SAN FRANCISCO–The American consumer populace, long decried by members of the artistic and academic avant-garde as "TV Guide-swilling philistines," was shocked out of its complacency and stupidity Monday by Bay Area performance artist Ivan Hubiak.
Hubiak, 23, renowned within performance-art circles for his provocative juxtaposition of political iconography, nudity, and meat, finally achieved his oft-stated goal–"rousing America out of its onanistic slumber with a devastating attack on its received notions of patriotism and the human body in a voice that speaks not only of an emergent post-structuralist discourse, but also of blind, animal rage"—at approximately 10 p.m., with the conclusion of his nine-hour piece "Flag Fuck (w/ Beef) #17B."
Performed at the famed Mission District hipster enclave Lost Freak In The Streets coffeehouse cooperative, "Flag Fuck (w/ Beef) #17B" was described by witnesses as "too jarring, too confrontational, too all-consumingly intense" for the American people to ignore.
"Before last night's epoch-shattering wake-up call, I used to think there was nothing more to life than purchasing obscenely oversized Sony televisions at Best Buy, the better to lap up focus-grouped corporate pablum as I willingly anesthetized my social conscience with reprehensible pap," said Olathe, KS, resident Bob Turley, one the formerly mindless millions whose world will never be the same in the wake of Hubiak's devastating social critique. "Thanks to Ivan, I now know that I was more sheep than man."
Critics and audiences alike point to the "taboo" nature of Hubiak's disturbing work as the primary source of its power to transform the nation.
"At first, I couldn't believe it. After all, the U.S. flag is one of our nation's most sacrosanct symbols, and the thought that anyone would go so far as to show it disrespect, especially within the context of an artistic statement in a public forum, was just too shocking for words," said 29-year-old Wheeling, WV, dental hygienist and mother of three Darla McAllen, who learned of Hubiak's transgressive, assumption-challenging performance during a long-distance phone call from her sister Gladys. "But then I realized that only by shocking his audience to its very core could Hubiak pull it, and the rest of the country, back from the precipice, rescuing us all from the repellent cultural void that has ensnared us since birth."
According to Hubiak devotees, who as of press time represent an estimated 97 percent of the U.S. population, the performance artist's work "makes you think." This is because, admirers say, though "Flag Fuck (w/ Beef) #17B" initially seems offensive, viewers eventually realize that it is actually society itself, not the piece, that is offensive.
"Sure, some may call it obscene, but you want to know what's really obscene?" asked Batesburg, SC, screen-door-factory worker Bud Combs, 37. "Our capitalistic monoculture's hellishly empty hegemony. That's what's obscene."
"To say nothing of our own passive complicity in its repressive materialistic agenda," Combs added.
The impact of Hubiak's performance is visible across the nation: Since Monday, there have been widespread reports of mass non-conformity from coast to coast, including outbreaks of armed political uprisings against the nation's "haves" by its "have-nots," newly formed grass-roots vegetarianist nutrition-reform movements, and a surge in support for local music scenes and listener-supported community radio.
"Ivan Hubiak cut to the necrotic core of our culture and cut out its malignant heart with one devastating act of defiance," said Sparks, NV, janitorial-supply wholesaler Carl H. Wendt. "It certainly was a courageous act on his part, especially considering how emotionally draining, how psychically injurious this high-wire performance was. All I can say is, thank God he pulled it off."
For stirring society from its somnambulant, lobotomized daze, Hubiak has been awarded the National Medal Of Honor. Sources close to the artist say he plans to defecate on the medal as part of an ongoing work-in-progress that remains untitled.