Thursday, March 21, 2013

On the individual-versus-society motif




A.

Absurdism communicates a certain willingness to play with symbols that suggests a familiar ease with the world, with meaning, and with authority. This is the domain of elite class privilege, and particularly of white male privilege. We can go further still: absurdism not only reflects acquired status, it also enables access to that status.  Mastering absurdism signals one’s ability to speak a certain class language; it flags participation in a distinctly white-collar world of college educated youth.

-- New Left Project, "The ‘Harlem Shake’ and the Western Illusion of Freedom"


B.

Poets should get back to saying crazy shit
All of the time
I am sick of academics or businesspeople telling poets
What we should do...

-- Dorothea Lasky, "What Poets Should Do"


Pictured: Persephone supervising Sisyphus pushing his rock in the Underworld. Side A of an Attic black-figure amphora, ca. 530 BC.