Free Dada Riot

'Dada Hero' by Jay Schwartz Dada is like your hopes: nothing.
Like your paradise: nothing.
Like your idols: nothing.
Like your heroes: nothing.
Like your artists: nothing.
Like your religions: nothing.
-Francis Picabia
“In those days we were all Dadaists. If the word meant anything at all, it meant seething discontent, dissatisfaction and cynicism. Defeat and political ferment always give rise to that sort of movement.”
– George Grosz


How often do you bang your head against the same wall? Why is it so hard to learn some lessons? Why are we addicted to stupidity and denial? Why are we suckers for flights of fancy? Why do we allow our egos to get the best of us?

These question are easily answered, but require large dollops of mind altering ‘faith’ that are not easily swallowed. In fact, by nature our egos detest blind-faith in anything. So instead we moan, groan and bitch about life and learn to mentally masturbate ourselves into insanity and denial.

Now, no one said life itself was easy. In fact, no one said anything of any nature! We arrive in this plane of existence with no guarantees. We have no receipt for the deeds of past lives; we are born with a clean slate. Our whole lives are ahead of us … followed by our inevitable deaths. Whether we will be granted another ‘go’ on the carousel of life is a matter of speculation … especially for the blind leading the blind.

In the meantime, God (fill-in this space with of your choice here or enter ‘not applicable’ if you are an atheist/agnostic) gives us different talents, abilities and proficiencies to help us get by in terms of finding happiness and maintaining our sanity. Yet, we regularly misuse or ignore these capacities, preferring instead to enslave ourselves to a system we call ‘the establishment’ that sucks away on our life force on a daily basis. This ‘golden calf’ keeps us distracted from what’s important in life, while it encourages us to look over ‘there’ to what we are ‘without’, rather than over ‘here’ to what would constitute as ‘within’.

Yet for some, questions persist …

"Male Ego, III", 1966Religion offers us after-lives, heaven, hell, and reincarnation to address the meaning of life. In marketing terms, it’s the old ‘bait and switch’ tactic. Distraction from our mundane existence conjures up fantasy and fervor, along with a good helping of ignorance. All that is required is blind faith (sound familiar?), and perhaps a monetary contribution or two … or three … or four … or just leave a blank check.

When I was young and growing up in Miami Beach, a keen novelty souvenir for northern “snowbird” tourists was a can of Florida sunshine. I imagine that whoever thought up the idea was a marketing genus, or perhaps a member of clergy who ‘wised up’. I mean, as a consumer, buying into theories of life after death requires a certain level of blind faith. There’s much less emotional investment in a can of sunshine … or even a ‘pet rock’.

Now, I’m honest enough to say I don’t have all the answers. And the hardest part is to say that looking for answers is probably just a waste of time … especially when Dada has the answer!

In the introduction of his Dada Manifesto, Tristan Tzara contemplated existence: “You explain to me why you exist. You haven’t the faintest idea. You will say: I exist to make my children happy. But in your hearts you know that isn’t so. You will say: I exist to guard my country, against barbarian invasions. That’s a fine reason. You will say: I exist because God wills. That’s a fairy tale for children. You will never be able to tell me why you exist but you will always be ready to maintain a serious attitude about life. You will never understand that life is a pun, for you will never be alone enough to reject hatred, judgments, all these things that require such an effort, in favor of a calm level state of mind that makes everything equal and without importance.” … So there.

Pussy_Riot (Denis_Bochkarev)Free Pussy Riot

Considering puns and a “level state of mind”, I began writing this post under the shadow of the recent one-year anniversary of a travesty of justice. Almost one year ago, three members of the art collective, Pussy Riot, began serving a two-year insanely nihilistic prison term. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, along with Ekaterina Samutsevich (now free on probation), fell victim to Vladimir Putin’s crack down on political dissent in civil society, religious communities and journalist related organizations.

The women were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for staging a 40-second nonviolent ‘punk music’ laced protest in Moscow’s main cathedral to protest against the Russian government’s authoritarian repression of free speech, womens’ rights, LGBT rights, and the dilution of the separation between Church and State for political purposes (vote hoarding). Recently, the two women, both of them mothers of young children, were denied parole having been judged to be “insufficiently repentant” for their crime, while somewhere in Moscow, Putin mentally masturbates over his ego.

The art-based protest, Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!, sparked questions concerning the nature of art. Practically a hundred years ago, similar questions were raised by the dadaists, as well as their snooty detractors. Such questions inevitably lead to those concerning the meaning of life itself. Nevertheless, I would suggest that it’s one thing to raise questions whose aim are to stimulate one to action. It’s another thing altogether to pose questions merely to drool over one’s ego … which is most likely why Tristan Tzara suggested that “the real dadas are against Dada”.

To these questions, I get the feeling that we all have solutions, but we don’t trust ourselves enough to do ‘the right thing’ and follow our instincts and dreams. This is the challenge, perhaps, to learn to have faith in ourselves and commit to our passions … and Dada!


Click Here For My Other Posts On Dadaism


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The Souljazz Orchestra: Manifesto

“Manifesto” by The Souljazz Orchestra – Help support independent artists!


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