The Society of the Ditz
The Guy Debord book review that never was.
One time I humiliated myself at an anarchist reading group. It dissolved my group of friends, unhinged my brain, made me leave town, and turned me into a ditzy nihilist squatter. The experience was a mess, but it taught me how to tailor my humiliation, counterfeit ideas, and make the most of the ignorance, disillusionment, and failure I earned as a byproduct of the academy.
In my neck of the woods, anarchist reading groups were kind of like interventions for book-addicts, where the prescription for change is smaller, xeroxed books. Everyone reads passionate passages that make you feel bad about yourself for not rioting, rather than making you feel bad about yourself for drunk-driving the riding lawnmower into your boss’ breakfast nook. Also, instead of your relatives crying around you in a circle, it’s your punk friends who are in the circle, while your relatives cry about you in the comfort of their homes.
I had some bad experiences with reading groups and had given up on them altogether until about a year ago. That’s when I started seeing Evites for a queer discussion event organized by illegalist babes. It seemed like a thinly veiled pretense to cruise. There was junk on the flyer – like, crotches. It didn’t seem to require me to read anything beforehand, and it was promoted as “a possible orgy,” so I went.