The Apocalypse Pantry

A Survivor's Guide to Happiness in the Urban Armageddon

Filtering by Category: Fifty Shades of Fucked

The Beauty Myth

“The last thing the consumer index wants men and women to do is to figure out how to love one another: The $1.5 trillion retail-sales industry depends on sexual estrangement between men and women, and is fueled by sexual dissatisfaction. “-Naomi Wolf “The Beauty Myth”

With so many items in our pantry lending themselves to topical use, and what with the cosmetic industry not set up to endure an Apocalypse, it only makes sense to seed a new understanding of beauty that does not require a $1.5 TRILLION(!) translation.

Our consumerist culture’s malformed understanding of beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder; true beauty however, is not. True beauty is a feeling and it exists not in the observer but in the space between the observer and the observed as an engaged exchange via the senses.  To be beautiful, that is full of beauty, is to have submitted wholly to this experience. It is nowhere close to being the perfect fitting of a physical person into an ever-shifting societal standard.  And yet…  $1.5 TRILLION(!)

Along with my slow plodding yet conscious and intended weening of myself from a consumerist lifestyle, the last place I’d considered re-evaluating was cosmetics.  And not because of being an addict in denial but because I was/am a Tomboy ( a species fast depopulating as baby girls are sold into Princessdom) and really didn’t feel like it was a big point of focus for me. I was a funny looking kid shaped like a potato and so the pressure and the programming to be pretty was placed elsewhere and I was free to be (fill in blank). To this exact point; during career day at school in the third grade all the kids had to choose from a box of index cards with different careers on them. This was done in the library so I was obviously hiding under the study cubicles reading Wizard of Oz books while I was supposed to be choosing and researching my future career.  Somehow, in the midst of my Oz induced reverie, I noticed the mad dash of kids putting things away and sprang into action- straight for the career box. Picked a card blindly then went to the teacher and said “ I got one too!” Her and I both looked at it for the first time, it said “Model” and she said “better pick another one”…pahaaaaa!

So even as a grown woman with no remaining potato-like features, I have been decidedly low-key with cosmetics, until recently when I began to observe when and how I did use them.  Basically it boiled down to being in the male gaze, ie. Public.  And how, albeit subtle, it was a form of protection- a mask from behind which I could observe but safely remain unobserved, my real face unseen behind a veil of intention to cover it.  So I did what I do, which is start a social experiment using myself because I can’t afford to offer University students $20 and a bus token to do it. 

I went out to places I would normally wear makeup to and observed myself and the interactions I had with others.  What became most abundantly clear is that “exposing” myself in this way had the opposite effect one would assume from vulnerability- I felt safe, maybe even free.  The social anxiety and awkwardness I often have dissolved in the tonic of this decision to stop attempting to be what my culture demanded of me which is to emulate a 2 dimensional beauty “ideal” while feeling estranged and insecure in the world.  And no it did not mean that everyone appreciated my natural beauty,  there are many men and women that are so beholden to the beauty myth that they only resonate with others who show signs of that endorsement and feel my blatant disregard for cheekbone accentuation is an abomination… or more accurately just plain didn’t notice me.  And so the gaze which unnerves me, the one I feel I have to protect myself from as it sweeps over the population with its single (it helps me to picture it as the Eye of Sauron) judging, critical, objectifying perception, went right passed me! Didn’t even stop to look which meant I was free to connect as myself with others who would see me as a human being with actual thoughts- how novel! 

The Cosmetic industry manufactures then monopolizes on insecurity on every level; visual, touch, smell, taste ( I mean how can flavored condoms possibly be an improvement on things?!) and in every sense the modus operandi is to mask what is inherently unique to that person; their themness.   Then (and this is the evil genius part) they sell it back to you as if the shade of lipstick you choose sets you apart, makes you special, when in actual fact it creates a badge that you wear announcing your conformity to a cultural beauty standard that was written long before your birth by people who couldn’t even conceive of you let alone give a shit about your health and well being…  $1.5 TRILLION(!) later…

Imagine if we were taught from small that beauty was that overflowing feeling in your heart that you get when in wonder of nature and that humans, as nature, are conduits of that experience… and that to feel it meant you were it…that no amount of potions and lotions could achieve it for you and all you had to do to access it was be alive? Sounds beautiful… now how we gonna spend our next 1.5 TRILLION(!) peoples?!!! 

