January 29th, 2011 / 2:42 pm
Events

An apolitical writer?

For the past 36 hours or so, I’ve been hooked on Al Jazeera.

Egypt. Fuck. Things are happening. Yemen. Jordan.

And yet, on writing blogs and other social networking sites, almost nothing is being said about it, at least from the writers. It leads me to think that many writers develop an apolitical stance, a focus on aesthetics as politic rather than politics as politic. Ken Baumann wrote a smart rant about electronics, which was ridiculed by some, praised by others, but what’s noteworthy is the immediate suspicion and rebuttal against his overt political message. Why is this?

Should we care about Egypt? Why? Why not? Do you see this apoliticization and what do you think causes it? Or: please prove me wrong.

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145 Comments

  1. Ryan Call

      For those interested in the context, Blake’s quotation comes from an interview that ran in the wake of the frenzied comments that surrounded the We Are Champion gender controversy or whatever. The interview covers politics, art, and internet-bullying, among other things.http://htmlgiant.com/behind-th…/http://htmlgiant.com/behind-th…/

  2. R. Ridge

      Gregory Corso: What do you say about political conflicts?

      William Burroughs: Political conflicts are merely surface manifestations. If conflicts arise you may be sure that certain powers intend to keep this conflict under operation since they hope to profit from the situation. To concern yourself with surface political conflicts is to make the mistake of the bull in the ring, you are charging the cloth. That is what politics is for, to teach you the cloth. Just as the bullfighter teaches the bull, teaches him to follow, obey the cloth.

      Gregory Corso: Who manipulates the cloth?

      William Burroughs: Death

      Allen Ginsberg: What is death?

      William Burroughs: A gimmick. It’s the time-birth-death gimmick. Can’t go on much longer, too many people are wising up.

      *

  3. c2k

      Well, I presumed you were choosing your links deliberately; I’d be surprised if you were not. I agree that US coverage is woeful, and my post above was meant as a compliment, although I don’t think looking at news abroad from a US perspective is necessarily wrong. What we see, generally, as usual, from US news orgs (and this is perhaps what you meant) is current events explained from the viewpoint of the official US govt line – not from Huckabee or Bolton, who are no longer in government, but the current administration. This can be problematic, in a so-called democracy, particularly when it seems the US might be on the wrong side of democracy – again. To ignore the political implications for the US, however, if that’s what you’re suggesting, would also be misguided for any news org – because US meddling is rampant throughout the region. Remember (although if you’re not watching mainstream US media, you have not been reminded of this lately) Egypt (read: Mubarak) is a “US ally” – although no further explanation about what this might actually mean is offered. Here an historical perspective might help immensely in explaining the situation, It’s lacking, of course, in US domestic media coverage, from what I can tell, and it is very likely why thinking people look to the Guardian, Al-J etc etc for news coverage (info and explanatory).

  4. Fouad A.

      Who was “blaming America for everything”? I simply asserted that you shouldn’t be as ignorant about what your country is up to, as many in this thread have rather complacently confessed to being. But you DO seem eager to get your country off the hook, like a typical white 1st-worlder.

  5. letters journal
  6. deadgod

      Who said that you would be so simplistic as “[to] blam[e] America for everything”?? You simply asserted that posters posting their reluctance to post about Egypt are – did you mean “probably”? – “excusing [themselves] of [their] shameful ignorance” of their government’s (annual) “gi[ft]” of $1.3 billion to “Mubarak’s government”. – and maybe they are.

      I didn’t and wouldn’t guess why you didn’t mention that any “ignorance” of the skimpiness of America’s bribe to “Mubarak’s government” relative to Egypt’s economy would be likewise “shameful”.

      Nor would I guess why you haven’t mentioned that this bribe has been small because acting in concert with America’s foreign policy has been so much in the interest of what Egypt’s political-economic and military elite have been up to.

      Are you eager to get Americans and Egyptians off the hook? I don’t know!

      I simply asserted the veiled conditional implication that if someone blamed America for everything, well, only then could they blame “America” completely for Egypt’s current turmoil.

      You “seem”, given your employment of it, to be the sort who doesn’t understand why ad hominem arguments are necessarily fallacious, but I’m sure I doubt that you turn to this kind of argument in a way “typical” of your color and numbered-world status, whatever they are.

