Mysteries of modern poetry: are poets still free spirits?

Off with their heads!

Drawing by John Tenniel

Continuing our inspection of censorship at the Guardian, here’s a surprising suppressor of free speech — that is, if you are used to thinking of poets and other artists as passionate believers in unfettered communication.

Could that honestly be said of Carol Rumens, a published poet, university lecturer and Poem-of-the-Week blogger for that newspaper? Her electronic column — when written by her predecessor in that space — was a quick, open-ended introduction to a poem chosen for discussion by all comers. Under Rumens, the blog has taken on a directive and teacherly tone that some of her readers enjoy.

This week, an extended argument with commenters keen to lift the dead hand of academic analysis from modern poetry – affecting not just its criticism but writing – grew intense. Guardian moderators slashed comments by Rumens’ opponents so wildly and in such quantities that at least one onlooker wondered about the possibility of unhinged combat rage (think My Lai and Green Berets.)

The butchery was justified on the grounds that commenters had been attacking a living poet – the author of this week’s poem, Vona Groarke. Actually – as is clear from careful inspection of the unexpurgated record, there were no personal attacks on the poet, with the exception of a childish remark about her name by someone notoriously infantile. It was the opinions and judgment of Rumens herself that came under fire and, in a scant few posts, the poem itself.

At the end of the cull, Rumens made an ominous announcement in her comments section:

[…] I have emailed the mods via Sarah […] and they will watching the blog extra carefully.

@Einsloth, a delightfully whimsical commenter known to be an accomplished poet himself, was singled out for a special rap on the knuckles. Why? Because he had begun his critique by referring to ‘this precious pearl of a poem’. Comparisons with other samples of acid wit in the annals of literary criticism would reveal that to be mild – as intended.

But Rumens said,

He begins with a sneer. That is NOT doing what we should all do here. [her caps.]

Should. Shouldn’t. … Hmm … Now, this particular Guardian blogger has been a teacher for decades. We must allow her the tics of the more dictatorial members of her profession. But what was a newspaper doing, denying its commenters their right to disagree with her?

This post on acciaccatura is aimed at those moderators and constructed to honour the old maxim, ‘Do as you would be done by.’ I would like to see the Guardian simply highlight all comments it finds questionable – except for libel – and let readers reflect on them and draw their own conclusions. How? Just as I’m setting out these excerpts from the blogs and comments-section remarks of Carol Rumens – neutrally, and in a spirit of enquiry.

LITERARY STYLE

Can a prose style like this, introducing poems, earn poetry more readers – and stimulate new interest in the most graceful literary form?

It’s a strong poem that inhabits a slightly uncharacteristic lyric angle, off-road to the central preoccupations of this septuagenarian poet’s spacious, modernist imagination. Yet I feel it reveals the emotional forces implicit in those preoccupations.

… when the same ideas could have been stated like this:

It’s a strong poem, with an uncharacteristic touch of lyricism, a departure from the usual preoccupations of this septuagenarian modernist. Yet, to me, it reveals the passion behind those preoccupations.

APPROACH TO CRITICISM

Is this a helpful interpretation of a cheerful short poem? Lines that describe an athletic woman diving into the sea?

In an understated way (provided we allow that the poet is the protagonist of her own poem) “Pier” seems a feminist work. Exposed in bathing-togs as she “flip-flops” past the fishermen, the woman here is untroubled about body-image. There’s no shrinking from either visibility or danger. Next time, in fact, she’ll claim even more visibility, and take a bigger risk: she’ll dive from the pier head-first, and she’ll shout. While not as blissfully at one with the environment as her project at first suggested, the speaker embraces the growing sense of power and liberation her risk-taking gains her. We might also infer that, where Church and state attempt to control women’s bodies, rebellious leaps and shouts may be fun but are also more significant politically than they may first appear.

N.B. A controller critical of controlling?

SELF-EXPRESSION

Should a blogger cooperating with censors of free speech be calling her own employers at her university ‘you bastards’ in public – on a Guardian blog? Carol Rumens was gently reprimanded by a kind commenter: shouldn’t she extend the same kind consideration to the impassioned comments of others?

