Dedicated to three special women who had been doing their utmost to make our crude and automatized reality a better place to live; where we, brothers and sisters, could still believe in the redemptive power of art and generosity, at least to dare to hope that everyone (next or a little far away from us) will free up themselves from any kind of slavery some day. Margaret Kargbo (Margo), Miki Turner, and Laurel Holloman ¾ with their remarkable steps into resistance and non-acceptance, they show us by their art and praxis that it is still possible to dream about what writer Bernard Shaw said once: if “without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable”, without generosity, and the very act of looking at and supporting the other (weaker and so for it shattered like glass by the whole hideous corporation motion), our route will be nothing but a trap. This is that precious and priceless “drop in the ocean” these three special women just admirably catch up with and overtake. Three artists: a writer, a photographer, a painter whose work I get delighted with and, for sure, will always reverberate.
He went down the stairs of the Hall of Condemned Slaves, out to the nearly deserted street, at 7:52 am. Cold for the heat of the room itself, absently seeking some pallid face of such invalid person somewhat similar to him, that screwed-up man envisioned nothing but his (mis)printed fate. Over there, the ground appeared to be strange to him, floating in front of that “in-the-flesh person” as well as emerging like a machinery pillow ready to overcoat his face, or any wishtrick reputedly coming from his heart ¾ never mind, the march would set out by him.
The street-basis surface made of that gross concrete pavement as if dancing to the same tune of his dark; or in the best-case scenario, claiming against that whole push-me-pull-you path from someone distressed over their piloted blindness to death, to the gallows execution by the most sophisticated method of people’s fading out and slacking off ¾ he (thick or leniently) felt like having missed out on the route of such overall need for brightness, even without passing up the condition for an existence outweighed by a foot-by-foot strolling in his broken journey. Beggaring tacks, trampling upon ticks, going under $$$ agenda, tick-tack, tick-tack everyone’s failure ¾ and over there, his everyday-life torments, or just a way back into his sentence of imprisonment. A Failed C. ¾ his very value, his code, his alias, and the preponderant motif.
He ¾ a Slave-Man Server. No limits, no worth. His crime ¾ a mélange of misdemeanor lightness and synchronized handicap (his inaptitude to C.). So clapped-out, so suitable. His punishment ¾ a day-by-day walk back into a horrid-insect crime. His steps out the hall of slave prisoners ¾ nothing but steps into the underground of commitment he had been inept to juggle with slyness. A weaker consent, or such last-but-not-least form of life guidance ¾ even if delirious or boxed in ¾ than none at all. The rules had been clear: you ought to C.
In procession, that was how all the attendees were compelled to act out. The scenario: a piquet ahead, the one responsible for synchronizing the bank-note multitude and their expected reaction: everybody wished the condemned slave a crude execution ¾ he had after all broken the C.-Law. This first soldier was followed by a trumpeter, who titillated and spread out the defendant’s sentence over the street corners ¾ it was indispensable that everyone was once again well informed about (and well indoctrinated in) what legislators ruled and judges used to apply to blatant cases of rule violations like that.
After the Police of People’s Identity and Actions, the transgressor came out between men and women (and children with their puppets) to give rise to the announced spectacle: his execution by hanging. All-in-all? Nothing to struggle against or complain about: “Justice had been served” without any baffles in the process ¾ this, the way it always goes when someone breaks the Law No. $$$-813/72A (the so-called C.-Law).
Anyway, the march had to go on. Foot after foot, all the attendees paced with no stupefaction, no fellow-feeling, and no resistance. The present authorities paced as well, in such automatized motion. And the condemned, dressed in white, as desperately trying to figure out a way to free up himself from that next insurmountable groove was also forced to march to the gallows. Foot after foot, hopelessness after others’ idiocy and lack of mercy, disgrace after his unnumbered voiceless cries. The slave marched, and marched. As walking his chalks, the only thing available to him was that desperate far-fetched walk to his deadline.
No one appeared to be stunned. No one gave a damn. No one tried to put a stop to that absurd. Everybody knew, everybody sensed, but there was not even a person to shrug off, or to hold out against. Over there, along with that procession, people were just supposed to be ready… to toe the line, to dance to the music of the Major Department of Executions of the Special Court Tribunal for Failed-Cs’ guidelines. That was the rule: if you are not able to C., you are not able to L. (C. and L. were, in that case, and for any context, conceived as the highest intertwined values).
Around-the-clock interest, everyone marched. When all those people, including the slave prisoner, reached the right place (The High Justice Square) where he would be hung, the soldiers and all the authorities made a circle inside of which the slave and his butcher were invited to take their glorious positions. The execution would begin. Behind, beside and at the helm of both men into the circle, people clap their hands, they intoned the Hymn of the Progress, everyone was excited by that incredible spectacle. Three huge loudspeakers announced: it was the right moment for the public performance ¾ the so expected gallows execution.
The defendant, who had been voiceless and inert during his months-ago judgment, over there, surrounded by the audience and authorities and all those ostentatious interested in progress, over there that poor condemned slave trembled. He was not the same man. Even silently groaning all his deep-down objection to that death sentence, he did not invoked the Heaven, he did not begged for mercy, he did not even cried out. He just closed his eyes and waited the execution.
And then, as expected, the butcher tied the rope around the slave’s neck. It was 8:25 am. After that, the judge simply drew up the legal document, and waited for the hung man’s casket arrival to proceed to his 30-seconds burying.
Just like that: cold, hideous, and technocratic. That was how one among others millions of condemned slaves ended up their ordinary existence. And would be like that for many and many years yet… Until… Actually, this hope is but a dream. Is it?
One important note: I got stunned by a book I have been recently reading (No meio das galinhas as baratas não têm razão / Among chickens, the cockroaches are wrong). That’s what this current text (my today “fictionism”) is all about. Based upon a law ruled by judges in Brazil in 1835 (The Law of Death Penalty for Slaves), historian João Luiz Ribeiro wrote a precise and precious analysis on all those subdued people who were sentenced to death for raising their hands and voice against slavery and the whole crudeness prompted by their “lords”. Into this book, there was an excerpt dedicated to narrate one, among countless others, slave’s walk into his execution by hanging in 1836. My today ficcionism, originally brought out in Portuguese on paginacultural, is then dedicated to redo this moment by trying to think about it in terms of our new “sophisticated” methods of slavery and condemnation… what I call C. herein (the corporation motion based upon Consumption, the Consumerism)…