DAY 9: Thinksquad interviews Super Smash The State Bros.
Thinksquad: Assume that my audience has no clue who you are as a person, tell me something about you?
Hi. I’m Melanie. I’m a pastor’s kid/wannabe punk from Texas. I graduated from college not too long ago and have no idea what to do in my life, so in the meantime I’m substitute teaching.
Thinksquad: How long have you been on tumblr?
Since April 2012.
Thinksquad: Where did the name super smash the state bros. come from?
It’s a lame way of meshing my love of Nintendo (Super Smash Bros.) with anarchism.
Thinksquad: Did you have any other URL names before this last one?
I started out as superkaratemonkey, then I went to streetaloha, then my current one. I think I was anarchorickperryism for a day (or drunken night) somewhere in there.
Thinksquad: Your profile says you like sitcoms. What is it about sitcoms you like? And what is it about NewsRadio you like?
I’m a huge fan of the traditional sitcom (forget anarchism, I’ll talk sitcoms all day!), and NewsRadio just gets everything right. It’s a fast-paced, brilliantly-cast ensemble comedy that manages to seamlessly and consistently navigate between sheer wit and downright silliness.
Thinksquad: On your profile it says you graduated with a degree in Poli Sci, how does that affect your views about the state?
I certainly wouldn’t have gone into this degree if I had the views then that I have now; poli-sci majors are probably the worst apologists for the state. When it comes down to it though, political science is really just a study of power, whereas my beliefs ultimately hinge on a rejection of that power. I guess, if anything, it’s good that I know what I’m against.
Thinksquad: Has this idea evolved since you have been on tumblr?
Definitely, and I wouldn’t hesitate to say tumblr was instrumental in facilitating that change.
Thinksquad: What made you create a tumblr blog in the first place? When did you decide that you were going to dedicate your blog to a cause then just your standard tumblr blog?
Blogging-for-a-cause was actually my reason for joining tumblr. I intended on doing substantive writing about a mix of politics and music and the like. I don’t know what went wrong.
Thinksquad: Do you have any other tumblr URL’s?
I’m hoarding samusaranarchist for a rainy day.
Thinksquad: Are there people on tumblr you look forward to seeing?
Pretty much everyone I follow. This is a lame answer, but I’m a lame person, so…
Thinksquad: Who influenced you to create your blog’s overall message?
Once again, there are a whole lot of influences at play. This is probably apparent in that there’s not really an overarching message here, just a slipshod collection of half-formed ideas and bad jokes.
Thinksquad: Do you do anything besides tumblr to further your cause?
When I was in school, I did a lot of campus/community activism. Regretably, I don’t have as many opportunities for that now, but I’ve tried to remain active in community volunteer work. Really, I think one of the most neglected and most important parts of activism is just living out your ideals and being a shining example of people of your persuasion. There’s a good chance that you are one of the only anarchists that many people will meet. Honestly, not
many people are going to listen to your ideas, but they ARE going to take note of what kind of person you are, perhaps forever associating your movement with their impression of you. Cultivating a positive impression can be more powerful than handing someone a pamphlet.
Thinksquad: I too am/was a poli sci major why did you pick that as a major?
Like most poli sci majors, I went into college with a hearty interest in the partisan spectacle and delusions of being able to make things right in Washington. Also like most poli sci majors, I failed to realize that the two are totally at odds with each other.
Thinksquad: What does Anarchy mean to you?
To me, it means rejecting the violent and oppressive institutions of both government and society while upholding the sovereignty and potential of the individual to form their own communities, communities based on voluntary association and mutual aid rather than coercion and theft.
Thinksquad: What is your favorite type of music, and could you offer any suggestions on what to listen to?
I could spend hours on this question. I love punk, post-punk, shoegaze, Britpop, trip-hop, two-tone ska, a bit of indie, and most other noisy rock music. Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Pixies, Joy Division, The Libertines, The Clash, Madness, anything Aimee Mann does, Buzzcocks, Mission of Burma, Magazine, Ride, Blur,
Supergrass, The Chameleons, Morphine, The Specials, The B-52s…
Thinksquad: What was the last concert you went to?
I don’t get out to very many concerts unfortunately, but I saw Bob Mould and Ringo Deathstarr in Austin last April.
Thinksquad: I know this is a little cliché, but where do you see your blog , in 5 years?
Homeless and begging for change.