CarolRumens
Comment No. 1200270
July 2 18:41

To my Employers (the National Institute for Excellence in the Creative Industries, University of Bangor)

Nasty
Idiotic
Emetic
Crap
Innit

Sorry but they are trying to get me to do some extra teaching that forces a younger colleague out of a job. Hope you’re reading this, you bastards.

stoneofsilence
Comment No. 1203154
July 4 8:57

Never slag off an employer on
Impulse, especially in forums
Everyone can be a voyeur on
Carol Rumens, Oh Carol Rumens
Ire will misfire- its – hire or fire

Seriously, Carol I think it is best that these matters be resolved using the appropriate channels. If you believe there is a case, then take it to the union or whoever represents you, and take it up with the boards. If it is a Dean or Director who has made this decision then go to the head of the college. If you have already exhausted those channels then you can use this blog to vent off your anger, but not until then. I do not personally think it is useful to make fun of your employer’s strategy which is one that is typical of all those humanities departments that had to reinvent themselves in the 1990’s so as to be more attractive to business. …

Readers, I’ll let you decide …

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29 Comments

Filed under Censorship, Editors and editing, Poetry, The Guardian

29 responses to “Mysteries of modern poetry: are poets still free spirits?

  1. I noticed few “magical” disparitions of comments. Must have been the magic stick of censure using the comment neutronaliser.

    The allergical reaction to poetry, specially “good poetry”, is due to the fact that each softwashed stalinist apprentice HATES anybody writing better as their own wannabeism allows.

    To have REAL SPIRIT has to be considered as an offence to each who s “spirit” consist in postmodern “bons mots” and juvenile jokes at the staff meeting around the coffee engine.
    Such easy successes reflecting the glance of “being someone” should not be challenged by a demand to truly use more thought faculty than needed for the daily artifice.
    Poseurs Hates “naturally” humans with an inner life.

  2. === The allergical reaction to poetry, specially “good poetry”, is due to the fact that each softwashed stalinist apprentice HATES anybody writing better as their own wannabeism allows. ===

    C’est ça, … exactement ça.

    Such a good word, ‘poseur‘, and you’ve placed it perfectly.

    Grand merci.

    Sorry I haven’t been a good blog host or blog visitor lately. I was distracted by some outrageous claims and behaviour in another spot .. as you’ll have gathered. ; )… I didn’t realise that you also visit the subsidiary site that inspired the latest post. Excellent!

  3. I get sometimes lost “elsewhere” too as you know, the communication technique is still not “top” and the cats suddenly “disappeared” we don’t know where. Good to read you, I simply hope again few other might join us with their own story, right?

    To the topic above, I can only say that even the weirdest behaviour has a logical explanation and jealousy appeared to be often the explanation of many absurd kicks.
    It is the feeling some develop when they fancy the quality of other but assume unconsciously themselves unable to be” THAT” (whatever THAT is) too.
    Means, lazy minds prefers to pull other down than to fly high with other.

  4. I think we have to keep in mind that these sparrows lives from the few crumbles of success&career hopes without being truly strong characters (If they would, the would not be there doing what they do!).

    Each with a bit of free individual charisma probably appears as the potential “danger”highlighting their own flat&pleasing mediocrity.

    How to share with such scary hungry souls flapping with their cut off wings, the idea of the immensity of the sky?

  5. === How to share with such scary hungry souls flapping with their cut off wings, the idea of the immensity of the sky? ===

    : ) … you do have a way with metaphors.

    @antiphonsgarden, your perspective is as valuable as ever. Now, what if you could get one of these ‘scary hungry souls’ to stretch out on your couch for an inspection of the state of their souls? …. ahem …

    Thought of you a few hours ago, reading that ‘ in order to survive [a writer] must become something other than what he feels himself to be. In other words, [survival requires] the internal exile of the writer in the modern world …’. I think that was written in the early 1990s, in a commentary on late nineteenth century novelists.

    That observation might be some part of the problem for some of the people you are referring to — I mean, the few that are talented but still flapping and hungry.

    … Yes I’m truly sorry that you don’t have more company down here, not least because you are such a lively debater. I’m afraid that I had to abandon this blog for six months in which I didn’t write a single post. And for several weeks before that, the gaps between posts grew longer. . . I think that most of my commenters assumed that I was never coming back.

  6. They might, lets hope together!
    I was only a bit worry that I might be sitting on too many seats with my bright backside.

