clap clap blog: we have moved

Sunday, December 21, 2003
Interesting manifesto.

Like it a lot, and it sums up some of my critical stances pretty well, especially in the value of dialogue and response and all like that. Translate "public space" to politics and you see how all my obsessions circle around and around...

Two points I'd disagree with, personally:

5. We do not reject poetry or art. We know we feel rapture and we know you do too, but we also know that rapture is individual and can't be communicated. Give us something to share, to discuss. Tell us how we might become intoxicated. Or intoxicate us!

Well...I do. Reject poetry and art, that is. I think they suck. Suck a whole lot. But I'm weird.

Regardless of their suckiness or not, I don't think they really live up to the standards being proposed here, since blogopoetics and visuals rarely elicit a response. Luke's poetry--if you want to call it that, which people do, so OK--gets linked to with a "this is great!" but no criticism or comment, unless I'm misrecalling. Sasha's pictures, though very nice, never seem to get publicly commented on at all. What else is there? Marcello's stuff, while certainly creative, is prose, creative nonfiction. Woebot (and TWANBOC before it) posted a lot of pictures, but they weren't originals, if I recall, and none of them generated much debate. Some bloggers don't write very well, but that hardly qualifies as poetry. I'm aware that this is just me being capricious here in part, but at the same time a big problem I have with modern art and poetry is that it seems to close off or severely limit debate. This certainly seems to be the case 'round these parts.

12. We think a meal or a bus ride can be as interesting as a painting or a record.

"...but almost never is," would be what I'd add. Sure, I'd read David Foster Wallace or Chuck Klosterman or Heather Havrilesky talk about buying tomatoes, because they are great writers and have that particular talent for being able to talk about almost anything in an interesting way. And you could certainly have a great, funny anecdote about a bus ride, or something really meaningful and fascinating could have happened to you at a meal. Or the meal itself could be really interesting. But almost definitely not. And hopefully you'll have the sense to know. But if you're unsure--well, just don't. For better or worse, very few people are David Foster Wallace.

I dunno. I tend to think human being as fairly uninteresting as human beings, which is why, for example, reality shows have succeeded by being extremely unrealistic and the best memoirs are the ones with lots of fabrications. (And diary entries get marginally more interesting with a good beat and riff behind them.) If some stranger is interested in your life, well, that probably means you should stop telling everyone about your life and start seeing a therapist and/or personal trainer regularly, because people are generally only interested in fucked-up lives. And regardless, it'd be far more interesting to see you engage with something outside yourself, which is what the bloggers who I read regularly do. (With the exception, of course, of my own personal friends, whose blogs work as convenient alternatives to regular e-mails.)

I guess this is just me being grumpy, but, still, it's something I've felt for rather a while.