  7. Guestagain

      People rarely act outside of self interest and what is happening in Egypt is mostly an abstraction, for now. If gas goes to $12 a gallon, which can happen, we might see more commentary or examination of the democratic movement in Egypt from affected western writers, but not on the Orwell or Solzhenitsyn level, writers in concentration camps would be required. It is also very un-cool to care (see Burroughs below) and most writing in 2011, for whatever reason, still takes it cue from the dusty beats and postmodernism so it’s par for the course in that paradigm to yawn and write off true democratic revolution in the Arab world as “merely another surface manifestation”. Who can side up with a social and political movement antecedent from the Magna Carta, Enlightenment, and Renaissance while maintaining the required detached intellectual cool, even if these shifts created the model of the free individual enabling that posture? Also, the romantic notion that the public network cannot be shutoff or otherwise controlled by the managers of the grid is just that. Your every click and character keyed is going into a database somewhere. As Scott McNelly of Sun systems said, “There is no privacy, get over it.” The freedom of the internet is plastic, invented, a thing purposefully made apparent.

  8. letters journal

      Lily,

      I wrote this comment for a discussion about Egypt elsewhere. If it is okay, I will repost it here, realizing that the audience and discussion here is different from where I posted it:

      Capitalism is a global system and functions in the same way everywhere in the world (there are local differences in statecraft, ideologies, etcetera, but these are not static and change all the time, while the fundamental economic relations remain unchanged). So, ‘we’ can say with confidence that all so-called ‘solutions’ put forward by religious and political organizations, by trade unions and NGOs, even those claiming to be radical or putting forward militant slogans – all of these ‘solutions’ are going to leave the fundamental economic relations unchanged.

      We can go back in time and look at people cheerleading the Iranian revolution or the Zimbabwean anti-colonial struggle or the ANC in South Africa or the Sandinistas or whatever political fight. In all cases there is an understandable urge to side with the underdog. But what was the outcome? Why are radicals so quick to patriotically cheer on the latest thing, when we should be saying: “Brothers and sisters in Yemen and Egypt and Algeria and Tunisia, watch out for the states in waiting, watch out for the ‘popular resistance hero’. Remember Mugabe. Remember Khomeini. The difference between a dictator and a democrat is only at the ballot box – the factory and the slum will not change. The ‘imprisoned opposition leaders’ of today will be the jailers of tomorrow. Stay strong. You will need miracles, and G-d is not watching. All the proposed solutions are lies!”

      Perhaps it is too soon to say this (Mubarak may hold on), but the real enemy of those revolting in Northern Africa is the political opposition that is preparing to take power. And when I say ‘take power’, I mean that in the most general way.

      If/when a revolt appears where ‘we’ are, ‘we’ cannot fall prey to the indecency of waving flags and banners in support of whatever is happening. Our task is to pee on the parade. To say “No! Push further! The old world is not behind you yet!” To point out the policeman with red and black flags. To maintain our principles and avoid urgency, even when the situation appears to be moving quickly.

      Remember every international revolt you’ve been excited about in your life. Look at what happened after each of them. What happened May, 1969? What happened to your enthusiasm? All of the doors that appeared to be open lead nowhere or were, in retrospect, closed. The freedom fighters joined or became the government. The political situation was turned upside down, the old leaders jailed, the elections became free (at least for one election!), and yet… wage labor, value production, the unending circulation of commodities and money, the reproduction of classes, all of this carried on without pause. Why?

      Does anyone believe the situation in North Africa is a revolt against capitalism? If you do, do you think this revolt could lead to communism (or ‘anarchy’ or whatever you want to say)? If you say no to either question, what exactly are you supporting?

  9. letters journal

      “People are choosing. People are taking control.”

      What does this mean? It’s all very unclear. This is not the same as 1979, but certainly people were “choosing” and “taking control” then as well. And that was a nightmare.

  10. MFBomb

      I think people often confuse two separate issues:

      1) When writing, most writers want to be free to create; this means not having to write with some intellectual rubric in mind. “Good sense is an artist’s worst enemy”–Picasso.

      2) However, writers should immerse themselves in politics and culture. Duh. This only makes sense–writers need to take in as much of the world as possible, and to pay attention to it–from global issues to the way the woman at the cash register ringing up your items today spoke with a funny accent or dialect (am I the only one who gets annoyed at how “political” is often restricted to large-scale global issues, while the “local” is considered somehow less “political”?) Anyway, if writers simply pay attention–in a sincere and meaningful way–political knowledge will come out on its own organically in the work.

