Idiot Joy Showland

This is why I hate intellectuals

Month: August, 2013

Twerking over Ghouta: Miley Cyrus, Syria, and war as a consumer item

 True fact: Miley’s pelvic gyrations spell out a list of war casualties in Morse code. Scientists are baffled by this phenomenon.

The spider’s been dead for three days – an eternity in the  arthropod timescale – but its web is still there; suspended between the housing and the yoke of a stage light. When the lamp clunks on and starts to throb with burning mercury it sends the flies into a dizzy rage; they launch themselves, terrified, in all directions. One tries to take refuge in the darkness behind the light itself and finds itself suddenly caught in the web. There’s a brief, flailing panic, in which the fly manages to tear off one of its own wings. It’s no use. A sudden calm. It can’t free itself, and without the spider’s ministrations death will take a long time. The fly resignedly settles down to watch the show. It might not realise it, but it’s got a very good seat.

In one of his correspondences, Michel Houellebecq proposes what he calls a ‘bacterial view’ of humanity. We’re a saprophytic swarm, teeming in our billions across the carcass of the planet, turning it into rotten mush. Perhaps it would be better if the whole infestation were wiped out. As ever, he’s being a thoroughly miserable bastard. It’s far more interesting to take his phrase more literally. If humans and bacteria are equivalent, what view would our prokaryotic cousins take on human civilisation? Would they be astounded by the scale of our achievements? Would they care that we put a man on the moon? Maybe their attitude would be one of haughty contempt. This is their world, not ours: their total biomass dwarfs ours; we can’t even keep them out of our own bodies, and when they want to, they can kill us at will. From their point of view, we multicellular organisms are little more than a brief gimmick of evolution, one sure to meet a dead end before too long. It must appear incredible that while they can survive quite happily clinging to Antarctic rock and swimming in the fires below the Earth’s crust we starve to death in our millions surrounded by fertile soil.

The bacterial view is too strange to properly conceptualise. A fly is easier. Suspended from the spider’s web, it watches the last show of its life. It doesn’t know it, but it’s present at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Brooklyn, and the teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus is about to twerk her way to international notoriety. Humans have a hard time recognising sexual dimorphism in most animals, so it’s fair to assume the reverse is true. At the front of the stage there are two humans, one black and white, the other tan, vague blurry forms. They’re moving. A fly’s eye picks up motion at a flicker rate of three hundred frames a second; a fly in a cinema will see a slow procession of still images cascading down the screen. As Miley Cyrus wriggles her arse against Robin Thicke’s crotch, the fly sees the skin ripple across her flesh with all the serene solemnity of a tsunami tracking its way across a vast ocean. Her tongue unfurls as slowly as a flower opening at dawn. The music hums a droning threnody; drums crash like breaking waves. The fly doesn’t think about feminism, or representations of sexuality, or race relations. All it has is its hypernoia and its own furious little ego; in Miley Cyrus’s twerking it sees a reflected image of its own death.

It’s trapped. So are we. The days after Cyrus’s performance saw a sudden paroxysm of hand-wringing among the usual designated commentators. What we witnessed was the naked appropriation of an African-American cultural form, the spectacularisation and commodification of the female body, the banalisation of eroticism, an utterly dreadful example for young women. They’re completely right, of course, but that’s the trap. After the performance Cyrus boasted on Twitter that she had been the subject of 306,000 tweets a minute. The whole thing was designed to infuriate Hadley Freeman and her various clones; the point was to get people who wouldn’t otherwise be talking about Miley Cyrus talking about Miley Cyrus. By trying to pull ourselves out of the web we’re only tearing out our own wings. Then there was the tiresome follow-up: a further round of hand-wringing over the hand-wringing itself. Why are we talking about some singer when people are dying in Syria? This sanctimoniousness reached its apotheosis with a Tumblr blog called Miley Cyrus Twerking on Reality, a series of low-effort high-smugness images of the pop star gyrating against various online news stories supposedly constituting ‘reality’. It completely misses the point. The real critical task isn’t to complain that Miley Cyrus is diverting attention from real and important issues; it’s to see in her performance and the situation in Syria two parts of a single system.

