Port Baltimore and Beyond
Of the five authors who launched Dirtyfreaks.com ten years ago, I was probably alone in trying to develop a mission statement, or a theme of some sort. My goal was to create a site where we could practice writing. Something that was less freeform ranting and more generally organized towards…some sort of goal. After the page became Greatsociety.org in early 2002, the idea of chapbooks, or a full length project, collecting the page’s articles was the focus for some months, but never saw the light of day.
From the get-go, the page had a life of its own. Or maybe I was just far too distracted to do anything cohesive with my various notes from the margins cum blog articles. In 2001, as in 2011, I was working multiple jobs and slowly grinding my soul into the ground. I had a customer service job during the week, the weekend job I’ve maintained since 1991, and a couple of freelance business writing gigs. Not to mention running my own publishing company and everything that entailed. Looking back, it’s disturbing to see that I’ve been running at full tilt, 24/7, since 1992. It is, today, impacting my health. And probably has been for a long time.
The various unhealthy emotions involved in having to fend for yourself in a cruel, cruel world – anger, resentment, jealousy, pride — fed my writing. When it came time to write the mission statement for the page, what came out was a two-part declaration of rage.
The original mission statement was “The Internet Life.” Just 180 words intended to be a blurb on an “About Us” page. I pounded it out and shot it off to the webmaster and then sat around thinking that we needed something a bit nobler… An actual statement on what we were trying to do. So, sitting on a deck within a few blocks of the Baltimore harbor, I scribbled down the bones of “The Port Baltimore Statement.” It’s basically a fleshed-out version of “The Internet Life.” Looking back on both, they seem very obviously to come from a troubled young man. How sad what 10 years have done to me, eh? That I look at the ideals I fostered in my 20’s and feel something akin to pity. But, even though those colleagues who started the page with me are gone, and that wonderful deck in Baltimore has been a stranger for 10 years, the page has continued with that weird self-sustaining momentum. Once you peel away the youth and idealism and pre-9/11 freak-out of the Port Baltimore Statement, it seems to me that the meaning of the message is still valid, and GS still pushes me to try and say whatever it is I’ve been trying to say for my whole life.
More on that thought in two weeks, when we have our week of retrospectives. For now, here’s the text of The Internet Life and The Port Baltimore Statement:
The Internet Life
We are at work right now, scribbling down the worst the Internet has to offer. The most frightening. We are pulling together everything that questions the life we live, that offends the masses. We are the Dirty Freaks. And we’re online right now… If only to chat with those cops posing as 14 year old girls in the “Wet and Wild” forum because they know how to talk dirty and we like it.
This is a great experiment. A voice for a country that never was the Great Society. A voice for the continuing Sick Society.
Has it been done before?
What is our goal?
Dirtyfreaks.com is your home… While you slave away at your pathetic job, secretly reading this page at your soulless cubicle. While you sit at home, a second window on your computer ripping child porn off the newsgroups. While you’re locked in your room because your parents think it’s wrong for a 15-year-old girl to have oral sex with her math teacher…
We will strive to make this website useless. We will humiliate ourselves for your sake.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The Port Baltimore Statement
We are the Internet junkies, the lost souls, the traveling generation. The world we have inherited is not for the meek. We are the followers, the undecided, the fearful, the trapped and the lonely. We are the children of a lost war, and we have no war of our own. We are children of peace; of prosperity; of continued complacency.
Our country’s struggles have now passed. We are the first generation to not have a struggle. Every horror, every lie and every threat is watered down for us, bought by the industries around us, packaged and marketed in a way that is palatable. We are the blind generation, our super power might only a shady legacy. We maintain our hold because we took everything and we have two oceans to defend it.
We have been raised by broken families, we have been raped in silence. Our every act of revolution becomes a TV commercial within 14 days, our every voice of rebellion is dismissed and snuffed out by the victorious Silent Majority.
We are the children of Nixon. We are Reagan half-breeds. As in our youth, we remain sedated. Our parents rallied and screamed, shouted and fought. They fought against meaningless labor, poverty, the paradox of racism in America. They fought against war, inequality and suffering. They fought a revolution…perhaps the greatest the United States has ever known.
And they lost. They lost because they, too, were disorganized and misguided. They lost because they allowed themselves to be split into radicalism and ruled by impatience. They lost because they allowed the corporations and the government to absorb, assimilate and set a resale value on their revolution.
Thanks to that lost war, we now live in a generation where Springsteen sells his records via an 800 number, the Beatles endorse sneakers, Bowie pushes dot.coms and Martin Luther King’s ghost peddles cellular phone service like a pusher at the playground. Everything sacred has been torn from us. Without studying our history, we turn a blind eye and accept this rape. Do we not speak out against it because it is shameful? Or is it a lost cause? Does it really matter when you have that nice job? That fancy car? That new house?
The upper classes have polluted the middle. Now we all revel amongst abundance while the majority suffers. We continue to be the apathetic, the manipulated. What we thought we learned, what we think we know, is smashed on the rocks of American stagnation and global divisiveness.
Our stagnation has a simple explanation. We fear change. We fear change because, 30 years ago, things got out of control. The disunited revolution that burned in this country came to a head, the images of war flowed onto our living room floor, and our political world became a sewer in flames. So we stopped. The radicals fled to the hills and the immortal corporate power made sure everything was under control… And our parents grew up. They grew up and looked back in fear and anger.
The title of “Generation X” belongs to our parents’ generation — the lost rebellion, the misguided warriors who gave up the battlefield. They voted for Nixon, they voted for Reagan, they made our minds into mush. Those who maintain their ideals, those who keep the fight strong, are crushed by that infamous Silent Majority.
So where are we now? Voices from the new revolutionary front. We are rising up and calling the freaks back to arms. We must take this last chance for a unified voice in this divided generation.
We say that information is free. We say that we will speak out against this dirty little world. Today, the fires begin again.
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