Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If the Trumpet could speak

H/T Gerard via Buzzfeed
Is the young anarchist in the photograph proud of himself? Is he? He is all but naked, he is holding in his teeth a pair of very expensive sunglasses, and though frozen for a moment forever, you can make out the swagger of a man who believes he has accomplished something very important with his wanton act of vandalism. He has made a statement, of course.

Death to the police! The law be damned.

But I am not interested in him...he's a piece of wondrous crapmanship, all right. No. It is the trumpet that has caught my eye.

The trumpet was made according to very strict guidelines. The combination of copper and nickel  and other metals was exact, the precise width and bend of the pipes were carefully hammered out, and it was passed on to someone else who buffed and cleaned and polished and buffed again and again and again.

The specific color of brass that plated it was not some helter skelter crap shoot, but a precise calculation by metallurgists.

The inlaid pearl on the buttons, and the springs, and every little detail that went into the exquisite etchings on its bell made this manly instrument a work that required many skilled hands and minds, with the end result being that the man playing the trumpet submits to the authority of a conductor, who not only knows the trumpeter's part, but all the parts of the symphonic work as well, with the trumpeter playing only his parts when called upon. The trumpeter must trust that the conductor knows his job, and the conductor must trust the trumpeter to likewise know his music and instrument.

The trumpet and the trumpeter are the outcome of strict, ordered and well-disciplined minds and hands, as its  music is also ordered. They are in tune with all around them, and take their cues from all around them. And as a result of the order and skill, we who are not skilled in the playing of the trumpet  meet with the sublime and are elevated by it.

So, clearly, the man holding the trumpet is not worthy of such a fine creation. As an anarchist, it is the wrong instrument for him. He should be playing the vuvuzela. The vuvuzela is a loud, obnoxious, plastic one-note irritant. Those who blow it adhere to no civilized rules of decency, there is no music in its bell, it is an abomination from hell. It is mass produced by people who don't care about anything but selling as many of these noise makers as possible. It is the base, appealing to the low.

Why is he holding this trumpet? Have you ever just walked into a store and bought a trumpet? It is an expensive thing. Not a toy to be played with.

The vuvuzela is more fitting for the sort of money an anarchist would pay out for anything, if he so much as thought about paying for something.

Not that I can imagine him actually paying for anything. Perhaps he will be allowed to make monthly payments on a slightly toasted police car.  I wonder what his credit score is.

Update: From Digital Journal via
Planck's Constant:

Quoth Alkidya in the comments:  
"My take on the Trumpeter??? 
He, along with a hundred other Black Bloc anarchist thugs broke into the "Mettro Sound and Music" store on Yonge Street, looted the place and he got the last musical instrument. His preference was an electric guitar but they were all taken.
First come first served. One guy tried to commit suicide atop a music store.
Maybe it was that trumpet guy? I hope he succeeded. "


  1. jewel:

    lovely post.

    as for myself, i am interested in the photographers who take the pictures, who depict the behaviors, yet somehow perceive themselves aloof and removed from the activity they witness.

    it is as though the responsibility of person has been removed from them.

    it is one thing to be a combat photographer, attached to a unit and side and to photograph battle as it occurs while you are subject to the rigors, discipline and danger of battle yourself. as were the combat photographers of wwii, like john huston and others.

    their involvement was very much like being a medic, and it was a brave and noble thing they did.

    contrast this with the modern photo journalist.

    the ones who know that an i.e.d. has been set, and so position themselves where they can photograph the instant of another's death, while doing nothing to intervene or prevent that death.

    so that they may broadcast that death, and realize personal profit from it, professional recognition, and perhaps advance the cause of a private zeal.

    the most vivid example of this i can remember is the woman photographer, american or canadian, i cannot remember, who took a photo of an iraqi or al queda sniper preparing to shoot at an american soldier, and, who, of course, did nothing to aid her fellow citizen in uniform, at least in part, to protect her freedoms.

    as far as i am concerned such people who take pictures and think themselves removed from moral responsibility for the same are the absolute scum of the earth.

    they are, at best, ciphers and at worst, complicit in the murders they record if not encourage.

    they neither have nor take refuge in the contention that they record their images for posterity, and are therefore somehow entitled to the moral estrangement of their aloof postures.