 

bioluminescence.jpg

Taken from the Plos ONE published study: Imaging of Ultraweak Spontaneous Photon Emission from Human Body Displaying Diurnal Rhythm

"The human body literally glimmers. The intensity of the light emitted by the body is 1000 times lower than the sensitivity of our naked eyes. Ultraweak photon emission is known as the energy released as light through the changes in energy metabolism. We successfully imaged the diurnal change of this ultraweak photon emission with an improved highly sensitive imaging system using cryogenic charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. We found that the human body directly and rhythmically emits light. The diurnal changes in photon emission might be linked to changes in energy metabolism."

Sick My Duck Elon Musk: Apocalypse Optimism vs. Anthropocene Optimism

For most of us the Apocalypse is set in our mind to commence at a future date, one conveniently scheduled for a time just past the threshold of our personal experience on Earth.  We at AP are of the belief that the Apocalypse is happening now and that the attempt to date and name the Anthropocene is a confirmation of those beliefs albeit a deeply disturbing one.  

The hypothesis advanced by Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen and ecologist Eugene Stoermer in 2000, proposed that the Anthropocene eclipsed the Holocene at the onset of the Industrial Revolution.  That the man-made changes to the Earth's geophysical and biophysical systems from that point forward did not share the same geological epoch as anything that came before it.  Recently an even more specific start date was offered by Lewis and Maslin (Climatology and Global Change Science in the Geography Department at University College of London), proposing that the onset of the Anthropocene began in 1610.  In that year carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit its lowest point after 50million indigenous North and South Americans had been massacred by European colonization.  The carbon levels reflected this erasure of human activity from the planet by plummeting along with the population.  The course of the planet's future was irreversibly altered by European colonialism in its transfer of plants, animals, diseases and technologies to the ethnically curated landscape of the Americas; the Industrial Revolution and the "Great Acceleration" mere logical conclusions to those horrific initiations.

 

The official naming of human impact on the geological record sits like that deep sick feeling you got as a kid when you did something bad. Not the kind of bad that got you a smack you could brag to your friends about later but the kind of bad that disappointed the people who loved you.  Its the kind of feeling that disturbs your sense of security as the apple of somebody's eye and eats away at your sense of perpetual occupancy within a dynamic you took for granted to be unconditional, eternal.  Discovering that you were responsible for it sustaining or not was a heavy weight to hold with those little arms and there is much relevance in that experience for all of us grappling with the guilt of our complicity in Earth's suffering.  Unless of course, you are one of a handful of celebrated sociopaths that stand to gain short term personal benefit from the destruction of the planet. They don't seem to feel too poorly about it. These cowboys of capitalism approach the Anthropocene like Kubrick's Major Kong bull riding an atom bomb to its target, ecstatically charged by the nuclear crotch rocket ride. 

Dubbed "Anthropocene Optimists", this band of wealthy white men and the deluded science writers that love them are not Apocalypse Optimists as we define it, these guys are not advocating for change but rather the perpetuation of the western imperialist culture of conquest.  Look! The shiny plaque says "ANTHROpocene and Anthro means human so its OUR age! We won! We beat nature!!" Champagne raining down on bikini ladies, percussive chorus of high fives audible across the universe… Frat Boys like geographer Erle Ellis who sees the Anthropocene "as the beginning of a new geological epoch ripe with human directed opportunity" (yeeehaawwww) or the super sonic drop TED sexy Elon Musk aka. Captain Fuck The Planet.

ADHD-overachiever-single-sex-school-educated-victim-of-violent-bullying-in-his- youth-abandoned-at-10-by-his-mother-free-market-superpreneur-billionaire Elon Musk wants to save us all by taking some of us to Mars with him because "An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: an engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct."  