Nobody asked for Miley Cyrus Twerking At The 2013 MTV Music Video Awards, it was thrust upon us. The same trend is everywhere in consumer society. When Apple announces a new glowing rectangle, it’s not so much persuading us of its usefulness as telling us in no uncertain terms that this is the new thing we need to own. The most egregious example of this might be the launch of the new BT Sport channel in the UK. It’s not like the company has invented any new and interesting sports; it’s just bought the broadcast rights for various games from its competitors. The adverts plastered around London bluntly repeated this fact: some of your matches won’t be on the usual channel any more, In other words, pay up if you want to see your footy. It’s the same with war. A vast industry of death puts on a cheerful face and tells us to sit tight and be entertained.

Earlier this month an alleged chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus killed up to 1700 people. The Syrian government denied all responsibility and blamed rebel fighters; the rebels (and much of the Western world) blamed Assad. He’s crossed Obama’s red line: to kill people in their tens of thousands by putting bits of metal into their bodies at high speed is unpleasant but allowed; to kill people making them inhale poisonous gases is strictly forbidden. In the absence of any expertise in biochemistry or rocket physics I won’t pretend to know who carried out the attack or what weapons were really used; that said, the whole affair carries a farcical echo of 2003 and 1898. The idea that the Syrian government would do this kind of thing a few days after the arrival of UN inspectors and in a region where they are gaining rather than losing ground doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, while the argument that Assad gassed hundreds of people to flaunt his invincibility before the world stage seems a bit absurd given that Western powers are now screaming retribution. If it happens, this retribution will take the form of a punitive strike, punishing Assad while securing his chemical weapons stockpiles. It’s not exactly clear how you can ‘secure’ a depot with a Tomahawk missile: is the idea to encase it safely in rubble, or will enough missiles be fired that their bodies will form a protective dome around the sites? What’s clear is that any move will not constitute an act of war against Syria or an intervention in support of any rebel group. In other words, its geopolitical value is precisely zero. This isn’t war in the Clausewitzian sense of politics continued by other means, it’s war for the domestic market, war as a consumer item. Most opinion polls show that populations in the West are broadly against intervention; this is precisely the point. The attack exists solely to provide a justification for its own existence.

Industrial capitalism needs a constant supply of iron, oil, and coltan; it needs a constant supply of entertainment; it needs a constant supply of war. In many countries arms manufacturers are pretty much the last big industrial operations still going; we’ll trust China to make the shiny gadgets through which we mediate our social lives, but the the production of death is still very much a domestic concern. Weapons are all we have left, and there’s no point churning out a constant stream of the things if they’re not going to be used. The problem with war is that it’s hard to work out a proper line of supply for the stuff; you need the co-operation of the other side, and unless you have a nice Flower War-type setup, nations tend not to work together much once hostilities have broken out. In a post-Fordist economic order dominated by the principles of just-in-time production, this isn’t much good at all. The consumers of war need their product to arrive in a steady, continuous, and predictable manner. The solution is to get rid of the other side entirely, so that war is no longer a relation between opposing forces but a mass consumer product as fungible as any other. Now you can go down to the gas station to pick up a microwave burrito, a pack of Slim Jims, and an armed incursion into a refugee camp, killing sixteen.

In Egypt, before the military government started massacring protesters in the streets, it declared a state of emergency that would last for exactly one month. Either general al-Sisi’s precognitive abilities let him know exactly how long the terrorist threat posed by the Muslim brotherhood would last, or the army was always in complete control of the precise levels of disturbance and could wage war or make peace entirely on its own terms. In early August, not too long after the Snowden leaks on government surveillance, Britain and the United States shut down their embassies in Sana’a in response to an unspecified but ‘immediate’ terrorist threat. This was followed by a series of drone strikes throughout Yemen that killed at least fourteen suspected militants; in response a Yemeni military helicopter was shot down. I wrote about something similar in relation to Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza: one side decides that there will be a crisis, the other has no choice but to act out its allotted role. The radicalisation caused by drone strikes is a feature, not a bug: this is war as a continual spectacle, not a war that achieves any concrete aims. If there were no angry herdsmen with Kalashnikovs, there wouldn’t be anyone to kill next time our intelligence services have a crisis of credibility.

