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Contemporary Art and Politics: Poets Talk

By       Message Gary Corseri     Permalink
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BTW, I sometimes think there might be some value in our doing a weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly column on the order of a "Poets' Talk" in which we simply take some of our e-dialogues and publicize for a larger audience. Perhaps DissidentVoice would like it? What do you think?

To GC: That would be a worthy endeavor. We can zero in upon an interesting topic and discuss. " I feel a natural (maybe strange?) sense of angst about the emptiness of journalism, and I am finding our email conversations quite a learning experience.

To CO : "Angst" is a relatively mild term for you! Perhaps you're being diplomatic?

I feel disgust for mainstream journalism!

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I want to think more about the concept and how to present it to the editors we respect.

To GC : I have a sense that a lot of exceptional dissident-writing should have a "trickle-down" effect to the proletariat dinner table, but it does not. Maybe talk about the art forms of advertising and TV commercials which occupy millions of lives; the very shitty constrained issues they are required to think about, and then blindly cast votes? A slim percentage of American population could find Iran on a map! They still see Africa as a place where savages are running around with blowguns, beating drums like in Tarzan days. They never heard of Cynthia McKinney, the Green Book, Bradley Manning -- who dat? Such lack of knowledge makes it easy for bad people to paint others as evil -- what do they call that, bait & switch? I stay tuned to your idea.

To CO: I think a strength of sharing our dialogues would be the differences in our backgrounds and experiences--and the points of convergence. How we both find ourselves in the Arts--and share progressive, sometimes "radical," viewpoints.

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Some of the Progressive sites have comments' sections, but the comments are often off-base, tangential or ad hominem, with a commenters fixating on one sentence, even one word. Or, the commenters lose sight of the original article--and simply add to the general confusion! Nevertheless, I feel that there is room for intelligent, to-the-point dialogue about the vital issues of our times. There is a way for readers to enter vicariously into that kind of dialogue. ...

To GC: Your "Poets' Talk" concept has got me going. I don't know if Progressive audience would share my enthusiasm for such moment-to-moment look at art scene-- including poetry from outlets like CounterPunch's Poet's Basement--, and T.V., film, etc." I have no goose to kill except to think and learn. I believe we can top shows that feature a foursome of glitter-ladies like The View.

To CO : I think we can top The View! Let's try to match what Ted Koppell did back in the 80s with the original Nightline. One doesn't get that kind of talk on TV anymore--not on PBS, or anywhere else. It's a medium for hacks to sell their war-mongering ideas, wrap it in patriotic drivel about "freedom and democracy"--and all the memes nobody even questions anymore!

This idea of a public e-mail exchange--it's a different way to construct an article, to develop an argument. It feels very NOW!

To GC: I'd like to take apart some of those memes you mention!

Back in the mid-1980s, an undergraduate at U. of Scranton, I stepped away from some of the notables on the philosophy curriculum, and read a measure of Nietzsche's Will to Power. Either I was too weak for the work, or the work was too weak for me . Eventually I put Will to Power away, never returned, but I find myself in a society where such dark strength is dominant, and at times, profitable for those who can WRITE well in Nietzsche's and Goebbels' spirit. I am most content having a will to HOPE rather than a Will to Power.

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To CO: And in your case, you know the difference between real HOPE and the cotton candy offered by Obama & the little obamas!

To GC: Let's go for it! About hope: Last night, before tucking-in, I wtached TCM 1938 film, "Jezebel." Topic was deadly Yellow fever epidemic in an upper-class southern town, homes being burned by officials, victims quarantined to island. Film was very interesting when slaves came to the door of an afflicted family, and sang songs. I liked the hopeful & dignified role the slaves played, and presumably they were not paid a cent.

To CO: I happened to be channel-surfing at that time and I caught the last part of the movie (from Betty Davis's entry into the ballroom in the scandalous red-for-harlot dress!). I saw the movie once before, some yrs ago. I think it's an excellent movie--better in many ways than GONE WITH THE WIND, which took all the kudos a year later. Spectacle-wise, GWTW was spellbinding and beautiful, of course (and beautiful physical specimens like Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh didn't hurt!). JEZEBEL is a more serious literary piece. The theme is redemption--and Betty Davis is magnificent. GWTW's theme is survival, perseverance, triumph over adversity--also played splendidly by Vivien Leigh--but it's a much easier theme to convey--almost hackneyed in movies, popular fiction, etc.

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Gary Corseri has published & posted his work at hundreds of venues worldwide, including Op Ed News, The New York Times, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, DissidentVoice, L.A. (and Hollywood--) Progressive. He has been a professor in the US & Japan, has (more...)

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