Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Alchemy of Dolts

See them running through the streets.

One carries a flaming brand, surrounded by hierophants protecting it from any adverse reaction. This is bad magic, an attempt to cast a web of toxic filaments across the country, to create an unbreakable mesh that will tie us down as sacrifices to appease their gods. Acolytes carry the flame in a symbolic burning down of our homes around us. Each thud of their dulling feet nails us down a little bit more securely.

Their procession glitters with representations of the noble metals they hope to win by this ritual. Governments fight amongst themselves in a circle of crushing misery. Governments fight for the honour of staging the gladiatorial contests. To win this purported prize means handing over more than they can possibly afford simply to appear magnanimous and important in the eyes of their rivals. It is a suicidal high status potlatch with every nation offering up its own inhabitants as the gift. Victory grants each government the possibility of crushing its citizens ever more ruthlessly and effectively to pay for the spectacle.

It is an alchemy of desperation.

By this ritual sacrifice of their inhabitants governments are attempting to demonstrate superpower status. Like the Games themselves, this is a brutal attempt at transmutation. Brazil is raising the stakes already, committing its population to paying both for the Olympics in 2016 and the World Cup in 2014.

And look what it’s won already! Brazil has eased ahead of Britain in GDP ranking even while the cold cruel flames of the Olympic torch are playing across crumbling British ruins. That’s triumph enough, justification enough for the slum clearances at gunpoint and a rising poverty that has seen Brazil fall behind such glamorous titans of affluence as Kazakhstan and Albania on the Human Development Index. The Games give countries the chance to compound years of systematic neglect with a new brutalisation of those same areas.

The procession and the advance throat-slitting are only preliminaries to the ritual itself. The communion will conclude with two weeks of eyeball-to-eyeball, toe-to-toe gouging, biting, savaging and maiming. The measure of the alchemical process will be the exchange of tokens of metal, and from this the false magicians will conclude that they have now secured riches.

This is the alchemy of idiots.

All those noble metals that have been usurped will now be redistributed. During their passage through the host country, like bacteria through the blood, an alchemical process will occur. With the power of the Olympic torch there will be a reverse transmutation: the gold, silver and bronze, distilled with the skin and bowels of the unfortunate victims, will be transformed into excrement which shall remain for years to come, coating the landscape around all those unable to reverse this "magical" process.

The rings that cross over one another but never really touch are the shackles of this new order, which very few will escape unscathed. Athens, Sydney, Montreal … governments queue to amass debts on a similar or greater scale. For this demonstration of national wealth and happiness, each host country will ratchet up debts it will carry on paying for decades to come, mostly with the skin of the dispossessed and bestialised.  Don’t you just love competition and sport?

Against this transmutation of noble metals into shit there must be a real alchemy. Their ugly follies must be transformed into our magical cities.

There will be gold, but it will not come from their alembics.

Our streets will burn again, but not with their flames.

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