Tag Archives: proses

Residents Demand Huge Towers When Unobstructed View Reveal Mountains To Be Gigantic Heap of Drug User Corpses

Fuck View Corridors, Says All of Yaletown

“If there isn’t at least the beginnings of two or three dozen 60-storey mixed-income towers all over the place by the end of this month, I’m leaving town and won’t write a heartfelt think-piece about it,” said a guy with a job and home and a stupid hat.

Tourism Vancouver has indicated that many cruise ship passengers, unsure now of what to do and shocked at the un-postcardlike spectacle, can be spotted downtown, spinning in place.

Local attractions have also taken a sudden economic hit. Northbound travel on bridges has virtually ceased.

“Quick,” reads one hastily scrawled letter to council. “How about Temporary Modular Sixty-storey Towers? INCREASE MY PROPERTY TAXES. Whatever you need.”

The sudden awareness of the mountains of drug user corpses looming over the city has resulted, of course, in resentful bitterness among those vying for the title of first-world problem warrior (vancouver 2022).

“I want to look soulfully at mountains when things are tough and I need to put things in perspective,” said a software engineer whose life is totally tough. “I don’t want to be reminded of the epidemic in our midst that illustrates so precisely the scale of the tragic moral and cultural failures of our society.”

“Obviously I never want that.”

Images of Emergency

this one time i imagined that news stories about the overdose emergency were accompanied by photos that portrayed it accurately and compellingly, instead of these stock images: needle in puddle, works, pile o’ pills, crushed random pill. these illustrate nothing. and mislead.

Stock Images Are
Not Neutral

PILE O’ PILLS
NEEDLE IN PUDDLE

i am going to go on about this because its important. images like “pile o’pills’ etc illustrate the idea that this is about The Drugs. ie the solution is to Get Rid Of The (Bad) Drugs. which is not the case. inanimate chemical compounds do not possess moral character.

thousands of people do not die from “opioid-related causes” and its not possible to “fight fentanyl”: you are against prohibition, which is an expression of power based in Judaeo-Christian text and tradition. its Thou Shalt Not, Because I Said So.

of course whatever’s prohibited must continue to exist – how else could there be forbidden desires? anyhow. so let’s imagine what thoughtful and accurate illustrative photography might have done in shaping the understanding of the overdose emergency you remember when that was,

that time when we understood 

★ it was a political crisis; a social disaster, structural violence 

★ deaths of poisoning, not overdose 

★ deaths of politics, of injustice

★ solutions required bold systemic change 

★ prohibition led to the criminalization of (some) drugs, leading to the criminalization of people

and that 

★ the war on drugs is racist, colonial capitalism, among the most horrible collective acts of humanity.

when the public understood all that, they said “lets stop doing this.”

and photography helped us understand. and so the deaths stopped, the overdoses stopped, and we ended the war and reduced the police to their proper numbers. we changed the laws and changed how we lived and treated each other. we paid reparations, returned the land, and we had a hard look at a violent, exploitative past, dropped the polite facade & got honest. the drugs, which i got at the store, were fantastic, but everyone used less because as it turned out i was right: it didnt need to be that way and everything was possible.

remember that time when that happened

smashed pill close-up
pills spilling out of a bottle on a table with a rig and a stethoscope
spoon, HUGE rig, white powder everywhere

bravery [2017]

by request, my resignation from VANDU – august 24 2017

As a board member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, I have a clear responsibility to the members — as a peer organization, given our history and goals, this responsibility is serious, and beautiful.

I mean it when I say that serving at VANDU is the most challenging and meaningful work I have ever done. That is how much it matters. That is how real it is. And members, people, I want you to know how strong you are. And your generosity. I know you’ve told me things you’ve never said to anyone, and your bravery means something and I get it.. I meant it when I said that I wanted to know what you think. I meant it when I said that all of us down here live lives that are realer and more honest and smarter than the people who look down on all of us. The people taking over our neighbourhood. The ones we fight.

I walk up the street, every day, I get the engine revved. I am set for the fight. I love it, I’m good at it. I will fight for all of us every day. All night, any time. Let’s all go fight.

But that is it. Look at the fighting. Look at how the workers are treated, look at how people treat each other. If this was happening at another organization, we’d be outside protesting it.

Today, I am resigning from the board of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. I do not want to hurt the membership – I am resigning to empower the membership; that is my responsibility.

I will not participate in a so-called leadership structure that enables, enforces, and rewards the ongoing and systemic exploitation of human suffering and experience. The raw needs of poverty and addiction makes bullying not only a standard practice, but an actual enforced and rewarded behaviour.

This is deeply, deeply sick.

