Show extended to the end of October!
JESSE LEPP AND MIKE PENNER PRESENT:
OIL PAINTINGS BY JESSE LEPP
HERE AT MIKREATIONS
in Virgil, Ontario
So, you know what spying does? It creates privileged information. Such information and such privilege is never benign, as in, “it was being observed” or “it was being monitored”, rather, it is always both promissory and secretive. The question is, “How does such knowledge come about and why is it valuable?” What is the worth, for instance, of information tantamount to espionage?
I mention this because Harper's government is now caught spying on (or in) Brazil (the details from the CBC are shaky). I emphasize the word, “caught”. God bless the whistle-blower. What better illustration of Pierre Trudeau's remarks on authority and obedience:
In the last analysis any given political authority exists only because men consent to obey it. In this sense what exists is not so much authority as the obedience.
—Approaches to Politics (Toronto/ Oxford University Press 1970, p. 31)
One way to think of the value or worth of such privileged information, protected under penalty of law, and so, jail, and so, the threat of battery and rape (if I am to believe every cop drama out there), is if, by offensively tapping private correspondence and individuals, a few insiders improve their monitory stock, then this is a matter for our courts—as there are laws against the use of privileged, propitiatory information in this way, laws for theft and blackmail—it's called 'insider trading', isn't it? Harper with his economics degree (B.A.) and M.A. thesis on 'business cycles' comprehends this. . . .
However, let's forget about Brazil and any and all that court-drama, courtiers and where they just so happen to live, as that stuff doesn't actually matter at all. Rather, it's the purposeful creation of a class of people who have gained access to such insider, propitiatory information – that creates a distinction between all-out-knowledge and the knowledge attainable by the pubic, by 'me'—I'm not talking about knowing secrets of the accepted sort, bound up in the stupid or just childish notion of a secret that can be broken like one's word can be broken: I'm not saying that it's wrong or right, good or bad, to reveal a secret. What is at issue is that whole popular morality of “what happens in x stays in x” (where x is the “Vegas” of pop-culture or “the field” of Vietnam War vets)—a morality with just about as much validity as yelling “Shotgun!” and expecting everyone to obey automatically and without exception the command, “I get to sit up front.” Secrets, as facts, have no claim on one's conscience. You keep them or you don't. No, it's something greater then the secret that has a bearing on our freedom—of conscience.
Creating secrecy that must be obeyed—what do you call that? In this case, “because we're looking out for you”, “because we have your best interests at heart”—it is a violation of every Canadians' birth-given rights. And by birth-given rights, or our so-called 'charter rights', I am invoking natural and human rights, not just our 'privileges' but our furthest ancestor-given rights—unassailable. To be without them is to be better off not having been born. The freedom of conscience, right? The freedom from class-discrimination, right? Imagine a government that treats its tax-payers as if they were the silly child and they the government were the all-knowing adult! What a bizarre articulation of a class-discrimination! What an aberration of conscience! On the other hand, how blatant a foe, eh? Just listen for them to say we owe our allegiance because we are Canadians, to say that we must not think, we must merely obey.
And yet we, unlike the child they wish we'd remain, can ask, Why should we obey? Because they can imprison us? Shoot us? Murder us—? Or, perhaps worse: charge us compound interest?
Oh, there are the fools on the CBC I listened to today who called any and all opposition to such spying “naive”, who said, well, “everybody is doing it,” well, you could do a show on, “Should bureaucrats just kill their enemies?” and yolks would call in with their approval of both that and T.O. mayor, Rob Ford—his awful gravy-train station on the gravy-train line. Yes, there's something about tyranny that appeals to people-people who support class discrimination. “The Gravy Train stops here!” proclaimed Rob Ford and every illiterate thought he meant to stop The Gravy Train for good! No, just another stop for The Gravy Train, to facilitate all the more gravy. . . . don't get me started on that spectacle 'the great' McGuinty (a movie, by the way, by Preston Sturges, mainly about that suffix turned ironic prefix, 'the great').
“Our actions are lawful”; yes, but what does that mean given the anarchic granting of immunity we hear about these days? Why do we say a police officer 'shot and killed' a man and not that that man was murdered? That protestors were 'processed' and not kidnapped and held hostage? In reality, our law acknowledges it, that actions taken to ensure our rights and freedoms are just and courageous—as a part of our nature. Brandishing a weapon is not tantamount to a death sentence. No, not brandishing words, neither. In reality, our law is as incorruptible as our sense of justice.
The class of Canadians that has access to the privileged information of the sort got by espionage have capitol the easiest, if not the oldest, way in the world (in that their system is, in a sense, inherited from better times): they use the police and collect taxes. Thus their means toward the propagation and integration of their privileged place in Canadian society is neigh unfathomable. And yet, I take comfort in that all such inheritors are ultimately just pieces of shit, and insofar as their coffins will no doubt be impregnable, worthless pieces of shit.
Democracy is always a minimization of secrecy. A minimization of the promissory. The growth of secrets accessible only by a – by definition – criminal class in society, who need to be safe more than they need to be human, is always harbinger of tyrannical forces in government. But like those CBC guests proved this afternoon, tyranny, and all that gravy, has its supporters.
Last week, for the first time in my lifetime, I heard a commercial on CBC Radio, 94.1 FM, broadcast from Toronto. A fucking commercial on CBC Radio. This week I heard a commercial on CBC Radio, 99.1, also, broadcast from Toronto. Someone up there is dealing in restricted and unpolluted public airwaves—but what is got by the deal can hardly be conceived of. Except to say that it is definitely something: insentient non-thought in a place reserved for enlightenment and reason. What could be the benefit? Benefit to whom? And—they're (I do not know their names) making it sound like the news? So, what the hell is going on in Toronto, eh? Have they finally built enough condos to house the Harper supporters they need to steamroll culturally un-Conservative (yet, progressive, I think) T. O. ridings? Or is this more to do with Ottawa? You know, the nice thing about a Bible story where not ten good (godly?) people can be found in a place bent on its destruction is the appreciation of how difficult must the necessity be of a hundred and something appointees to our present-day Senate. . . . Not sure how you feel about the Senate? Here's a solution: make appointees unanimously decided by a vote in the House. The likelihood of the House having an appointee in common should quell opposition on both sides of the issue.
The paintings here today are insentient. I take sole responsibility. This is between you, me, and Mike. As I once wrote about another show I was involved with, “These paintings are more of what there is to say, that is, if there is room.” A sad, ironical statement. In any case, my writing will never be all that great, and these days I'm happier painting.