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number 3

Today's Manifesto

by Gregg Miller

1. Let us state clearly that public approval is bunk. The public doesn’t exist. There are many publics and few outlive their usefulness to those who find them convenient cover. Approval is a gift granted by hierarchy, and the public has no authority over those who pretend to its sanction.

2. Let us declare a war on the terrorism perpetuated by the baby-boomers. Their interest in younger generations extends to continued social security payments. They have added more pollution, consumerism, sprawl, and economic inequality than any generation before them, and they’re not yet done spreading their fear fetishes of miscegenation and empire.

3. Let us call witness to the porn industry. Teenage boys and girls in photos and film as a masturbatory aid to men of all ages. What is going on here? A very serious look at the political and symbolic economy of porn is in order: as it exists as an extension of the gendered division of labor, as the codification of desire, as a fantasy of control and pleasure in a world of unfreedom, as an initiation rite into a sell-out world, as an older generation’s victimization of its youth, as a commentary on the ills of domesticity, as a self-commodification which perverts the claims of self-sovereignty. And who is tracking these boys and girls? What are the effects of participation in porn five, ten, twenty years down the line? There’s surely a trove of ex-porn stars out there. How’s it going with them? Likewise with ex-stockbrokers.

4. Let us proclaim that music is a gift to the world, and that thriving musicians are a public good. The sharing of mp3s makes distribution of digital media costless. Musicians need no longer tithe themselves to big labels for distribution, production, and promotion. Will musicians suffer in the demise of their former masters? The public must be ready to assume the living maintenance of its artists. Make music, not bombs. A false choice: let’s make music and bombs.

5. Shall we honor truth more highly than friends? Aristotle thinks so. But this is another false choice. We choose our friends because they answer to a truth which emerges from our experience with them. They can be trusted, they accept our love, and they need us, but do not smother us in need. Friendship is the loose circuit that makes questions of truth worthwhile. And the bond among strangers sets without force as if it had awaited the hello.

Gregg Miller lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He is completing his dissertation in political theory at the University of Washington and teaches political science at Brooklyn College, CUNY. He wants you to visit his wife’s website:

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