Conscious Defect is a zine centered on mischief, crime, travel, and hostile encounters with members of American society. It's influenced by zines such as Evasion and Scam 2, and was written by a vegan straight-edge author. All official copies of Conscious Defect are created using copy and print scams.
Rondo Of Theft
Rondo Of Theft is an 86 page full sized zine - co-written with Scamma Jake. It is a reworked collection of the older, numbered, disorganized, and out-of-print Conscious Defect zines. Rondo Of Theft also contains more chapters and stories not previously found in the old zines.
The author on zines and writing Rondo:
I don't read zines. It seemed like the few times I ever picked one up that wasn't about bicycles or making menstrual pads out of stuff you find in dumpsters, I couldn't get into it. Maybe I was reading the wrong ones, but I never liked common themes of vague meandering introspection or attempts at convincing the reader that some small undeserving thing or moment was profound in some way. I was bored with zines. The way the writers always seemed to blend into the paper. So I picked up a book called 'On Writing Well' by William Zinnser (highly recommended), read about half of it, then sat down and wrote the zine I imagined myself enjoying. A simple zine. A confident zine. It didn't matter what it was about. I was convinced I could write a damn good zine about watching the grass grow if I wanted. But instead, I took a cue from Evasion, and wrote about what I was doing at the time -- traveling, and making store owners cry themselves to sleep over quarts of missing soy milk. (Another of my tongue-in-cheek exaggerations.)
I simplified the writing to make it bold. I generalized things. I didn't delve on intricacies. And I realized that by doing this, I might come off as an asshole. So I paused, thought, and looked at what I had written and said, "Good. I will not blend into the paper." If people want to hate me, let them. If they want to like me, awesome. Just as long as they felt SOMETHING. Because an emotional response -- ANY response -- is better than nothing. I heard this once and will never forget it: "The opposite of love isn't hate or vice versa. It's indifference. Just as the opposite of happiness is boredom." And boredom sucks.
After it's release, co-author Scamma Jake declined to write any more material for future Conscious Defect zines.
The next installment in the Conscious Defect canon was titled “Origins” – a half-sized, 16 page zine focusing on the author's hometown and growing up. Influenced by works of Chuck Palahniuk and Harmony Korine, the writing takes a darker tone.
The author on writing Origins:
...by stepping back into the view of an emotional, frustrated, and overly-reckless teenager (which I was back then), I feel I captured the mood pretty accurately.
The latest Conscious Defect released titled “Devilry”, is a half-sized, 28 page zine. It is described by the author as:
A return to form. Catchy, with a theme of fun and mischief.
Responses To Criticism
In a conversation with another zinester, the author had said:
...there were a few reviews. And they all came around to one point -- that my 'way of life' was not changing the world. And I really wondered where people got the assumption that my shoplifting, and traveling, and mischief was ever meant to. I mean, these things were just a PART of my life. Not necessarily what I did all day, every day. And I kind of felt people were generalizing ME. But instead of joking like I was, they were serious.
I'm going to steal (food) because it should be a right to eat. And that's not going to change the world -- I know -- but it doesn't mean I'm going to start paying for bananas (or chocolate almond milk) either.
I remember one day, after walking out with a bag of food from Trader Joes (without paying), Jake looks at me -- all wide eyed -- and says, "You know what we just did? We fucking SMASHED THE STATE!"
He was joking. I knew it at the time, but felt other people didn't. We weren't trying to be revolutionaries by shoplifting. We just wanted to eat. I wasn't even serious when I wrote those zines. I know Jake certainly wasn't when he wrote "FOOD LIBERATION FOREVER!" So it disturbs me to know how many people took it maybe, a little too seriously. And that's one of the reasons Jake lost interest in contributing more to Conscious Defect. No one got the joke. And no one understood that real life is more complex than a goofy travel zine.
...truth is, I largely avoid activist and anarchist circles. And my favorite actions I've read about have always operated separately from the limitations those circles unknowingly represent. In our time -- where the 'terrorist' label is applied easier than the click of a mouse, my advice to anyone interested in change is this: Go out and break something. Don't tell anyone about it. And certainly don't put it in a zine.