Skip to main content

Blog Standard

The recent news in the UK has been filled with the planned "smear campaign" from one of The Prime Minister's Men - a plan to use a blog to spread gossip and innuendo to destroy rival politicians in the Tory Party. Eyewear found it odd how alarmed and shocked the media was at this (a little like the Casablanca moment when Louis discovers gambling in his casino). Anyway, for poets it was no news at all - since poetry-related blogs and "listserv" networks and sites have been spreading nasty, often anonymous criticism and worse - sometimes character-assassination - for years.

A good example is this one from Poetry Snark, about me. It's pretty crass and ignorant stuff. And that's the tip of the iceberg (the Titanic sank today, in 1912). Poets sometimes claim they batter each other to hell because "the slice of the pie is so small" but that makes little sense - competition only gets nastier the more there is at stake, not the less (see presidential elections, and life and death struggles between men on polar ice caps with ice picks). No, the truth is likely simpler: human nature has a "dark side" - and not only Nixon, Darth Vader and Gordon Brown partake. Freed from the limits of body, able to fling expression to the four corners of the globe, humans choose to mostly send messages of love, humour, and vicious bile.

For every helpful and supportive message posted at a blog, or one that is clever or informative, one is just as likely to get something that a lunatic might balk at. Each day I have to reject comments that aim to humiliate poets whose work has been posted here - not creative or helpful commentary, but really nasty dumb stuff. Why is this? Well, for once, people don't read blogs like they do books. Each post can be arrived at separately from its whole - its context - and often messages are left simply on that message. The comments therefore do not engage with the overall "message" of the blog - but the post.

That seems to be a textual rule of blogs - the post is the unit of meaning, the text. Blogs, therefore, are not The Text - but rather, the anthology, or library, or bookshelf, holding thousands of separate if related texts. And each and every one of them is open to attack, almost calls out to be smeared. The politicians cannot be blamed for this. The poets were there first, as with so many things.
1 comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!