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Entry 30: The New Blast IV

notmypresident

 

The New Blast (final 25)

Blast the Incarnation of Greed!

Blast the Body without Organs!

Blast the Monetization of Pain!

Blast the Nation off its Borders!

Blast the Tyranny of Dichotomy!

Blast Disappearance of the Other!

Blast final Monotony of the Same!

Blast Psychic Fantasy of Destruction!

Blast the Triumph of Anamorphosis!

Blast whomever is Not Listening!

Blast whomever Does Not Get It!

Blast Core Values of Individuation!

Blast the Blindness of Self-Interest!

Blast Regression Analysis of Fact!

Blast the Obscuration of Predictors!

Blast our Total Amnesia of the Past!

Blast our Presentism of Hate Speech!

Blast our Incomprehensible Futurity!

Blast Past, Present, and Future then!

Blast Action and Nonaction from Fear!

Blast Fear making Good People Quiet!

Blast Fear undoing Logical Inference!

Blast Fear perverting Common Sense!

Blast Fear returning us to Barbarism!

Blast Fear the Seducer of the People!

[after Wyndham Lewis; return to part I]

Entry 29: The New Blast III

notmypresident

 

The New Blast (third 25)

Blast the Corruption of Language!

Blast the Purification of Language!

Blast their Misuses of Metaphor!

Blast our Mediation of Metonymy!

Blast all Originality of Authorship!

Blast endless Recycling of Copies!

Blast the News as Election Cycle!

Blast the Construction of Discourse!

Blast the Eternal Return of the Same!

Blast any Illusion of Transcendence!

Blast a Seething Snakepit of Tropes!

Blast the Apotheosis of Zarathustra!

Blast that Dawn over the Rockies!

Blast that Sunset of Verbal Debris!

Blast your Life as a Dumpster Fire!

Blast repeating Tidal Waves of Shock!

Blast needing to Get Through This!

Blast your Republican Uncle in 1960.

Blast your Democratic Father in 1968.

Blast even the Great Chain of Being!

Blast Trust Funds of Popular Culture!

Blast Hedge Funds of High Culture!

Blast the Banking System entirely!

Blast the Inertia of the Art Market!

Blast the Perpetuation of Ideology!

[after Wyndham Lewis; to be contd.]

VOTE (LIVE) 
AS IF YOUR LIFE (VOTE)
DEPENDS ON IT

We are in a bad situation, a situation not of our choosing, painted into a corner once again. But I say, friends, with the greatest conviction and enthusiasm, I am going to cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton! I have been voting in elections since 1968, the beginning of the long turn to mediocracy in the election cycle. It is a deliberately constructed mediocrity, a fabric of denial, compromise, and opportunism. Democracy is impossible, but it must be preserved! The most important thing we must do is fight the eruption of fascism in all its forms. American polity is shot through with undemocratic tendencies—is that what makes it democratic? The situation is only getting worse. Once started, political irrationalism spreads like wildfire. It is a condition of language, where words are detached from their referents and free-floating desire makes any interpretation out of them it likes. Behind these words are narcissistic identifications and hateful abjections. We have not seen anything like it in our lifetime. Looking out the window, it is a beautiful fall day in the suburbs, the traffic is flowing regularly downtown, there are mild signs of hope among the populace, life is good! The worst is over, the worst is yet to come. Here is why I am going to cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton and as many down-ballot Democrats as I can identify:

  1. Anti-fascism! A vote for Clinton is a vote against planting the seeds of fascist psychology among the unsuspecting masses. There must be decisive counter-measures to stop this threat, and a vote for Clinton is tactically the only available option. Vote Clinton!
  2. Women’s emancipation! A vote for Clinton is a vote for the continuing emancipation of women, and is framed against the most stunning public misogyny we have witnessed. We must put an end to the “normalization” of this hateful personality disorder. Vote Clinton!
  3. Anti-racism and defense of immigrants rights! Decisive action is needed in the public sphere to counter the emergence of racist, xenophobic, Know-Nothing politics and psychology. Again, we must end the “normalization” of this violently depraved discourse. Vote Clinton!
  4. Long live Occupy and the Sanders campaign! To the extent that anti-capitalist and anti-Wall Street politics are a verifiable part of the Clinton campaign, she deserves support. Vote Clinton!
  5. End war mongering and military adventurism! We must bring our criticisms of foreign policy adventurism to the only party that will listen to them. The alternative is an aggressive, bullying, reactive, xenophobic, America First politics that will lead to world catastrophe. Vote but criticize Clinton!
  6. Reject left sectarianism! We do not give up our right to pursue politics to the left of the election cycle. A vote for Clinton is an immediate tactical necessity. Criticize the left!

This is the position I am taking. It is not a matter of indifference. The election is decisive in more ways than we can yet understand. Fight fascism, end the denigration of women, racism, and xenophobia, continue to pursue social justice in the spirit of Occupy, #blacklivesmatter, and the Sanders campaign, and be vigilant toward the excesses of American military adventurism. Vote Clinton and encourage others to do so as well!

Entry 25: 17 Reasons Why!

questions of poetics 1600

 

Reason 1: Language writing should not be understood in merely formalist terms.

Reason 2: It is a consequence of the cultural logic of the period(s) in which it was written and has its influence.

Reason 3: But, we must ask, what is a cultural logic, and how many of them are there to name?

Reason 4: If Enlightenment is a cultural logic, not just an abstract universal, the poetics of this situation are yet to be found out.

Reason 5: It is not exaggerating to claim these debates have scarcely been engaged, and will continue past publication of this volume.

Reason 6: The relation of Language writing to identity is a major motivation, as is the question of free speech as liberationist goal. … More

Entry 24: 17 Reasons Why!

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17 Reasons Why! 