It’s not enough for us to consume any more; it’s constantly demanded that we interact with our commodities. Join the conversation! Accept your new reality! Miley Cyrus twerking wouldn’t have much value if it weren’t for the thousands of blogs like this one clamouring to present an opinion on it. This is the next step: for the consumer base to be fully engaged with war as a mass entertainment product. Special packs of corn-based snacks will come with the co-ordinates of a single square mile of Pakistani territory: if your area is the site of a terrorist bombing you could win a new Xbox! A chirpy voice shouts from the TV: if you want the next drone strike to be in SOMALIA, press the RED button on your remote now. If you want the next drone strike to be in MALI, press the GREEN button on your remote now. The point is to make us all complicit. Armies are a tired old Westphalian relic; in the new age of mass-produced war there’s no need for any separation between military and civilian life. For some of us, armed intervention will merge into a seamless cycle of wiggling arses and electronic self-affirmation. Meanwhile, those people unlucky enough to live outside the bounds of the twerking-warfare complex won’t even be able to understand themselves to be at war; they’ll live their lives under the shadow of a vast organic-cybernetic mass, total and homogeneous, swarming in the skies and killing on a whim. Behind a suburban sofa, a fly is trapped in a spider’s web. As it waits to die it watches the last show of its life. A slow succession of images pulses on the television screen as six hundred channels rear up and flicker away: a human dressed in black giving a drawn-out wail as it holds up a dead body to the camera, a human dressed in nothing slowly gyrating on a stage; and the fly sees no difference at all.

PS: As everyone knows by now, Miley Cyrus is of course the direct descendent and probable reincarnation of the Achaemenid ruler Cyrus II, founder of the First Persian Empire, the Great King, King of Persia, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the four corners of the world.

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What the radical left can learn from One Direction

My entire generation is traumatised by something that hasn’t happened yet. Shaking and sleeplessness, autoimmolatory alcoholism, fits of violent rage and sobbing breakdowns, weeks of self-imposed seclusion, an epidemic of anxiety. Generation Todestrieb. The accusatory inner voice that used to constantly seek out our weaknesses and insecurities doesn’t even have to bother any more. It just screams its wordless rage directly into our stream of thought, knowing that we know exactly what it means. We have all the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, except that for many of us there’s no primal fracture, no repressed event. What’s tormenting us is the future, or rather the lack of a future. Now that the myth of human progress has been gently euthanised, the only thing facing us is a catastrophe. We’re standing on a cliffside, so close to the edge that the angle of its descent isn’t even visible. There’s just a blank and distant sea.

Personally, I’ve never been a nervous type; I tend towards melancholia instead. Days thud past like slats on a railway line, their rhythm producing only a jolting queasiness. They’re not hard to fill. Aside from the regulation egodystonicity of the heautontimoroumenos, which is quite time-consuming all by itself, I tend to find myself wasting a few hours on a couple of Nouvelle Vague films. Sad men and self-destructive women fuck, kill cops, smoke cigarettes, and feel nothing – and I’m always left with a strange kind of jealousy, as if a impeccably cut charcoal-grey suit and a Erik Satie soundtrack could lend my unhappiness some kind of significance. Or I’ll watch Hollywood blockbusters online; pirated cam versions filmed in a cinema somewhere in the Russian provinces. I prefer them. It’s not low quality, it’s high aesthetics. Action is flattened, motion is shaky, the multi-million dollar digital effects spectacle is reduced to a chaotic blur, an intricate mess of abstract patterns rising from the darkness of the screen; the whole thing starts to look like an overblown tribute to German Expressionism. All this is punctuated by occasional twelve-hour binges, expensive drinks, gambling, until I emerge somewhere near the Embankment some time after dawn and idly consider throwing myself in the Thames. It’s not too bad.