This green and blue ball Elon? Really?  

So basically the evolution of our species depends on the Delta Kappa Roofies coming up with a plan to save us all using the same approach to existence that drove us to the Anthropocene in the first place.  Somehow i don't think it will be to my benefit. 

DKR: "We weren't going to invite you anyways"

Me: "Ya, I figured as much, well hope you guys have a nice time up there, hope there's nice uh… shops and…jobs"

A Mars colony is inter-planetary colonization and we are going forward with this model as a species because…. Its worked such wonders for us since 1610? This latter day sci-fi expression of neo-colonialism is not bound by any accountability or civic responsibility other than to make money.  Any(deeplypsychologically traumatized) individual that can steer the gears of the free market system successfully enough can fly their own spaceship to Mars, populate it and rule it as their Capitalist value systems dictate.  We are a globalized nationhood of consumers; multi-national patriots, will we be claiming Mars in the name of Space-X corporate funders? Gazing out at the night sky one can almost make out Elon in his space suit planting the flag for universal neo-colonialism, a smattering of corporate logos on a white nylon rectangle, as it waves back in a blast of air conditioning.

While Anthropocene Optimists view the dawn of a new epoch with a prospector's gleam in their eye, looking ahead with eyes blind to the pattern linking the past to the now, Apocalypse Optimism demands a moment of silence for the passing Holocene.  From our first tentative steps away from hunting and gathering to gardening and domesticating other life forms, the rise and fall of our earliest known civilizations, the discovery of buried reptilian giants that brought the mythology of monotheism to bare, the time we figured out how to makebows and arrows and alllll the way up to that time we figured out Major Kong's bomb.  As the scientific community deliberates the start date of the Anthropocene, I am feeling the pangs of the loss of the Holocene, an emotional process that holds within its promise opportunities for grace and discovery.

Beyond the fear that the contemplation of death evokes, there is the tenderest sadness. The sadness of realizing that I am partially separate from this place, that my time here is limited and how deeply I will miss it when I am no longer living in intimate connectedness with it.  This place of absolute wonder; of rocks that get squeezed into color, of everybody's unique way of looking at a thing, of the delicate tracing of a cockroach's antennae, of humans and animals and plants and insects devouring one another and simultaneously desperately needing one another, of creatures on the ocean floor lighting their surroundings from within, of all the orgiastic fucking of all the creatures at all times in all spaces, of festering wounds and tender words, of ecstatic birth, the intricate weave of growth and ultimately the relief of death…To leave this planet is a devastating loss and whose to say that this feeling we seem to have as a species, this drive to keep on living even in the face of overwhelming threats to our survival, aren't so deeply engrained in us because we live in this place, this green and blue ball?  

Could Mars inspire such curiosity?Such awe? A space colony would be the equivalent to living in a mall in the middle of a desert. How long could you live in a mall without needing to kill yourself? Imagine even having to spend a week stuck inside a fucking mall.  I realize that some people do this on purpose and its called a Cruise vacation but at least they can breathe sea air and look out on a dynamic natural landscape.  After a week of living inside a completely manufactured space would you be creating pieces of art? Contemplating the universe and why it works the way it does? Coming up with creative solutions to plaguing problems? No, you will be a hollow husk of your former humanity, lobotomized by the mundane inanities of a life without wonder. 

There is no saving the planet.  The planet will endure our existence as a human would a staff infection and when the infection is gone it will continue turning, churning out life forms fit for its current conditions.  This will happen in the blink of an eye from Earth's sense of time and in that same sense the Anthropocene will be a short and final climax of human dominion of the planet.  While we are still here there is much to be done in the way of easing Earth's current bout of human infection so that the endurance of our impact is made easier. There is peace in that for us to rest in.  