    ” ‘ in order to survive [a writer] must become something other than what he feels himself to be.”
    Sounds like a cabbage wanting to be a cucumber.
    The more some try to be something else than what they are, the more their artificial mannerism shines.
    Writers, like each other being, are all the way long, themselves, with or without a red nose and a funny hat.
    I saw yesterday one of those “deconstructed” writers at TV, pretending to be able to recognise (with bored upnoseness) the plot tricks used in other peoples story’s and than he started to read his own prose, who was of such afflicting banality that I had to switch the program out of pity.Hell, some of this “literature writing courses” should be considered as new plagues, vampirising each spontaneity out innocent souls, and spiting out depressive campus smarty pants. This last wanna sound nihilistic (but driven careerist!) generation tends to overstretch my yawning muscles. Slapping their silly fragile egos with reality nettles is an emergency must, to bring them back to life!

    Couch?…Chasing them around the backyard few rounds till they reintegrate their carnation!well, from far!I keep the couch and watch the dragonfly s, till they come back, ready for the real eye to eye thing!

  7. === I saw yesterday one of those “deconstructed” writers at TV, pretending to be able to recognise (with bored upnoseness) the plot tricks used in other peoples story’s and than he started to read his own prose, who was of such afflicting banality that I had to switch the program out of pity. ===

    And if, by way of some super-sophisticated technology, he could have seen your reaction, he’d have merely shrugged and told himself that the problem was all yours. Nothing … absolutely nothing … makes the smallest dent in the egos of people like him.

  8. At my birth, the doc said “bright shoulders, able to burden the pain of the world”(what a disastrous message for my ego!lol ), I think I am used to be the source of all projected evil, and I have learned to put the bag down and reach it back!(mostly!).
    Well, the problem with such not truly celestial egos is that they never really ripen up on the way.Fragile little balloons where the air had evaporate probably at early age. Narcissism is a mainstream affliction trying to reflect the image of glory expected from an uninspiring background.
    The dent is filling the whole space,and the self has to be searched with a magnifying glass.
    Encouraging such wonderfools to “let it all out” creates space again for a little bit of “real spirit”.
    I trust into redemption for each!

  9. ISA

    Dear Wordy,

    The empress of the poetry blog is unclothed. Poor Carol, that she should have people saying poor Carol.

    Surely she should follow the example of her own chosen poem and dive into the bracing waters of POTW threads even if she ends up with a little seaweed coiled around her ankles grit in her satin costume and even if she has to swallow a little sewage.

    If I knew you were about posting I would be here posting back regularly.

    As it is I have been in Nelspruit and Jo’burg and will post all about it on xuitlacoche when I get the jump up me and scrub the deep fried angst off with wire wool.

    ISA / Einsoth

  10. ISA

    Pardon, Einsloth not Einsoth

  11. === At my birth, the doc said “bright shoulders, able to burden the pain of the world”(what a disastrous message for my ego!lol ), ===

    @antiphonsgarden,… wonderful — impossible to conceive of an English doc, no matter how intelligent, charming or skilled, saying anything like that. It does beautifully underline your point about some form of philosophy being deliberately put on the curriculum at every level of French education. How do you say ‘bright shoulders’ in French? I can’t imagine a straightforward exhcange of words sounding right.

    Also, as I’ve been wondering for some years … What if, instead of bringing up children to think of unending happiness as our most basic entitlement — and any form of misery or suffering as disease or punishment — we did that the other way round? Could that, paradoxically, mean less overall unhappiness for the population?

    === The dent is filling the whole space,and the self has to be searched with a magnifying glass. ===

    Ah, but only for someone like you, with your privileged view of the inside of their heads.

    … Please forgive me if I’m sometimes slow replying . . . a day or two late. Lots of responsibilities crowding in, at present.

  12. @ISA, re: naked empresses … ‘Nazi’ is an overused word I allow myself only rarely, since it must never be allowed to lose its power to appall and disgust … I’d be surprised if you hadn’t spent the hundreds of hours I have over the years trying to work out exactly how the people who gave the world Bach and Schiller and Goethe crossed the line that permitted a collective sanctioning of death camps and all that. Yes, of course I’ve read the books and watched the films about Germany …

    … What I’ve been trying to nail down is the step-by-step psychological transition … working out how to ensure that we SEE the equivalents of that line-crossing in our time, in groups I’m part of or observing closely.

    Last week’s PotW thread supplies some fabulous evidence.

