The Insurrectionist Antihero – Using Theatricality as a Weapon

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July 18, 2017 by Black Bart

Blackbeard

“Caution’s nothing without charisma. If a man plays the fool, it’s only fools he’ll persuade but appear to be the devil and all men will submit. [I would be that devil] for an audience.
It’s all a big show. Give your quarry something to fear, some hellish thing from a fevered dream, and men will drop to their knees, pleading for their lord before all else.” – A fictional representation of Edward “Blackbeard” Teach on the nature of theatricality and its utility as a weapon.

It’s no great secret that people love a good villain. Or, lacking that, at least a good antihero. There’s just a mess of examples that can be pulled from everywhere in history. Let’s start with Blackbeard, as an example. Sure, people of the time didn’t like him overmuch, but nowadays he’s a regular folk hero. He wasn’t even an especially successful pirate but that’s not what matters. What matters is the stories told about him, particularly at the time of his operation. His early career isn’t anything special, but start getting interesting after he captures a French frigate, renaming her Queen Anne’s Revenge and stocking her with forty cannons. Now, for those who are unaware, a frigate is a terrible goddamn pirate ship. The general idea of a pirate ship is speed and maneuverability for the purposes of catching up to merchants and outrunning naval warships. Thing is, Blackbeard didn’t give a dusty fuck about that. Because when people heard about the merciless demon in command of that ship, they’ll rather surrender and jump ship than even try to escape or fight back and that’s exactly what happened.

Let’s change tacks just a bit for a minute. You can armor up an RV and load it with just a shit-ton of machine guns or whatever, but if you’re about as scary as a butterfly face to face, then you’re fucked, kiddo. Returning to the Blackbeard example, he grew a massive black beard, hence his nickname. Why fly a black flag when a black beard will do, right? Everyone knows he tied lit fuses into his hair and beard, wreathing his head in a thick cloud of smoke. All you could see was an angry face glaring out of the darkness. If that wasn’t enough to make ’em wet themselves, the fact that he was very visibly packin’ at least six pistols, sometimes more, along with one or two swords… Shit, that’ll get them crying for their mammies.

Capture-of-Blackbeard

“In a world without gold, we might have been heroes!” -A representation of Blackbeard that, though fictional, had some good damn lines.

Even when he died, the legend of Blackbeard had an effect. He got himself bushwacked by a Governor’s fleet. In the ensuing fight, Ol’ Teach was shot at least five times and had approximately twenty cuts, one across his neck. He was such a mean old bastard that even gun and sword wounds were afraid to attempt to bring him down. The navy cut his head off and hung it from the bowsprit, for the bounty of course, and tossed his body overboard, where it was said to swim around the ship, headless. Spooky. But that’s what a legend will do for you. Even if you’re dead, people are gonna fear you.

Now, I hope what you’ve taken away from this so far isn’t to dress like a literal fuckin’ pirate. I mean, if you want to, go ahead, I guess, but it’s not gonna have the same effect it once did. It’s missing the point. The point is publicity. Take the grand spook and spectacle that is the media and turn it around on your enemies. Those on your side will be in on it, and therefore immune, but all other people are ripe for being made afraid or sympathetic, according to your will. Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible, certainly advocated this method, if that’s your style. But if you haven’t the mettle or inclination to go for the unstoppable monster look, there’s always the other side of the same coin. That of the plucky rebel.

Jesse James gang

The original boy band.

Let’s next turn to the example of the outlaw Jesse James. This guy was a regular publicity hound. To accompany the coverage of the crimes perpetrated by James and his boys were the letters Jesse wrote to the journalists of the time. At first, these letters insisted the gang was innocent of any wrongdoings. Eventually, however, he changed things up. They used the politics of the day to their benefit. The gang started claiming to be ex-Confederates, just a few good-ol-boys fighting a guerilla campaign against the foul Union overlords. Now, these guys were, in fact, ex-Confederate bushwackers. But they didn’t give much a damn about the Union. They were in it for taking what they want and doing as they pleased. But the letters had the desired effect. It wasn’t long before the James Gang was heralded as a modern Robin Hood and his Merry Men. They’d ride into town to personally thank the news editors for favorable coverage. People would help hide them from authorities, thinking they were helping the cause.

