Sunday, March 25, 2012

Answering the Challenge of Apocalyptic Times Even If This Meaning Sounds Apocalyptic

  • Bartok was born 131 years ago today.
  • I've not used the CWCF (Canary, weathervane, Cassandra, fool) tag on myself as much as before when (a) I hadn't had my obamapostasies micro and macro yet and (b) I hadn't realized how long, slow, and routine the road to apocalypse is, mentioned because of this post's title and the realization that, for all my yodeling, I'm not CWCFing as much or as hard as I did when I had belief in Liberal progress and certainty of its failure (as opposed to no belief in Liberal progress and certainty of its failure). 
  • Civil liberties, for instance.
  • Breaking up with the Sierra Club, for instance.
  • The shape of the future.
  • Imperialist tactics.
  • Three Villager models, reviewed by Villager.
  • Greed is the beginning of everything.
  • Lord Hee-Haw.
  • In the blood.
  • Fredric Jameson reviews the new Žižek: As every schoolchild knows by now, a new book by Žižek is supposed to include, in no special order, discussions of Hegel, Marx and Kant; various pre- and post-socialist anecdotes and reflections; notes on Kafka as well as on mass-cultural writers like Stephen King or Patricia Highsmith; references to opera (Wagner, Mozart); jokes from the Marx Brothers; outbursts of obscenity, scatological as well as sexual; interventions in the history of philosophy, from Spinoza and Kierkegaard to Kripke and Dennett; analyses of Hitchcock films and other Hollywood products; references to current events; disquisitions on obscure points of Lacanian doctrine; polemics with various contemporary theorists (Derrida, Deleuze); comparative theology; and, most recently, reports on cognitive philosophy and neuroscientific ‘advances’. Žižek is, after all, his generation's greatest academic fraud. As always, I sincerely say that admiringly.
  • The speeds of change.
  • Bud Sasha sends me notice that yesterday was Ferlinghetti's 93rd birthday!


Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words....


  1. In spite of my general aversion to poetry I remain fond of many of the beats. I have two copies of A Coney Island of the Mind, one very well worn. I like the edge and grit. Thanks, Lawrence, for many years of City Lights.

  2. Woo, Bartok! I keep on holding out hope that at least 17% of apocalypse will involve a reenactment of Them!