I stuck a stick in a vase of water once for lack of knowing what to do with the inopportune gift from my toddling son. A week later I discovered the stick was a branch from an apple tree because there it was, in full bloom next to the stove where I'd left it; a disembodied appendage of apple blossoms.  With it's final breaths, it chose as only a tree can choose, to bloom.   This caused a deep pause in me, one in which I decided that was the kind of death I wanted.  To die in the throws of offering something beautiful to the world, even if that world is a small kitchen in an old apartment block, population:2.  I can only hope that I will be able to muster the integrity it takes to spend my last moments honouring the things that made living on this planet unique in all the known universe. To leave something beautiful behind even if it's only the perfume of my love for this Earthly life left to linger on one long exhale of breath… 

(light blunt with burning ticket to Mars, fade to black) 

 

...

"If we get through this bloody business we can thank all the Gods there are plus the Supreme Being and Mother Kali mother of all.  What are we hear for if not to enjoy life eternal, solve what problems we can, give light peace and joy to our fellow man and leave this dear fucked up planet a little healthier than when we were born... We certainly live more than once, do we ever die is the question.  In any case, thank God we are alive and of the stars unto all eternity" - Henry Miller, personal memo 1969

End notes:

The Anthropocene: Promises and Pitfalls of an Epochal Idea by Rob Nixon http://edgeeffects.net/anthropocene-promise-and-pitfalls/ 

Comedian Duncan Trussell Interviews his dying mother for his Podcast "The Duncan Trussell Family Hour" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP8iVVg7i1I

Elon Musk interviewed by the king of all wankers, TED curator Chris Anderson (never forgiving you for that shit you pulled on Sarah Silverman Chris) http://www.ted.com/talks/elon_musk_the_mind_behind_tesla_spacex_solarcity 

Author Henry Miller reading from his journal after a time of personal struggle in the film "The Henry Miller Odyssey" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXTKk0qivbA

A Recipe Ode to Sick My Duck Elon Musk

Awww mannnn, dehyrdated ice cream again?!

Ingredients

The entire food-stuff content of the SpaceX Centre Food Court

Method

-Place your tray of "food" down on a table in the centre of the seating area at lunch time.

-Slowly and deliberately remove all of your clothing including shoes and socks.

-Climb up on the table and stand in your food, pause to feel the pleasure of re-heated petridish meat squish between your toes.

-Scream "I AM ANIMAL" while emptying the contents of two squeeze bottles of ketchup over your head

-When security comes to remove you, run toward them with arms open wide crying "Mama,you came back" and embrace them in a tearful, ketchupy bear hug.

 

An Open Letter to White People by a Recovering White Person

Yes. You are. 

You are privileged. 

White privilege is a new thing.  Don't get me wrong, white people creating oppressive systems that benefit themselves at the cost of untold suffering born on the backs of *black people is a story as old as spit. White Privilege as a term came about in academia in the 60's but #WhitePrivilege that is new and it has allowed for a public discourse on the subject via social media, creating a colloquial meaning as it is lived and understood by the non-academic masses. AND YET this monumental happening sure to benefit the human race seems to be going down like hot vomit with the caucazoids.  It is difficult to understand why that is when it is the core issue to so many other issues that get em all fired up! Saving the Whales? You're not saving the whales from indigenous people that hunt what, 1 whale a year? You are saving them from off-shore drilling, commercial fishing…basically the industrial use of the ocean as a giant toilet and those things are made possible by the global capitalist cancer built on colonial ethics of which white privilege is the by-product.  You still here? Good, now let us go deeper down the rabbit hole…..

The very nature of white privilege is elusive to white people and so you may be led to believe that if you aren't a white male corporate CEO that it doesn't apply to you.  Sorry you have to find out this way but…if you are white, then it applies, its been applying to you your whole life.  Think of your whiteness as a backstage pass, it has been granting you access to things that not everybody gets access to.  Allow me to demonstrate.  