My sample is admittedly small and unscientific: a handful of recent graduates, often broadly middle class, mostly from the humanities. But there are more thorough studies that bear out my conclusions. ‘Millennials’ – the generation born after the early 1980s – carry the brunt of the ongoing anxiety epidemic. It’s not hard to see why. We’re the inheritors to an economic crisis which is starting to seem less and less like a genuine collapse and more and more like a cover for wholesale pillage on the part of the ultra-rich, a planet that’s slowly choking to death in its own farts, a society steadily reverting to the age-old division between the smugly monied and the shambling cap-in-hand peons. It’s there in our popular entertainment: we don’t expect glittering crystal cities, however dystopian; we expect a future of zombie hordes or mud-caked poverty.

Still, it’s not like we’re the first generation of youth to emerge trembling into the foreboding landscape of the Real World. Something’s changed: our ancestors had mass protest movements; our equivalent is the brief self-congratulatory spark of Occupy and the Tory-sanctioned uselessness of UAF. We’ve become atomised. We’re self-hating narcissists. Part of it must have to do with the form taken by work. Aside from the stability of employment large-scale manufacturing, in a mass production line every worker is collaborating on a single project; it’s a spatial arrangement that facilitates the emergence of a certain kind of solidarity. That’s gone now, and there’s no such luck in the service sector. Your actions are monitored, your productivity is plotted on a graph, your co-workers are your competitors. If you take an unpaid internship or work on a zero-hour contract you become existentially surplus, part of the reserve kamikaze squadron of labour.

We’re constantly connected, digitally rubbing shoulders with people across the world, and the result is that we’re more and more alone in humdrum phenomenal reality. Cyberspace isn’t really a space at all; certainly not in the ‘infinite and infinitely open’ sense outlined by Foucault in Des espaces autres – it’s far closer to the medieval order of lieux, places. The connections of cyberspace aren’t actual connections, they don’t form anything like a machinic assemblage; it’s a flat two-dimensional plane on which any number of projected images and identities mingle and are occasionally interposed, a white wall studded with innumerable black holes, a vast faciality machine producing a single face. As Deleuze and Guattari point out, the face is ‘something absolutely inhuman.’ We don’t touch. This pseudosociality bores down into the fundamental ground of our psychosexual selves: we can’t even fuck any more without the help of a dating site algorithm. Following the formula of commodity fetishism, to establish social relations we must stop being people and start being things.

As ever, Japan is miles ahead of the west: while most European nations tried to rearrange the rubble of the second world war into some kind of bric-a-brac social democracy, American economic planners ensured that Japan went straight from zero to capitalism. The proto-Reaganism of 1940s Japan was followed by a precursor to today’s global economic crisis: the ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s, a long period of economic stagnation that further intensified the already profound alienation of Japanese society, giving rise to an ongoing epidemic of mass suicides (the rate averages at one suicide every fifteen minutes) and the emergence of the hikikomori phenomenon. Hikikomori are young men who confine themselves to their homes, abandoning studies, ignoring work, and disavowing social life; they communicate through the internet or not at all. It’s hard to tell, given their seclusion, but there may be over a million hikikomori in the country. Not that Japan has a monopoly on the phenomenon: researchers have identified similar trends in France and across the western world.

