Saturday, September 27, 2003
IN DEFENSE OF THE INTERNET, BLOGS, EMAIL AND ALL OTHER TECHNOLOGIES WHICH HAVE INCREASED THE RANGE AND DEPTH OF POETRY FOR OUR WORLD
i told her she has joined the ranks of thousands of others who many years ago opposed the telephone, radio, television, automobile, etc.
Annamay argued with her professors in college how technology only leads to better weapons and better stratagies in warfare. she made a study of these arguments, leading back to catapults and chariots.
she's not wrong of course that technology is often used in the most heinous ways to destroy life. and who can deny that she's also correct about the Internet being an excellent tool for control over vast numbers of our lives? we can only speculate about how much control over us is possible.
not too long ago i went to an exhibit called Torture Through the Ages at one of the casinos in Atlantic City. Amnesty International was there with wall charts and giant photographs of weapons many people would think some sick form of science fiction. but these things are very real, and in use everyday. one such device i recall was an electric hand-held flaying machine which burns and tears the top layer of skin off those being interrogated. a life-sized photo on the wall showed a U.N. soldier holding up the bloody remains of a woman we can only trust was a woman from details on the photo's caption.
according to Amnesty International, the United States is the largest manufacturer of these insanse inventions, most of which cannot be sold or used within U.S. borders, so far. no surprise to see that Britain and Germany are close behind in production.
of course the Internet aids the invention, manufacturing and sale of these weapons. but the Internet is also the best way to stay in touch with Amnesty International, Greenpeace, PETA, ACLU, the AGR and any number of other progressive organizations and movements.
when it comes to complaints from poets about the Internet's impact on poetry, i listen, but can never seem to agree with the gripes. "paper is better" "it's weakened the format of the magazine" "why can't poets write REAL letters?" "Google poems aren't REAL poems" yadda yadda yadda. so much whining going on, geeze!
something i like to quote (was it Blake? i can't find the source anymore) is, "Anything imagined is part of the truth." maybe it wasn't Blake's. maybe i made it up, but i STILL believe it anyway!
what i feel is important to point out is that the majority of these poets who complain about the Internet grew up in cities, or at least well-populated areas with decent libraries, poetry readings, etc.
the dirt roads and lean poetry shelves where i grew up were JUST BARELY pre-Internet. it can be very isolating and alienating for young poets out there. but it excites me to think of the Internet in poor country town libraries, young minds discovering Loy, Oppen, Coolidge, Notley on their own.
it feels like Super Growth time for poetry. it's almost supernatural, like poets will have the tools of The White Goddess at hand, in hand, the dividing segments of the hand the bard talks through. we may all soon see poets grasping the rungs into world leadership. poets with fantastic powers of persuasion turning battleships into cargo ships for grain. maybe i'm naive but at least i'm not sour with the cynicism like others. as it's said in the olden song my grandmother's mother used to sing, "the cynic and the killer waltz together."
and furthermore a return to the sacredness of trees can fianlly be realized. the Internet can TURN THE TIDE on waste! waste your thoughts on e-mail screens, write your grocery list on a palm pilot from now on! i don't care for ONE MORE argument for the need and use of tree farms. a return to our vibrant center is at hand, it really is. the Internet may well be the connection foretold in every gibbering biblical / spiritual tongue ever wagged. should we get on our knees before it? sure, why the hell not!? sounds like fun! ibbitty bibbitty bobbitty BOO!