I recently went to a public hospital to visit a friend.  I walked through the busy lobby and up the elevator to the 4th floor ward she was in.  We chatted for quite some time when her sister, a black woman, joined us.  She asked how I got in so quickly, I told her I just walked right in. Did you come through the front door? Ya. Wasn't the lobby full of people? Ya. That was the waiting room. No one stopped you from getting in the elevator because they assumed you were a doctor, I've been stuck down there this whole time. Sure enough on my exit I saw, for the first time, a security guard taking names of the people arriving and putting them on a waiting list and granting them elevator access one by one.  On average, they were waiting half an hour or more out of their visitor's hour in the lobby.  I had walked right through, assuming none of the cacophony of the place applied to me, I was just going to go see my friend upstairs. Presto alakazam, white privilege backstage pass. 

Yes. You are.

You are racist and there is no reverse racism.

As a white person living in a capitalist country, you have inherited the **colonial mindset and all the perks that come with it whether you asked for it or not. Now this is not your Grandpappy's racism, that style of racism got shoo'd behind the rainbow nation flag and is now pretending to be colourblind (What's that colour there? Blue. Congratulations, you are not colourblind).  Today's racism is just blatantly systemic.   It prefers to stay inside and count all of the money.  Even still, it can't resist a good game of Cultural Appropriation. For those amongst you still clinging to your naiveté security blanket;  cultural appropriation is what happens when members of a majority culture adopt and regurgitate out of context, the creative content of a minority culture. The #zumamustfall campaign being a perfect illustration.  This - double dose of the fingerquotes- "campaign" played out locally with a very sad, very white "march" on parliament by a handful of middle aged wealthy white people, calling for the fall of the president.  All those things are within their democratic right to do BUT they went ahead in full smugness and misappropriated the hashtag #rhodesmustfall from the recently successful students movement to remove the statue of Cecil John Rhodes (Captain Colonisation) from the university campus to do it.  And if that wasn't enough smug, all 12 of them got together in one of their luxuriously furnished Camps Bay lounges with maids in the kitchen rolling their eyes and decided to fund a large #zumamustfall billboard and put it up in the middle of town because access to capital because white privilege.

zuma-must-fall-billboard.jpg

As for white people claiming reverse racism, I know it hurts our whittle white feewings to hear black people protesting generalized white people behaviour because " I'm white and I don't act that way".  If its behaviour you don't condone then its only the whiteness that you identify with and take personally ya?  Well white as a race is a social invention, learn more about it and you can choose whether its something that describes you and how personally you want to take it.  In the meantime, this:

Yes. You are.

You are not listening.

Being listened to is a skill that white people are trained in from birth because we have a say. Constitutions are written by us for us and the subtext is so white it doesn't even show up on the page.  So when nations founded on open immigration policies are faced with a surge of black would-be immigrants, the rules change.  Think; Ethiopian jews' struggle to claim the Right of Return in Israel, Syrian refugees denied access to Canada, eugenic racial profiling at Ellis Island in the US, to name so few from a list as long as the majority members of parliament in these places are white. 

The first obstacle to listening is difficult for the privileged white because it involves not talking.  Then it requires hearing the words as they are spoken by the other person and not putting your own meaning on it.  It was #Rhodesmustfall not #FelicityJonesof22SawkinsRdYOUmustfall.   Hearing it that way is not listening, its taking things not meant for you and running away with it... which sounds a lot like colonialism don't it?  The Colonial worldview was such that wherever a colonialist stood, that was the centre of the universe and they could do what they liked because they planted a flag there. Not anything useful like a tree, or a flower, nope just a stick.  And though you may not have been there when it happened, you live in a system built from those values. If that remains unexamined in your life then your mind stays colonized and your actions and choices perpetuate that thinking at the cost of having an open mind with a capacity for listening.

