Of the winning entry, Grace Krilanovich says: "A first person screed/diatribe/manifesto-cum-open letter to "society." Overheated, Alain Delon-baiting, and digressive as hell. Who would expect Parisian Anarchist Courtesans to be anything but over le top? This winning entry serves up a steaming casserole of indiscriminate, state-smashing rage and perverted glee, along with what is probably the best one-line manifesto disseminated by any Parisian Anarchist Courtesan movement."
Parisian Anarchist Courtesans on Strike!
C’est quoi la grève? If I hear that song from those two comedians one more fucking time I will shoot myself and then both of them in the ass. If I can find a gun. Question: why aren’t guns free, and freely available? It’s just common sense. Give everyone a gun, goddamnit! Me first, so I can kill you. And take your gun.
The C.G.T. strikes every other day and that’s, you know, ça va, but we stage one little manif at Saint-Germain-des–Prés and it’s some kind of big deal. Never seen a bunch of naked whores in a fountain before? And if you have, you probably owe me money, which I do not want. I don’t believe in the use of currency as currency, it’s not going to change anything—you can borrow my copy of L’insurrection qui vient, or borrow it back, you’ll see, it’s all in there. The whatever singularity. The being-in-common.
Property is theft, sure, but even a courtesan needs to eat. This is why I started my zine: Why She Doesn’t Give A Fuck About Your Insurrection, and I say that out of love, out of an excess of love, a plague of love, a cholera of kindness. Or something. I was in Tarnac when it all went down, when the balaclava-clad gendarmerie slipped in on roller blades and took twenty of us from the cinema alone. Il gattopardo was playing (I’ve heard there’s a newly-restored version—Alain Delon can go fuck himself, and probably used to on a regular basis, I think the only thing he truly loved was the mirror, but Burt Lancaster: yum!), or would have been playing if the projector wasn’t broken. But we liked sitting in the theater anyway, waiting for the possibility of cinema.
By all means, I remember thinking, or perhaps screaming out loud, spit flying in the face-guard of the helmeted riot policeman: Send in the paras, two by falling two into the farthest forest from the Bois de Boulougne; from the toits of gray Paris. Come the rundown Shermans. Come the F.L.N., the colonial detritus, pieds noirs, now will you listen? No you will not. Superstition plays its role, naturally, supervising the apprivoisement. The gégène or magneto will not bring you no harm, babe. I’ve seen worse. I’m a fucking anarchist courtesan, remember? I’m a lawless hooker. I kill and I fuck, not necessarily in that order, in fact never in that order, because that would be a) gross, and b) just... wrong. Not in a moral sense, bien évidemment, but in terms of aesthetics.
“Whatever singularity, which wants to appropriate belonging itself, its own being-in-language, and thus rejects all identity and every condition of belonging, is the principal enemy of the State. And, sooner or later, the tanks will appear.” That’s Giorgio all over for you, always with the tanks. He has a tank fetish. Something to do with the muzzles, I think. The long guns. I never got that. Calvino said we should just “wait it out,” and I’m thinking, wait what out? The Invisible Committee or Invisible Cities? Which is more fantastic? Which more dangerous? And which, more importantly, is going to leave me alone to ply my trade in the plush cathouses of the 6e arrondissement?
Here is our manifesto, in full: get your face out of my cunt. I don’t mean my cunt in particular. And obviously not “out,” in a literal sense, that would put us where we are right now, in a fountain, naked, except not protesting but begging for scraps. Like that guy over there with the plastic bag from Monoprix (like he could afford to shop there!), the pigeon man. We don’t want to end up like him, though we grant that he has as much dignity as any other human person. We don’t want or need government regulation, and anyway we don’t recognize the authority of this or any government over us, over any part of us, but especially not here, in the warm heart of our meat and drink. We want to be left alone, but not alone, we want to be free but but also free from harm. We want all these things to be au choix, so that we feel we have not lost our voix. And until then: stay the hell out of my box.
Like George says to the girl in the Nespresso commercial: What else? The girl by the way is me, and I don’t mean metaphorically. I did the commercial for no pay, in the same way Godard did that commercial for Schick aftershave in the early 70s, you know, to fuck with people. And to meet George Clooney. That was not Jean-Luc’s motivation. That was me, I think Godard felt sorry for Schick because they were second to Gillette in international sales, and he is after all Swiss, so that was the Swiss contrarian in him. That’s the way Renato Berta tells it, anyway, and I have no reason to disbelieve him, he’s probably the world’s greatest living cinematographer. He tells another story about Godard: one time they were driving down the autoroute in Switzerland, and Jean-Luc saw a particularly beautiful sunset across a particularly beautiful field, He insisted they stop right there, right then, to film it. The only place to stop was the emergency lane, so they pulled over, and Renato set up the camera, and the Swiss police naturally showed up, because what else do the Swiss police have to do? Jean-Luc told Renato to go deal with them. “You’re in the emergency lane, you know,” said the Swiss police. “You can’t stop here.” So Renato goes back to Jean-Luc. “They say we’re in the emergency lane, and we can’t stop here.” So Jean-Luc turns to Renato with a look of utter exasperation, and says, “Tell them that for me this is an emergency!” Years later Renato saw the footage they had shot of that sunset in a completely different Godard film than the one they were then shooting. He was glad that the footage had been used. I like to think of that scene, of the field of bright rape-seed against a fading sun, when I am giving a blow-job to a client (I don’t like the connotations of the word “client,” but I’m tired). It may be my imagination, but I swear it makes the client come faster.
What else? What else is naughts and crosses. The chute of a great king, of the world, or outside the world, all-encompassing and omniscient where the leaves fall, and the leaves fall. And falling strap their lives to breath of wind to buttress or enhance descent. We who look will choose to see it so.
Where? In birchy woods at winter, snow pasted on linden trunks from Gare du Nord wind, usually with spangles of ice in the crust. Tillelul else fail. RDV pris in small café across the street, Noël or foul, with garlands of sharp twig and swell of tinsel, pining away or down and away and low. Why are you here? What have you come to see? Answer: Have all come to watch something not happen, or happen in rivers, backing up to the banks.
Thus ends the end. We finish and are done. Whether not enough or too is terminus. Pendulous as apples in septembre from the slender brough which sweets her sap from sources inconnu. Man on. Weapons at the ready. Nonce more into the ether.
Sorry. That made more sense in my head than when I said it out loud. Are you still recording? We also have a song. One cannot strike in Paris without a song.
(Note: everything in this story is 100% true)
James Greer has a new book out called The Failure from Dennis Cooper's Little House on the Bowery Imprint at Akashic Books.