      Does anyone really want to read a story that had a political point to prove before the writer began writing it? Would anyone even trust that sincerity of such writing? How many fiction writers can work this way without creating utterly dull, and lifeless work? Why not write a thesis-driven essay if you have a “point to prove”?

      Poetry might be a different story, in some cases.

  11. lily hoang

      No, you shouldn’t be sending blank checks, but self-flagellating over how (white/privileged/whatever) guilty we as Americans are doesn’t do shit either… other than give us some sad looking scars.

      I don’t think “you need to spend years” someplace in order to feel solidarity with others’ experiences. In fact, I think that’s just plain silly logic. (I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.)

  12. lily hoang

      I need to read comments more carefully! Slacktivism!?! Thank you, TJY!

  13. lily hoang

      I’m all for cautious hope and careful observation too. I am not in the streets chanting: Revolution! or Anarchism! I am not rolling over cars or anything of the sort. I am in my apartment, drinking morning coffee, preparing to do a crossword puzzle, like I do every morning. And yes, I too have read my history.

  14. lily hoang

      People choosing and people taking control is exactly what it sounds like.

      People choosing and taking control does not mean utopia is around the corner. (I’m not fool.) Fuck: it doesn’t even mean heterotopia is around the corner. It means: People are taking control.

      What happens next is not in our control. This whole uprising was not in our control. Yes, Egypt could become more democratic. Egypt could become more socialist. In an almost impossible situation, Egypt could become communalist. (What a possibility if it happened!) Or: they could become even more conservative.

      It is not the revolution that makes me refresh the Al Jazeera webpage every minute. It’s what happens next. Because yes, as I said above, I too have read history. I’ve read about Egypt, and I sure as fuck have read about Tiananmen Square.

  15. lily hoang

      It’s unremarkably easy to disconnect from politics. I have to be honest: I will go months at a time without reading the news. Then, I read every source I can for the next few months. Then, I get overwhelmed and back and forth etc.

  16. lily hoang

      Thanks, Madison! Of your two scenarios, I’m not sure which one is worse: People don’t know or people don’t want to besmudge their online persona?

  17. lily hoang

      Thanks, zusya!

  18. lily hoang

      Thank you, Amber! The States make me sad sometimes, especially in your comment. Maybe Canada will keep me forever?

  19. lily hoang

      Janey! You fucking things up – star or not – could be the start to our revolution!

  20. lily hoang

      Hi Cole: I’m glad you brought in Hardt & Negri, though as you’ve pointed out, there is a horizontal movement to Egypt: it’s just not as sexy as Tienanmen or LA or Chiapas or France. No, it’s Jordan and Yemen, etc.

      You are right. The first post about Egypt should NOT have been a post tsk-tsk-ing others for not having posted, but I really wasn’t speaking about HTML Giant. Not at all. I was chastizing my Facebook feed, which continued to tell me quippy lines about butterflies and loneliness. I was angry, maybe unjustifiably. (Please note: I had PLENTY of stuff on Egypt in my feed, but only 2-3 of my writer-friends had mentioned anything about it.) I guess I just wanted some kind of reaction other than life-as-usual-here’s-a-beautiful-line-please-trip-all-over-it-telling-me-how-great-i-am. (Actually, I’m complaining about just one person here. Most of my FB feed is not like this.)

      Here’s the good news, Cole: my response to you is much less coherent than yr original comment (which made sense to me).

  21. lily hoang

      Again: I’m not saying we should write political fiction. I don’t write political fiction. (Maybe stuff with a feminist bent to it, sure, but not with any agenda.) I was talking about blogs and social networking sites. There is a huge difference.

      There is also a difference between personal aesthetics your personal politic v. politics as your personal politic. There are a lot of writers – myself included, sometimes – who believe that aesthetics as politic is politically engaged enough. And who am I to say what is “politically engaged enough”? I’m no one. This was a post about my own general frustration. I’m not encouraging people to go write a story about Egypt. I probably wouldn’t want to read it. (Just being honest here.) I just want people to care about what’s happening around them, as opposed to caring only about what’s happening “between their ears,” so to speak.

      My frustration is that most of the time, I am the very person I am criticizing, and that, my friend, is why I launch the criticism at all. (So full of herself, that Lily Hoang.)

