I am seated at Berkeley Bowl cafe. I believe that you could walk in here with a spiked dog collar around your neck and a leash dangling from it and still be quite radical. Or a hawk-mo. Or a fresh facial wound. There was a time when some young people dressed like nuts. It could be shocking. It actually seems amazingly easy to be shocking now. Unless you’re homeless because that kind of radical living shocks nobody now.
I dropped my son off at his private progressive elementary school in Berkeley. It was art day. There was kids art in all the rooms. It was all full of progressive ideas i.e. Trite and boring. Everyone was copying each other. Except when they weren’t. Like when they made clay masks but there was that one blobby mask with no eyes and no mouth and not face. Or when there where the portraits with flowers and birds, except that one with son many extra eyes and such sharp weird teeth. My sons bird sculpture in clay was all blotchy and looked like a pterodactyl. He mixed every color together for the glaze. It was not cute, and I was so proud of him. That little Freak!
I walked to my car and nearly every house, I kid you not, had “free” things to give away to passers by. Basically crap, that the homeowners ( of what are now million dollar 900 sq foot cottages) feel are useful their community. Like worn down toe shoes. An Afro comb. A tiny microwave that’s like $30 at Walmart. And 2 biographies of Charles Barkley. Now those Kind of struck me funny … And oddly radical. How different! Read Charles Barkley biographies. Woah. People do that! I feel encouraged. I like diversity. And Good for them too.
Hi. This is me in the future (+11 hours, so you understand this is true and I am not exaggerating).
Things you wear on your head that aid mental powers.
Higher pay, less work.
Self-whitening teeth and anti-age gel. Cellular regeneration during sleep. Sexual orbs.
Insects work for us.
Children and choices. Rational relationships. Thought labor wages.
Uncredited talk labor is exhausting.
It’s as if the work behind the speech-act is unrecognized while, at the same moment, the speech-product itself becomes fetishized.
Does the spoken word, aside from those delivered from podiums and such, just occur by some magic? No, and those of us who must toil in our thinking and our annunciations, even in so-called causal conversation, should not have our words taken for granted, as if it’s somehow easy to do most of the talking.
And often it is us who must describe, outline, project, observe and then struggle to form words and speak them, while the other remains complacent, in the ease of non-speaking, and often in a dominant state of risk-free intersubjective nonrelation.
You might say the speaker controls and conditions these connections: I would argue vigorously against that assertion.
What appears as passivity and silence is the power of the arbiter who maintains the choice (and the control) of whether to ignore or listen, to heed or dismiss, with no risk to themselves of misspeaking or “showing their hand”. This silence is power, directed against the talk-laborer.
It’s up to all talkers to demand a fair accounting of our struggle, of the time and energy we direct to our speech actions, which we cannot reclaim for other purposes, or conserve for ourselves. It is gone! And without compensation.
With our partners, our associates, our bosses, we must ask for acknowledgment for talk labor, we, talkers of all types, of all classes and creeds, talkers of all ages and stations of life: Talkers Unite!!
As it turns out, you can fumble around. You can step to the side and let people pass. You can take a minute to think. You can figure it out when you get there. You can ask someone too.