Wednesday, May 2, 2012

new filmclip on its way

We're currently about 1/3rd of the way through filming our next filmclip, for the track "There's Nothing Here And It Screams". If you're not familiar with it, you can hear it here:

It was a motherfucking grueling 12 hr session to get what we've got so far, massive props to Niik from Zen for spending the day helping us out. (btw, if you're a Melbourne vocalist looking for a band, do hit them up).

Here's a still from the clip so far...i severely doubt we'll be able to get this aired on australian tv, but who knows? Courting dead media ftw.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

freedom from/freedom to

"There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it." - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaiden's Tale.

Freedom from. I thought about that on the train, sitting across from someone with headphones blaring the most dull minimalist techno I'd ever heard. Doof, ka, doof, ka, doof, ka forever, listening to a metronome counting the seconds til death, doof, ka, doof, ka ugh. The premier floated the idea of creating special "quiet" carriages on the train a few months back. If you hopped on the very front carriage of a train, you'd be required to sit in silence. No talking on the phone, no obnoxious music blaring from thimble-sized speakers, freedom from noise, freedom from Those Inconsiderate People who come into Our environment and dare to behave in a way We don't appreciate. When questioned, he answered that the policy would be enforced by officers wandering the trains, ready to turf out anyone deemed inappropriate for the bubble of peace, quiet and civility that had been constructed within the carriage. The ever-present threat of violence to allow Us freedom from.

That policy is yet to be implemented.

A similarly great idea of the premier's was to put officers on every platform at every train station, from dusk until early morning. This is to provide freedom from the drunks and hobos and ruffians and ne'er-do-wells that occasionally haunt public transport... frightening Us by their coarse language and volume, their aggressiveness, and the threat to Our safety that their behaviour implies. Those Inconsiderate People threaten Us by their presence. However, the policy goes, this can be countered by giving the officers guns. As guns are generally illegal here, the officers will be able to out-threaten Those People, and scare them away from the trains, issue fines for whatever they like, it doesn't matter, just give us precious freedom from Those Horrible Fucking People. Obviously We will be safer in the presence of officers who are acting in our best interest, and can threaten more violence to the hooligans than the hooligans could ever return. And if someone's daughter gets shot, or someone's parent spends a night in jail, or gets beaten or tazed or falls in front of a train...that's the price of freedom from. They're doing it in Our best interests.

Twice now I've had the pleasure of seeing these officers in training (aho), wandering around the station, being instructed by a real live police officer. Shown the ropes. And on both occasions they picked a commuter to "investigate"... calm, quiet individuals, travelling alone, which would be fine, but they were also non-caucasian and wearing relatively cheap clothes. Cheap clothes = not commuting to/from work = probably unemployed = probably a druggie dole-bludger = probably one of Those Inconsiderate People. We are white and professional and law-abiding. They are not Us. It was a pre-emptive strike in the name of freedom from. Nevermind if they mistakenly grab the occasional doctor on an afternoon off, international tourist, or son coming home from visiting their parent in hospital. These things happen, and are a price worth paying again and again. They're doing it in Our best interests.

Except that it's lullabyes for bearded infants, a last cigarette, death-bed platitudes to bloodied gods, but much more dangerous than your standard paedophilic role-play between consenting adults because *this immediately fucking hurts people*. You're grabbing any motherfucker who applies for a low-paying job, and giving them the oh-so-specific task of "find Those Inconsiderate People and seperate them from people like Us". Then you're giving them a gun because that's how authority works.

It's immediately obvious to all but the most willfully ignorant that "freedom from" is impossible. You can (and will) give a "license to kill/taze/imprison/bash" to as many people as you like, but the second your back's turned, I'm going to go on breaking whatever laws I disagree with. This always has and always will be the case. Freedom from implies coercion, freedom to implies cooperation. At the moment, everyone has the freedom to stop what they're currently doing, walk up to someone in the street and stab them to death with a kitchen knife. But we don't because of the social contract which says "I don't want you to kill me, so I won't kill you". It *is* a social contract because within a couple of minutes, everyone can think of a way to kill someone without getting caught - coercion from the state has nothing to do with it. And we manage it exceptionally well - at least 60% of all Australians who kill people are doing so officially on behalf of the government *. Evidently we could teach the people who want to coerce us a shitload about not murdering people. (cutely you've got around .00000035% chance of getting murdered per year...slightly less than winning Australian powerball on any given week, which is .00000036% chance). **

This is something that I'm optimistic that we'll eventually realise though. Originally currency had to be based on the gold standard because otherwise, who would trust that money was worth anything at all? Eventually it was realised that people are happy to play along with the idea that money's worth something - regardless of whether it technically is or not - so they got rid of the gold standard. Morality used to be "enforced" through the myths that there was an omnicient entity following you around 24/7, who would cast you into the pits of hell if you did something naughty. But thankfully that mindset is rapidly disappearing...we've realised that you don't need a god (or "The god") to behave like a decent human being. I cannot wait until it's realised widely that you don't need thugs with weapons to "force" you to treat other humans with respect - that it's something we can generally figure out and go along with by ourselves.

*Sources (1 and 2). Unfortunately it's really difficult to get accurate statistics on police/soldier murders, so this is a guesstimate but seems plausible to me...we know that in just over 2 years, Australian troops in one country killed 1474 people, while the average homicide rate in Aus sits at ~260 a year. So that's 3 times the number of people killed by the state...without including people from Iraq or anywhere else killed by soldiers, and also without including the numbers killed by police officers. So even if literally noone was killed by Australians outside of Afghanistan, or domestically by police, the vast majority of murders are still committed by government representatives rather than civilians.

**Source for homocide above, source for powerball here.