  22. Justin Sirois

      I’ve been writing about it for a while… or at least posting. I’m hoping Haneen Alshujairy and her family are ok as the food shortages get worse and neighborhoods form impromptu militias. Cairo is starting to resemble Baghdad when they left in 2003.
      http://secondarysound.blogspot.com/

  23. Tweets that mention An apolitical writer? | HTMLGIANT -- Topsy.com

      […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Diamond, Rebecca Bates. Rebecca Bates said: @imjasondiamond I think Html Giant deleted our comments on the post about apolitical writers: http://bit.ly/iaVr8j […]

  24. MFBomb

      I understand; I’m just taking apart what it really means when writers–mainly fiction writers and poets–say that they’re “apolitical” or that “aesthetics are enough.” While this post is about bloggers, we hear the same thing all the time from fiction writers and poets. It’s merely a way for these writers to protect their own creative space and freedom, which makes sense, which is why we should always take what writers say about their own processes with a grain of salt.

  25. NLY

      Yeah, that’s what I meant. Totally.

  26. deadgod

      Not completely sure, but I think, by “1979″, letters journal means Iran – the deposition of the Shah and the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Tehran – , not Tiananmen Square (which was a decade later).

      She or he is referring, as I understand her/him, to the situation in which many (most (?), as I’ve read) of the protesters – much (most (?)) of the “Revolution” – , in Iran (and in France) were not religiously extremely conservative; many (most?) of the “revolutionaries” were one or another variety of socialist/communist secularists — “revolutionaries” badly deceived by the Ayatollah and his circle. (Perhaps they thought they were the users – using the religious authorities – , which proved, for those in that case, to have been an egregious self-deception.)

      – the point being that some “people” are always “choosing” and “taking control” . . .

  27. deadgod

      – it – an appetite for news-digestion – does take a high tolerance for, what, gossip, which is what analysis-begging data generally gets ground into in the cheeseburger machine of mass media.

  28. deadgod

      oh – I like the arabic writing — I will laugh if it says something unkind about ‘me’, or about the presumption of speaking-as-though-listened-to

  29. lily hoang

      haha, yes, thank you deadgod. i got my dates all wrong. (there goes any semblance of credibility i had!) Iran 1979, Tiananmen Square 1989. Lordy me.

  30. deadgod

      ??

      When I posted “- it – […]”, between my blogonym and “in reply to […]” in the comment header, there was, instead of “0 minutes ago”, a “0” with Arabic script on either side.

  31. deadgod

      – a tiny mishap.

      I just wanted to hang on to (what I think was) letters journal’s point: ‘Power to the people’?? Which people? In Egypt, clitoridectomists are “people”.

      (My solution?: Education to the people. – and, for slow learners – like me – , about ten lifetimes for it to sink in. ‘Optimism of the will; pessimism of the intellect.’)

      Some “credibility” attaches to getting details right – remembering that nobody never gets a detail wrong – , but more (to me, anyway) hangs on the reasonableness of a conversation partner. Don’t worry about a haha moment. And – again, my use-with-caution perspective – don’t sweat “semblance”. Again: ‘appearance’ to which people?

  32. deadgod

      – a tiny mishap.

      I just wanted to hang on to (what I think was) letters journal’s point: ‘Power to the people’?? Which people? In Egypt, clitoridectomists are “people”.

      (My solution?: Education to the people. – and, for slow learners – like me – , about ten lifetimes for it to sink in. ‘Optimism of the will; pessimism of the intellect.’)

      Some “credibility” attaches to getting details right – remembering that nobody never gets a detail wrong – , but more (to me, anyway) hangs on the reasonableness of a conversation partner. Don’t worry about a haha moment. And – again, my use-with-caution perspective – don’t sweat “semblance”. Again: ‘appearance’ to which people?

  33. c2k

      بصوت عال أيضا

  34. deadgod

      What?

      –Richard M. Nixon

  35. c2k

      The universal netspeak phrase lol spelled out in Arabic. I think.

      –Haldeman

  36. deadgod

      Gitcher mitts offn ma Bible.

      Chuck ‘Preacher Feature’ Colson

  37. Corey

      Revolution within the delimitations of democracy should be about you, Mike. If another gun-death in the US means more to you, and is about you, then in the West we truly are the politically anemic (or dully-fundamental) people the world see us as. Sure, I hear the nay-sayers caution is speaking about it, I feel my own silence on it is my rapture, waiting to see what’ll happen next. And, I’m fully aware Al Jazeera has a lot more to say on it than I do. What to say as the event speaks for itself? However, we certainly should be sharing our reflections.

