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The Farm

   Shades of Dye:
Marketing to the Underground, the Washington Generals, and Other Patsies.

I wrote this letter in 1997 to people I will never see again.
My original intention was to photocopy it and plaster it all over the
intersections of Clark & Belmont and North & Damen.
Not wanting to gain the reputation of being a crackpot,
I chose to keep it to myself.

"Choose your own path. Buy a Saab."
May Andy Warhol burn in hell.
The prom queen has a nose ring.
The sick beauty of the market.

You, yes you!
I'm not speaking in general terms. I'm speaking to all of you.
Please realize that millions HAVE walked in your shoes.
That your experiences and thoughts are quite similar to the person who is
standing right next to you.
Ask yourself: "What makes me an individual?"
Your clothes?
Your hair?
Your shoes?
Your music?
Do you really believe that nobody else posseses these same exact things?
Your appearance will not change anything.
Please understand that there is no longer a counter culture.
It has been absorbed by the whole.
Co-opted. Caged. Commercialized.
Marketing has replaced true change in your life.

Why are you so unhappy? Why are you so bored?
You cannot escape into the wilderness.
You cannot escape into cyberspace.
You cannot escape into drugs.
You only deny the inevitability of your situation.

You there! The extreme hobbiest!
With your closely cut head and Armani glasses.
I bet your condo is stocked well with the best outsider art
money could buy.
Eat your soy products provided by ADM.
Go to the hotspots. Order from the right catalogs.
You differ only from those "Yuppies in Lincoln Park" in taste.

Hey you kidz.
Bussed in from exotic locales in the west and north:
_______ville, _______burg, ______ Park.
Dumped out into the "Alternative Shopping District."
Come promoting your favorite band's first major label release on your chest,
buy and leave.
As a result of your purchases you will promptly be elected to the prom court
on Monday.

For those of you that think you can outrun the market,
Give up. It will find you.
People need new things to buy.
You will be the hottest thing next fall.

This is why I plead to you to conform.
Maybe if you conformed you would realize how generally unhappy you are.
Maybe then you could set out to change your situation not just mask it over
with another shade of dye.

Give up those things that define you.
Your work.
Your leisure.
Your music.
Your drugs.
Your clothes.
Stand naked and frustrated.
A crazed milky eyed monk in the middle of your apartment.
And think about how truly unhappy you are.
Maybe then true change could occur.

The author is currently standing naked in his apartment.
Still frustrated but a little happier.