Everyone, it’s not ok. It’s not ok that we talk about justice and liberation and then learn and see and become forced to believe that the way to express strength is through causing harm. And by making that act of harm a mark of authority, and strength, we become the thing we pretend to fight.

I reject that, and I am confident in that rejection. Months ago, I said that only acts of bravery could end the cycles of death that we are experiencing.

I see such bravery everywhere.

At VANDU, the cowards are in charge on every level. I urge the members to reject that. I urge the workers to strike. Be brave — because you are. It does not have to be this way.

Do no harm. Gentleness is not weakness. Arrogance is not strength. Justice is love.

We must take care of each other, because no one else will.

Above, I said “we become the thing we pretend to fight.”

I am concerned with the actual fight. And what you need to know is that I can’t do that at VANDU.

I’m not a coward.

I have things to do.

Stay safe, be brave. Let’s go.

The Show

it’s october and so we’ll have rain, deadlines, and baseball. not everyone makes the playoffs. and the parks and fields and stadiums of those who do need to get ready, because this is the show of The Show.

just as every spring – early spring – the day when Pitchers & Catchers Report for Spring Training, i’ve more than once found enough hope in that moment to think that this one (the trembling anticipation of post-season) could happen again. even that hint of fresh-cut grass under electric light is enough to hold onto. it’s the rhythm, of course, but also structure and language and history.

when i was young, my lack of awareness of the big world was near-total. i only realized there was such a thing through baseball, since sports are somehow perceived as innocent. they are not of course – sports are complex expressions of cultural morality. and their histories are revealing.

when i was very young, though, i didn’t know there was history – i remember a growing awareness of depth and time as obsessively read about baseball, but i didn’t understand what history is until i read about The Curse. it has been lifted now, of course, but i remember being concerned back in 2004 that without the Curse, my sense of history itself was off kilter, which ideas were fair or foul.

The Curse of the Bambino was a superstition evolving from the failure of the Boston Red Sox baseball team to win the World Series in the 86-year period from 1918 to 2004. While some fans took the curse seriously, most used the expression in a tongue-in-cheek manner. (Wikipedia)

Ted Williams, the greatest player in Red Sox history, played during the era when the Curse really took hold, the 1930s and 40s. he was irritable, gruff, silent. famously – notoriously – confident. his earliest ambition was to be the greatest hitter ever. he was not known for changing his mind. he was the last player to bat .400 – but did so in 1941, when Joe diMaggio (NYY) hit in 56 consecutive games. That winter Teddy Ballgame enlisted in the Air Force. After the War, it wasn’t the same.

In the 70s, there was a moment when the springs were a little brighter, or sharper. expansion led to the first organized labour unrest. there were player subcultures, and resistance, and another war. Jim Bouton was a washed-up pitcher: he threw his arm out winning 23 games for the Yankees, throwing so hard his cap would fly off his head and he’d spin himself around. one day he felt his elbow move in a new way and it was over, the dream was over, he’d never report in the spring again. he was sent down to the minor leagues, cut from The Show, or as he reports in his memoir Ball Four, “and then I died.”

In that remarkable book, he chronicles his attempt to return, as a knuckleball pitcher – partly to redeem himself, but also because he’s a baseball player and he didn’t know how to do anything else. he knew that in the world it was nothing, a game, but he had to get back to The Show.

but Jim worries, up all night, rehearsing each game past and present, the wobble his pitch made in the air that time, trying to figure it all out, worrying through each inning like a bead or a stitch on a baseball (108). he doesn’t have the confidence of a Ted Williams. he’s saying this to himself during batting practice in Boston. in the clubhouse  he hears a story.

Ted Williams, when he was still playing, would psyche himself up for a game during batting practice, usually early practice before the fans or reporters got there.
He’d go into the cage, wave his bat at the pitcher and start screaming at the top of his voice, ‘My name is Ted Fucking Williams and I’m the greatest hitter in baseball!’
He’s swing and hit a line drive.
‘Jesus H. Christ Himself couldn’t get me out!’
And he’d his another.
Then he’d say ‘Here comes Jim Bunning, Jim Fucking Bunning with that little shit slider of his!’
Wham!
‘He doesn’t really think he’s gonna get me out with that shit!’
Blam!
‘I’m Ted Fucking Williams of the Major Fucking Leagues!’

and sometimes, that would be all he’d say that day, those were his lines in The Show. he played in one World Series; they lost (The Curse).

and each october, as the year end, i can see that the end is coming … but baseball, because it is not quite life, always makes the offer of spring – which is the magic sung into being during the seventh inning stretch at Red Sox games. spring becomes summer. it’s so good. there is that. the season is over, but it will return.