  38. c2k

      At the very end of one’s life, it is not what one believed but rather what one FELT, markedly felt.

      –Robert U. Woodward-sans-Bernstein

  39. David

      Hi Amy. I definitely agree with you, Mike and Roxane that withdrawing to become versed in the dimensions of an issue is important. And it becomes especially urgent when an event from an area you aren’t immersed in breaks overhead. Reading one’s way into the events is really important. But I think I find that impulse toward independence of thought, toward one’s considered opinion over all, also really troublesome, actually, and definitely not the reflective reaction it feels to be. Let me be clear: I’m not saying that kneejerk self-congratulatory expressions of one’s immediate observations of an event as great and incisive analyses of its greater meaning isn’t an obnoxious general feature of Web 2.0 and our general commentariat of self-preening roosters. It is. But two points need to be made. First, raising awareness about an issue is different from responding to an event like this: in this sense, slacktivism doesn’t properly describe the cultural response to something like this at all. Online agitation or simple registration of feeling here is more akin to the way news was spread by word-of-mouth recitation in revolutionary Paris through networked assemblies of the people than it is a
      ‘campaign’ of any sort. And second, the commendable desire to withdraw and learn more also requires some kind of commitment if it’s not to be purely about reserving judgement, rather than making judgement.

      In response to the French Revolution, an event which, politically, in its radical phase, he hardly approved of, Kant pointed out, all the same, whatever position one staked out in regard to it, whether one felt it went too far or was revolutionary only in its radical stage, the thing is the enthusiasm that the event generated was itself communicative of the world-historical nature of the thing as something to which persons would have no option but from here on in to elaborate, control, undermine, or explode. His point is that one doesn’t need to be fully cognizant or on board with each facet or strand of the revolution to know that it’s revolutionary. Moreover, his argument also is that to a large degree the implications of an event is not made only on the scene but in its reception from afar, by how we become swept up in it as observers. Why there is, then, everywhere this general signposting of the thoughts and feelings of people following Egypt without even knowing Mubarak’s name until six days ago, I’d argue, is precisely because it incites a sort of universalistic endorsement that doesn’t need the angling of the commentariat at this stage to be understood in all its universal appeal: the slogans, the general involvement of the population, the excitement across the Arab world, the sight of the crowds battling the police and calling upon the army to join them is a universal contextual speech we all understand. Nobody is going to learn more about the situation in Egypt by hearing that you’re addicted to al-Jazeera but they will learn that you’re enthused to be witness to the event, in its atmosphere, breathing it.

      When Kant argued that the importance of events like the French Revolution actually weren’t only made there on the spot in the close attention of real time, per se, but by the agitation they stirred elsewhere, of distant opinion recognizing this had changed things in some way, and pontificating or articulating or being stirred to respond, I think he implied something else: that the real counterrevolutionary response was not to oppose the event or to betray or ruin it (conservatism) but to try and diminsh the importance of the event in its enthusing qualities (liberal rationalism). So while I understand the personal decision not to register one’s attention on social media or to make a blog post saying “WOW GO EGYPT” from the standpoint of it not servicing any explicative end, I’d also defend that activity as it is not at all frivolous or indulgent or even slacktivism because, like Iran in 2009, like Wikileaks last year, there’s a responsiveness to the event as a thing to be moved by. The last thing it’s about right now for all these excited people is just “stability” and “a democratic transition” as it is for the liberal mandarins in the Obama administration’s foreign policy establishment.

      In that sense, actually, I feel like the instruction to one’s self not to impose one’s uninformed involvement on the event, not to speak before one ‘knows more’, is a sort of effort not to be changed by it, perversely: it becomes a promise to learn more aboyt it, to be right about the facts of the event, to master it, then decide whether it’s worthy of my “support”, rather than to subject one’s self right now to the moment of its developing truth and find out more about that truth because of one’s commitment. In many respects, I’d argue, it’s a desire, above all, not to be wrong, not to belatedly find out one was supporting an event that turns bad in some way (the Iranian revolution, for instance), to keep a clean track record with one’s self. Mind you, I’m not criticising you here at all: not that I needed to know anyway that something like this would move you, but your enthusiasm is obvious also from your conversation with the Tunisian waiter that you mention. And I’m not saying, of course, that the trye correct response to Egypt is to update your Facebook status or that to not do so is to not respond to it with all due enthusiasm. What I’m talking about are the rationalizations that will allow us to lapse into cynicism before cynicism is warranted, to buy our philosophical knowingness about ‘the way it’ll all turn out’ on the cheap and not to be stirred as we should be.

