Tuesday, January 30, 2007

2nd Ave is really terrific. I'm still not quite sure what it is exactly, but it's good.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Once you finish with all of the good reading recently uploaded (Coconut 7, Dusie 5, Octopus 8),
do check out these two poems (and--yikes!--embarrassing video) from Stars-Down here, over at Boyd Spahr's nomadic and protean journal Aiden Starr. No guarantee that these links will do what they are supposed to. But for now: great work by Laura Solomon, Jon Leon, Kristen Kaschock, Karla Kelsey, and Jenny Boully.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

He do the borderguards in Flash

Did everybody catch this (also above), which cher Heriberto Yepez posted to the International Exchange earlier this month? . Do check it out. We all need a nudge now and then from the didactic dead.

I hear tell that he has a book coming out soon from Factory School. That's great news. I loved his poems in Copper Canyon Press's Anthology Reversible Monuments, and last semester at UCB he gave a lovely (er, terrific)reading from the poems he's been writing in English.

(Update: hey look, it's already here).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Extreme Contemporary Conference, Part II

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, “A University Without Intellectuals—What Exactly Is Coming to an End and Why?” [*Note: this is sort of run-through as the same end-of-history arguments most of you will have, no doubt, heard before]

1) The contemporary is a new chronotope. There have been no new paradigms for the last 25 years. Death of the master thinkers--is there anybody of his generation of the stature of Foucault/Derrida/Habermas? A revisionist period, in which one would expect great erudition and scholarship, but no, there's a diminishing amount of time.

2) If this is a new chronotope, what was the old one (episteme classique)? The birth of history with Darwin, Hegel/ evolution/ dialectic. The birth of the second-order observer (the birth, then, of the present as mediation between past and future, a short moment of transition. The future appears as an open horizon of possibility.

3) How did it break down? Death of the grand narrative (Lyotard); end of metahistory (Hayden White). We no longer believe in the openness of history.
[I still can't figure out why this means there are no longer any intellectuals]

Svetlana Boym, “Off-Modern Ruins: Contemporary Reflections on the Avant-garde”

1) The off-modern as part ruin, part construction site.
2) A new diagnosis of the modern, a new symptom: ruinophilia, which goes beyond postmodern quotation marks or the neo-baroque (following Benjamin's notions of ruin as an allegory of thinking.
3)Etymology of nostalgia a meta-nostalgia--its neologic invention from gr. nostos (home), is itself nostalgiac.
4) Off-modern nostalgia as an utopian wishing directed sideways. Tatlin Tower as example (monument to 3rd Internationale)--as emerging from the space in between torndown statue to the Tsar and a not-yet-built monument to the party . For Tatlin and others, artistic revolution precedes political revolution. Their goal was to match with imagination did with reason, to confront technology with technique.
5) Seeks, precisely, to discomfit: equation of confort and conformity.
6) As an effort to preserve these energies, she wrote the Off-Modern Manifesto, originally as a joke. Her claim is that error has an aura/order. Interested in what the failures of technology reveal (you can read more here).

Joshua Clover, “Stock Footage, or the Representability of World Systems”

1)Would like to attend to some of the cultural fields which Jameson overleaps, despite his claims to a Poetics of Social Form, by focussing on two artworks, which like poetry do the work of providing the "cognitive maps" for which Jameson's postmodernism calls, that exist somewhere between the longue duree and the momentariness of fireworks. Postmodern not as unknowable but as unrepresentable, a representation of unrepresentability, then, is what's at stake.

2) Collapse of the historical and the cultural into each other. The groundlessness/baselessness of late capitalism--infrstructure having exchanged itself for immanence. History becomes untethered from the real, and what results is information, networks.

3) Lombardi and the Black-Shoals Planetarium come from the field of information art, which includes "process art" and "event art." Involves the display and manipulation (re-constellation)of real information.

