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Findings from around the Internet.


“Poem is one of the names we give to cultural material once it has become property”

January 15, 2014


There is no going back, not even if we wanted to (which we don’t). That’s the first rule of history. We would not want the above remarks to suggest the possibility of romantic return to a pre-history that was certainly oppressive and ugly enough as it was. But knowledge of these folk traditions does help to denaturalize our sense of what poetry is, and gives us, as a result, a much better sense of the possibilities for patterned language under entirely different social conditions. What would happen to poetry in a society in which there was a fundamental equality of opportunity and equality of access to the means of cultural expression? Poetry would no longer be a restricted domain, accessible to the few, to those with the resources, or the good fortune, to find their way to the Parnassian foothills. The equalization of access – of free time, essentially – would have profound and far-reaching effects, we think, on the social status of aesthetic activity, which would instantly become the possession of the many, rather than the few, even if there were no generalization of inclination or talent. In a situation where there are as many writers as there are readers, collaborative, iterative and collective production of text seems as if it would present the more logical choice. Let’s imagine, too, a human community in which what one took from or gave to the social store was entirely voluntary and regulated by nothing so much as one’s sense of belonging to a community. In this situation, one would likely no longer experience the social field as a regulative and even violent force that stood over and against one’s individual freedom, but as the fundamental precondition of such freedom. Likewise, the individual would no longer appear as a variation played upon a general type – man, woman, poet, carpenter, whatever. Rather, each individual would present as absolute singularity, as specificity belonging to no general category, a unique actualization of social possibilities; any conjunction of individuals would likewise be unique. There would be no need to seek out distinction by way of difference as happens in capitalist society, since distinction and singularity would be the given of social life. The quest for recognition that animates so much poetry would be meaningless. If we imagine poetry surviving in such a set-up – but not poets or poems – it’s because poetry is likely to emerge as the creation of these unique conjunctions of singular individuals, under conditions where social interactions are animated by collaboration and cooperation rather than competition. The mode of address of poetry would likely be radically different as well, since the distinction between public and private spheres, bound up as it is with the distinction between free and unfree activity, will have disappeared. Poetry might become both more intimate and more social all at once.

Read More | “Self-Abolition of the Poet (Part 2)” | (Part 1) | Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, Juliana Spahr | Jacket2


“the one thing that they’re not allowed to have is a lawyer”

January 13, 2014

One of the quotes from her (video at 5:41) in your story was really shocking to me: “Having that many body parts in your body parts, having that many body fluids near you and doing things that are freaky and weird really messes up your ideas of what a relationship looks like, and intimacy.” Is she a hardline second-wave feminist or is she really conservative and Christian?

I would not describe her as conservative Christian. I would describe her as a liberal. Ironically, I would describe the police lieutenant as a liberal also, but he uses very similar language to that as well. I think second-wave, I didn’t ask her the question if she would consider herself second-wave but I think that’s probably pretty accurate. I too was really stunned by that line. That really showed to me that she wasn’t seeing the complexity of the lives of the women that were coming through here and wasn’t seeing the complexity. People from the local chapter of SWOP have tried to speak to her. It’s not like she doesn’t know there’s other views out there, but I think that she doesn’t see it that way.

And she’s not concerned about the treatment that sex workers have had at the hands of police there? There was a woman [Marcia Powell] who died in custody in Arizona. Being taken into police custody in Phoenix is frightening but especially so for a sex worker. It’s surprising to me that she would espouse this desire to aid people and yet not be aware of what a scary system that is.

I tried to get them to see the contradiction in the fact of them seeing them as simultaneously victims and criminals, but they’re unwilling, I think, to see those contradictions.

I think she doesn’t see an alternative. I think that she thinks that Project ROSE is the best alternative possible. What I tried to point out in the piece was that if the sort of funding and resources that Project ROSE are getting were put into something like SWOP, who are doing direct outreach without using arrests, that that would be a more functional alternative. But I think Dr. Dominique and these others involved in the program just don’t see an alternative outside of the criminal justice system and they think the only thing they can do is to work within the criminal justice system. The question of this idea where at the one hand they’re continually seeing all of these women—and it is 98% women who go through the program—all of these women as victims, but at the same time as criminals, I tried to get them to see the contradiction in the fact of them seeing them as simultaneously victims and criminals, but they’re unwilling, I think, to see those contradictions.