      Look at Mike’s logic: he syas, “What we should do is *read.* And even when we’re done reading, we’ll probably end up where we began, more or less: confused, uncertain, and hoping, vaguely, for the best.” So why even bother reading? To be more informatively confused? Let’s acknowledge now that if that’s the best this thing inspires in us then we’ll just end up skipping reading more about it in any enthused depth all together. Then when the next event arrives, it occasions the same response: I don’t know enough about this to endorse it and so on. When does one know enough, whether one reads or not, seeing as it leaves you back in the same place, “more or less”? The only way to not end up where you began, then, is to respond now, in our unknowing, and let that guide the reason for our reading later. We might decide we were wrong but better that than deciding we were too concerned with being right not to venture past our the conclusion that all we can know about something like this is our humble confusion. Because, as Mike goes on: “I think humility requires us to acknowledge we can’t be sure what the best outcome would even look like, precisely — at least those of us who don’t know much about the region.” Humility here sounds virtuous but even the Egyptians don’t have a clear idea what the best outcome would look like in all its embroidered, bureaucratic detail: so we’re right alongside them, despite the fact we aren’t versed in the potential players in their political context, the resonances and nuances and vectors, and are webbed with all sorts of fuzzy notions (like seeing the Muslim Brotherhood as Bad News). The point, thereby, isn’t that we need to know what to hope for if our hope with them on their behalf is to mean anything; rather, joining in the general global feeling is joining Egyptians not in their uncertainty or confusion (they know what they want: Mubarak out, free elections, the military out of politics, civil and religious freedoms) but in their movement toward an unspecified freedom they’re in the process of specifying and the sublime righteousness of their right to do that. We should allow ourselves to affirm the global significance of their actions, whatever they might mean, and we should feel enthusiasm so that it will stir consequences not just there but in ourselves. We should let Egypt be about all of us too.

  40. phmadore

      Surely you meant May, 1968.

      I promise you that the number of people reading your words who would a) like to see a better world or b) benefit directly from a change to the structure of society or c) would do anything besides cower in fear at the prospect of the new world is far dwarfed to the number of people on the opposite side of the aforementioned. A number of these people actively benefit from hierarchy in their daily lives, and the consumerist nature of western literature has even given some of them a great deal of success.

      I’m saying that you’re not preaching to the choir, and while that may not be a criticism, it may be letting you know that you’re wasting your time here.

  41. R. Ridge

      Obey the cloth.

  42. Guestagain

      Mubarak holding the cloth in this case. Don’t worry, ElBaraedi is likely to be assassinated soon enough and the Arab world can remain the 12th century, contemporary writers can remain in the 1960s, everybody comfortable, nobody inconvenienced, except for the people of Egypt.

  43. NLY

      Came across this yesterday:

      Auden wrote that ‘art is a product of history, not a cause’: ‘it does not re-enter history as an effective agent’. Though this formulation is preferable to ‘Poetry makes nothing happen’, I would phrase it differently. A poem re-enters history in a multitude of circumstances, and it may indeed do so as an effective agent, or hostage. Nonetheless, whatever historical effects it may produce, or be made to produce, are as collusive with good and ill or as absurd as those of any other historical entity. Yet the poem — the true poem, the poem that has got within its judgement the condition of its judgement — is not exhausted by the uses to which it is put; it is alienated from its existence as historical event. This intolerable condition, rejected, may lead a poet to a political aesthetics; embraced, to an apolitical one; these twin betrayals — Yeats’s ‘Three Songs to the One Burden’ on the one hand and his ‘On being asked for a War Poem’ or the late ‘Politics’ on the other — haunt modernist poetics.

      Geoffrey Hill.

      It’s a balance we approach only from the extremes, anymore.

  44. gustavo rivera

      we should care about egypt because it was started by educated bloggers. change can occur, but the current crew of writers avoid confrontation and propagate passivity as acceptance. acceptance is good but passivity is lame.

  45. To Write As a Woman Is Political | HTMLGIANT

      […] or always be the citizens of the world we should be. Still, I thought about Lily Hoang’s recent post about writers and what they were or weren’t saying about Egypt. When I first read her post, I […]