4)Mark Lombardi, conspiracy theory art, sociograms, charts the global networks of money influence involved in real events. Extraodinarily large drawings. Our "mania for information flow" --up close it works as to demystify--and attach names to (Kissinger, etc.) --what normally appears as abstracted, reified social relations involved in , but stepping back a kind of reverse Chuck Close effect (Charlie Distant), allows and everything is flattened, made abstract and unreal.

5) Earliest point in time of Lombardi's art is 1973--the peak of accumulation, collapse of the Bretton Woods, and also the beginning of the derivatives market (futures, options) which were enabled, in part, by the Black-Scholes equations, allowing in effect the pricing of the future in real time. (Black and Scholes found a company that collapses in 1998 and has to be bailed out by Greenspan to avoid economic catastrophe).

5)Autogena and Portways Black-Shoals Planetarium uses these equations to visualize--as stars--all of the transactions of the world's markets, a sphere in which all people who have a retirement fund or own stocks are involved. Ongoing process happenign at every moment, a degree of abstraction so great that it becomes representation.

6) A representation of capital that has become free, become the subject of history, self-valorizing, autonomous. Not exactly Jameson's "waning of affect" but the affect of missing affect, of becoming or being made abstract. The planetarium as a kind of sublime negative knowledge.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Fully Enlightened Earth

I've been wanting to put this information up for a while, but it's difficult to get over the resistance that even contemplating the catastrophe (this one, merely one among many) facing us engenders in me, not to mention the resistance I have to stating things the obvious. But perhaps these figures will be helpful. I finally got around to reading/skimming the devastating but not entire hopeless opinion of the U.K.'s Stern report on global warming (here). Of course, the Stern report imagines a world economy that continues to grow, rather than one that suffers a economic catastrophe (which could help in reducing emissions by killing consumers and producers).

Cost of stabilizing the planet's greenhouse gas emisions (expressed as %1 of world GDP, estimates run from below %1 to 5%): $ 403 Billion

Cost of Iraq war to date: $660 Billion.

Does stabilizing mean that the seas won't rise? That weather won't be even worse than it is? That crops won't fail? Your thingies fall off? Most scientists say no; these things are almost certain. Buy that designer survival kit now!

Should we just accept the end and leave the lights on all day long? No, no, no.

As nauseating as any calculations involving human life and suffering are, there's a difference between one foot of sea level rise and ten feet. Between ten Katrinas and one hundred Katrinas. The difference is entire cities and towns.

Should the whole world go on strike on my birthday or the birthday of anybody living this year? Yes, yes, yes.

Is there any hope? Yes, a sliver. A very sharp sliver.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Notes from the Extreme Contemporary Conference, Part I.

Here are my notes from the excellent conference at Stanford's Center for the Study of the Novel. Much here that is relevant to ongoing discussion about poetry, I think.

Conference: The Extreme Contemporary

Event Date: January 12, 2007

Speakers: Svetlana Boym, Joshua Clover, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Alan Liu, Bill Luoma, Katie Salen
Discussants: Celeste Langan, Tyrus Miller, Sianne Ngai, Anne Wagner
Location: Terrace Room, Margaret Jacks Hall
Overview (Note: this conference didn't really have much to do with novels)
Samuel Richardson famously called the novel "writing to the moment"; to what degree can this claim make sense of our present set of moments? How does the novel, long considered a pioneering form of modernity, engage the conditions that shape literature and art being produced and consumed today, Jan. 12, 2007, and into the future? What relationship might narrative practices have to a contemporary moment whose extremity is often located around visual regimes and instantaneity, organized by new technology and global communications? Are new media and digital technologies more prepared to find adequate forms for current conditions; does—and should—writing to this moment remain as a possibility?

