Sunday, October 19, 2008
BOO! or, say no to bourgeois individualism, private property, ethnic communitarianism and other unpoetical stuff
Never was there a time in our national history when there was more need than there is now for the creation of a spirit of enthusiasm among all classes of society, inspiring men and women with that social zeal and the spirit of self-sacrifice which alone can save a great people in the throes of national misfortune. Tirades of pessimism require but little intellectual effort, and the world is not much the better for them; but to inspire a people with hope and courage, to fill them with a desire after righteousness and duty, this is work that requires the combination of intelligence and feeling of the highest order. Who, in the midst of all our poverty and distress, that threatens to become intensified, will step into the breach and rouse us to the almost superhuman effort that is necessary to alter the existing state of things? -- Oscar Wilde, 1887
Most readers go to poetry for various succinct expressions of delusionary consolation and psychological gratification, not to be confronted with social dilemmas which can't be resolved or momentarily dissolved in a sigh or a sob or a settling softly of the book on one's knee. Knowing how limited its 'reach' is, why would a committed Socialist artist ever use poetry as the 'method' to further the cause? If you really, realistically wanted to win and influence the largest audience possible, you would write popsongs or screenplays. One leftist hack like that is worth more than a thousand poets of the persuasion. -- Bill Knott, 2008, "Speechless"