A funny thing didn’t happen on the way to the Forum, today. It happened as I finished reading it, in the Benicia Herald. The contradictory views and attitudes of people who seem to live in the same world but dwell in radically different aspects of it struck me as hilarious. The discrepancies of outlook become sharply evident by sampling just about any three-day sequence of featured articles and letters in the Forum. One can well conclude that at least one faction exists inside an “information bubble” which contains or delivers all the pre-processed in-put it’s members care to receive.
Are we quaint relics of some eloquent age, the goals of which are forgotten? Are we unwitting tools manipulated by secret agencies aiming to control and subjugate all our creative potential by confusing and misleading any who can exercise it? May it be that there are networks of scoundrels working to foist anti-poetry and pseudo-art upon us? Or can these be merely the works of silly people following easy ways?–People who hope sheer rhetoric can win for them what honesty cannot? Has moneyed interest itself become an agency of manipulation? Of course it has. Beauty and humor are alien to it save whatever illusions of beauty and humor money can buy. These will be stylized and thin, selected or designed to reinforce the paradigms of elite wealth.
People are fooled and misled by talk or writing that hides some things by highlighting other things to distract them. By focusing on points of discourse which hucksters cast in slanted light, shadow conceals part of the full vista. Thus the perpetrator achieves that ill-balanced appearance of a subject his biased aim requires, even to the foisting of a false sense of reality. But, whose shadow is it? Ultimately that darkness belongs to the speaker or writer who chooses to use rhetoric instead of plain truth to project his prejudicial view. Employers of rhetoric are unbalanced people who dwell in the shadows they project. Partial opinions result in the mental fragmentation from which they spring. An uncritical audience reflects the semantic distortions of the projector.
Such writers can be so negatively poetic as to evoke our laughter. Laughter and positive poetry are good. Real poetry kicks away your crutches, makes you spread invisible wings or take a spear in your ribs. It may give you goose-flesh or raise the hair on your neck. Real poetry is not intrinsically defined by objective traits on a page, but by a particular relation to, or affinity with an individual psyche or sensibility. Each person’s perceptiveness or susceptibility differs partly from that of others. One negative consequence is that uncritical appreciation tends to promote so much tactful tolerance and latitude, rationalized as sophistication, as to let fake poets lay out trash on a page in expectation that inexperienced readers will find it interesting or smart.
The most successful poems appeal beyond individual awareness to the slightly greater objectivity of a cultural psyche and noumenal factors which are usually unconscious in us. The same holds true of good political speech and writing. Good public discourse suggests and promotes a greater life for all of us in a better world than most folks have known, not just a perpetuation of lifeways that serve a few at the expense of everyone else. Good talk does not cleave to an ideology of exclusion and superior status. Good earns its own way. It discovers, adapts, gives and serves. It does not expropriate and hide its acts or disguise itself for predatory purpose. Goodness has no special ideology or religion, but its enemies try to reduce it to something scummy or dangerous so as to prevent its works from happening or its accomplishments from getting recognition.
Only a view abstracted to great elevation can see humor in the twisted machinations of negative minded, selfish, egotistical people against humanity and its future on a viable planet. One has to get very high, indeed, to laugh at such folly. Standing at street level, we must weep tears. An observer from beyond Saturn’s orbit would likely find little or nothing on earth of interest or worth feeling amused about. However, I was amused to learn that one forum writer, who poses as conservative, suddenly awoke to the fact that Republicans need not elect a replacement for President Obama, but only keep their present grip on the House and take over the Senate to obliterate democracy and rule by corporate wealth-power alone, imposing antiquarian and misogynist values.
How sweet that will be for investors who can’t see their own feet for the big bellies that block shoes from view. That writer virtually admits to sensing at last that the GOP has no candidate to beat Obama in the general election unless several million voters can be confused, scared, discouraged, bought or disenfranchised. The closer the electorate can be chiseled down to the base of far-right and fundamentalist evangelical voters, the more offices can be taken in default of accurate representation at the polls.
That aforementioned writer either ignores or cannot feel the temper of our times. The American public is fed up with the old status-quo and with people who brought this country close to ruin, who now stand itching to do it again. Remember: relatively innocent though they were, the royal families of Bourbon France and Imperial Russia could not secure themselves against revolutionary wrath. Our wealthiest narcisists today imagine themselves in charge of their fate. They have all the tools of state and federal government to secure their positions against unsettlement. No sensible person wants violence. But, there are forms of violence to which some people are insensible. And these are the people who most apply subtle violence to others. Their advocates abuse us in mind and heart. It is all they know how to do.