From the Berkeley Barb, Nov. 18, 1966, p.6. ‘George Metesky’ was a pen name that Emmett Grogan and/or Billy Murcott used in the Diggers days:
The Ideology of Failure
From the time we begin to call our childhood our past we seek to regain its simplicity. Its tense of presence. We tumble into drugs and cleave reality into so many levels of game. We turn our backs on the mess and walk into the woods, but only for a time. A game is a game is a game is a game and we return to the silent—crowded—uptight sidewalks with our pockets full of absurdity and compromise between cowardice and illusion.
Wearing hipsterism on our sleeves, we make music with mercenary groups who bleed money from any fools on the street, or we carve leather into sandals for twenty dollars a pair, or shape forms into art while a psychiatrist whispers formulae for a healthy life-lihood into our ear. And we smile all the time and stack a stereo with names we meet at parties and scoff at all the Sanpaku people cluttering up outside. We explode the myth of seriousness and wrap our bodies in a vinyl shield to coat our minds with microcosmic awareness of our own safety. We sophisticate our tastes in order to tap dance by hassles and shove the poignancy of ‘bring downs’ into impersonal shadows. We focus everything towards the transcendence of daily consciousness: macrobiotic diets, hallucinogens, eastern and western aesthetics, philosophies, etc.
Our salaried hipness blankets us in the warmth of security until we masturbate ourselves into an erection of astral rapaciousness and grab whatever pleasures we might in the name of Love, always quick to contrast ourselves with middle-class man.
If there is a contrast, it is slight. Hip and middle-class (as well as communist, fascist, socialist, and monarchist) values, goals, reactions and attitudes offer different styles, but amount to the same end: personal, national, or racial success. “Rien ne reussi comme le suces.”
The Hipster, however, invites the indignation of his allies with a mockery of ‘straightness’ and his alienation from the social norms of morality and dress. He is the perfection of success—liberated from the inhibitive life of bourgeoise conformity and established in a packed class of happiness which combines the highest material pleasure with a total lack of commitment to middle-class humanism.
He is hated, feared, and envied. He is a man who can sing about the evils of the world, the beauty of touch, the delicacy of flowers, and scream systemicide while margining profits into war economies and maintaining his comfort on a consumer level of luxury. (Oh, excuse me. I see. He’s educating the mass and his pay is only incidental—compared to the millions of converts he has inspired with his orchestrated love. Ho, hum . . .)
Well, when some of us get to that bracket, either through fame or fortune, we look at ourselves and remember the “Funk” that pushed us into the Lime, and we react. We may open peace centers with our money and contribute to the cause of freedom, or we may plow ourselves into the corner of “who cares” and paddy-cake fortunes, or we may drop out all over again and go back to the woods, and stare at the preposterousness of doing our thing within the frame of a reality that can incorporate and market anyone, anything, anytime. And then we may begin to understand that if some attempt is not made to manage the world with love, it will run mad and overwhelm everything, including the woods.
And so, we stay dropped-out. We won’t, simply won’t play the game any longer. We return to the prosperous consumer society and refuse to consume. And refuse to consume. And we do our thing for nothing. In truth, we live our protest. Everything we do is free because we are failures. We’ve got nothing to lose, so we’ve got nothing to lose.
We’re not foiled anymore by the romantic trappings of the marketeers of expanded consciousness. Love isn’t a dance concert with a light show at $3 a head. It isn’t an Artist Liberation Front “Free” Fair with concessions for food and pseudo psychedelia. It is the SF Mime Troupe performing Free Shows in the parks while it is being crushed by a furious $15,000 debt. It is Arthur Lisch standing under a blue flag in Hunters Point scraping rust off the tin-can memorial to Matthew Johnson from two to five everyday. It is free food in the Panhandle where anyone can do anything with the food they bring to each other. It is Love. And when love does its thing it does it for love and separates itself from the false-witness of the Copsuckers and the Gladly Dead.
To Show Love is to fail. To love to fail is the Ideology of Failure. Show Love. Do your thing. Do it for FREE. Do it for Love. We can’t fail. And Mr. Jones will never know what’s happening here, do you Mr. Jones.
[Signed —george metesky.]