Given the sheer pointlessness of the world of work, becoming a hikikomori makes perfect sense. If you can, why not just opt out of the whole rotten socio-economic order? The problem is that doing so is a capitulation, a mute traumatised acceptance of existing conditions that precludes any real attempt to change them. In a way, the hikikomori is the ideal capitalist subject of the twenty-first century. The Deleuzian era, in which capitalism produced the schizophrenic as the ‘universal producer,’ has passed. Its replacement is the autist, the universal consumer. In previous economic crises salvation was to be found in putting people back to work and resuming production. This time the problem is one of a surplus of capital, a surplus of production and a surplus of population; we’re continually told that the only way out is to restore consumer confidence and restore the cycle of debt-spending. The hikikomori is the perfect solution: a consumer valve safely abstracted from the cycle of production, alone and defenceless, not enjoying his life but still endlessly consuming the means of its reproduction. That said, some governments haven’t quite caught on to the economic potential of mass isolation. Following case studies in Texas and Japan, there are serious proposals for antidepressants to be added to Ireland’s drinking water.

Which naturally leads me to One Direction.

This is One Direction.

It’s hideous, the kind of thing that makes you want to go to Theodor Adorno’s grave at midnight with a pentagram and a sacrificial goat, just so you can tell him to his face that he was right all along. The lyrical content is bad enough, at once recognising the sad prevalence of female body dysmorphia and trying to resolve it into the matrix of male sexual desire. But there’s also something profoundly unsettling about the expression worn by Harry Styles (he’s the tendril-haired lead singer and reportedly a pal of Alain de Botton, the psedophilosopher with a pebble for a head). It’s a grimace, a punk snarl totally at odds with his delivery, one expressing no discernible defiance. He prances around a beach and mouths insipidly anodyne lyrics, and all the while he snarls. It’s as if he realises exactly how ugly his creation is; his grimace is his own anxious withdrawal, the Steppenwolf baring its teeth. It doesn’t matter. There’ll be no peace for Harry Styles. One Direction is one of the biggest pop acts on the planet.

Their fans have a love for One Direction that borders on fanaticism. If you’re on Twitter you’ll probably already know this – Directioners and their fellow tribes consistently dominate the trending topics, helpfully reminding the rest of us that this is their turf, that we’re just a small group of weird adults hanging out at a teen party. Otherwise, a small insight was provided by the recent Channel 4 documentary Crazy About One Direction. Here we’re shown teenage fans squealing and weeping in bedrooms, their walls plastered with hundreds of pictures of the band, as if they’re sitting in the centre of a popstar panopticon. These girls hang around outside concerts waiting for a glimpse of the tour bus, they sneak into hotels where the band is rumoured to be staying, they make explicit artwork centring around the supposed homoeroticism between two of the band’s members, they send threatening messages to current and former girlfriends. “If they said chop an arm off, I would,” says one. “Because some people only have one arm, and they’re alright, aren’t they?” After the show aired, many fans were upset at being represented as psychopathic monomaniacs. They reacted, predictably, by being psychopathic monomaniacs. It’s tempting to dismiss all this as a kind of incipient fascism because, well, it is a kind of incipient fascism. Even the band’s name seems like it’d suit a bunch of 80s goths in ironic swastikas far better than a clean-cut pop band. Translate it into German and the Laibach aspect is hard to ignore: ein Volk, ein Wille, ein Richtung! If Liam, Louis & co. were to announce tomorrow that the body politic needs to be purged of its parasites, the resulting chaos would make Kristallnacht look like a mild spat in a rural post office. No army on earth could hold back the fury of ten million teenage girls in love. The fires would burn for months.

Of course, I’m hardly in a position to judge. When I was seventeen I covered my room with posters of Søren Kierkegaard. I had a small shrine at the foot of my bed in which copies of Either/OrThe Sickness Unto Death and Fear and Trembling were arranged with candles, incense, and small Danish flags I’d stolen from a local fishmonger. I founded my own chapter of the symparanekromenoi, with a membership of one, wherein the chief activity consisted of writing turgid erotic prose imagining the consummation of his love for Regine Olsen. On a holiday to Copenhagen I obsessed over the fact that Søren had walked the same streets where I stood, and nearly broke down in tears outside the University. I even went to the lengths of sending threatening letters and emails to professors of nineteenth-century philosophy across Europe and North America, informing them in no uncertain terms that Søren was mine and that nobody else was allowed to discuss his antiphilosophical approach to the question of being. Even more vicious missives went out to unreformed neo-Hegelians who dared to critique the infinite qualitative distinction. So I understand.

