Atlas Plugged A Meter

Ah, Art. When hasn’t it served the whims of power?


In this calamitous new dark age of outlandish wealth disparity, unprecedented secret surveillance, marauding kill-robots, world-destroying corporate negligence, and this asshole, it seems only fitting, even inevitable, that we here at the Playhouse should follow suit (& tie) — if for no other reason than to be properly dressed for our culture’s funeral.

And so we at the Playhouse have pledged to hang up our hater’s hat, fish our fly out of the ointment, turd-proof the punchbowl, and cut short the stream of piss trickling down on this grand parade of late-late-stage capitalism that’s goose-stepping us toward a new Golden Dawn of limitless prosperity & perfect citizenship — because let’s face it, our only alternative anymore is indefinite imprisonment.

As any bureaucrat knows, nothing greases the gears of gentrification like a liberal application of Art-lube. And the charmed toilers of the Creative Class — with our empty bank accounts, ennui, useless degrees, debt defaults, & eternally replenishing stores of noxious, misguided idealism — are ever vigilant for the sound of the chow-bell clanging down at the intersection of Commerce & State, calling us back to the dinner table to masticate another Orwellian city ordinance into something palatable, and vomit it back to the general public in a stream of distracting colors and dazzling platitudes.

So it is in this new spirit of starving subservience to brutal, endless power that we respond to a recent local “Call to Artists” [update: in response to my submission they took all information about the call to artists off the city’s website. See next chronological post for a partial explanation. Sorry we didn’t take screencaps.] Just like other cities all over this One Nation Under Galt, our town’s whitest, bourgiest, most entitled buffoons are hard at work appropriating another acre of agora, rendering it sufficiently sterile to safely conduct their unctuous coitus of capital.


What we’re saying is, we’ve sold out. We’ve shackled our Muse to the sweatshop table to fabricate some discount cultural replication. Below are our proposals for how to dress up the Emperor’s “Donation Stations* in some glittering, hip new raiments:


Just picture it — you’re walking down the promenade with Jayden, Cayden, and some cage-free gelato from the farmer’s market when you come across this comforting & handsome visage of Authority — a statue of an armed, uniformed officer of the peace, Just Doing His Job of tamping down the skull of a disgusting, diseased local poor. Imagine how secure you’ll feel, as a white, property-owning yuppie, under the shadow of this hulking representation of American economic reality. Dolling up a “Donation Station” in this lifelike resin sculpture won’t just entreat you to feed the head of power — it will reward you for doing so, when you indulge in the thrill of literally stepping on a homeless person to reach the meter. Here’s a side view:


Who says fascism can’t be fun? Who says autocracy can’t be art?


Above is a detail of the vanquished street-person’s hand, showing the ticket he’s been given at the homeless shelter/welfare office/immigration office/DMV etc, to reassure you that — whether we warehouse him in the morgue, the prison, or some snitch-infested “shelter” on the south side of town — the city is working overtime to remove these rancid reminders of civilization’s failure from your sight & mind.

As a supplement, here’s another, more Rube-Goldbergian interactive design we dashed off just in case there’s more room in the city budget (after all, there are at present already nine hungry “Donation Stations” installed downtown):


The idea here is to construct a device that is not only pointlessly, lethally dangerous, but to honor the machinery of our beloved hypercapitalism in a way that wastes the maximum amount of city resources on a project guaranteed to do the least possible good. When you plug a quarter in the slot it starts the steel teeth churning, and any bedless, bootstrapless bum parked on the precarious park bench is guaranteed to get ground up in the merciless, metaphorical metal gears!

We still haven’t heard back from our Downtown District‘s nefarious cabal of petty powerbrokers, but we’ve got the champagne chilling anyway, just in case we score this lucrative city-art commission. Fingers crossed!

Speaking of wanton capitalism — if you enjoyed this post, please consider a small gift to the Playhouse’s own “donation station” — the gold paypal button on the sidebar above. The way we go about alienating sources of artist revenue, you just know this is the only way we’re ever going to get paid.

*Some explanation, for those too busy to click links: “Donation Stations” are like parking meters for when you want to say “fuck off and die” to a nearby homeless person. Advertised in classic newspeak fashion as a way to “help the homeless,” the idea seems to be part of the city’s prepackaged “revitalization” efforts, aka “Randian fascism for rich white cowards.” The machines’ only discernible use is as a passive-aggressive weapon of class war, as they are devised to help you deliberately & ostentatiously refuse to help the homeless & needy. Don’t like the dirty wingnut spanging in front of your fave fro-yo boutique? Now you no longer even need to acknowledge the existence of these despicable derelicts long enough to speak to them — just step right over the pleading wretches, saunter over to the purple parking meter, pop in a quarter or two, & walk on, sending a firm message that you’d rather feed a cold, dead machine than a living human being. It’s a sort of gentleman’s way of declaring, “sure, I can spare the money you need to survive — now let’s see you try to pry it out of this impenetrable metal box!

The only downside to this brilliant initiative is the couple of quarters they harvest from the meters goes to “charity.” But rest assured, hardly anyone seems sadistic enough to actually use these things in sight of other people — ensuring that, as usual, everyone loses but bureaucracy.