    Just think about it. There was no actual apology from anyone for obliterating a voice — Des’s — making truly excellent arguments about academia’s pernicious effects on poetry. His criticism was balanced, in his later posts, with an appreciation of the ways in which academic research and judgment are useful. . .Yet the powers there feel under no obligation to restore his comments, or those of others supporting him. Ah, they’ll be saying to each other smugly, he and that Einsloth and MassSpectrometer were disruptive, so deserve no hearing. … As if the truth hasn’t upset the certainties of Establishments since the beginning of time, and as if truth-tellers haven’t always had to restort to attention-getting tactics to be heard.

    The empress who lacked the grace for a full-hearted mea culpa wasn’t left shivering for long, was she, before willing slaves of the poetry establishment closed ranks around her?

    There’s a nice discussion of Milton vs Chaucer etc. on this week’s thread, thanks chiefly to @goldgathers. . . . So, back to business as usual, as if Des and all he said did not exist. (Except that they do, and the record of the argument he won, and the infuriated reaction to his victory, is safe : ) …………..)

    Take this seemingly trivial set of events on a poetry blog and it’s a useful lens for examining all sorts of horrors — for instance, the Vatican’s failure to this day to acknowledge clearly and unambiguously that Galileo was right. Even with whole Himalayas of proof on his side, those exceedingly clever Jesuitical minds persist in wiggling out of giving him his due.

    … You know, your perfect screen name might be Einslothisa — or certainly when you are posting from SA. … Einsloth is the best new screen name anyone has come up with for ages, unless that’s the peerlessly nondescript camouflage of LesHiggins. : ) Yes you really are an appalling sloth, pounding out Xuitlacoche faster than most of us can read.

  13. I( epaule large) am the result of one of the first “painless natural birth”some doctors had developed , helping mothers to go out of the “you must give birth in pain”moralin concept through body awareness (no, not medication!).My mum was a sportive nature anyway ( after fighting in the resistance, and lots of tennis, climbing &horse riding, life struggles and active social engagement!).I came to the world very fast, with open eyes straight looking & smiling, what charmed the doc who thought he might give me latter one of his 4 red hair boys.The midwife was Palestinian (she made me an horoscope who was quiet right describing me as a devoted engine repairer of the mind !) and the nurse, a nun who just had come back from India (instructing mum into baby massage, years before it got “up to date”).The doc put on my lips a drop of orange flower honey to “taste the delight of life”.I guess this gentle start in life, supports still my fundamental trust in life.I wished more children had that chance.

  14. The actual situation shows that the victim of once can be the abusers of now.

    The common denominator between all those situation is not a specific country “mentality”, but too many accepting to treat other as under humans.
    This middle class disease in need of hierarchical worth “difference” can be society cultivated as instrument to keep them busy with some “down there/”over there” prides during the big rip off happens unseen.Thief distraction politic.Up to each of us, to see through this evil determinism and lobby or national favouritism.

  15. === The actual situation shows that the victim of once can be the abusers of now. ===

    The abused-turned-abuser… true enough, these people really do exist. But after a certain age – say, past forty – I don’t think that that works as an excuse. Self-examination is called for. … In the case we’ve been discussing here, the friend of the censors has confessed in the past to resenting her own exclusion from loftier circles … so you’d think she might be more sensitive. . . She is well over 40, according to Google.

    By coincidence, @ISA/Einsloth has just written a first-rate post on his blog about the Damascene moment a relation of his had about bullying other people. Extract with link:

    === In this way Corky got to be CEO of South African Breweries, which owns, in addition to the local South African brands, Miller’s, Grolsch and Peroni. He was head of Woolworths for a while. Bullying works in management, Corky said.

    ‘But one day I was playing a game of monopoly with my little son and I found myself cheating in order to win and I realised how far I was gone. At that moment I decided to leave my job and I did. I wanted to find a way whereby people could manage successfully without fear or bullying and I started a new company and we began to research what made people tick and how we could do this.’ ===

    http://xuitlacoche.blogspot.com/2010/09/meeting-corky-colin-hall-and-visit-to.html

  16. I meant Israel/Palestinians.

  17. ISA

    Do you realise, Wordy, that we have form in this blogging world. That we have developed our expertise. I think the fact that we have not generated thousands of comments or caused zillions of hits is because we are not marketing. I know I am not marketing, but rather experimenting with the medium. It seems to me that many blogs that do generate a swill of comments are designed to do so. In this way they are dishones or they have nothing to be honest about.