10 am -11:30 am
Alan Liu, “Burning the Book: ‘Agrippa: A Book of the Dead’ in the Age of Networked Reproduction”

(Italics indicate my thinking and not spoken remarks)

Agrippa, William Gibson's collaborative project (with?).
--An "alien bildung," the bildung of new media. Included a poem on a diskette at the back of the artist's book, a poem which self-deleted after one reading: Agrippa as the metamorphosis of new media, the poem as the fragile, short-lived butterfly, and the disk a husk or chrysalis.
--Liu sets up The Agrippa Files to reconstruct the book and diskette; the tension between 1992-2005, web 1.0 and web 2.0. Book features a genetic sequence (I wish I knew about this before starting my genome project) that the printer had trouble printing--transcription problems everywhere, problem with the materiality of information. Agrippa becomes cult object of new media studies. What's the relationship between the handmade (high-end fine-art book) and technological?
-Agrippa and The Agrippa Files allows for an understanding of the digital event (or non-event). A circuit between new media studies, media archaeology, digital-textual scholarship. Allow us to see the problematic of seeing event as discrete moment--rather a process, a happening, that is in a continual state of redefintition and becoming. Just as it is problematic to see web 2.0 as a thing, as a one. Not network but networking. The fetish or cult object of Agrippa creates a self-sustaining or self-referencing circuit, a hype cycle, but also something that continually exceeds it.

My conclusion: Liu wants to question the thinking of new media and internet events as objects and discrete occurrences. The book becomes in a sense a redherring, the material husk of an underlying informational and social process which always exceeds our ability to think it--as as a one, or as an event, or object.

J. on break: remarks on nostalgia effect: we like capitalism from 20 yrs ago, just not today's capitalism. What is that?

Bill Luoma, “Electronic Arts: Problems with the Peace Server and Other Technologies”

--No thesis, he says. Only a question: are we there yet? Describes the peace server, uses google inputs to collage together content, links, images. "Feed unravels the web." Claims that while occasional moments of aesthetic interest, the result is not overall readable, like tedious Making of Americans (This strikes me as an apt comparison given the emphasis on person and making, back to bildung).
--Describes Jared Carter's indignation at a collage of his name. Flarflist response. Name as property? Describes his intent in setting up the peace server immediately after Sept. 11 by reading a passage about him from Spahr's forthcoming memoir--"to scramble the disinformation, to make sense of it all." Describes flarflist as "a healthy breeding ground for ass-vaginas"
--Dan Hoy's critique of flarf, and by extension the peace server, as "corporate algorithm." Likes phrase: play on notion of corporeal, but also agglomeration.
--Biographical information: Luoma grew up in Santa Clara valley, worked at Lockheed, parents worked at Lockheed. Chemical lab assistant : "mostly I was responsible for contamination." Reads collaborative poetry bus poem describing toxic sites in the Santa Clara valley.
--A short lesson in how computers talk to each other. Works directly on transmission control protocol and internet protocol. Sends Jclo an email. His point is that "ambiguity constrains protocols." Clarity as a value at the level of machine language. Indeed, he says, it's now thought that it is impossible to write a compiler that can handle ambiguity.
--His conclusion is that Flarf and the Peace Server are fundamentally constrained by this base-level attention to clarity and the corporate efficiency rationality that they index. What if ambiguity were written in? Poor John Keats. Describes the work of Jim Campbell who builds his own circuits and writes his own language as an example of a artist who writes ambiguity in.

Conclusion: Luoma's talk is a more attentive and sympathetic version of Hoy's critique, but one that is more compelling in demonstrating the regulatory forces at work in search-engine assisted art. I don't think it's a critique of search-engin Flarf as much as indication that such art forms need an awareness of these foundational clarities. In this he seems to echo Language poets' accounts of their own work as disrupting the efficiency and clarity and obviousness of ideological discourse (Bernstein and Watten and Perelman).



