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Day Job - Page 42

fundamentally, insofar as it is a form of sublimation, a practice of culture as surrogation, through and through. All jobs are day jobs.

[35] That is why, in the stupid underground, work embraces its stupidity. Bike messenger, cappucino puller, cabbie, purveyor of used books and rags, health food bagger, record store peon, hip waiter or fast food shoveler, proofreader, phone-sex hustler, sub-programmer, security guard, venal rock-band manager, nouveau-entrepreneur: the day job still means a life carved in half, but now without the old cachet of noble struggle, without the slightest belief in fulfillment somewhere down the line, without the slightest romance of labor, however dialectical the sweat of thy brow, and with the certainty that the other half is permanently missing; one rarely bothers to yearn for it any more, and when one does, it's usually as a joke. Even the consolations with which one tries to beguile oneself for having to work are aggressively inane. The only bonus offered by fringe subsistence is stupid proof that one really is fringe (i.e., happy confirmation of one's "ressentiment"), an alibi drained from the outset by the certainty that fringe employment is central to the economy. Shit work is never anything but: the sheerest experience of personal waste, slow torture, indeed slow murder of limited time and energy that might be given over to music or art, but that is now precisely to say: to nothing at all. For art has become shit work too, and anyone who still falls for its false gratifications is merely and perhaps willfully blind to the fact that the apparent division between day job and real work only concealed a deeper unity, between art and society, on the very ground of alienation. That is why the avant-garde's committed refusal to work as a means toward self-realization--in the language of Berlin Dada, "Poetry Demands Unemployment"--gives way to the dully heroic limbo of slacking. The revolutionary fades into the slacker, itself now the figure of a widespread and, for the moment, profitable cliche; a figure who haunts even the most energetic promoters of the old paradigms of critical resistance and new world vision, and whose own most prominent lunge toward that new world amounts to not much more than erasing a few files on the boss's computer. For every Genesis P-Orridge still clamoring sub-revolutionary enthusiasms about the power of pop there is a Bob Black or Hakim Bey insisting, in terms quite as archaic, that

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