On this day, 15 December 1890, Sioux chief Sitting Bull was killed by Indian police in the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. Indian agent James McLauchlan had sent 39 officers and four volunteers to arrest Sitting Bull, fearing the growth of the spiritual ghost dance movement, which foresaw an end to white expansionism.
Sitting Bull refused to cooperate with police, so they used force on him which outraged the crowd which had gathered, one of whom shot a policeman. Police retaliated by shooting Sitting Bull in the chest and head, killing him. A battle then erupted leaving seven additional villagers dead, and eight police officers.
This book gives an overview of 500 years of Indigenous resistance in the Americas: https://shop.workingclasshistory.com/collections/books/products/500-years-of-indigenous-resistance-gord-hill https://www.facebook.com/workingclasshistory/photos/a.296224173896073/1293882394130241/?type=3
“Since 2016, Sulkowicz has identified as gender fluid, and she sometimes uses they/them pronouns. When I ask what to use for this article, she texts me, “Lol I’m not clear about it either,” before settling on she/her.” Fucking white chicks I swear to g
Five years ago, while a student at Columbia, Sulkowicz lugged a dorm-issue, extra-long twin mattress around campus for as long as she had to attend school with her alleged rapist. This was Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), a globally viral art piece that made visible the weight of campus sexual assault. It transformed Sulkowicz into an icon. Since then, her artworks have regularly roused the internet: a video of her reenacting her assault, a bondage performance at the Whitney that doubled as institutional critique. This past spring, she tweeted an image that was perhaps even more provocative: a photo of her grinning alongside two of her libertarian critics — not performance art, she insists, but a byproduct of her new curiosity about other views.
“All my clothes are in boxes,” she tells me, gesturing apologetically to her oversize charcoal hoodie. She’s in the midst of moving from a sublet owned by a tantra instructor (mirrors surrounding the bed to create an infinite regression — that kind of thing) to an apartment in lower Manhattan whose location she asks me not to reveal, since “there’s some really scary people who are obsessed with me.” Her hair is short-cropped and coffee black, its natural color after years of bright dyes, and her voice is buoyant, laughter always bubbling underneath. Since 2016, Sulkowicz has identified as gender fluid, and she sometimes uses they/them pronouns. When I ask what to use for this article, she texts me, “Lol I’m not clear about it either,” before settling on she/her.
During the summer of 2018, Sulkowicz tells me, she was single for the first time in years. Swiping through Tinder, a man she found “distasteful” super-liked her. “It smelled like Connecticut,” she says of his profile. “He was very blond, law school, cut jawline, trapezoidal body figure, tweed suit kind of vibe, but something inside of me made me swipe right, I don’t know.” They began messaging, and she found him witty. “He was actually way more fun to talk to than any other person I matched with.”
Eventually, Sulkowicz stalked him on Twitter and realized that he was conservative — “like, very conservative.” At first, she was repulsed and considered breaking it off. But then she thought, “Wait, actually, that’s kind of fucked up because he’s the most interesting person I’ve come across, shouldn’t I be open to talking to him?” After dispelling her initial fear, she texted him that it would be “interesting (progressive? Powerful?) for two people who might be the antithesis of each other to go on a Tinder date.”
Ahead of this date, they traded reading assignments: Sulkowicz gave him the password to protected areas of her website, and he sent pieces he’d written for conservative magazines, which she printed, annotated with her critiques, and brought to their date. This man expected Sulkowicz to be “the patron saint of wokeness,” but when he met her, he found that she wasn’t actually trying to litigate the issues — she was mostly just “curious about this different perspective that she had not been as familiar with.” The two “sort of dated” for a while and then realized that their chemistry was more conversational. They became “amazing friends.”
Not having known conservatives before, Sulkowicz had to play catch up. Early in their friendship, she asked him to recommend one book to help her understand him, and he picked Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. It’s a book that explains, in evolutionary terms, the human tendency toward political tribalism and the importance, in light of that, of learning from one another’s beliefs. She calls the book “mind-opening.” Its resonance with her new friendship did not escape her.
Shortly after, Sulkowicz attended a book talk of Haidt’s. This was for The Coddling of the American Mind, which diagnoses the campus left with the kinds of cognitive distortions that addle the chronically anxious and depressed: a tendency to blow everyday problems out of proportion, or to believe that one’s negative feelings reflect reality. This book kicked a hornet’s nest on the left, and when Haidt learned that Sulkowicz was at his talk, he didn’t assume she was a fan. “I expected her to be the sort of person who sometimes asks the angry question when I give lectures on campuses,” Haidt tells me. “And when I first saw her and she had blue hair, that fed my assumptions and expectations about what her views and values would be.” But Sulkowicz surprised him. “It changed the way I think about politics,” she said about The Righteous Mind, “and I wanted to thank you for it.” The two became friends.
Soon, she began attending house parties and happy hours with conservative and libertarian intellectuals, reading Jordan Peterson and articles from the National Review. In the past, Sulkowicz dismissed opposing views without understanding them, but now she sees intellectual curiosity as intertwined with respect: she wants to disagree with people on their own terms. This is an ethical position, but one with personal resonance. “I’ve always been upset,” she admits, “that there are people out there who assume that I’m a bad or mean person without ever having met me.” When she describes her political journey, she fixates on the experience of surprising people, of walking into a group who might otherwise dislike her and “disrupting their expectations.” At these parties, she reflects, “I can become fuller to certain people rather than staying the same caricature. I’m going from flat to round.”
