1. The guard on death row unconsciously speaks to the prisoner in the same way as the actor from a favourite childhood movie, playing out a meaningless emulation of the already existing thing – a type of doubling which brings no more meaning than an echo.
So many of us talk in these repeated ways and submerge our identities in brands and stories in order to have our Selves acknowledged by crowds, to feel ‘normal.’ Our unique value is lost.
2. “Because I am not __________, I am normal,” allows you to avoid the question of, “who am I, and what do I really believe?”
3. This exchange of identity for comfort has more than individual consequences for the guard who discards their identity: as mainstream corporate views are the front lines of a white supremacist and colonial gamble, exchanging individual value for comfort also bears the asterisk of becoming an ally for systemic violence against masses of human beings.
4. It is no coincidence that the mainstream aesthetic requires standards of ‘normal’ in order to cement the idea that any oppression against ‘abnormal’ persons is justified.
5. The dominant class receives consent from the population by pointing out who they are not.
The dominant class looks curiously identical to the standards of normal.
Violent systems require this consent to stay alive.
6. The illusion to ‘become more normal,’ aside from completely destroying people, provides a life-long distraction for privileged individuals to ignore who is dying for their relative privilege.
7. Nobody is normal because normal does not exist.
8. If the aesthetic of the dominant class (white, straight, able-bodied, upper class) sinks into the mind of the guard as ‘normal’ while he studied textbooks/superhero movies as a child, he will always defend the exploitation of the ‘abnormal masses,’ however violent, as sanctioned by the ‘natural’ (socialized) right of the dominant class to reign.
As an adult, his textbooks are replaced by films, ads, and news/tabloid updates.
9. An obsession with normalcy throws competence to the side. Incompetent leaders bring old ideas and receive support because of their aesthetic similarities with the socialized image of normal.
11. Imprisonment and systemic starving of ‘abnormal’ peoples aside, ideological in-breeding adds rust to strategies that no longer function in the interest of the majority: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is an adage used by the dominant class in a system that, whether or not it swallows ‘less-important’ lives, has permitted their power to continue relatively unrivaled. What incentive do the oligarchs have to change?
12. Instead of working to produce accountable models of governance that serve more than a hyper-minority, the dominant class obsesses over their own legitimacy through an impressive array of aesthetic and ideological reminders of who is illegitimate: criminal, effeminate, black, brown, gay, foreign, trans, terrorist, communist, thug (the new n-word), poor.
13. This obsession with legitimacy over quality has been exported across the world under the auspice of the ‘American Dream,’ or, ‘free market capitalism,’ to exploit the majorities of new spaces in old ways.
14. Take ten people accused of crimes. Nine fit with the aesthetic of ‘dominant.’ One does not. The gears of the ‘normal’ system sentences the ‘abnormal’ to death. Media covers every potential angle of the abnormal on trial.
A panel of the dominant class discusses sources of abnormality, and whether the person is to blame for being as dumb as a dog and as worthy of life as a squirrel, yelling at one another while the human is sent to death.
15. Others, dominant and Liberal, say the subhuman quality is not their fault, it’s due to other factors, still ignoring the wrong focus on the supposed abnormality of all those who do not fit into the deliberately exclusive dominant class aesthetic.
16. Exploiting our desire to be recognized in order to advance corporate interests gives people no credit. It also justifies the physical and economic enslavement of millions in systems designed to punish.
17. We need to abandon the aesthetic of normal and focus on those models of governance that serve the majority and give justice to all.
Obsessing over legitimacy will be the end of our species.
It will start with current prisoners and end with you.*