July 18, 2002 - Thursday
The Ten Commandos of Fun
In an email earlier today I made a remark about violating Pete Wagner's "Ten Commandos of Fun," which reminded me that I've been going to post those here for some time, and haven't - since August 17 of last year.
"The Ten Commandos of Fun" are from a book called Buy This Book, a play on Abbie Hoffman's title Steal This Book (which, thanks to Timo, I learned last month is now online in its entirety - which is cool, but not quite as cool as the time Jeremy gave me a hard copy of the book itself). Wagner's book came out a decade after Hoffman's. I bought it brand new for $6.95 the year I graduated high school, at a book-signing in Har-Mar Mall that nobody except me seemed to know about.
From the back cover:
Pete Wagner has been variously described as: "flamboyant and flashy" (Madison Daily Cardinal), "a terrorist" (Isthmus magazine), "Great!" (GOP Feminist Caucus), "A Dangerous Enemy of Our Country" (Rev. Joseph Head, Sons of the American Revolution), "excellent... have a titter of wit" (Irish Northern Aid), "mindless... sophomoric... malicious... vicious... simple minded... poisonous..." (Catholic Bulletin), "a delightful anarchist" (People's Bicentennial Commission), "controversial" (United Press International), "controversial" (KSTP-TV), "controversial" (WCCO- TV), "controversial" (KMSP-TV) and "controversial" (WORT-FM).
The Ten Commandos of Fun
1. Thou Shalt Make Fun to Have Fun.
Go for active, rather than passive, ways of having fun. Make love, play games and sports, enter contests, explore, perform, sing, draw, etc. rather than just watching, listening to or reading about them. To a lot of people this sounds more like work than play. But it's like running. Ten years ago, people thought you were crazy if you ran a mile. Today, a lot of those people are avid marathoners.
2. Thou Shalt turn to Reality, not from Reality, for Thy Jollies.
Don't limit fun to any particular "time and place." Instead of going to stadiums, bars, theaters, auditoriums, concert halls and other synthetic environments where you are "supposed" to have fun, find ways to have fun in your real environment. Like playing frisbee barefoot in a field of cowshit instead of wearing Nikes on an astro-turf field, or dressing up as your favorite sex organ for a wedding reception instead of a costume party, or throwing a pie at Anita Bryant while she testifies at a gay rights hearing rather than at a pro-decency fundraiser where she's sticking her face through the center of a target and they get 50 cents a try.
3. Thou Shalt Not Put a Price on Fun.
Try to find ways of having fun without having to pay for it. Fun should be something you produce, not something you consume. When you reduce fun to a commodity, you tend to rate your enjoyment rather than enjoy it. In a state of permanent economic crisis, you're not going to have any money, anyway. Besides it's always a lot more fun to sneak into a movie or to try posing as a cop or a reporter to get into concerts and special events than it is to pay.
4. Thou Shalt Not Beat Thy Neighbor.
Avoid keeping score, like in shooting buckets as opposed to basketball. The idea is to have free, playful relationships, not complicate and impose more rules than you already have to put up with in day-to-day living. If it's challenge that you want, remember it is MORE of a challenge, not less, to go beyond competition and create situations where everybody "wins." It takes more skill to volley a tennis ball to where your partner really has to chase it but will be able to hit it than it does to get him to miss.
5. If They Can't take a Joke, Fuck 'em.
6. Thou Shalt Try It, You'll Like It.
Seek to have a good time in situations where fun is not guaranteed or even promised. Instead of falling back on the kinds of routine activities in which you are "supposed" to have fun and which are usually only moderately rewarding or downright disappointing, try lots of new and different activities in which you have no idea what they will deliver. It's more fun to have fun when you didn't expect to have fun.
7. Thou Shalt Expand Thy Head, not Shrink It.
Don't confuse fun with therapy. Activities that you engage in to work off frustration, vent anger, escape problems, as an anaesthetic, etc. belong in a whole separate category from fun, which should be a POSITIVE thing that you do because you really LIKE doing it. Be creative as well as cognitive.
8. Thou Shalt Risk Thine Ass for a Good Cause.
Danger and stupidity are two different things. If you're going to drive recklessly, do it chasing Nazis. If you like to break windows, don't bust up your friendly neighborhood tavern, bomb the headquarters of a multinational corporation. Make the stakes interesting when you gamble. But make them satisfying, too, by taking meaningful, as opposed to pointless, risks.
9. Thou Shalt Be Funny.
Anything you don't HAVE to do can be fun if you do it with the right attitude. In real-life fun, as opposed to synthetic fun, you get rid of the old concepts of "work" and "rest" and instead let a sense of play pervade everything you do. If you're doing any kind of revolutionary art, for example posters or photos or drawings that would normally be considered "work," you don't have to take time out for a recreational "break." What you are doing already IS a recreational break.
10. Have Fun!
Responses - 2
(Commenting has been disabled.)
Fun is now mine for the taking. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Wagner. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
Jul 19, '02 - 10:51 AM
I think they were meant more as "affirmations" than permissions. But, whichever works for you...
Your host, Stuart
Jul 19, '02 - 3:32 PM