Monday, August 10, 2009
Appropriation: Anarchist Edition
This morning the sidebar of Pandora radio is advertising some Criss Angel show on A&E. Apparently Criss Angel's icon is now the anarchist symbol. Maybe it's always been, and I've just never paid attention. But I find this mind-boggling and offensive. Criss Angel takes himself to be an anarchist? Really? What has he done to bring down the system? In what ways does he fight the man? In fact, by promoting his little dog and pony show in the mainstream media and getting rich off it, isn't he benefitting from and subsequently reinforcing the whole corrupt capitalist system? I'm sorry, but performing a few cute little illusions on TV and wearing black fingernail polish doesn't make you an anarchist. I have a number of friends who are anarchists, and while we don't always agree ideologically, they're politically passionate and intense in a way that would be utterly foreign to Criss Angel. They take actions and risks that he would never take. And for him to hijack their symbol for the purposes of his money-making machine just because it has some cultural cachet is the opposite of anarchy - it's cynical capitalist appropriation. It's conformity and weakness and inauthenticity in the extreme. Pathetic posing: now that's cool.