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i’m not too sure when the last time a protest could be called ‘successful’ in the usa, but it probably hasn’t been in my lifetime. i would also wager that among the general public, the definition of a successful protest would have a significant range of differences. i’m not sure what the majority of protesters would call the goal of tonight—the various demonstrations across the country in response to the supreme court overturning roe are probably just general outrage, not intending a specific outcome. but what about tomorrow? next year?

modern protesting is predictable. there are allowed-for routes, there are unbelievably heavy police response units. there is tear gas & there are face masks. there are cardboard signs, marching chants, helicopters. most anything dangerous happens after dark. arrests are made, the police do as they please.

this is how it’s been since my first protest—the global anti-war march that did absolutely nothing to stop the war. there’ve been countless since. none have resulted in any change (other than the police becoming more armed over time). they might as well have been fucking parades.

something like that · los angeles, 2020

the first indignation i read after the verdict was released rallied against bernie sanders & those who voted for him, as if we were all justices on the bench. it’s one of the main reasons i didn’t go out to the streets this time around—in multiple ways, it’s not really my place.

politics isn’t just a two-way street, no matter what american propaganda would have us believe. just because my ideals interact with liberalism that ‘abortion should not be illegal’ doesn’t mean i consider pro-choice voters on my team. a slight overlap on a venn diagram is not the same thing as an identical match. i hope now the more mainstream voices in american media will start treating the socialists & liberals as groups of the electorate that are quite different. (& hopefully liberals realize that the socialists & leftists are not actually like them, but rather believe in a fundamentally different structure of society. maybe it can get rid of the confusion by the next election.)

i normally do enjoy taking photographs at protests, but this time around it just seemed wrong. a substantial amount of people there wouldn’t believe the things i do & i’d just be using the chance as a personal opportunity instead of sharing space to achieve a goal. i’m eager to hear how this plays out, though at this point i’m not betting on more than a couple days of being placated before the media re-focuses on war or gas prices.

this was easily predictable, if only because the decision was leaked months ago. the democrats had power & a chance, yet did nothing. that’s where it is at, that’s where it’s always been at, and that’s how it always will be. at some point protest itself must evolve, but until then this is all a bit cringe.

the court is really on one these days. abortion rights & miranda rights are both things of the past. guns can be carried anywhere. funding religious schools continues to blur the line between church & the state.

what strikes me about this streak of decisions—particularly overturning roe—is that no protest will change things. no campaign promise or party platform can push back against the court’s ruling. this week has proven that neither voting or protesting really make a difference anymore; it’s simply up to any given person if they choose to recognize this, or if they choose to still believe in the system & the singing democrats.

who knows where shit goes from here, but i bet it’s mostly downhill. for now, a few old assholes have decided to introduce a lot more tragedy into the already horrific story of the united states. fucking wonderful.

still waiting for someone to prove this one wrong.

this aired before the finals began & in burr’s first little three-minute rant about the nba playoffs, he’s 100% correct. in any given game it’s pretty easy to see what the league wants, making it nearly impossible to watch & enjoy professional basketball, something i very much enjoy watching.

the league’s primary goal is to draw out the series for ratings. get a series to a game seven & it’s a goldmine for ad buys. whoever wins the game today will be up 3-2, and the other team will likely get some favorable calls in game six. it’s glaringly obvious when the calls are made (or not made) to give an advantage to one side. refs may be human, but some ‘errors’ are self-evident.

it’s just one of those things where everything at a high-level seems rigged for no other reason than money. it’s certainly expected in business & mostly expected in politics. but it’s like, it’d be really nice for sports to not feel like the players are all marionettes. after all, they’re fucking games. games that children play. shouldn’t they be fun & exciting?

living through the collapse of an empire is hard enough on enjoying life, but when everything above a certain level feels orchestrated, the day-to-day experience just gets more bleak. yes, there are absolutely enjoyable sports & artists to enjoy at a local level, but these things are often what can bond communities past borders: trades of goods, teams competing. if it’s all just corruption and myopia, then this is literally all for naught.

there are so many wonderful faces of the moon—hidden in an eclipse at midnight or a half-circle of bright white in a clear blue afternoon sky. a gateway to the heavens with just enough detail visible to the eye, constantly hinting, there is so much more out there.

the only evidence of humanity on the moon are some footprints and, shamefully, a flag. already a declaration of ownership, of property. nothing we can see, but it’s still there, a lesson we can learn from or a failure we can emulate. more than likely, it’ll be the latter.

combining this evidence of the past with the obvious ambitions of modern billionaires to bring the ‘free market’ to space, i cannot think of anything more shameful that the idea of colonizing the moon under the ambitions of capitalists. if their goals are realized, it would be another sign all hope has been lost.

like any colonization project, it would start with some form of slavery. nameless workers shipped up to assist in construction or mining, paying off the debt of their trip through indentured servitude. militias would fight over territory, planting flags with corporate logos as nations are left to collapse under their arcane politics on earth.

eventually, it’ll be a vision designed for kings of the future. we’ll see ‘the first casino visible from space’ here on earth. lights from hotels & mining facilities will litter the facade at night. a mcdonalds will open. an eclipse will be ruined when starbucks illuminates the largest display of lights in history to send its logo back to earth in an otherwise darkened sky.

to turn the moon into an extension of the worst parts of earth would be damning to the imaginations of all who live on the planet. once a source of inspiration, it would become just another example of everything the majority will never have.

(granted, a version of this occurs on earth already—obama’s drone program has made pakistani children afraid of the sky. death from above is always the call of the devil, be it napalm, smart bombs, or the lights from another reality reflecting the messages of capital: you are trapped in this hell, don’t dare to dream anymore.)

unless capitalism is destroyed before it escapes the planet—like some kind of plague set to ruin all it encounters—we won’t know what light is the dying breath of a star & what is a luxury palace for the wealthy as they look down at the earth & watch it burn.

Colin Smith (b. 1982) works in a form of assembly within and across disciplines, both in digital and analogue formats. Following in the ideas of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the medium of his work is often dictated by its message—the diversity of projects that result are each an attempt to represent a particular thesis, a certain context.

Educated in graphic design and photojournalism, and self-taught in the visual arts, Smith has additionally worked as an art director, freelance designer or creative consultant for a variety of small businesses and independent clients around the world.

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