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Real v. Fake Printer friendly page Print This
By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III). Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Sunday, Feb 24, 2013

Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We're chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

- from "Compared To What"1

Recent news of match-fixing in the Champions League and other soccer matches including World Cup,2  Lance Armstrong's admission of drug-enhanced performance, and horsemeat found in Tesco's "Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese" all point to a sector of humanity who fake it for the reward.

While these instances are perhaps shocking to some, that many of us are raised in a culture of Fake makes it also not shocking, rather a form of programming that we all must learn to transcend. From commercials to elections to the educational system's revisionist history books, the list of Fake is long. The movie "Quiz Show" portrays quiz show scandals of the 1950s; nowadays we hear reports of Reality TV shows being staged and American Idols being pre-picked. Ah, but the entertainment value is what really counts in the world of marketing Fake.

It is one thing for someone to want to have an advantage over you, to pull a fast one so as to win a game and some money, or to think they are better than you. Yet it is quite another to think they are so much better than you that you deserve to suffer or be killed; let's call these types 'supremacist extremists,' redundant though that may be. Whether the Ku Klux Klan, Third Reich, or the resource extracting trans-national corporate elite with their coup d'état de facto governments — any claims of supremacy are warning signs and any actions that follow are flat-out dangerous.

Psychologists might say that such belligerent and egoic pomposity (Fake) is a compensation for inner vulnerability (Real). Afraid to face the inner-Shadow, in Jungian terms, these supremacist extremists project that Shadow onto others who then become their enemies and thus represent everything that stands in the way of success and comfort.

The 'illusion' of history and current affairs is this relentless outward expansion, behaving as if there is an 'out there,' as if there are 'other, foreign' people — whereas what’s Real is looking within and respecting fellow Earth-dwellers. To shift perspective, instead of seeing the world as one's oyster to pillage and franchise by using the blood, sweat, and tears of other people, we can see the world as various sectors of One Self, each having its types of people with various fruits to offer. To riff "The Merchant of Venice" with his "Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?" . . . Hath not the right brain connected to the left foot? Hath not Colombia good coffee, Florida oranges, India basmati rice?

As climate revolt (which is starting to rub the truth in the skeptics' faces) tells us: it is all connected! Yet, it takes respect and a better understanding of people's customs, as well as some negotiating, so as to create an economic and cultural bartering system that is pleasing to all parties AND serves the Mother Earth well.

Is this Orwellian or what?
A key to the Faker's supremacy is rewriting the rules of the game. As examples, Natives were labeled "savages," Africans "lazy, or step and fetch-its," women "the weaker sex," homosexuals "mentally ill." "In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder."3 And, "the diagnosis was replaced with the category of 'sexual orientation disturbance'."4 Strange that a sexual preference got labeled as "mental," but anyhow, such erroneous labels are a plague on the conscience of human equality.

We live with the Earth. We inhabit land. Control of land became a major calling-card in the supremacist extremist's marked deck. According to an article by Steven Newcomb (Shawnee/Lenape), author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, the papal bulls of 1452 and 1493 led to the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, and "...five centuries later - the United States government still uses this archaic Judeo-Christian doctrine to deny the rights of Native American Indians . . . Under various theological and legal doctrines formulated during and after the Crusades, non-Christians were considered enemies of the Catholic faith and, as such, less than human."5

Glenn T. Morris (Shawnee), associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Denver, further highlights the fallout: "In the U.S., indigenous nations were the first targets of corporate/government oppression. The landmark case of Johnson v. M'Intosh (1823), which institutionalized the "doctrine of discovery" in U.S. law, and which justified the theft of 2 billion acres of indigenous territory, established a framework of corrupt political/legal/corporate collusion that continues throughout indigenous America, to the present."6

As shown above, the repercussions of supremacist extremist attitudes are far more than racist or bigoted slurs; such demeaning of fellow human beings leads to a totalitarian domination of people, land, and resources, while wreaking havoc with culture, language, food production, health, etc.

A more recent case of Orwellian labeling can be seen with governments' response to protestors. As example: "The environmental activist movement in Canada has been targeted by the Canadian government as a threat to national security..."7

Yes, it's true, they are a threat . . . to the current System which threatens the environment!

