It's fun to steal
Updated: Jun 22, 2021
As a foreword I would like everyone reading this text to watch this video first:
“I wanna steal”, says the talking horse, and for good reason: stealing is fun. There’s something more profound to stealing than just the adrenaline-fueled excitement of running away with your newly acquired possessions. What lies beneath the hypnotizing glitter of gemstones and polished gold is power. Wearing the crown of your oppressor, especially without matching clothes, feels invigorating. Unfortunately this type of theft (As opposed to many instances of unchecked top-down crime such as wage theft) is illegal and the laws are strongly enforced.
So how can we have fun stealing without facing prison time for property theft? I propose a subversion of a closely related existing practice: appropriating ( Is it right to assume that appropriating sounds really boring?). Instead of appropriating we could channel all our mischievousness and replace it with stealing, with the goal of having fun again.
For the rest of the text I will be referring to this album, I recommend playing it while reading:
There are numerous examples of people enjoying themselves stealing, yet I would like to focus on one specific instance of excellent theft: the music album My Agenda by virtuoso Dorian Electra. The most important thing Mx. Electra steals is not some object, rather they steal a narrative.
Before I examine the individual acts of burglary, I must ask the question: in what way is Dorian Electra stealing rather than appropriating? This is best illustrated by the title of the project (referencing the illusive gay agenda) for it is as mischievous and transparent as can be, they are out there to “turn frogs homosexual”. Appropriation is hidden behind a veil of intellectualism and superiority, stealing is upfront.
Now to make an assessment of the booty: Dorian Electra has already claimed their theft of certain music genres in a short piece in the New York Times, stating “My Agenda tangles together metal, dubstep and hard-core punk, all these hypermasculine, testosterone-filled genres”. These genres are now forever tainted with their agenda, the first successful heist. With F the world, Gentleman/M’Lady and Edgelord Mx. Electra commits identity theft on a peculiar male character, that of the gamercel: notorious for their toxic masculine hatred for women, people of color and queer people. They themselves are also thieves of some kind, stealing a victim narrative, yet Dorian Electra outwitted them this time around. Mx. Electra is able to steal with such grace that it exceeds mere ridicule, their fluid identity allows them to truly embody the character and they reveal vulnerability in the often disregarded gamercel. With My Agenda, Iron Fist and Ram It Down they set out on their most ambitious heist: Dorian Electra is able to clear out the weapon vault of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, from infiltrating the aformentioned extreme right gay agenda conspiracy theory, to hijacking the the enlightened centrists’ security system, blowing it up in their face with what I can only call absolute bangers. Dorian Electra is able to make the (previously imaginary) iron fist (Referencing the accusation that LGBTQ+ activists are dictators that want to get rid of freedom of speech) a reality, in the form of exploding soundwaves. They seem to have fun working on their own practice, in turn they allow us to have fun as well, enjoying genres and narratives stripped of their problematic status.
Stealing allows us to bypass the systematically imposed constraints on change. It allows us to bypass euphemisms, nuance and the unequal economics of the marketplace of ideas. Stealing invigorates its beneficiaries while potentially dethroning owners, it produces much-needed energy for equalizing power. But most of all, stealing allows us to have fun, we can finally admire the crown for its beauty and glamour, it was not the crown's fault we associated it with despair, we had problems with the entity wearing it. Our stolen crown will go really well with our second-hand Crocs.
Note 1: Stealing currently seems to be illegal to the extent that it isn’t even fun anymore, as illustrated by this music video:
Although in all fairness this is far from a consensus, there’s also artists that still appear to enjoy it despite the hardships:
Note 2: "They Gay Agenda" is a right-wing christian conspiracy theory that suggests that LGBTQ+ activists are planning to break down the fiber of jeudo-crhistian society by normalizing (in their eyes) abhorrent behaviour.
Note 3: "We're out here turning frogs homosexual" is a lyric from the title track referencing this clip from an alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones:
Note 4: The "gamercel" is a heterogenous group and Dorian Electra touches on many aspects of what being an gamercel might entail, but for the uninitiated these dictionary entries might be helpful: incel / edgelord / Gamers
Note 5: Although there is a time and place for nuance I strongly believe having less obsession with stating the highest (most nuanced) truth will result in a relevant and stronger impact