Why is it, that when you are fooling around everything works and when you need to actually do something it doesn’t? I spent most of yesterday fighting with audio programs and have finished the soundtrack for the Executioner’s Song. Well, almost. It is done enough to start filming and editing while I listen to it obsessively and make small adjustments to things most likely only I can hear.

There are two ways that  I know that I am working on a poem that will come out well on a video. I mean, performance wise, as an aural piece. One, as I am writing it, when I reach the end of the final version, I burst into tears. Two, as I am rehearsing it, MK will run over and climb up the length of my body and hang there. I can rehearse tons of poems in the house and she will not even wake up, but on the special ones – zoom!

She was…beyond a pest last night. She climbed up my back while I was recording the last section and then started biting and attacking me. When it became obvious to her that I was not going to stop and pay attention she went and sat on the counter. Then, she began to rock a glass back and forth until I looked over. That’s when she quickly swatted three glasses off the shelf. There was broken glass everywhere. Passive aggressive little thing.

The thing with Egypt is that nothing has really changed. That is what most analysts are saying. What has happened is a shell game, one that is indulged in by many governments (including our own).

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the high commander of the military, is now in charge. Tantawi has a nickname. It’s “Mubarak’s Poodle.” And he is known as being highly resistant to reform.

However, analysts point out, he is smart. Smart enough to do what other military regimes have done. Which is cede control of superficial things to popular governments while remaining in the background, the ones really in control. The expectation is that the military will swiftly allow for the creation of a populist coalition government and for the reform of enough domestic issues to shut people up while they maintain business as usual.

The business of the military these days is not really about war or protection. It is kind of a vast money laundering machine.

Mubarak was just a figurehead. The power did not, and never, lie in his hands. It has always been with the Military and the Security Police.

What makes all this possible is the illusion of democracy. Not just the illusion, but the ease at which the illusion is created. Especially in long troubled areas in the Middle East and Africa, all one has to do to create the illusion is allow people to gather in one area and shout. That alone is so drastically different from how things have been that it is like a drug. A drug that intoxicates and muddles the mind and eyes.

The funny thing is, other countries around Tunisia and Egypt are implementing some reforms to try and avoid a populist uprising. Algiers (I think, or Yemen I can’t remember) really nipped it in the bud by doing something so laughably simply and so despairingly effective, I doubt they will have any problems or challenges at all. They removed the blocks to FaceBook and YouTube.

Poof! An entire generation now is sitting at their computers and slowly falling into the pit of ineffectiveness.

What made twitter and Facebook so effective as a rallying tool in Egypt and Tunisia is you had to work for it. Work for the contact, work for the connection, work through proxy servers that could not be traced.

Now, it is open and free. Not just traceable but now, rather then have to use these places as tools, one can sit and fart around. N’er a revolution was accomplished by a bunch of people farting around.

Of course, we – like many other countries – laud this as a step towards democracy by pointing out freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

But is it really? I have found, through observation and conversation, that open access to sites like Facebook dismantles freedom of speech and expression rather than encourages it. Why? Because it is rooted in the culture of social acceptance and censorship. Except the censorship is encouraged at a grass roots level. If I do not like what you are saying I will defriend you and block you. I will shut off your voice. We are dictators of our own pages.

There is also the aspect that many people do not understand what freedom of speech and expression means. They interpret it as the ability to behave as children, with no sense of consequence, effect or responsibility. Like children, they demand that their immediate reactions to something be attended to; there is, to use a transactional analysis term, no adult present. Lots of parents, that’s where all the defriending et al comes in, but no adults. Or shall I say, few and far between.

This is the gift that the great “protector of democracy” has given to the world. A means, a product, a tool to immobilize people.

Think about it, what did you do? How did you spend your time before you got into the culture of the Internet?

Could you imagine being away from it long enough to start a revolution? Or would you need someway to tweet or post about the event as you were there? And if so, do you have awareness that it means you are only half there?

c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.


About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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