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07:50 am: Fracasserie
In reference to the fracas anent the poem "The Green Reich," which appeared in the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Star*Line 34.2, THIS IS RIDICULOUS, YOU GUYS. The description of the judge in the poem is deliberately casting its net as wide as possible (ludicrously impossible, really)--specifically, I would think, to avoid being construed as pointing at anyone in particular. It's a silly poem about the not-so-far-fetched concept of a dog facing criminal charges for peeing and pooping--COME ON!

It's especially ironic that the subtext of the poem itself is overreaction, in a zero-tolerance sense. I consider myself far to the left of liberal, but will be the first to admit that the non-Dark Side has its own failings, and can be just as draconian in its zealotry. (QED.) To refuse to read a poet, or a journal, ever again because of an unsupported, reading-between-the-lines interpretation ... make no mistake, this is both close-minded and sick. Save your rage for important issues, for REAL racists, sexists, homophobes, and those who are actively harming humanity, instead of these repeated episodes of delusional fantasies over poetry trivia and calls for elementary-school clique-forming.

I am getting the strong impression that if it were up to some who have commented at http://time-shark.livejournal.com/493137.html and its sequel, publication of Animal Farm would have been blocked (certain individuals would doubtless have seen themselves as mocked, with far more reason), and George Orwell publicly disciplined and prevented from writing ever again. I'm fond of socialism myself (despite sharing Bierce's opinion of it) but I don't see any reason to give it, or any other position, status, or belief protection from satire. All ideologies have their flaws and failings, and deserve to have them pointed out and mocked. Yours, whoever you are, should not be immune.

Certainly poems with flaws and failings deserve to have them pointed out as well, but I am very disappointed at the way any discussion of a poem within the speculative community seems to instantly transform itself into an ad hominem attack on writers or editors, rather than the content of the poem itself. To my mind, there was a far more egregious example of ethnocultural insensitivity and just plain bad writing in a different poem in the last issue of Star*Line, but it would be idiotic of me to attribute these qualities to a deliberate attempt on the poet's part to offend a particular minority group.

Do we want a Star*Line editor whose cautious, safe choices are invariably so bland as to offend no one? Or are some of you hoping to have poets you have targeted as personal enemies permanently blacklisted by a Committee-to-be-formed for Un-Speculative Poetry Activities?

Yes, I'm saying nasty things. However, they are aimed at the unpleasant and unfair manner of discourse that has repeatedly arisen. Unlike some, I do not intend to pick up my marbles and go home. I intend to agitate until these witch-hunts stop happening.

I'm very interested in discussions about poetics and about the quality, content, and even propriety of effect of published poems on the listserv. I am NOT interested in seeing disproportionate and unjustified attacks on poets or editors, or deliberate misinterpretations of work as personal affronts. It's depressing to me that such an egregious set of circumstances is what stimulated me to post in my LJ again.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:time_shark
Date:July 3rd, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
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Hi, Jeannie. I see instead of answering the questions I've proffered about the problems with this poem, or addressing my specific responses to your earlier comment, you are ignoring them all. One sign of this is that neither I nor anyone else is condemning the poem or calling it inappropriate for Star*Line for satirizing socialism.

That's your prerogative, and obviously you're angry. but I hope at some point you'll look at all those things with clearer eyes.

ETA: I return because of your reference to the poem in the previous issue of Star*Line that was potentially even more offensive. Actually, there was some behind the scenes discussion of Chad Hensley's "The Vampire of Ramallah," and Amal El-Mohtar commented on it on her FB page where presumably the bulk of SFPA folk did not see it. I feel the same about that poem that I do about "The Green Reich" — that it was both offensive and a bad poem. However, in that instance, its ineffectiveness served as a sort of backhanded saving grace, as it was impossible to tell whether the poem was an anti-Palestinian polemic or simply loosely connected images intended for sheer shock value. And as the author isn't someone who has had angry public arguments with anyone (at least not that can be found on the Internet) over the issues stabbed at in the poem, it just remains a cipher.

It may be, though, that a discussion of that poem is the next shoe that drops. Who knows?

Edited at 2011-07-03 02:46 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:tithenai
Date:July 3rd, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
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However, in that instance, its ineffectiveness served as a sort of backhanded saving grace, as it was impossible to tell whether the poem was an anti-Palestinian polemic or simply loosely connected images intended for sheer shock value.

Alas, that poem had no saving graces, backhanded or otherwise. I decided, then, that it just wasn't worth the time and energy it was going to sap from me to dissect for an audience the ways in which it was dreadful; also, I couldn't very well do that dissection without posting the whole poem, and was disgusted enough with Star*Line for publishing it that I had no desire whatsoever to bring it any further into the public eye. I am slowly changing my mind.
[User Picture]
From:pingback_bot
Date:July 3rd, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)

Athena Andreadis on "The Green Reich" (a signal boost)

(Link)
User time_shark referenced to your post from Athena Andreadis on "The Green Reich" (a signal boost) saying: [...] Rhysling Award for a piece that appeared in Mythic Delirium), disagrees strongly with my take, here [...]
[User Picture]
From:patchwork_prose
Date:July 5th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
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I would like to thank you for injecting some sanity into discussion of the poem (which poem I did happen to enjoy reading, not that that is any longer relevant to the discussion).
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