“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”
That was almost your
We might call the ideology of tween media an ideology of perkiness, in which energetic, smart kids learn useful lessons and become better people; so it’s a little marvelous that the longest-running show on the Disney Channel has a main character who is what Sara Ahmed calls an affect alien, someone who refuses perky sociality in favor of laziness, selfishness, and low expectations. It’s particularly welcome that this comes in the form of a female character, Alex, because the demand to be enthusiastic and omnicompetent is directed especially to women in post-Fordist economies.
The connection between the show and the egoist anarchism of Max Stirner first occurred to me when I saw the episode in which Alex paints a large circle-A anarchist symbol but refuses to identify it as the symbol of any ideology (or “spook,” as Stirner would no doubt have it), insisting it is merely a symbol of her own sovereign ego.
In another episode, it turns out that this surly indolence is an ethical commitment:
I am, appropriately, too lazy to go and download all the episodes and make a compendium of clips demonstrating this at length. Luckily, the producers of the show condensed this into one episode, so all I need to do is summarize and then let you watch. In “Positive Alex,” Alex is forced to take part in the heteronormative ritual of the school dance. However, because she won’t adopt the normative feminine performance of pleasing smiles, the boys at school consider her too surly, and won’t be her date to the dance. So, she uses a magic spell to make herself more complaisant, an effect which is visually represented by rainbows leaving her body. The pressure, however, of being in this emotional closet makes her crazy, with disastrous consequences.