Lampwick and the original Lost Boys

Trouble my friends right here in River CityWas Lampwick the archetypical dilettante? You know, dapper, cultured, erudite, jaded, amusing, but nihilist? The boys in Pinocchio who cut school to smoke, drink and play pool were turned into donkeys in the Land of Boobies. Sound like a fitting analogy for an effete lounge-oisie? Internet blogs can amuse us with cynical antics, they often feel to me like small plexiglass window-seats looking on protracted personal train wrecks in upholstered stalls.
I got quite preachy a day ago in a local salon maudit, a favorite site I should also say. I’ll reprint my lecture here because the question I asked in earnest, albeit tucked inside some name-calling, remains unanswered.

This discussion has illuminated for me the challenge of how to activate the hands in pockets crowd. You make light of self-righteous do-gooders who take themselves too seriously. I do wish my indignation was less serious. It’s not that left-leaners have arbitrary spiritual beliefs which are being offended, it’s that our common sense of humanity is being trivialized. Bankrupted farmers, child slaves, indentured laborers, you tire of hearing about such horrors, but still you drink your Starbucks, buy your chocolate, and plug into your iPods with a yawn. What tone do you expect from activists beside scolding?

I ask that question seriously. What tone would cause you to say to Coca Cola: we’re not going to tolerate you killing Columbian union leaders or stealing India’s water? If consumers don’t withhold their consent, they are as guilty as Coke. I’m sorry fun-lovers but life comes with responsibility. Your pursuit of happiness may have to wait a bit, the rest of mankind begs your assistance.

The social justice movement isn’t about enlivening your water-cooler conversation, it’s about prompting change. We’re trying to organize a bucket brigade to help our neighbors stuck in a fire. And we have to stop those among us who are starting those fires. If you are standing idle, making light of the message we are trying to spread as quickly as possible, in chorus with the establishment voices already demeaning us, I’d just as soon walk over you.

Quite seriously, what would light a fire under your gay asses?

5 thoughts on “Lampwick and the original Lost Boys

  1. The fire’s under lit under my ass, and has been for a long time. But I can’t be on top of every issue, every second of the day. Why is what we’re already doing not enough? Seriously. I’ve also emailed you, Eric, multiple times asking for contributions, ideas, thoughts for the Newspeak and I’ve only found success in getting response from you in blog posts. How the fuck are we in chorus with establishment voices?

  2. On top of that, Eric, you might wipe away a bit of the fog from your plex-glass window here and check the reflection. Do you have a day job? An SUV? Are you a perfect fucking person and activist? If not, then maybe you should go door to door and ask all the people sitting in front of their TVs and Playstations who don’t read, don’t blog, and don’t think what they’re doing to help your cause because you’re barking at the people who might otherwise be your allies if we didn’t all feel like we’re the unwitting subjects of your severe oppositional disorder just because we happne to interact with you and don’t always agree with your tactics.

  3. Noel, I actually think you and Newspeak are fabulous. I have to weigh in however when someone suggests that social change is self-righteous.

    And I have found your responses insightful and constructive. I’ve gleaned some fresh ideas too. And you’re accurate. Well, if I didn’t have a day job I’d be commenting with more frequency. Otherwise the heat I’ve gotten has been hilarious. My unanswered question though, embarassingly enough, is a real plea. How to deliver a wakeup call that gets someone out of bed.

    You and I disagree on our approach. The mainstream chorus sings out with indifference, I think your voice adds the ring of irony. John Dicker’s answer to the world’s problems: I dunno is self-effacing and honest, and maybe it gets some chuckles from the back of the class, but is too dismissive. Who is exempt from addressing the pressing question? Well, whoever wants to be I guess. But don’t chide the rescue brigade for being self-righteous dittoheads without expecting a slap on the back of the head.

    I’m hoping you see my theatrics for what they are. I would moralize Charles Bukowski, not to curb his drinking, but so his fans didn’t think drinking was his work. You guys are great, Dicker excepted.

  4. Eric—

    Thanks for the kind words, and for using the term “theatrics.” Couldn’t have put it better myself.

    You should consider, however, that Dicker has done more to bring attention to Wal-Mart’s employment, colonialist and purchase-politics strategies than most anyone in the country. If he says “Dunno,” he means it, and he’ll probably come back at you next time with more information than you’ll know what to do with.

    But wait—drinking wasn’t Bukowski’s work? Self-pity, then?

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