Somebody brings up the role of comfort and discomfort in Katie Salen's project. Complicity/oppositionality--somebody mentions J. Drucker's book and Bourriaud. Is comfort compensatory? Does it supply something that is lacking, "shorthand for a process of socialization,"museums of socialization , museums of play in a world where play is disappearing. Anne Wagner speaks up for a combination between relational aesthetics and strategies of estrangement. Somebody: "Often on playgrounds you'll see children spend more time discussing the rules than actually playing." Jclo suggests we distinguish between inner rules and outer rules.

Moretti asks if the contemporary can really be identified with a medium. Medium as zeitgeist, medium as philosophy. Have we gone from a situation of the world to medium as definition of contemporary--therefore, end of history, etc. Liu mentions the singularizing of the word media and the way that "medium" drops out of discourse in the 60s. Information as allegory for capitalism, and as allegory for history. Spahr resists this equation of contemporary and internet. Why not resistance to globalization?

More to follow.

Friday, January 12, 2007

MARY Magazine is an online journal of fiction, literary nonfiction,poetry, and digital art released by Saint Mary's College of California.We're looking for dynamic work that demonstrates attention to language,craft, and cutting edge digital productions. Nonfiction submissions areparticularly encouraged -- personal essay, memoir, reportage, lyricalessay.MARY pays $50 per acceptance, and submissions will be accepted untilFebruary 1. We look forward to receiving your work.Guidelines*All submissions must be sent via e-mail as Microsoft Word or Rich Textdocuments to writers@stmarys-ca.edu.*Include your name, address, phone number, and e-address in your message.*Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know if your work isaccepted elsewhere. *Indicate the genre of your submission in the subjectline of the e-mail to read FICTION, NONFICTION, or POETRY. Do not submitmultiple works in different genres in a single e-mail; for example, do notlabel your e-mail POETRY and attach poems, essays, and short stories toone e-mail.To find out more about us, please visit www.maryjournal.org.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

John Barr

Reginald posted this poem by John Barr—anti-barbarian poetry defender guy, President of the Poetry Foundation, memorably described by Steve Evans—on his website. I don’t know if Reginald really thinks this is lovely or interesting, or if he’s just being nice. But I had a strong allergy to it. I was going to post this to his comments box but I’ll just do it here. (I should say: Reginald is my friend. It’s probably OK to mention now that he was the only creative writing professor—literature profs. Roger Gilbert and Debby Fried were great too—at Cornell who gave a damn about poetry, mine or anyone else’s, or who had anything relevant to say about it. The others were nice people, but. He’s taught me a great deal as a poet and a critic. Other than Reginald it was Karl Parker and Gabe and Gina who taught me the most. Josh and Karen Anderson and Theo and the whole, now-vibrant scene in Ithaca didn’t arrive until much later.)

But anyway, I couldn’t not say something about this poem.

Restoration (from Poetry Daily)

I love to recover the quality
of things in decline.
To scour stone, scale paint from brick,
to compel, with wire brush,
the flourish wrought by iron.
To refinish wood, solving for
forgotten grain.
To give, by weeding, our stone wall
back its dignity.
To left and right the borders of our lot,
to square the corners of our keep.

I have even dreamed: pushing a pushcart,
I stop anywhere and start
doing what needs to be done.The first building takes time:
replacing windows, curing the roof.
I know compromises must be made
and make none, a floor at a time.*

I work along an interstate
a century after Johnny Appleseed.
A modest people makes me chief.
(They, too, enjoy the hazy shine
of finished work by last light.)
Storm drains relieved, brick walks relaid,
a heritage of dust and wrappers
is renounced. The square square,
trim trim, the town for once
is like an artist's conception of the town.

