It is the mid-1700’s, and you are an enslaved African in a colonial territory, and it is Carnival time. That means parades, and there will be representations of devils and you, the enslaved African, may well be one of the individuals playing the role of a devil.
This was an actual practice. The irony of it all explains the relativity built into the concept of Vice. European colonists operated with a heaven and hell ideology in which God backed them in every way reframing savagery as an act of divine right. Humans with more pigmentation on the other hand – especially Africans – were agents of the Devil. One can see how enslaved Africans could flip the script based on their lived experiences. The Christian God, connected to the source of their suffering must be a malevolent being whose opponent becomes an ally. A European god becomes the Devil for Africans, while an African God (Eshu) gets a new look. Vice becomes Virtue and Virtue becomes Vice.
So it is with Special Vices.
It is hard to be alive today and not see the centralization and glorification of conflict. This ingredient is the fuel of reality tv and our current state of politics (today there is little difference between those two things). Our social fabric views conflict as the norm, a way of life, a virtue. So much so that peace nearly becomes a vice, and its practitioners often marginalized, or assassinated. Consider with what ease the phrase ‘the military industrial complex’ flows off of your tongue. The phrase ‘the peace-industrial complex,’ however, will cause a pause sounding wholly foreign. Say it out loud a few times for good measure. What in the world is the peace-industrial complex? Whatever your answer Special Vices inserts itself as a part of the answer.
Our Special Vice is peacemaking.