This kind of obsession isn’t just the alluring aura of commodity fetishism, it’s something far more significant. “What do you think about real boys?” the interviewer asks one fan, a nineteen-year-old with a One Direction tattoo and a tendency to camp out by the Styles family residence. She’s not interested; she doesn’t really speak to them. “Most One Direction fans are single. It’s weird. We’re all just single.” Real boys just get in the way the whole time, another explains. “Boy bands have ruined my life,” she says. She smiles. She doesn’t mind. What’s a life? There’s something admirable about this passion, something genuinely heroic about the extent to which these people sacrifice their own lives in the cause of a pop group-cum-transcendent Idea. In his Philosophy for Militants, Badiou proposes as the ‘revolutionary conception of our time’ a ‘militant desire’ standing against normal desires: the militant idea of desire is a ‘desire that permanently affirms the existence of that which has no name.’ Under a social order that has tried to eradicate all such yearnings, Directioners remain authentically militant in their devotion to a timeless and transhistorical Cause.

The object of this militant desire is not called One Direction. All the fans interviewed were painfully aware of a lack structuring their lives. For those who haven’t met the band, this lack becomes One Direction-shaped. They’ll meet their favourite member, sleep with them, marry them, and then everything will be better. For those who have, it’s a different story. Once is never enough; they have to meet them again and again, with ever-diminishing returns. They grow to realise that the band itself is insufficient. What they want is a different mode of existence. That something as banal as a manufactured pop group can embody this desire ought to be heartening: it’s the transcendent fervour, not its proximal object, that’s important. These girls are victims of the traumatic atomisation of contemporary capitalism. Many are cut off from conventional relationships; they spend long hours alone with Twitter and Tumblr, endlessly reiterating their love for something that exists beyond their comprehension, in a shared devotion that has become something like what Badiou terms the ‘local creation of something generic’ – something based not on the facile ‘connections’ of social media but a dissolution into a strong general unity of purpose.

Marx wrote that capitalism always creates the conditions for its own overthrow; Lenin nicely summarised the same principle when he declared that ‘we will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.’ Through its campaign of atomisation capitalism has attempted to resolve this problem, but in doing so it’s created an acute consciousness of the wrongness of alienated existence. Directioners have achieved far more than most leftist thinkers in demonstrating how this anxiety can be displaced onto a real and immanent movement towards a transcendent goal. This is task the radical left faces: to become as fanatical about the overthrow of existing conditions as teenage girls are about One Direction.

How to spot an illegal immigrant: a UK Border Agency guide

Beyond what I am, I meet a being who makes me laugh because he is headless; this fills me with dread because he is made of innocence and crime.
Georges Bataille, The Sacred Conspiracy

A series of public UK Border Agency raids in the last few days has attracted the usual furore from the usual quarters, with various pious lefties throwing around accusations of racism based solely on the fact that officers deployed at various train and tube stations were only stopping commuters from visible ethnic minorities. Meanwhile, the publicisation of the raids on the Home Office’s Twitter account has attracted criticism for supposedly being ‘totalitarian,’ ‘a blatant Tory election ploy,’ ‘some serious Children of Men shit right here,’ and ‘a further demonstration of the chimerical and ungodly union between racialised state violence and the pseudo-democratic spectacle of social media.’ In the interests of combating such nonsense, the Home Office has released to the general public this guide, which lays out the criteria by which trained officers can distinguish potential illegal immigrants from ordinary people of colour on sight.

Illegal immigrants, who are known to derive perverse enjoyment from stealing the jobs of British workers, may be identified by their sadistic grins, or expressions of haughty contempt. They may also have bulging pockets, a large rucksack, or a burlap sack printed with a pound sign, in which stolen jobs may be stashed.

