if i were france, i'd take the statue back.

if i were france, i'd take the statue back.

A few months ago I happened to be watching BravoFact on CBC and had the pleasure of seeing “I Met The Walrus“, a Canadian-made animated short set to an interview done on a mono-track recorder by a then young man,Jerry Levitan (who also produced the movie) who snuck into John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Montreal hotel where they were having a *bed-in*.  ‘Tis an amazing piece of film. It has won a million or so awards internationally and it was nominated for an Oscar in 2008.  On top of being a triumph of Canadian art  the interview was, in its non-interjective sense, awesome.


Shitty solo work and mass popularity aside, John Lennon inspires me and hearing the interview reminded me why.  He spoke about how those who speak peace and want peace are in a troubled place as the radicals want revolution and the government wants war; the government wants to keep you out and shut you up and the radicals want blood and heads.  But peace is where its at.  And we can have it, if we want it. 

The peace symbol has been commodified and is too often viewed as an unhip throw-back to the 70s.  Pseudo-bohemian young women get their neo-liberal fat cat dads to buy them peace symbol necklaces, rings, and t-shirts.   I have been scorned for saying “peace” and waving two fingers  in place of “good bye”.   The in-crowd views it as weird, and some in my crowd think its too hippie or meaningless.  But I mean it.  I am a peacenik and proud of it.  I honestly wish peace on those I encounter.  When I am called a “militant feminist” I am less concerned about the derogatory stereotype and more worried that my views and actions are being viewed as martial.  And while I embrace and love my peace-loving, in the realm of academia, I often find pacifism being patronized.

In a Philosophy of War and Peace class, my prof spent all of 10 minutes addressing pacifism and only insofar as to call it naive and impossible.  Frankly, my prof’s depiction of pacifism was a naive portrayal  for we are anti-war not anti-reality.  Undoubtedly, there are tremendous barriers to the abolishment of war.  But the Lennon/Ono addage that “War is over, if you want it” makes a lot of sense.   I was told in this class that war is human nature and inevitable.   This attitude permeates the global outlook.  But to say we have no choice, there just is war, is to suggest that we cannot overcome violent impulses or transcend a vicious state and makes pacifism impossible.  If we were to accept peace as a goal, I mean actually accept it as a goal  by doing such things as supporting peace dialogues (and not censoring war-dissenters), making high school history something other than a study of war, reducing military spending, boosting meaningful aide, and strengthening international law, then peace would be a possibility.  Those living under feudal lords could  not have imagined capitalism.  Hunter/gatherers would have found agriculture unfathomable.  And yet…

And all of this was really me justifying my decision to sign off every blog post with “peace”.

welcome to my new blog and thank you for reading.





Filed under rant.

13 responses to “peaceniking.

  1. Kota

    The firtst to comment, ha!
    I believe we can be a peacenik and radical at the same time, and be “militant” through non-violent tactics althgouh the word has got the negative connotation and I think categorization of you as such regardless of your stance is wrong.
    Anyhoo,great work Ashley, looking forward to some mire!:)

    • Ashley Bushfield

      Of course we can be radicals and peaceniks at the same time! The grammar of activism is so limiting…

  2. Christine

    love it!

    also, banner by Xtine! 😉

  3. Lori Norris

    Remember when you were a kid/poet and we commented that like every artist you cranked out a lot of garbage but you had a higher percentage then the average bear when it came to masterpieces……. Lennon could write hits if he really wanted to, witness Double Fantasy, but amongst all of the ditties there was an above average number of “Imagines” even in his solo work. Who knows what we would have seen over the past 30 years. You asked for it. xoxoxo Mommy

    • Ashley Bushfield

      ahhh, how true.

      i do actually love much of his solo work.

      it’s that ONO chick i can’t stand…

  4. Tyler

    The constitution of war has changed dramatically since its conceptual inception– are we even talking about the same thing anymore? Homo erectus throwing rocks across the river is very different from the nuclear annihilation of whole cities. The Romans lacked the ability to air-raid civilian districts: is their expansion really akin to American Imperialism? My qualm is this: war is pervasive in history, yes– but what are we projecting back into our history? Do we side-step the fact that what we call war in our distant past is dramatically different than the wars of today? Further, how do we even intend “peace”– perhaps the greatest obstacle to pacifism is its definition in direct, inescapable opposition to wide-scale war. What does it mean on its own?

    My original reply was just going to be that “snuck” is not the correct past tense of “sneak”, but I looked it up and apparently it’s been approved by the people who police the standards of the English language. Imagine that.

    • Ashley Bushfield

      I suppose the difficulty in my post was pointing to war as opposed to violence.

      Indeed war is a very different beast today. Anscombe of course most famously suggested that air forces are precisely where we ought to draw the line between just and unjust war.

      But I would put peace not in opposition to just war, but rather to violence in general. Heraclitus throwing rocks is opposition to peace just as a-bomb tests and programs and the characterization of humanitarian aide as contributions to terrorism are affronts to the notion of peace.

      We accept peace by refusing violence. Easier, of course, on a personal level. But as I stated, not impossible globally. Distant, sure. But not impossible.

      And of course pacifism can’t mean something on its own as it is a reactionary stance to violence. It is anti-violence. Kind of how like atheism can’t exist without the notion of religion, but some accept it and everyone knows what it means.

      (I knew about “snuck” because Jennifer Garner tried to burn Conan for saying it once, but he looked it up and burned her back)

      • Tyler

        “Snuck” is, at least, contentious.

        In Robert J. Sawyer’s “Neanderthal Parallax” (it’s a trilogy– I own it if you would ever like to read it…?), the Neanderthals (who exist in a parallel universe where Neanderthals survived and Homo sapiens went extinct) have no notion of war and strong social taboos against violence. They actually cleanse their gene pool of those who are predisposed to violence: sterilization is the penalty for those found guilty of violent action. It’s not really forced upon them, either, but they will be socially ostracized if they don’t agree to it. Fascinating concept, really.

        Also, bonobos are apes with no group violence. They just have sex all the time. In “Oryx and Crake”, I think they develop something called the Bonobo Pill to suppress the human tendency towards violence.

  5. Tyler

    Also, I think the statue wants to go back.

  6. Jan

    Congrats on the new venture Ash! So – where does testosterone rank on the list of the world’s most dangerous chemicals?

  7. Trev

    Actually, I believe it’s pronounced “Bed-In.”

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