Real Progress?
The Keystone XL pipeline protests show promise that Natives and settlers (at least those who choose to be non-Native allies) can work together on the grand stage, so as to preserve the grandest stage: Mother Earth. At the D.C. protest on February 17, although there were "dozens of people arrested outside the White House,"8 Canadian Indigenous leader Chief Jacqueline Thomas of the Saik’uz First Nation said, "Never in my life have I ever seen white and native work together until now."9

While the meanings of many tribal names connect with the surroundings -- rivers, hills, mountains, etc. -- it is interesting that Native Turtle Islanders also describe themselves as Real. For examples: Lenni Lenape "Genuine, Common, Original, Real People;" Nez Pearce or Nimi'ipuu "Real People;" Cherokee, Ani-Yi(u)n'wiya or Tsalagihi Ayili "Real People;" Tejas, Teysas, or Techas "Allies or Friends;" Blackfoot Confederacy or Niitsítapi "Original People," Dakota "Allies," Hopi "Peaceful Ones," etc.10

What at first may seem curious, that the US Constitution's preamble begins "We the people...," becomes understandable when realizing that the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Nations) actually influenced the founding fathers11 (although those fathers did not return the favor with respect for Mother Earth).

While each culture has its Realness, such names serve to remind us that Aboriginal Peoples, as well as ancient lineages of mystics, monks, and the like, have a long history of being Real. In an article excerpting her book Walking with the Comrades, Arundhati Roy writes: "India has a surviving adivasi (aboriginal) population of almost 100 million. They are the ones who still know the secrets of sustainable living . . . The day capitalism is forced to tolerate non-capitalist societies in its midst and to acknowledge limits in its quest for domination, the day it is forced to recognize that its supply of raw material will not be endless, is the day when change will come . . . To gain this philosophical space, it is necessary to concede some physical space for the survival of those who may look like the keepers of our past but who may really be the guides to our future."12

In a cluttered world where open space is at a premium, we need to make room physically for the customs and lifestyles of the world's Indigenous, as well as for growing vegetables in a backyard planter or making jams at a monastery.

In our cluttered minds where imagination is at a premium, we need to make room philosophically so as to stop faking it and realize that Real progress will only happen when the value of people and the value of living in harmony with one's surroundings are far more important than a value meal.

It is emotionally challenging to face the fact that we as a species have polluted our Earthly home, that we have, in effect, pissed in our own living rooms and shat on our very dinner tables. Yet by facing this sorry state of existence and committing to the cleanup, we can begin to rise like the phoenix from our own ashes or the crocus from the dried decay of winter.

Since Fake often wears a mask, excerpts from the poem “Safe Subjects,”13 by Yusef Komunyakaa, can serve to remind us what it takes to find the Real:

How can love heal
the mouth shut this way?
. . .
Say something about pomegranates.
Say something about real love
. . .
Say something that resuscitates
us, behind the masks
. . .
Something political as dust
& earthworms at work in the temple
of greed & mildew
. . .
Yes, say something to us dreamers
who decode the message of dirt
between ancient floor boards
as black widow spiders
lay translucent eggs
in the skull of a dead mole
under a dogwood in full bloom.

To find out about one example of Real v. Fake in action, watch this powerful documentary: "
Blockadia Rising: Voices of the Tar Sands Blockade."


Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. He edited and published the book, The (Un)Occupy Movement: Autonomy of Consciousness, Practical Solutions, Human Equality, and hosts an audio show "Between the Lines: listening to literature online." You can contact him via his literary website.


  1. "Compared To What" - Les McCann and saxophonist Eddie Harris.

  2. "Match-fixing: Champions League tie played in England 'was fixed'"

  3. "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders"

  4. "Homosexuality and psychology"

  5. "Five Hundred Years of Injustice"

  6. "Occupy Denver endorses Colorado American Indian Movement's indigenous proposal"

  7. "Environmental Activists Pose Security Threat: Canadian Government"

  8. "U.S. environmentalists arrested in Keystone XL protest outside White House"

  9. "Tens of Thousands Rally to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline"

  10. "Original Tribal Names of Native North American People"

  11. "The Six Nations: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth"

  12. "Decolonize the Consumerist Wasteland"
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