Thinksquad: Have you met helpful people here on tumblr?
Pretty much everyone I follow has helped me out, whether it’s by breaking down tough concepts, pointing me to something new and exciting, or even just getting me through a tough day by throwing out funny stuff. I think humor is way more important than people give it credit for; it’s certainly helped me through some tight spots.
Thinksquad: What are your hobbies?
I love comedy and music. A good bit of my free time is spent listening to standup, watching late night comedy, and performing satanic rituals in hopes that I may one day be funny too. The remaining free time is consumed by listening to music and playing guitar/drums poorly.
Thinksquad: Have you ever doubted your overall message?
Quite often actually, but I think that’s an important — if not essential — part of any system of ideas. It’s often through doubt that I’ve come to furthering my knowledge and strengthening my understanding of the ideas I claim.
Thinksquad: What message do you think is the hardest for people to accept about a free society?
One of the most dangerous things about the state is how pervasive it is not in our lives but in our mindset. As much as people like to joke about how inefficient the government is, its existence remains a given. The state is very much synonymous with the services it provides — health, education, defense, welfare, roads(!), and so on — even though it very often acts counter to those interests. It’s an attitude that gets instilled from an early age, and not necessarily on purpose or with bad intentions, but as such is a hard hurdle to clear when it comes to liberty-minded or anarchist discourse.
Thinksquad: How does your family and friends feel about your ideas, do they think along the same lines as you? Anyone you close to, who doesn’t think like you?
All of my family is extremely conservative, but I think they’ve taken some baby steps towards liberty. It’s a difficult dialogue to have with my family though, so I guess I haven’t pressed them as much as I should on it. My friends are a mixed bag. I have a handful of friends who are similar, some more mainstream libertarian friends who I’d like to think I’m pulling a little further, a lot of conservative friends, and a whole lot of indifferent friends who’ll humor me from time to time.
Thinksquad: What do you want people to know or take away from your blog?
There’s not a great deal to take away, I don’t think. I’ve tried the whole Serious Political Blogger thing and was never good at it. I think there are enough serious bloggers with ideas similar to mine to allow me to get away with telling a few dumb jokes. That being said, there’s a place for rigorous discourse in spreading liberty and anarchism, but most connections with people are going to happen through other channels. I guess, getting back to what I said about humor being important, I think it is underutilized in spreading our ideas. What I have noticed is that there is a tendency of people in this movement (both here and in real life) with good ideas to take themselves and their ideas too seriously. I think a lot of communication breakdowns happen at that point. I guess, ideally, my blog would serve as a reminder to loosen up a bit. To be a person with ideas, you have to be a person first.
Thinksquad: If I wanted to visit you, would you be okay with showing me around your neck of the woods?
Absolutely, but to be honest, unless you really have a thing for chemical plants and seagulls and dollar stores, we’re probably both just wasting our time.
Thinksquad: How do you like living in Texas?
I like it just fine; mind you I’ve only been out of Texas twice in my life. I guess that could mean I don’t have much else to compare it to, or that there’s no reason to go any place else.
Thinksquad: Where do you live in Texas?
I live near the coast, snuggled in between Houston and Galveston.
Thinksquad: Do you consider yourself influential?
I don’t think I’ve ever done anything to warrant the label, but I’ve always kind of found that, whether you consider yourself influential or not, people will look up to you, or at least look towards you for an idea or something.
Thinksquad: Were you always political?
From a young age, yes. I cast my first vote for Clinton in 1996; he swept my kindergarten class. From the age of 9, I followed elections very closely, even midterm ones. For me, and I suspect most other people, it was just sports with more expensive uniforms.
Thinksquad: Were you a democrat or republican at one time? When did that change? And how?
Following that misstep with Clinton, I realized that my parents were Republicans and as such, I should be a Republican too.
Thinksquad: How has your blog evolved since the beginning?
I discovered libertarian ideals in high school. Prior to that, I “knew” I was a Republican but didn’t really know why. I meandered through libertarianism and minarchism for a few years before my anarchist sympathies started developing in spring 2012, partly through some class readings. I think tumblr was really the thing that moved me to actually claim anarchism though. So, uh, thanks guys!
Day 9 is done and I have to thank Melanie, for her awesome answers, but we still have many more to go and some people tell me they are turning their answers in shortly so even more to come. Thanks everyone for participating. Your answers make this possible.