I don't know, Reginald. It's a fine enough poem if you don’t read it too carefully, no worse than many a mild turn of phrase you could find in any magazine, on any side of rhetorical divide(s). But could anyone come up with a better statement of the ethics of conservatism, of nostalgiac preservation of values that never really existed anywhere anyway? What's this ironwork he's polishing? And these modest people who appointed him chief? Seen next to the kinds of things he says in his addresses to the Lillys of the Field, and it's impossible not to, the poem makes me a bit queasy. I take your point about the wrongmindedness of equating political and aesthetic conservatism--no doubt, avantgarde or modernist poetics do not necessarily an anti-capitalism or a liberalism or even a Hillary Rodham Clinton make. Modernist experimentation is fissured by, and probably even constituted by, all sorts of political violence. But all of the pieces of a nostalgiac, sentimental and, yes, reactionary attachment to a narrow notion of "people" and the connection of this to a traditional stance--and these are the philosophical and aesthetic undercurrents of political fascism--are here. I'm not making the facile comparison between form and politics; he is. No doubt, when coupled to an erudite classicism and an admission of the necessity for change, and a recognition of the fact that modernism and modernity exist, like it or not, you get Pound, who I can't really avoid. This, though, strikes me as a pale imitation of Frost's “Mending Wall”, without the menacing ambiguity. Good fences, yeah, but no neighbors.

*These are the best lines in the poem. Bush’s new motto anyone? How better to say “change the course” and mean “stay the course”? I’m going to remember this rhetorical move—a sort of intra-sentence non-sequitur--the next time I need to change the subject.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

water releases a chemical that is good for you and. . .it's called MILKSHAKE

About Frank Seidel (a poet new to me, and mentioned recently by Jordan and Simon De Deo), I find myself liking his Going Fast despite myself. All those descriptive cul-de-sacs and rhymes so many-century emptied they've become good again. None of this brand name with a preposition garbage! And I thought Norman Mailer had turned into Dave Eggers and the proprietary blend of winky cuteness and sigh-rony, but no, here's this nearly unbearably obnoxious and overbearing bundle of tuxedoed glands and drives, with his octaves and grace notes and sumptuary taxes writ as stanzas, his anachronistic midcentury nihilism and misogyny, not quite hip with the subtle ways of the new economy of aerosolize and conquer. The new aristocrats are wearing bad suits or flipflops, man! Or in a church! And of course that's the interest, all those uppereastside markers of privilege that do not mean anymore, and all that formal resourcefulness, those lexicons and Baedekers of excess--this restaurant, that locale, yadda yadda yen euro peso etc.--become a burden, become so many plaques and neurofibrillary tangles and angioplasty bills, not liquid enough, pal, not techno-log-ical, attached to old fetishes like handmade Italian shoes and other such meaninglessness. It was a blast in 1929. The image that stays with me is the man wandering through the debris from a Concorde crash still belted into his firstclass (or I suppose that's the only class there is--uh, was--on a Concorde) seat. I'd like to see Jeff Wall do that one. Or the matronly repository of family fortune poisoned by her son until she becomes a shut-in, cognizant but unable to respond. Impossible to resist this as an image of the birth of the Kantian aesthetic, at least in Lukacs' ungenerous reading of Kant, the world become a picture, become scenery, precisely because the subject is isolated from it as matter, as "the" matter. An excellent rewriting of Merrill's more excellent rewriting of Moore's most excellent "An Octopus." But here we're all so totally over modernism; immanence is a joke (ditto its near-homonyms). Whisk Merrrill from his Greek island and deposit him in a Bunuel set-piece and you'd have a good mock-up of a Seidel. We should get Alli Warren to revive White Male Poet and give him a syndication spot.

Thankfully, no one is asking for pity here. You hate the persona. The persona hates you and all the other emasculated vegetarian downtown types and feministes. He hates himself or his self hates him, which amounts to the same thing. And he's smart enough to follow the descriptive breadcrumbs to where the siren song --yes, it's a mixed mythophor--of this and this and this is anagrammatized, presto, to shit and shit and shit:

. . . The well-dressed man,
The vein of gold that seems inexhaustible,
Is a sunstream of urine on its way to the toilet bowl. ("A Gallop to Farewell")