Read More | “Reporting on ROSE: A Journalist’s Work In Phoenix” | Susan Shepard with Jordan Flahrety | Tits and Sass


“experts on Bible Africa are sure Homo deamon was imported”

January 13, 2014

Ivan Forde

When the internet arrived, the homosexuality deamon went digital, and was able to climb into optic fibers. Homosexuality deamon learns fast. Full of trickery. Read a lot and decided to convert from simple analogue deamonhood, to an actual ideology. Homosexuality demon is by this time quite African, a middle class one, likes old colonial houses, comfy hotels, really likes imported things. Homosexuality deamon decided to occupy son of a pastor to a scholarship in the Netherlands where they ate cheese, wore clogs and smoked bang. While smoking bhang and at tenting philosophy they came up with a Homosexual ideology. They called it Gayism and Lesbianism. Homosexuality deamon and son of Pastor knew that Africans would never accept them unless they were imported and western. So they bought skinny jeans and balanced trousers.

Read More | “African Homosexual Deamon” | Wainaina BinyavangaBrittle Paper


“Our primary job is not to help anybody”

December 23, 2013


Bratton lasted only two years in his first term under Giuliani, who decided that New York City just wasn’t big enough for the two of them. Nevertheless, soon-to-be-mayor de Blasio is parading him around, gathering cautious endorsements from the more reform-minded critics of the previous policing regime. Bratton’s history does not suggest that zero-tolerance policing, quotas or racial profiling are likely to recede under his watch. It is unlikely that Bratton, considered by some (including his new boss) to be an innovator, will promote the creation of evaluation tools that consider officers’ assisting residents in need.

When Bratton was commissioner in Los Angeles, he oversaw an escalation of police stops and police violence unprecedented even in New York City. With Bratton at the wheel, LAPD stops spiked from 587,200 in 2002 to 875,204 by 2008—and almost exclusively targeted people of color, specifically Black and Latino men.

There was also a significant bump in arrests for minor crimes such as loitering and disorderly conduct, a 17-percent increase in non-lethal police force (stun guns, bean bag guns, etc.) and a dramatic decrease in accountability as just 1.6 percent of citizen complaints against the LAPD were upheld by the department.

Read More | “Don’t Expect the NYPD to Change in 2014″ | Nick Malinowski | Vice


“Would it have mattered if we’d known we were in Bed-Stuy?”

December 18, 2013



The rapper Lil’ Kim’s younger brother Bo was my third Bed-Stuy landlord. He grew up in the neighborhood, knew Biggie Smalls personally, and, like many a young man I got to know in my time there, was from a broken home. Along with his more famous sister, as an adolescent he cared for himself on those unforgiving corners. He had long since decamped for Queens, although early each month he’d sail by in his Lexus SUV, one with rims that spin on their own, to collect our rent. It was kind of a shock when I first met him—he’s diminutive, like his sister, but with a warm manner, speaking New Yorkese with a velocity that rivals Korean. He counts cash, which is how we paid for the place, faster than any human being I’d ever seen. Never once did he replace or fix anything in our crumbling Brooklyn digs; we’d simply do it ourselves and take money out of the rent for it. Still, I thought it was neat having a black landlord in our mostly black neighborhood. I was beginning to think by law you had to be a Hasidic Jew to own a piece of property in this part of town.

This was at 551 Kosciuszko Street, between Malcolm X and Stuyvesant, just a block and a half south of the Bushwick border. It’s one of the poorest zip codes in the borough; much of the neighborhood is dominated by a series of decaying row houses and brick walk-ups filled with immigrants from the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished countries. I lived in a four-bedroom town house with a hard-drinking white lighting technician friend from film school, who’d given up on making art of his own, and an assortment of other clowns from various stages of our lives. The place cost half what I’d paid in “Clinton Hill,” and the constant, unspoken class antagonism that had taken hold of me and my well-heeled friend no longer existed. I bought nickels from young Haitian or Dominican kids on our block, or from a skinny, gold-grilled thirtyish black dealer named G, who lived around the corner, on Pulaski, with his two kids and Spanish wife. I had been introduced to him by JP, a charismatic Haitian teenager, already the father of a young child himself, who lived with his mother and younger brothers in a squalid apartment across the street. Crackheads lived in the basement apartment beneath them. I’d spy them from my window sweeping the sidewalk or taking out the trash gingerly each dawn before their morning beer, leering at one another and the new day outside in that serene, docile way they seem to have when they aren’t screaming their heads off. From my window I once watched JP, who couldn’t have been much older than 18 when I met him, dropkick one of them, as I entertained a friend from college.

Read More | “On Bed-Stuy” | Brandon HarrisN+1