Of course white people have struggles too. No one is discounting personal pain but all too often in this conversation a white person, when hearing about the pain of living as a black person on planet Earth, speaks over them (internally, blocking their capacity to empathize while remaining outwardly attentive because no one wants to be racist- correction, no one wants to appear racist) with "well what about my pain?!" Another person speaking to truth of their experience is not a hidden accusation that your experience is not relevant.  To listen to someone else and feel their pain does not dismiss your pain, it moves to heal it.  Because we are all suffering in this system born of the European colonial mindset, no one is winning so it feels strange to be seen as a winner when you feel lost and losing.  If I could suggest however, that instead of moving to defend yourself and your pain, try imagining how much WORSE it would be to have inherited this system of pain and be barred from the opiates that allow it to be tolerated if only barely ie. capital and the sense of false power and distraction it provides.  

 

Yes. You are.

You are white.

You can not unwhite yourself because your whiteness will be upheld by the system.  In the story we are given, Eminem was a white trash kid with mommy issues who could battle rap bester than all the rest. But unlike any of the poor black kids from 8 mile who battled him and won (no MC in the history of street corner cyphers has ever won EVERY battle) he went on to make 8 studio albums over 14 years with total sales over 172 000 000.  As an African American and leader of the same Hip-Hop sub-culture to which Eminem is a devotee, Dr. Dre (whose own career, including his NWA and Wrecking Cru projects, spanned 31 years of effort and only sold 22 920 000 albums) knew all too well that he could only go so far because this little culture of HipHop exists within a greater culture of white privilege and without that white privilege back stage pass he would need a white puppet to get in.  

So go ahead and know the lyrics to Jay-Z's entire discography but if you must sing along, that word? You know the one. That one is not for you because in his very specific cultural context it is a powerful reclamation, in yours it is racist. And maybe his context does look way cooler than yours (thanks to white privilege media) but systemic poverty is anything but cool and if you love the music, respect the reality don't perpetuate the sensationalised and covertly racist version you've been silver spoon fed.  If you are uncertain if something you are saying or doing is racist, ask a friend because some of your best friend's really are black by now…surely…right? Please say they are and let them be authentic friendships that can weather some honest conversations about race.  If not, ask this guy.

As for me I hope that I will continue to be called out on my ignorances because I will always be a recovering white person and my whiteness brings whiteness with me wherever I go. I have no prescriptive solution here, I'm just trying to stay open, to track the neuropaths of colonial brainwashing in my mind and busy myself with ideas and behaviours that leave those synapses to atrophy from lack of use.  Ideas like creating new systems that use the bullshit of this system as fertilizer in growing food for humanity's evolution; nothing less than a main stage Apocalypse (no backstage required).  


* using the term "black" to describe all people of colour in line with Bantu Stephen Biko's 1971 SASO Leadership paper that states:

 "We have defined blacks as those who are by law or tradition politically, economically and socially discriminated against as a group in the South African society and identifying themselves as a unit in the struggle towards the realization of their aspirations.
This definition illustrates to us a number of things:
  1. Being black is not a matter of pigmentation - being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.
  2. Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being."

credit to Leila Khan for directing me to the contents of this paper

**I use colonial as opposed to neo-colonial because although there are systemic symptoms specific to modern era colonialism, I feel it is the same old shit with new tricks.  



A Recipe Ode to An Open Letter

for white's only

Ingredients:

1m² of the Earth's surface

durham wheat seeds

white tears

empty jars

rain water

Method:

-Sit on your 1m² of Earth for an entire year, observing all the nuances and transitions of the natural world around you, then approach it with the humility it deserves as the source of all life on the planet of which yours is but one. 

-Consider that you are a guest here and act accordingly.

-Let the sadness of your soul fall out your eyes in gushing waves but don't get too carried away now, keep in mind you need to squirt those tears into the jars lest all that crying would come to no utility for humanity.

-Plant your seeds at the time you observed nature planting its seeds.

-Collect rain water in the rainy season

-Let the growth of these simple plants replace your sadness with hope then harvest them in the prime of their fruiting youth- grind the harvested grains between the stones you find in the earth of your 1m².

-Mix with the rain water you've collected until a doughlike consistency then roll out into thin noodles.

-Boil in your salty tears to al dente

-Serve with a solid dose of humility and garnish with thyme.