Sunday, July 6, 2014

And Will It Make Us Run for the Picklier Taste of Irony Rolled Around Protectively on Our Tongues Like a Grab of Greek Olives?

  • Pat Paulsen was born 87 years ago today. The first time I was aware of POTUS and elections was watching his campaign on The Smothers Brothers Show in 1968. I'd vote for his corpse today.
  • The List of Motherfuckers.
  • Irony and Radicalism: But a funny thing happened to the radicals of the twentieth century: they began to combine their leftism with irony... In the West, by the fifties, no radical intellectual would think of making bombastic pledges about engineering the future without hedging them closely about with irony.
  • Not doing is doing too: By not voting it would remove the legitimacy that the federal government hide behind. If everyone refused to vote it would shake the whole systyem to its rotten and putrid foundations.
  • Communism is alive and kicking? Communism as political possibility and communism as philosophical concept mutually reinforce each other. Without the active movements in opposition to austerity, cuts, debt, and inequality, the theoretical discussions would have failed to resonate. They would have remained stuck in libraries and lecture halls, dusty remnants of past struggles rendered objects of scholarly reflection. Likewise, without the conceptual reemergence of communism as an idea, the movements of 2011 would not have appeared as a common struggle. The connections between education struggles in England, austerity struggles in Greece and Spain, and anti-foreclosure struggles in the U.S. would not have jumped from their local contexts and become legible as moments in the same struggle, a struggle against capitalism. (h/t)
  • The Difference.
  • Maggie's weekly links.
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • unessence.
  • The Good Bad Poet: An Extinct Species?
  • I know I said there would be Kate Bush songs this weekend, but no, apparently there won't be, I spent last night with Swans, woke up with Swans in my head.
  • To Be Kind is one of a dozen of my favorite album of 2014 so far.


Albert Goldbarth

The light has traveled unthinkable thousands of miles to be   
condensed, recharged, and poured off the white white pages
of an open Bible the country parson holds in front of this couple   
in a field, in July, in the sap and the flyswirl of July
in upper Wisconsin, where their vows buzz in a ring in the air
like the flies, and are as sweet as the sap, in these rich and ritual minutes.   
Is it sentimental? Oops. And out of that Bible the light continues   
to rush as if from a faucet. There will be a piecrust cooling   
out of its own few x’ed-out cuts. And will it make us run   
for the picklier taste of irony rolled around protectively on our tongues   
like a grab of Greek olives? My students and I discuss this   
slippery phenomenon. Does “context” matter? Does
“earned” count? If a balled-up fidget of snakes
in the underbrush dies in a freeze is it sentimental? No,   
yes, maybe. What if a litter of cocker spaniels? What
if we called them “puppydogs” in the same poem in that same hard,   
hammering winter? When my father was buried,
the gray snow in the cemetery was sheet tin. If I said
that? Yes, no, what does “tone” or “history” do
to the Hollywood hack violinists who patiently wait to play   
the taut nerves of the closest human body until from that   
lush cue alone, the eyes swell moistly, and the griefs
we warehouse daily take advantage of this thinning
of our systems, then the first sloppy gushes begin . . .
Is that “wrong”? Did I tell you the breaths
of the gravediggers puffed out like factorysmoke
as they bent and straightened, bent and straightened,
mechanically? Are wise old (toothless) Black blues singers   
sentimental?—“gran’ma”? “country cookin’”? But
they have their validity, don't they, yes? their
sweat-in-the-creases, picking up the lighting
in a fine-lined mesh of what it means to have gone through time   
alive a little bit on this planet. Hands shoot up . . . opinions . . .
questions . . . What if the sun wept? the moon? Why, in the face
of those open faces, are we so squeamish? Call out
the crippled girl and her only friend the up-for-sale foal,   
and let her tootle her woeful pennywhistle musics.
What if some chichi streetwise junkass from the demimonde
gave forth with the story of orphans forced through howling storm   
to the workhouse, letting it swing between the icy-blue   
quotation marks of cynicism—then? What if   
I wept? What if I simply put the page down,   
rocked my head in my own folded elbows, forgot   
the rest of it all, and wept? What if I stepped into   
the light of that page, a burnished and uncompromising   
light, and walked back up to his stone a final time,   
just that, no drama, and it was so cold,
and the air was so brittle, metal buckled
out song like a bandsaw, and there, from inside me,   
where they’d been lost in shame and sophistry
all these years now, every last one of my childhood’s   
heartwormed puppydogs found its natural voice.

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