Thursday, 15 April 2010

I'm John Wayne aka Steve Best - remember that name

Having had the privilege of witnessing in wondering astonishment an act (which I captured on my video camera - see above) of fearless heroism by my comrade Steve Best, I now feel compelled to testify to it in writing.

Steve and I were informed by certain allies that a man had been poisoning and trapping cats who had ventured onto his property. Of course, we had to do something about this; but Steve said we could not simply talk to the abuser about how he could deal with the cats without harming them as that would be single issue and bourgeois, nor could we call the authorities - the "agents of repression" - as that would be statist, corporatist, elitist, Eurocentric, faux-Christian, Calvinist, in short, counter-revolutionary.

Instead, Steve said we should launch a direct action mission. I asked him what exactly he had in mind. He said we ought to employ a pluralist and contextualist methodology based on an situationist analysis of concrete situations which does not essentialistically fix the meaning of counter-hegemonic praxis by rejecting a priori the tactical deployment of a dialectical approach to Total Liberationism. This made Steve's intentions crystal clear. He further said that he wanted me to film the mission in order to silence his detractors who say that he encourages people to commit illegal actions which he is unwilling to engage in himself for a cause which he nonetheless claims as his own.

Now, just as the majority of an ice berg's mass is hidden beneath the surface of the water, so the majority of the preparation for Steve's direct action occurs prior to the mission itself. But whereas ordinary direct action begins by "scoping" the target, Steve's direct action, in stark contrast, begins by browsing in boutiques for men's wear. For his unique mission on this earth is this: to break down the Berlin Wall of prejudice that divides the fashion and the direct action communities in order to show how fallacious, motivated, and disastrous (morally, spiritually, socially, ecologically) is the ontological dualism between "fashion" and "militant direct action." He is prosecuting this mission by deconstructing the rationalist fallacies informing false oppositions like underpants/knickers; with the aim of synthesizing the fashion community and the direct action community into a truly multidimensional, kick ass movement for the 21st century. In fidelity to this pluralist, multiperspectival, interdisciplinary, boundary-transgressing, bridge-building movement, then, Steve said he needed to buy a bright blue shirt. And so, having made this short term tactical decision, we emerged with a reinvigorated sense of purpose from his basement (which he calls the "Bunker") and into the fresh air and sunlight of El Paso: the first wave of opposition in what he called a seek and capture mission for men's wear.

When we arrived in the town center, Steve, with his infallible instincts for fashion, immediately espied a boutique. Once inside it, he made a beeline for a rack on which hung an assortment of bright blue shirts and selected what he took to be a dashing one. Then he stood akimbo in front of a full length mirror and brooded ardently over his own reflection, his nostrils flaring, his eyebrows dancing, his head tilting from side to side; and when at last he had decided that he looked good in the shirt, he turned to me and said: "Mission accomplished: I'm getting this bright blue shirt."

Overhearing this, a boutique assistant asked Steve whether he would like a bag for his new shirt. To this Steve replied, "I'm Steve Best." Slightly bemused and irritated, the assistant politely asked again whether he needed any assistance. And to this Steve replied, "I'll have one thousand people all over this place." Exasperated, the assistant replied, "Great – I hope they'll all buy the same style of shirt as you're trying on, since it is one of our slowest lines." But Steve cares but little about the spectre of unpopularity. Nor is he one to accept help from boutique assistants when he can act directly, even when doing so might accomplish something worthwhile - and so he left the shop without a bag for his new blue shirt and, worse still, without the good wishes of the assistant, who secretly hoped he would do his clothes shopping elsewhere in the future.

Having finished shopping, we proceeded to our target's house. When we arrived, Steve - while chewing gum with real flair - strode valiantly down the driveway. But the target was not at home...and so Steve decided to confront a woman and a little girl instead. My guess is that Steve vacillated momentarily at this crossroads: "Should I confront them?" he probably asked himself, and he must have replied, "Yes, I'm Steve Best," or something like that. In any event, unfazed by the little girl, who skipped around unpredictably, he riveted his attention on the woman, saying with latent menace, "I heard that he traps and poisons cats...If that's the case we are gonna have a real problem." With irritation and perhaps apprehension she replied, "Well, you know what, you don't talk to me that way because I don't know - why don't you talk to him?" Perhaps because she hadn't complimented him on the new blue shirt he was wearing, Steve replied, with overt menace this time, "You can tell him I'll have one thousand people all over this place," and he added, so as to end with a flourish of intimidation, "You tell him Steve Best dropped by - remember that name."

Who could fail to be impressed by Steve's steadfastness to Total Liberationism in the face of the imminent danger represented by the women and the little girl? Who, I ask you, but the pathetic sufferers of Fashion Syndrome could fail to see that this confrontation has saved him from the ignominy of being an internet warrior who does not practice what he preaches? And, what is most important, who could fail to see what he achieved by approaching the woman in the way that he did? In fact, given the sincerity of his attempt to discuss with her the issue about the cats, Steve undoubtedly laid the groundwork for further vegan education.