RUSSELL HICKS

Luddite, You Say???

Posted on

Oh, luddite you say? That familiar old slant has no effect on me. You know what you are? What do the feminists call it…yeah, a tool for the patriarchy! You are a tool for the plutocracy my friend. I’ve struggled with this accusation in the past. How can I be a luddite? I love technology. Google Maps has saved my life. I spent the whole of the 90’s getting lost. 

Zadie Smith, famed author, as you all know, gets  similar accusation hurled at her from time to time, as she and I basically share the exact same philosophy on social media/current tends and their insipid brain rotting effect. Oh, did you not know that? Yes, Zadie fuckin’ Smith and I. Sure, it’s urked me a bit to read an interview where she has made the EXACT point I have made in the past to utterly DEAF ears, on countless podcasts (holy hell, one time I did an interview for some magazine in Edinburgh, maybe EdFest and the guy asks me about Trump. Booooring I know, so I say, ‘I feel like I have to talk about it’ and then go on to explain that this feeling is annoying because it’s so overdone so what I do instead is move past it quick because I don’t define myself as Russell the American, I’m Russell the artist and I’m on some different plane than whatever is happening in politics right now, ok? After which I go off on what I think is really interesting in contemporary comedy culture, namely how the artist had melded with the business in such a way that it’s almost as if the AI robots are actually us considering we now speak in entirely corporate doublespeak like ‘content’ etc. What does he print? Russell Hicks on Trump: I have to talk about it. Well, that’s yello journalism for ya! Who am I fuckin’ LEWIS BLACK?), but do I get bitter? No! I say to myself, ‘Love that Zadie’ or ‘you tell em sister’. 

Yes, Zadie and I, two geniuses out there fighting the good fight, for YOU. So, in regards to the luddite comment, go ahead and sit this one out Zadie, I’ll handle this. 

The luddites are the object of one of the greatest smear campaigns in history. They were textile workers who boycotted the invention of new machinery, because like, it would put them out of a job. Ok, fact one against me being a luddite: I would never defend my right to perform manual labour. 

The luddites were summarily squashed by the government using the military to shoot them dead. 

So, did they hate all technology? No. They were protecting their jobs. Poor suckers. As I have said countless times as well as written about, the only way to exist within a capatilst society is as a veritable bank robber, skirt the system, find a way to make it on the fringes, because if you buy directly into the system, you will be at some point discarded. Watch every great gangster film ever: remember Joe Pesci in Goodfellas going to get ‘made’. He’s a steel mill worker or something that bought into the American dream, the guys behind him with the cold blooded .45 are Uncle Sam and his friends – the CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY. 

Luddite didn’t hate phones. They didn’t even hate progress. They were just battling corporate greed at the expense of their economic well being. It’s the same old capitalist story: MORE PROFIT ALWAYS. 

Hey, don’t get me wrong, I am a capitalist. Sure thing, Adam Smith and the invisible hand, yes, but I think there should also be another hand (we do have two after all) that just occasionally guides the other hand or maybe even gives it a little slap when it gets greedy and trys to reach into it’s trousers to pull out it’s big thing and jack off all over the face of the proletariat.  

So, that was the luddites. Shot dead for protecting their own ass. For protesting that they had been good citizens and this is how they are repaid. They didn’t hate technology. They hated this particular technology. 

Insult to injury, what are they known for know? Being anti-progress. Computers, phones, Apps, Instagram, Snapchat, not for you? Well then you are anti-PROGRESS my friend!

Ah, yes, ‘progress’ … that’s what it is…nice one, call it progress, a marketing master stroke.  

Be seen to go against ‘profit’ – uh, sorry, ‘progress’ – at all and you will be avoided like the plague. Yuck. For all it’s posturing the entertainment industry will still happily grind you into a puddle for their own self interest if you let it, not to mention there are still power structures that you absolutely can not challenge. I’m getting off track – save it for another one. 

So there you go, luddite, is a pejorative created by the ruling class. 

It has nothing to do with being anti-technology. 

What do you think of that Zadie?? I really gave it to them, huh? Call me, let’s hang out! We should do a podcast!

Oh, and for anyone who cares – I wrote this on a LAPTOP. 

So, suck it.