I do also like that thing he does following long participial nounphrases with a copula, a kind of faux German that excellently mimes the prose of philosophers and politicians and first-year composition students and other people who cannot or will not yet think a thing. Mr. Gauche, meet Mr. Louche:

The without blinds or curtains and incapable of being opened
That let the light in after dawn to mop the blood up into day
Are lighted up tonight because people are working late. ("Das Kapital")

But in the end if you're going to marry the declarative sentence to the thumprabbit of th'iambic I'd prefer it if you gave your misery and ecstasy the fifteen minute smoke break required, for the time being, by labor law (may not be applicable in some states), or at least decided to, every now and then, walk through one of those walls you keep pretending we see too. I won't tell.

I'll check out the bevy of books he's released since.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

le meme: some names

1. When they were married, my distinctly un-Japanese parents owned a fish and then fish-and-sushi restaurant together in Malibu from 1978 until 1982 named, unironically, I think (you'd have to know my parents): Something's Fishy Here. The restaurant stayed, owned by the original sushi chefs and their family, having grown into a chain of four or five such Something's Fishy's, until last year, when it was demolished along with all of the other restaurants and stores across the Pacific Coast Highway from Topanga Beach, once, after two decades of litigation, the Los Angeles Athletic club finally managed to evict all of the smugglers, beachbums, offgrid hippies, drugdealers, and artists real and imagined from the floodprone bamboo wilds--called, for obvious reasons, the Snake Pit--at the delta of Topanga Creek.

2. My sister's name is Jax. My niece's name is Ocean. My nephew: Asa.

3. My parents almost named me Cosmos. We had two dogs named Bimbo and Bozo who are, sadly, no longer alive. I am.

4. I almost joined the circus once when, in a post-romantic or pre-Raphaelite frenzy, I worked a weekend at a rennaissance fair in Ashtabula, OH selling clay runes, crystal-encrusted wands and other assorted magical flimflam. I was hitchhiking from Belfast, ME to Chenault, OR and had gotten a ride near Buffalo from a crystal salesman who had the same birthday as me. This seemed signifcant but I can't remember why.

5. Cities where my mother spent the majority of her childhood: Baghdad, Tehran, Kampala, Kabul, Beirut. My grandfather worked for U.S. AID. He was in the OSS in WWII. An entomologist by training, he worked for Bird's Eye Foods in Walla Walla, WA for a few years after his military service: the first company to market frozen food. These are all names for the cold war: AKA "The Jolly Green Giant."

Can anybody get me information about the reprint of The Hotel Wentley Poems (Joy Street, 2006), mentioned here? Appreciation in advance. E-mail to the right.

Monday, January 08, 2007

20,000 more what?


Can I please go lay siege to the goddamn Federal Building now? Or at least disrupt traffic? Or something. Yell, maybe.

Oh, wait. I forgot that only well-meaning lawyers trained in the fine arts of apology and compromise are allowed opinions on politics. I just read the news; I don't make it or anything: sorry.

After reading these and these, I'm imagining a 21st-century riposte to Documents (Eds. O. Hunt, Lara Glenum and Anne Boyer). (Note to self: write an essay about the healthy refusal of all poetic licensing apparatuses or rationalized pre- and re-processing mechanisms in such poets while being brave enough to distinguish it from the milquetoast domesticated versions of surrealisme which are no more of an affront to the pieties and pietymakers of the day than, say, going around town with one black and one gray sock. When was it, anyway, that quirks replaced perversities? Blame Woody Allen. And Punky Brewster. Get over the people who will no doubt dislike you for saying so or who will, even worse, pay no attention whatsoever. That includes you too, Self).

Benjamin to Bataille underground: "You are working for fascism." Bataille to Benjamin underground: "Who said anything about work?"

And then Noah's contribution: "dog mouse wash" and "a whole fast airplane release pillow puncher."

