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More Yoko No 2 - Yoko v We All Shot Pudsey Bear / 25 June 2012

Walking down Oxford Street en route to the Serpentine it struck me that two things I respect may be incompatible.

 

Yoko's great campaign is for peace. She loves you. Single equality issues such as racism, feminism, ageism can be mollified through observance of the greater cause. Her tactic's have included planting acorns, bagism (against prejudice and stereotyping) bed in's for peace (protesting war, promoting peace). Her work is best seen as an opportunity to be included, involved. She creates dialogues between herself, her thoughts, her listeners, viewers, readers. You are presented with the choice to participate. You are asked to sing, dance and smile. She remains impish, full of fun and vigour and given the chance will help you think.

 

I created the We All Shot Pudsey Bear Facebook Group. Some of our members have complained about the violence inherent in our logo. This started when Danner, Clair Lewis, sent me a picture of Puds. A gun pointed at his cheek, a hole bled in his cheek. After a brief email exchange, full of good humour, I added the text. Later young Bryn Findlay Dykes reversed the bear's smile to make him look sad. I have never shot Pudsey with anything more than a camera and would suggest you also refrain from shooting him. I have however, burned 'the little yellow bastard' (Source: Marisha Bonar) as a part of our annual Burn Pudsey Friday event which always coincides with the Beeb's Children In Need. The event is designed to bring disabled people, wherever they are, together in opposition to the Telefon, to have fun, socialise, organise, spread the message about the inadequacies of the Tragedy Model. This year we will celebrate our fifth burning. Participants talk about the empowering aspects of working together or alone in this way. Some want more direct action. Some don't realise this, like some of Yoko's work; is direct action. We All Shot Pudsey bear shares the wish to include and gain involvement.

 

The incompatibility exists in the idea of violence within the image, the violence implied within  the event. My defence is its only a stuffed toy for god's sake. No one is saying kill the beast.

 

The importance of the comparison between Yoko and us, for me, is to question the strategies we use, encourage greater involvement and inclusion. Whatever happened to the ideas behind Cuddle Day. These ideas came about through criticism of We Are Spartacus for its treatment of a mental health service user. Criticisms continued on surface on a DPAC demo. As a danner, myself, I know we sometimes fail this test. What we gonna do about it whilst Yoko continues to do it?

 

Oh by the way, Yoko's charitable contributions tend to be to humanitarian courses and a repsonse to disasters.