Monday, October 20, 2003

Notes from Post-Invasion Poetics 

I’m a self-confessed news junky. Since 75% of television is owned by 10 corporations, I’m an ad junky by default. And I’m mentally fatigued. I’ve been raised to believe that more information = more education. I no longer believe this to be true. Filtering information seems to be at least as vital to education as information accessibility.

The most relevant and retainable story on the evening news for most people is the weather. It’s maybe the only story where there’s something they can do as a result of the information given. It’s a case in which the input can actually have an output. Popular lefties from Kalle Lasn (see Culture Jamming) to Michael Moore (see Bowling for Columbine) suggest this is no accident.

When discussing politics with friends & strangers alike, I sometimes find a reluctance to discuss issues that haven’t been "mediated" by media pundits. After the barrage of newsbytes, more often than not they’re left more bewildered than if they trusted their own thinking in the first place.

But enough of the "I have a friend" talk. I’m really talking about myself. As James Sherry says, "It would be good to know our steps from here." I agree. I also readily admit I have no Get Out of Jail Free card. No overarching answer. No comprehensive solution.

I do have poetry within my reach. The poem can resist Empire’s information overload strategy, not by staking a permanent breakaway state- I’m not there yet. As a mostly co-opted American, I can (via poetry) establish, then dissolve states akin to Hakim Bey-style TAZs (Temporary Autonomous Zones).

The poet (and I use this term in the way Gramsci uses philosopher- meaning everyone) can counter the overwhelming assault on mental guerilla possibilities. Let them fight and/or play for awhile. This doesn’t take PVC pipe or affinity groups. At its best, the poem (read/written/spoken) is a Reclaim The Streets action of imagination, committed to shut down the engines of oppression within myself.

Frank Sherlock

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