'Steal this Book,' a piece of counterculture literature written from jail that suggests any number of ways for its readers to join Abbie Hoffman in there, was suggested to me by a friend mid- April. Somewhere, I wrote down that I should check it sometime but made no effort to do so. It was actually random chance that I came upon it online here. Appropriately, the text was copied from a copy stolen from the Library of Congress.
So I skimmed over it, reading up on the best ways to perform petty thievery, grow marijuana, streetfight and start my own pirate radio station or underground newspaper. Well besides, the fact that so much of the information and advice is outdate with the advent of the Internet and all where anyone can write and record and broadcast whatever they want and various security measures have been improved. A lot of contact information concerning various communes and sympathetic legal counsel is almost certainly obsolete. What does that leave worth reading? Well, I guess it captures the zeitgeist (such a great, pretentious vocabulary! on a purely aesthetic level, it's not too bad either!) of a more radical form of counterculture, one that asserts violence against the system as one of its tenets.
I'm not such a fan of capitalism and the consumerism which follows it, but I simply do not like Hoffman's philosophy. It's the same problem I had with Rent actually. They merely seem to espouse counterculture for the sake of counterculture. There is no consideration of what the decent and positive elements of the prevailing culture are. Everything is rejected. Hoffman's counterculture has no values of its own. It's wholly defined againt the system its under. Were that culture to disappear so would the counterculture. It's lazy.
If you want to see some unadulterated hatred and observe another mindset, it's worth a look. I just don't think very much of it.
3 years ago