All this essentially all leads to one well known practice. Propagandize all up and down the town. Every insurrectionist worth his salt knows that, and ignores it at his own peril. You can be above it, but I’ll tell ya this: fascists, Nazis, statists, capitalists, the Hermetic Order of the Golden snake-fucking Dawn, and all the rest of ’em, are not above it. Of course, you and I know to say “Fuck ’em!” but not everyone does and those are the people that are gonna see the alt-right on the TV talking about how all our problems are because Jews and blacks keep having kids. It sounds like some science fiction bullshit but pick any rando off the street and they’ll eat it up if it sounds legitimate enough.

Now, it oughtta be clear by this point how theatricality can be used for Insurrectionary and Illegalist ends. A proper application of showmanship can win fights without actually having to win a fight, sway hearts and minds in your favor, or even make some converts. As an Egoist, this is very useful because as ungovernable as you may be, you can’t reach your real potential of freedom unless everyone around you is just as free. If scaring oppressors into submission or inspiring the downtrodden expedites this, all the better.

abbadon2

Talk about stickin’ it to the man.

The next thing on our list of talking points today is how theatricality fits into my personal philosophy and some of the methods and inspirations I favor. I’d like to preface this with the fact that I’ve always been downright fascinated by the idea of demons as seen through a Christian lens. I grew up in a Christian household and I ended up despising the whole thing. Except for Hell, that is. It was always interesting to me how even the Bible all but laid out how awful Heaven is and how great Hell is. In Heaven, you get to stand around and think about the glory of God but in evil Hell you have to party at casinos with sex workers, the horror. Even Satan, The Adversary himself, just didn’t want to bow to punk-ass humans, and who could blame him? Not I. I mean, if I was the second most powerful being in the universe, I’d say much the same thing. Probably wouldn’t be as polite about it, neither. So, as I say, the pantheon of Abrahamic Hell has always been very interesting to me. Considering this, and my curiosity for all things arcane, Belial was a natural spirit to ally with. Back in bible times, the Egoists, Illegalists, and Insurrectionists of the day were called “worthless” and “lawless” and were alleged to be the children of Belial, the patron demon of such people. They were held even below tax collectors, which is saying something because, oh boy, did the Bible shit on tax collectors.

For this reason, have I aligned myself with the spirit in question and taken on the epithet of “Son of Belial”. Says everything an oppressor needs to know about me. I truck with scary demons and the demon of self-rule, no less! Sounds sinister, doesn’t it? I’m not personally interested in being painted as a Robin Hood. I’d rather be a Blackbeard.

I’ll explain myself.

I don’t believe I will ever see the day that humanity at large is freed from its own damn self. Can’t see it happening in my lifetime. That’s assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out in the near future, of course. So, in light of this pessimistic view, I can only do what I can for comrades but must live more for myself than anything. What I mean is: I’ll happily get down and dirty in the trenches, bashin’ the fash’, because it’s fun. Things like soup kitchens, however, can’t bring myself to participate. Now, I don’t have a problem taking from the rich to give to the poor, it’s just not the prevailing motivation, you see? I stand with comrades because self-ownership is a helluva drug. And, circling back to my original point, having the opposition think me a possessed lunatic aids in self-ownership.

Allow me to further illustrate just what I mean using the legend of Spring-Heeled Jack.

Spring heeled jack

Spring-Heeled Jack was a demon loose in Victorian London. He’d appear in a puff of smoke in the dead of night, frighten onlookers half to death, take their purse, and vanish just as quickly, scampering away across the rooftops. Now, was he an honest to goodness demon? Fuckin’ maybe. But more likely he was an acrobat, or even a team of people, with a taste for theft and a flair for the dramatic. He was (or they were) theatrical Illegalists.

So, I call to all comrades who think I might have a point here. Tag up your scenes of resistance with the phrase Sons of Belial, with the circle A in there for good measure, or Goetic sigils that resonate with you, and get into the liberal use of smoke bombs and pyrotechnics if you like. Ultimately, it’s up to you, it doesn’t make a difference to me what exactly you do. Maybe it’ll knock the opposition off balance and spur the Church to openly support the right. Any way we can make their corruption more obvious is a win for us. Imagine it, skinheads shaking in their white-laced boots at the shadows of demons while the disbelieving majority taunts and laughs at them.

Maybe I’m making sense, maybe this is all just ravings. Whatever y’all decide, I’ll be doing my thing.

Until next time, keep on truckin’.

 

Edit: It has come to my attention that encouraging people that are perhaps ignorant of such things to tag Goetic sigils was not particularly wise, and that’s true. When the fire rises in ya to write, you damn well write, but consider that specific portion an impassioned though non-literal call to action. Don’t go sellin’ your souls, kids.

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