“17 Reasons Why!” is a key site in the cognitive map of San Francisco during the period in which Language writing emerged, the 1970s. The cryptic formula, for which no adequate explanation has been given, overlooked the Mission District at the intersection of 17th and Mission—and yet also seemed hardly to be there. Its address was always already iterative and non sequitur, always a prompt for questioning. I left the Bay Area before it came down in 2000, but it has a solid place in the firmament of urban legend, as in this article, from which we learn: “The 17 did refer to the fact the store stood on the corner of 17th Street. But what were the reasons? ‘People would ask what the 17 reasons were, and we would guff it off. There were no 17 reasons,’ [the former owner’s son] said.”

[To be contd.]

DREAM

Broken headline column:
“YOU ARE GO
IN TO END”
Allen Ginsberg dives through the space hatch.
I watch him from the rim, hear his voice
trail a statement “MAN ISSSSSSSSSS . . . . . . . . ”
as he disappears into dot-hood.
The Poets—Anne Waldman, me, “all The Poets”—float
in interstellar space—a substance I
can touch, a fine sheen. & then I’m up against the sun,
its soft orange neon glow. “THE SUN,” I say, “IS BIG!”
Pause, a chair sails silent past me & into solar radiance.
“CHAIR INTO SUN!” I remark (a parody of big
poetical remark).
Then I am back on Earth,
speed-skating on the “Power-Cones.”

—from This 8 (1977); see also Portrait and Dream, p. 154

I had come to New York with a purpose—to visit Ted Greenwald, whose health had been failing (see here), and to make contact with people and see art (see here). I was not expecting to see Bill, whom I knew had been living partly in New York but whom I had not seen for some time (not since we read at MOCAD in Detroit, an event so poorly framed and executed—not by Bill, of course, who sounded great—that I only remember it with displeasure). One of my contacts mentioned that Bill would be reading with Kyle Schlesinger at a gallery in Chelsea, and sent an email with time and place, to begin at 5:30. … More

I was in New York for a purpose—for one thing, I had not been for a while and it was time to catch up. At a conference in Boston, I received a phone call from Kit Robinson, in the middle of a session on surrealism no less, that Ted Greenwald’s health was failing. I made plans to visit as soon as the semester was over; a day was arranged, a plane flight, a hotel booking, and other appointments fell into place. I’ve outlined what I did over the four-day weekend here. The time was specified for 2 P.M. Ted was chipper over the phone: “I have an earlier appointment, but I can see you then.” He books his time like a New Yorker, I noted; I don’t, in some unstated way assuming every event is its own uniqueness, even if that has long since become unworkable as a way to manage time. (So it came to pass that I work the day shift on the assembly line of Modernity Inc., headquarters in Detroit. But what’s the difference? Differing cultural styles of time management all depend on the same passage of time.) I was nervous about the event; he had not overprepared it. … More

Entry 22: Speech Acts

Tim Kreiner has written a considered response to my previous post, an act of intellectual dignity given what else is out there. His piece circles around a conflict between abstract rights (Free Speech) and concrete acts (antiracist politics) he says Place herself caused when she pushed inadmissible racial content into the public arena. He also sees her timing as crucial: while I imagined that Place was grabbing a part of the limelight from Kenneth Goldsmith’s scandalous performance of Michael Brown’s autopsy, he believes that she “added the images in the midst of a live social movement against specific acts of state violence targeting black people.” [Correction: Place added the banner in 2012, and the profile photo in 2011; thus, both of our scenarios are incorrect. It is still an open question why a project that was not getting attention suddenly create intense outrage. The relation of image to text here is still crucial.] While we agree that adding the images converted a banal textual project into a racial provocation, he sees her opportunism as not simply in the aesthetic series but as an attack on the social movement, and thus criticizable from that perspective. Her cynical use of Free Speech, and by an extension the defense of her work in terms of it, cannot be dissociated from its effects on antiracist organizing and its larger concern, #blacklivesmatter.

… More

A week ago, I returned from Germany to find the online poetry community in an uproar over Ron Silliman’s “Je suis Vanessa Place.” There, Silliman triangulates the Charlie Hebdo award controversy with the petition to remove Place from a steering committee at AWP, and her conceptual project to tweet Gone with the Wind in 140-character chunks over several years. Since then, a second letter campaign in part led to the devolution and canceling of the Berkeley Poetry Conference 2015 (BPC), a situation still unresolved.  Silliman sees the primary issue as freedom of expression in a climate of projective and even rhetorically violent debate. Unfortunately, whatever the merits of his position—which I agree with on many grounds—his own rhetorical strategy makes analogies and leaps that are at turns defensive and projective to the point of offense to most readers. … More

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Soong Ching-ling’s Soviet sedan. Photo: BW

From 24 June to 2 July 2014, I was in Shanghai, attending an academic/arts conference and seeing as much of the city as possible when not otherwise engaged. The meetings took place at Shanghai Jiao Tong University; jiao tong means “transportation” but is the equivalent of “polytechnic.” Many of the early technical universities in China were concerned with various forms of transportation. In the case of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the major focus was maritime engineering; there is a massive rusted iron anchor in a courtyard between classroom buildings where there might be the statue of a humanist or political figure in another context. Shanghai, of course, is built on maritime traffic on the Yangtze River, the scale of which was evident in the massive materiality of the anchor. There were many such confrontations with massive scale in Shanghai, from its population of 23 million to the waves of public housing and corporate building that extend outward in all directions to its burgeoning infrastructure, particularly elevated highways and metro system. Jiao tong seems to have been an important concept. Now, it is being reinterpreted to include more liberal forms of scholarship, as witness the arts and humanities program that was our host. A canny citation of Confucian scripture permits this broader, more inclusive reading.

*****

… More