation: the Restoration Story is a common element in most successful political transformations.

Três é um número mágico - ver OS POSITIVOS - mas o autor da peça vai além com um quarto insight.


IV


Fourth insight: we appear to be stuck with neoliberalism is that we have failed to produce a new narrative with which to replace it.

Political renewal depends on a new political story.

You cannot take away someone’s story without giving them a new one. It is not enough to challenge an old narrative, however outdated and discredited it may be. Change happens only when you replace one story with another. When we develop the right story, and learn how to tell it, it will infect the minds of people across the political spectrum.

Temos então que ir além de trilogias e descobrir uma nova narrativa.

The narrative we build has to be simple and intelligible. If it is to transform our politics, it should appeal to as many people as possible, crossing traditional political lines. It should resonate with deep needs and desires. It should explain the mess we are in and the means by which we might escape it. And, because there is nothing to be gained from spreading falsehoods, it must be firmly grounded in reality.

Hint hint. Sentidos escondidos, autenticidade, narrativas... Contar histórias. OS POSITIVOS. E, a título do registo da peça, a proposta feita, e destaques nossos onde poderás continuar a relacionar tópicos aos que recorrem neste espaço. Populismo, engaged em empatia? Comunidade, distribuída? Aquilo das elites e o d.i.y.? Senhores...?

The Politics of Belonging

There is, I believe, a clear and compelling Restoration Story to be told that fits this description.

Over the past few years, there has been a convergence of findings in different sciences: psychology, anthropology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology. Research in all these fields points to the same conclusion: that human beings are, in the words of an article in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, "spectacularly unusual when compared to other animals". This refers to our astonishing degree of altruism. We possess an unparalleled sensitivity to the needs of others, a unique level of concern about their welfare, and a peerless ability to create moral norms that generalise and enforce these tendencies. We are also, among mammals, the supreme cooperators. This urge to cooperate has been hard-wired into our brains through natural selection. Our tendencies towards altruism and cooperation are the central, crucial facts about humankind.

But something has gone horribly wrong.

Our good nature has been thwarted by several forces, but perhaps the most powerful is the dominant political narrative of our times. We have been induced by politicians, economists and journalists to accept a vicious ideology of extreme competition and individualism that pits us against each other, encourages us to fear and mistrust each other and weakens the social bonds that make our lives worth living. The story of our competitive, self-maximising nature has been told so often and with such persuasive power that we have accepted it as an account of who we really are. It has changed our perception of ourselves. Our perceptions, in turn, change the way we behave.

This leads in turn to a loss of belief in ourselves as a force for change, frustrating our potential to do what humans do best: to find common ground in confronting our predicaments, and to unite to overcome them. Our atomisation has allowed intolerant and violent forces to fill the political vacuum. We are trapped in a vicious circle of alienation and reaction.

But by coming together to revive community life we, the heroes of this story, can break the vicious circle. By reviving community, built around the places in which we live, and by anchoring ourselves, our politics and parts of our economy in the life of this community, we can restore the best aspects of our nature. Where there is atomisation, we will create a thriving civic life. Where there is alienation, we will forge a new sense of belonging. Community projects will proliferate into a vibrant participatory culture.

Where we find ourselves crushed between market and state, we will develop a new economics that treats both people and planet with respect. Where we are ignored and exploited, we will revive democracy and retrieve politics from those who have captured it. Decision-making will be returned to the smallest political units that can discharge it.

Aquele último parágrafo? Se te escapa o entrelinhas, repetimos com outro mais evidente:

Some of this can begin without waiting for a change of government: one of the virtues of a politics rooted in community is that you do not need a national movement in order to begin.

Art Young

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