    The Guardian today made me laugh. It was absolutely awful. Predictable – Simon Jenkins missing the point completely and arguing for the repeal of drug laws.

    Simpering up to David Cameron.

    Then they published the outpourings of four posters as articles in a fabricated debate.

    My God they are lost up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

    It’s sad really, because a lot of their journalism was venerated by people like my father and is still venerated by my friend the editor who has posted once or twice as Camraman – a professional incarnate.

    As for the POTW thread, the thread annex we built on Carol’s dorm built on the Guardian campus, well that’s very disappointing.

    I admit that people can say things on line that are VERY hurtful and that leave you SMARTING but in the end they don’t know you and any online participation is by virtue of a persona. A persona who doesn’t know you can’t say hurtful things to the extent that they don’t know you.

    The number of times, for example, our DLF the Kuwaiti has made me laugh by his off centre attacks in the silly game of battleships he plays.

    But I must have sunk his battleship, because he seems very annoyed with me and stalks me. Probably doesn’t have much to do with his time, either that or he is trying to develop as a writer. Not working.

    As for Susan, I don’t know how I offended her, if I did so it was inadvertant. That’s the problem.

    I thought Des’s proclamation of love for her was very moving and redemptive. Not that he needs redemption, but I would have expected Crumens to respond.

    She didn’t of course and so I am coming to see her as something of an establishment cynic. If I oin in the POTW blogs from now on it will be under a different name and I will be a lot sharper.

    I think, antiphonsgarden, talking about Israel Palestine is unproductive. Writing poetry about it sounds more interesting, but Tom Paulin did and as a result he was practically banned from appearing in the British media.

    I want to do a meta review of the POTW pasty posters.

    I will.

    As far as the

  18. Are you alright, @ISA? That was a rather abrupt departure … as you were still finishing your riveting answer. Lots to say in reply, most of it in a future post, I imagine.

    === It seems to me that many blogs that do generate a swill of comments are designed to do so. ===

    … a flock of geese, an exaltation of larks … a swill of comments! ………ahem …….!

    Well, I suspect that you aren’t marketing your blog for the same reason I can’t market mine — no point, as I can’t, at present, make a commitment to posting often and regularly. My scratchings here aren’t much more than thinking aloud, when I have the time.

    Here’s support for your points about the Gruan blogs from the columnist David Brooks:

    … Capitalism has also undermined this ethos. In the media competition for eyeballs, everyone is rewarded for producing enjoyable and affirming content. Output is measured by ratings and page views, so much of the media, and even the academy, is more geared toward pleasuring consumers, not putting them on some arduous character-building regime.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/opinion/24brooks.html

    … I’ll be back later. … Just saying quickly that @antiphonsgarden is someone ultra sharp, stimulating and French — who has obviously been living an unusually colourful existence — and is brave enough to be writing an addictive bilingual blog in which you can smell France, …because she lives in a bilingual household. I am afraid of disappointing her, though, as I try to stick to what I know about, and Israel-Palestine — or, for instance the history of apartheid — falls into that class of subjects about which I have a carefully cultivated ignorance. Would be different if I thought my opinions on I/P could have any effect; as they don’t, I’m a ‘tied-up sack’. (Old Chinese metaphor.)

  19. Well, obviously I touched a Taboo subject, but is it not exactly our topic about double tongue/mind hypocrisy and favouritism in the media?
    I guess our “beloved/hated” newspaper who these days spits probably on the original aim of his creation, is filled with the same kind of vanity point scoring noises as many of the blogs “attracting the fruit flies with a bit of sugar watter”, I avoid to not end with their 100 of vain banal EXPECTED comments on my own.
    I know, I am only a “visitor” on this one, but I hope still welcomed because of my honest straight forward caring mind.
    But, hmm, talking about the german “decadence” compared to their glorious spirited past is as easy as melting butter in the sun, but the obvious actual abuses in Israel compared to a great spirited past is not possible to “talk loud about”, appears like good old guard lobbyism to me.
    Sorry, but that reminds me how many critical comments got deleted because of that “hot patato” concept , even some I was talking about my family hiding Jews during the war and bringing them over the pyrenees , what does not allow people to put me into an anti-Semitic corner, when I get critical about an actual avoidance neurose who legitimates abuses by “looking away” or even participation.Reaching over the chain of pain is not truly recognising great spirits like Freud or other great minds either.Strangely enough, I had to INSIST that the human rights of Rom got noticed as it seemed of “bon ton” to smear them down happily in a liberal newspaper comments without even been seen for what is is by the benevolent “moderators”. Obviously some victims are more equal than other. Maybe they should demand Rajhasthan back as their natural home base after having been almost destroyed as community.That would make them more “worthily” of recognition? And with all respect I own your past experience, I demand the same, considering that my background had all kind of “villains and heroes” at the clan gatherings, holocaust survivors, resistant fighters and some of the other board , and they lived&talked together having learned a lesson about the stupidity of what Hannah Arendt, would have called “the banality of the evil”, and hoping for another spirit, another Europe, another chance for our generation.