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A couple weeks after our lunch, Sulkowicz brings me to a book party at a dark bar on Bleecker Street. Here, she introduces me to her friend from Tinder, who asks that I not use his real name for this article. (It might be a distraction at his white-shoe law firm and, besides, “Emma is inured to online hate, but I am not.”) When he asks if he can choose his own pseudonym, I tell him sure. He picks Chad. It’s a reference to the incel term for men who, due to serendipitous genetics, are attractive enough to have oodles of sex. All of us laugh, but Sulkowicz laughs loudest, her voice tinkling, bell-like, and leaping between octaves.
Chad is a Chad, by the way, and he does “smell like Connecticut”: he has cornsilk hair, a shieldlike chest, and a jawline that an incel might show his surgeon for inspiration. But Chad is also a different kind of conservative than I imagined. Rather than a bowtie-sporting William F. Buckley type thumbing his nose at populism, he finds Reaganism laughably passé and aligns himself with Tucker Carlson’s anti-elite drive to regulate markets. He says that he would support some of Trump’s policy agenda, if only the president were competent enough to achieve it.
This party is for Robby Soave, a libertarian reporter on the snowflake beat whose new book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, is — per Soave’s own description — “a book that is extremely critical of [Sulkowicz] and that I don’t wish her to read.” Soave met Sulkowicz a month or so before at another libertarian happy hour. Initially bewildered, he warmed to her, finding her to be inquisitive and even fun to talk to. “We exchanged contact information,” he tells me later, “and talked about maybe becoming, I guess, friends or something?” He laughs incredulously as he says this, sounding a bit on edge.
As Sulkowicz swirls around the party, her presence stirs an obvious question: whether this is performance art. Soave brings it up twice when we speak on the phone afterward, acknowledging the possibility that he’s being set up. While he’s inclined to believe that Sulkowicz is moved by earnest curiosity, he’s aware of her background in “elaborately planned performance art” and her reputation as a provocateur. Since graduating from Columbia in 2015, Sulkowicz has done around a dozen performances touching on issues like consent, anti-institutionalism, climate change, trauma, wellness, and female sexual desire. It’s natural to wonder if she’s currently breaking bread with this crowd to lampoon civility politics or to expose views she hates. Honestly, it might be harder to believe that she’s simply trying to learn.
But Sulkowicz is adamant that this isn’t performance. In fact, she insists that she’s quitting art altogether. After one of our lunches, she bikes off to return the keys to her studio, which she’s emptied and swept clean. “For many years,” she explains, “I wasn’t interested in listening to other points of view. I was very emotional and making performance-art pieces that were very reactionary and fiery.” Without disowning them, she describes these artworks as something she “got out of her system.”
Having found the art world humorless, narrow-minded, and grotesquely competitive, Sulkowicz says she stopped making art about a year ago. She quit a fellowship at a museum, ceased teaching art classes, and was essentially unemployed for a time, drawing income from occasional speaking gigs, mostly about campus sexual assault. (Her remarks on Me Too have been fewer; she supports it, but wants a clearer path to forgiveness.) She has been working on a memoir that draws on her diaries from Mattress Performance, and last month, she started a full-time, four-year master’s program in traditional Chinese medicine. There, she’ll learn skills from acupuncture to herbalism, which have been her “personal healing modality” for years. Sulkowicz has parried assumptions that this is performance art, too. It grates on her. “I’m a human and humans can change,” she says, insistently. “I’m telling you that I don’t want to make art anymore.”
But in some ways, it’s easier to assume that Sulkowicz’s political posture is performance art: this provides a clear motive, one that’s politically straightforward. If Sulkowicz is not making art, then it’s much harder to grasp why she’s doing this and what it means. Part of the confusion, Sulkowicz assumes, springs from a pervasive misunderstanding about who she is, rooted in the dissonance between her public image and private consciousness. While many assume she’s at Soave’s book party for some admixture of art and progressive politics, Sulkowicz says she’s mostly there for fun.
It was a good run, lads
Imagine if winning was more important for the Dems than random corruption and shooting themselves in the foot.
Honestly, Trump’s got that post-elected pump that incumbent presidents carry, the definitive likelihood of winning. Only Sanders could probably win but even then, he doesn’t actually threaten the power structures that be. Socialism is still a material centred ideology so empire will need to remain in place to sustain whatever labyrinthine healthcare for all scheme that lands on his desk, assuming it ever does because socdems don’t fucking realize Congress matters infinitely more on legislation than the affinities of which dipshit sits on the oil throne.
Leftists have a huge boner for luxury communism but in order to sustain the empire fostered lifestyles they are used to but reluctant to give up, they need to work even harder as a nation to crush geopolitical threats to “globalization” and American economic hegemony.
This is the reason why Sanders gets the validity pass while figures like Ron Paul and gabbard get fucking deep dicked by media for being unrealistic, because the latter two prioritize ceasing the wars and conflict stirring that the USA needs to continually do in order to sustain it’s hegemony and drive globalization.
oh hey reminder that AT (“Absolute Terror”) fields are themed from the same source as “terror management theory”
reminder that that concept is about the defenses we erect to protect us from awareness of our own inevitable mortality
so the Unit-02/Mass Production Unit fight in End of Evangelion where Asuka goes balls out and channels all her perfectionist neurosis into beating them all before her power supply ends, but then they just rise up again and break through her AT field and impale her mother/avatar/self through the face to be cannibalized
the very moment where their spears, forcing their way through the field, turn into a Lance of Longinus - the very tool by which his inferiors killed God - and she exclaims in astonishment, that second when she realizes that no matter how perfect she is she’ll die anyway
that’s also a metaphor for realizing that no matter how perfect you are you’ll die anyway
My favourite existentialist media work
Josef Koudelka :: The head and arm of Lenin, part of the props used on a barge during location shooting along the Danube while shooting the film “Ulysse’s Gaze”, directed by Theo Angelopoulos, Constanta, Romania, 1994. | src Magnum Photos
more [+] by this photographer