Dissonance

Another story I would have blogged last month had I not been on my Self-Imposed Hiatus was this story about ‘inexplicable mobs’ in NYC which caught the eye of the SmartMobs crowd. This reminds me of the Guerilla Masquerade Party group that I read about on Fleming Funch’s blog in May.

And all that reminded me of this post I made in May of 2002 longing for something just like that here in the burbs. Something to punctuate the blandness of our corner of suburbia. (Part of the post — my Suburban Dissonance Manifesto — I’ve re-posted below.)

It was a pipe dream for which I had dare not hoped. A vision of social capital gone discordian at a time when I had little social capital and even less time and energy to make something happen. I had envisioned something a bit like a kinder and gentler version of Hakim Bey’s idea of Poetic terrorism or a suburban-friendly flavor of the stuff the Principia Discordia is selling.

Nothing confrontational or illegal, which Hakim Bey seems to have no problem with. People these days are not intrigued by the extraordinary if it incites suspicion or fear. And no pretensions to mock theology or ideology or any other ology like in the Principia. Just a group of people who do different stuff to pierce the bland autopilot mode of most subrban dwellers if only for a few seconds. If only to make us all more aware of the blessings in this priviledged suburban space we take for granted.

Something like… Well, here:

suburban dissonance manifesto
(from May, 2002)

celebrate suburbia
embrace the Multiplex, the Minimart
love the pot luck dinner, the Chinese Buffet
appreciate esplanades and jogging trails
hug a soccer mom

celebrate suburbia, but
don’t make it your world
don’t take the Master Plan too seriously
don’t sway to its rhythms

Instead, keep yourself a step off the beat.
Sing a little off key.
Create some dissonance.

Have a drum circle in a local park.

Get 50 people, all dressed alike,
go stand by the fountain at the mall.
When anyone asks you what group you’re with,
say you don’t know these people.

Put poetry and art on local bulletin boards.

Adopt a convenience store. Buy the clerks lunch.

Hop the local shuttle bus with your friends.
Ride for a few hours. Sing bus riding songs.
Bonus points if you sing in harmony.

Get some brooms and sweep through town. Literally.

Make fingerpaint murals. Invite passers-by to help.

Make people look twice.
Make people think
and laugh at themselves.

Give them something funny to share
over breadsticks at the Olive Garden.

Be peaceful. Be respectful. But be weird.
Get all the necessary permits, but don’t seek approval.

Let people stare. Make them wonder.
Cultivate funny looks.

Consider this an invitation. For what? Hell, I don’t know. That’s the point.

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