    If we TRULY want to overcome abusive censure, we have to question ourself what we understand as “free speech” concept .Ear plugs anybody? I do not need an “excuse” for expressing my truth, and I wish for everybody’s else open mind expression, even not agreeing with me out of the trust into our mutual specie.Nobody owns the only possible truth and those demanding such scissors in the head are dangerous. Authentic communication appears more promising for the spirit of an human humanity than avoiding subjects.
    We are not THAT weak minded, aren’t we?

  20. Dear @antiphonsgarden!

    I’ve just read you quickly, and hope I’ve understood you. No comments — by anyone — have ever been deleted from this blog.

    All I said earlier was that I don’t discuss Israel and Palestine. If you can lay your hands on ancient copies of Private Eye, you’ll find a brilliant little column called Great Bores of Today. It featured dazzling encapsulations of people repeating the same heavily pre-masticated, uninformed pronouncements on Weighty Matters — using more or less the same words. Cliched thoughts, if you like. … Now, you couldn’t be a bore if your life depended on it. But most people spouting opinions on I/P sound like GBoT entries.

    If I had anything new, perceptive and helpful to say on the subject, I would.

    === Authentic communication appears more promising for the spirit of an human humanity than avoiding subjects. ===

    I couldn’t agree more. And we are also free to choose how we use our mental real estate, wouldn’t you say? The alternative is too terrible to contemplate.

  21. May I remind you, that you introduced the subject by talking about the german spirit in a particularity way?

    I am the voluntary “bore” if necessary, reminding that this subject is a violent one where none of both sides is “above” each questioning.
    I hardly doupt being a meme spreader by doing that, and I consider myself as good informed.
    I just wonder how much desinformation politic”nothing to see!”I am just facing.

  22. === May I remind you, that you introduced the subject by talking about the german spirit in a particularity way? ===

    No, definitely not ‘the German spirit.’ Just about a part of German history by which people are still fascinated and puzzled, the world over. … And considering what it would take for people like you, me, and comrades blogging with us in other places, to behave just like the Germans did then. … I was implying that we all have the capacity to behave just like that, in certain circumstances. And I was drawing attention to what struck me as subtle but clear evidence of that capacity in a discussion on another site.

    The Milgram experiment was on my mind. I’ve read that it has been repeated, with variations, in about 160 (?) countries, and the validity of its conclusions confirmed in nearly all of them.

    === when I get critical about an actual avoidance neurose who legitimates abuses by “looking away” or even participation. ===

    Neurotic avoidance of a discussion in this blogosphere, or good sense? We’ll each have our own opinion, yes? … And that’s fine. There are too many careless, angry words on I/P already.

    There is a blogger on the site we’ve been discussing here who has been annoying almost everyone else by dragging I/P into every thread, even on subjects without the remotest connection. It became something like a bad joke. . . Now I can understand the link that you see, and it’s fine for you to draw attention to it. I enjoy observing how other people’s minds work.

    Silence need not imply agreement — or disagreement. Beware … beware … of jumping to conclusions.