    they exploit a privileged position that we have conferred upon them by simple ignorance, lassitude and a refusal to either comprehend or contemplate their complicity in creating what they depict. in no small sense, the participants in life become their set piece models for the reality they postulate.

    in my view, any photographer who so acts should be considered legal complicit in the events photographed, for having encouraged them by their presence, and should be flogged in the street where they stand for doing so.


    well, what if a person were to come upon a murder by knife, or a rape of a child, while it is ongoing? should they intervene and try to prevent it, or should they photograph it to preserve the evidence of the human condition?

    the answer, in terms of morality, is clear.

    we know the fucking human condition, it has been recorded for thousands of years.

    its depiction is meaningless in the context of a life to save.

    this photograph was no different.

    artists my ass. aiders and abetters, is a far more accurate description, and conclusion, after about ten seconds worth of thought.

    a very solid post.

    john jay

  2. Amen and Amen to all that and more. I do note, with delicious schadenfreude, that the same artists burning down Toronto are being photographed by their compères, and that makes the anarchists most unhappy. What I have been seeing, and hope to see more of, is the opening of anarchistic can o' whoop-ass upon the sorry photographer who gets in the way of the performance art. In the words of one of the performance artists: "We don't want no fuckin' evidence"....itself a very telling thing. You would think that the true anarchist wouldn't care about being photographed or about the consequences, because he would note, well-ahead of the performance, that prison is a probable outcome and embrace the possibility with all the zeal of any true believer. But nope, no such thing as a true believer in their lot. For them it's about free stuff and breaking things, the limits of their college education...thanks postmodernists.

  3. This is a smart piece, indeed. I really like it. Thanks.

  4. How is the world treating you, Dag?

  5. No complaints. It sometimes takes just a short piece of good writing and thinking like yours above to make a big difference in ones life. Thanks for that.

    I particularly like the fineness of the analogy of the musical instrument as metonym of Modernity and the contrast with the plastic noise-maker. That's brilliant.

    In a hope of recovering my health after a nasty bout of tropical fevers I came to Canada to rest up a bit for my next adventure, which is on hold even now after all this time, and in the interrum I've been writing a first draft of a book that I hope will show how Modernity has come to the point of noise-making supplanting clarity and beauty as ethos and weltanschauung, a book that I hope will now include your piece as a prime example of what we have that we can lose if we aren't smart and concerned. Illness can focus the mind on the essentials and also can bring one to know fully the importance of the communal experience of living a personal life that passes while others remain but that one might hope will pass to others as better rather than worse if one lives rightly. I look on it as a teaching experience, to show others what we have that's good and right and what they can build on rather than not know of or hate from resentment. Yeah, I'm one of those naive types who thinks that much evil is a matter of ignorance. So your piece, so clear and lovely, is a gem of teaching what others might not have seen so well till now. It perks me up. If we do well we might leave a better world when we go.

    Maybe my next lunatic adventures will happen in Chile. They have a life expectancy of eighty years there. Some of it could rub off on me.

  6. Wow, Dag. You honor me. I'm sorry you were so ill. I fell in December, and it's been a real struggle for me just to take walks again. I broke my left ankle. About 2 years ago, I broke my right ankle. The last 2 years seem to be a fog of vicodin hazed pain. One of my daughters is going to have a baby in December, while the other is probably going to lose at least one ovary because of a large cyst she didn't even know she had, til she suddenly felt like she was having appendicitis. I am working on an essay of the madness of feminism, and in the next few days, I hope to have it posted. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. It's been awhile since I did some serious writing.

  7. Delicious, absolutely delicious. Haven't been here before, but adding you to my blogroll and I'll be back. You can count on it (maybe with dread, but you CAN count on it. LOL!)

  8. Look to the right and see your name in the Favorite Blogs list, GM.

  9. marvelous writing, just marvelous.

  10. Found you via Theo Spark, via Summer Patriot, Winter Soldier - as a {former} fellow Lancaster Countian {graduated Lancaster Catholic High School, lived in Denver/Ephrata area}, just wanted to say "Hi!" from the wilds NNE of Houston .........................

    Semper Fi'

  11. Nice to have you here, o ye of Lancastrated fame.


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