While legal British residents tend to have a stoop, hunch, slump, limp, crimp, clob, grag, bort, or other psychologically induced musculoskeltal deformation, illegal immigrants typically display the upright bearing and proud stature of one whose back has not been broken under the weight of labour regulations or union representation.

Many illegal immigrants have been trafficked in to the UK to work in the sex industry, often in positions of indentured servitude. Such offenders can be distinguished by their bed-tousled hair and the healthy sweaty radiance of someone who is definitely getting a lot more action than you are.

Recent illegal immigrants may not have fully adjusted to the social codes that govern life in the UK. Telltale signs include sartorial choices (a swan’s neck worn as a stole, corgi slippers, a lucky red squirrel’s head pendant), food (curry that is not masala, korma, balti or jalfrezi), or suspicious behaviour (any deviation from the mandated autism and perpetual embarrassment of British public life).

Any person who appears at all disturbed or frightened by the presence of officers in stab-proof vests demanding documentation from passers-by is behaving suspiciously and should be immediately handcuffed to a seat on the next flight to Lagos.

Funny moustaches on men, pregnancy on women, an expression of existential bewilderment on the faces of children. Tweeds in unusual colours. Any honest hope that tomorrow might be better than today. Joy, vitality; misery, real misery, black and incandescent. Anything whole and total. Any sense of vastness, any ocular gleam betraying the faint memory that the edge of the firmament does not curve in a shimmering curtain from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The illegal immigrant’s lack of papers is an innate rather than a contingent attribute. As such, officers should be aware of any persons on public transport who appear unwilling to pick up or carry copies of the Metro or Evening Standard, or whose hands seem unable to even touch them, as if repelled by a strange magnetic force.

When show a picture of the Queen, illegal immigrants may hiss, recoil in horror, spontaneously burst into flames, or collapse into ashes (helpfully saving the Home Office and its private-sector partners the costs of repatriation).

As entering the country illegally is against the law, and breaking the law is cool, anyone exuding an aura of charismatic nonchalance and cheerful self-assurance should be apprehended. They are almost certainly an undocumented worker; and even if their papers are valid, they’re definitely up to something. Anyone meeting these criteria and also wearing sunglasses should be tackled to the ground with no warning and with entirely disproportionate force.

Some police dogs have been trained to pick up the scent of intrinsic bodily illegality. Due to the high levels of background illegality, which has been known to confuse the dogs or send them into a frothing omnicidal fury, it is recommended that the UKBA not deploy them in the City of London or Canary Wharf areas.

After crossing a national boundary, the ontological and material status of the illegal immigrant is permanently altered. Many are subsequently able to move through solid objects at will. Be alert for persons emerging out of walls, passing through doors without opening them first, holding a briefcase through its centre, walking ankle-deep in the pavement as if it were no more substantial than a fragrant early dawn mist, etc.

Remember above all that these people are not criminals; they are crime itself, their existence is crime itself.

Other documents made public by the Home Office include plans to capitalise on the impact of the ‘racist van,’ a mobile billboard that drives through multicultural areas with a sign telling immigrants to ‘go home.’ In addition to racist rickshaws, racist hydrofoils, and light racist aircraft, the next steps in the mechanisation of racism will include an airport security gate that beeps in the presence of melanin rather than metal, a phone that makes automatic calls to the council whenever ‘those people’ next door play that dreadful dancehall music, a toaster that burns a carbonised transcript of the ‘rivers of blood’ speech onto every slice of bread, and a coin-op laundromat that asks visible ethnic minorities where it is that they’re really from. These innovations are expected to be highly popular, as people will be able to enjoy all the benefits of living in a structurally racist society without having to go through the whole tiresome rigmarole of having to be outwardly racist themselves. Further Border Agency initiatives include a contingency plan in which uniformed UKBA personnel will invade and conquer the eastern Balkans and impose a murderously appropriative colonial regime so as to dispel positive illusions about Britain, and an ongoing project in which the education, healthcare, and labour protection systems are comprehensively wrecked in the hopes that the UK will then become a less attractive destination for migrants.

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