  23. I know the Milgram experiment and I KNOW(and have proved it in my past life!) that I am not subjected to be influenced by authorities away from my humanity.Such option is possible too.
    I know that many are subjected to their trained hierarchical fear up the damage of other and I fight , as I got educated to question the true worth of “authority’s”, to change the conditioning leading them to this obedient dehumanising.
    This “we” is often used, specially in the newspaper mentioned, to legitimate all kind of neglects by assuming the lazy middle class mind who “licks upward,kicks downward, looks away!” is universal human hood.NO, it isn’t. It is the way of life of certain who have to repress in common reality bites to keep their petty privileges.And the analyse of this socio neurotic “well behaving” and the superficial mannered “functioning” can be and HAS TO BE NAMED as his passive aggressive abuse imposed to the collective and individual perception.
    Insisting on everybody’s “respect” of a false reality is under the half shiny surface disastrously violent and destructive to humanity. And I assumed that was the topic of this censure critic.I do not stop half way!.The active comment devastating politic practised in that news paper shows clearly what “the only truth owning and comment (the actual books!) burning lobby’s (mostly of “more equal” victim groups IN POWER!) are in charge of the censure ship games practised. Inside the newspaper and the flogs of “sudden supporters” or “witch hunters” who go around post back deleting each comment one makes till this person texts disappears totally as much as her ability to speak up against this post modern totalitarianism.Literature is full of authors trying to lift up the veil about this mean kind of destructive games to preserve the status quo.That reminds me the poet Rumi, who s inspiring friend says in a poem: ” look this is not a sheep barn, rub your eyes and see the picture of the heart !”

  24. shawn

    hi Aca, long time,

    in my oppinion, the blog is a new medium that defies the convensions of print; in a sense that the blogger is able to update it very very quickly. This means that the blogger can be more impulsive than a writer of a article to be published in print. more of the personality with out meditated control shows up.

  25. Hello @antiphonsgarden, … Hello @Shawn … ! … will be back as soon as I can trust myself to make sense … (even if only a little : ) … ) … Things are a bit chaotic at the moment.

  26. You make (a lot !) sense to me.

    But it must be the stars or the too fast end of the summer warmth…the boat is shaking over here too!

  27. the boat is shaking over here too!

    @antiphonsgarden, funny, but I might know exactly what you mean. .. ; )

    About the shorter paragraph in your Saturday post. I had someone extra-bright helping me in a tech support call to Bangalore recently. I’d tried all the standard remedies for the router in my wireless network that was playing dead and I was getting close to spitting nails. The last thing I needed was a long interruption of my work, so I reluctantly picked up the telephone … After we’d spent two minutes going over what I’d done, my helper made a suggestion and when that didn’t work, he told me he was putting me through to his manager.

    He was upgrading my call to the higher level of expertise, he said, because he was afraid he might give me bad advice. As both his questions and answers had been clear, sharp, and incisive, I said I thought that we might be able to solve the problem ourselves. To which he said, ‘That is possible, but if I make a mistake from lack of familiarity with this error message, I could waste a lot of your time, whereas my boss should be able to tell you exactly what to do immediately.’ … Now, I have never had an experience quite like that from tech support, anywhere. More than once, I’ve been frustrated by begging to be put through to someone more skilled, with no success… One sign of exceptional intelligence, in my experience, is knowing one’s limitations. … No opinions on the standard of help from the Maghreb, though. Perhaps your helper had stayed up all night belly-dancing? … Or could s/he have been distracted by the loveliness of your voice – I seem to remember someone begging you to read him the telephone directory?

  28. @Shawn, … delighted to see you here again … Like you, I prefer unmediated communication and clearer sight of the personality, though not necessarily person, life history, etc., behind a text. And yes, that’s far easier to get from unedited blogs.

    Before we met by way of Bruce Chatwin, there was an enlightening discussion here – for me — with visiting artists … about whether people in other branches of the arts have to endure interference from intermediaries on the same scale that writers do, routinely. … Some snippets, with the link here:

    … I had a ferocious attack of the green-eyed monster after I realised that in no branch of the arts — with the exception of architecture — is one professional routinely licensed to tamper with the work of another to anything like the same degree as in writing of every kind. …

    Alarming
    January 14, 2009 at 11:42 am • Edit
    Actually Wordnerd gallery owners often advise their artists what to produce – suites of etchings, lithographs, screen prints came about because you could sell a lot of the same image and if the artists weren’t chugging out paintings they were “encouraged” to consider print-making as a less labour-intensive way of bringing in the money. […]

    … Perhaps I’ll write a new post on the subject, soon. I’m keen to learn about visual artists who’ve been successful with selling work online, and what their secrets might be.

  29. Well, the last time we waited the whole afternoon for the engineer supposed to come, who never appeared.No sweet voice from me.That much to dates made “faraway!”.

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