Back to work.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Reginald Shepherd has a blog. And a book coming out soon, I think. He's sure to bring a great deal to the table, wherever or whatever that table may be.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Fall 2.0

I'm glad to have read this article by Geert Lovink (via Jordan). Despite the occasionally incoherent and transitionless paragraphs with attitude-heavy asides (meant no doubt to imitate the form of blog posts), it does head in the direction of the kind of thinking about blogs and new technology that I want. But Lovink seems unwilling or unable to acknowledge the massive variety of types of blogs and the purposes they're put to--assumes that The Fratboy Chronicles, Diary of a Neocon Pimp, the person writing by battery power on a laptop while rockets fall on Beirut, and the poetry people and the philosophy people are all doing the same thing. I'm sure there are remarkable similiarities. But I don't buy the McLuhan idea that the software is the message, that we're just excrescences from Blogger's HTML templates, or at least it's not the only message. I'm sure there are deep and probably insuperable structural forces determining (limiting, bounding) and regulating the things we can do here. As I've mentioned before, there's something strange--meaning something I'm not sure I understand--that occurs with notions of public and private space, where the distinction between the two types of space is almost completely annulled; whatever public there is a weak one; it comes after, in the wake of, everything else, all of the publicly-attuned faces of (non)privacy. Because of the time-lag between a posting and comments or a response, what occurs here is neither conversation nor discourse exactly. But, getting back to my point, if Lovink is right that "the truth is unlinkable,"not to mention unlikeable, and I agree that it is, it's probably not to be found in the code; it's not a subsystem, it's just completely offline.

In the end, what I'd like to read (or perhaps even write, although I'm far from knowledgeable enough to do in the near future) is something that's both critical of and attentive to the democratic and pseudo-democratic at work in Web 2.0, something that doesn't simply see claims for the decentering of news or poetic distribution as simply false or true, good or bad. And although Lovink acknowledges that discourse is not the primary purpose of blogs, that they are "primarily used as a tool to manage the self," he's not very convincing or satisfying in describing how this self-management, self-fashioning and self-regulating actually occurs, and he's far too dismissive of this as simply cynical narcissism. He's pretty much stuck in thinking about blogs as a relation between news- organs and political bloggers. No doubt, there's a good deal of reality TV, confession and showmanship and whispery quipsmithing (which is a fun occupation, I must admit), going in po-blog world and elsewhere. But I don't know, I'm tempted to think of this self-management and self-fashioning --"to clear up the mess, to master the immense flows of information"-- as also addressing substantial needs in a world that is often either overwhelming or empty or overwhelmingly empty. If the opportunity to have a self weren't so hard to come by in the administered orbits in which most people are forced to exist, people wouldn't be coming here for one. So, no surprise if the story is that workers and work in standardized cubicles or standardized genres like criticism and journalism has almost completely subsidized a majority of the content on the web.

But Lovink's argument that cynical news-bloggers only end up reinforcing or strengthening the conventional news organs they criticize, is worth thinking about for poetry. Does making fun of [Name Redacted] strenghthen or weaken his ability to shape discourse? If I mention the Poetry Foundation here, am I sending readers their way? I do think that there's a constructive component to the work that's being done here; that this is not simply a cynical reinforcement of the institutions that are being circumvented; one would have to be blind not to be able to point to a 100 examples of new technology allowing for alternative networks for the distribution of poetry, not to mention an alternative poetics that takes these models into account. But they are fragile. They won't last. They will turn to so much paper. And I'm sure everybody can think of their own example of the freedom of the internet turning out, in the end, to have been a bunch of people unwittingly generating value for free for the benefit of some corporation or other. Indeed, Creative Nihilism is probably the best description yet for about seventy percent of Williamsburg and the Mission.

Google will call in its loans. And we'll either realize too late there are no streets nor places to put them, nor jobs Arctic ice nor social services nor ways to help or be helped; or we'll have figured out how to translate all of these fragile connections and the wish for a different, even better world that they often represent into something more sustainable.

I'm interested in what other people think about this article.