Friday, March 20, 2009

shoot the suit

I had a conversation recently with a climate activist about how some people we feel are onside end up saying something stupid that undermines our good work. Witness Mark Lynas' support for nuclear power and Jim Hansen's criticism of anti-aviation activists. It goes back into the mists of time. I remember well the big chief of Friends of the Earth, Charles Secrett, issuing a press release calling some Newbury bypass protesters 'hotheads and idiots'.

The activist I was talking to posited that these people are sellouts in proportion to the amount of time they spend in suits. Without wishing to sound a bit like 'never trust anyone over thirty', there's something to it.

It is not important to demonstrate causality here. Whether the suit remoulds the mind or the remoulded mind becomes attracted to suits is irrelevant. There is a clear established link between suit-wearing and talking a bunch of unhelpful arse.

The solution suggested was to form a genuine eco-terrorist group called Shoot The Suit. You know how nurses who work with X-rays and stuff have to wear little badges that react to radiation? If their badge changes colour they're taken away from that work before it does any damage. Shoot The Suit would be the activist equivalent, monitoring the amount of time spent in suits and taking out anyone overexposed before they can do any harm.

Personally, I think that's a bit hardcore, and perhaps offenders should initially be given the chance of rehabilitation via another kind of hardcore; compulsory membership of an anarcho-punk band.

Rather like an old-school boot camp that shaves your head and makes you do months of mindless square-bashing, people like Hansen would be given a mohican, doused in ketamine and forced to spend a year or two in squats shouting unintelligible rants about vivisection over brainmeltingly loud guitar that sounds like an avalanche of dirty gravel.

Hopefully this would redress whatever part of them has been knocked out of kilter. If, at the end of this, they are still found to be beyond hope then it's time for Shoot The Suit to take over.


Derek Wall said...

Sounds good to me, although I some times do spend time in a suit, I think a lot of ngo peoples can be far from radical, I guess Charles Secrett was wrong to put out the release...but I would not lump him in with the suits, seems modest and radical...where others are immodest and far from radical, certainly wanted to stress social justice themes at FoE...others at Foe wanted to marry Fox TV I believe!

Ran into Charles at Climate Camp...

Anonymous said...

Are suit toxicity levels reduced if the suit is worn *ironically*?

punkscience said...

Derek, you look as daft in a suit as everyone else. I've worn one on a total of 1 occasion in my 30 years, excluding penguin suits for formnal occasions. Proud, I am.

merrick said...

Derek, whilst Secrett undoubtedly did some good things, he used his prominent radical position to talk a load of anti-radical cobblers. Clear evidence of suit/cobblers connection.

Cat, the ironic use of suits is a dangerous game to play; many might go into it mockingly but become contaminated.

Anonymous said...

Can i please claim to be the exception that proves the rule? Come 7am i'll be in a suit, with nice cuff-links and a smart tie. I'm in one 5 days a week and have been for last 20 odd years. I just view it as a uniform, same way as a train driver has to wear one. I once wore a white dinner jacket to a Jethro Tull concert.... RA

Anonymous said...

Nah, it's not the suits. It can all be explained by the SubGenius theory of personality. There are 3 types of people - Larrys, Curlys and Moes. The guys you mention are all Larrys - regardless of their cause, their main concern is with their own ability to dominate the Moes.

There are very few Curlys, and none of them have the drive to achieve "leadership positions". Everyone in a "leadership position" is, more-or-less by definition, a Larry.

merrick said...

RA, you are not part of this as you don't publicly speak on environmental issues. Given your extensive suit-wearing, perhaps that's all to the good.