On 1 Jul 2000, at 3:05, Geraldine Monk wrote:
> Maybe one of the few things the English still have in plenty
> is a wicked sense of irreverence. Towards
> others,yes, but never as witty, vicious and gleeful as
> unto ourselves. It can be edgy and raw but also familiar and
> endearing. It can break barriers and anxieties and we all fall
> down laughing at the plague, the privileged and the bills we
> can't pay. S'life. It get us from moment to moment. Bully.
> I tried and failed miserably to follow 'Totality'. I'm not a dunderhead,
> I've got a degree and all that jazz but I just couldn't latch on. The
> terminology, the references, the sentences to nowhere and every
> where the very point of the discussion skittered past me.
> I hadn't the time nor inclination to decipher. But that's O.K. It's an
> open discussion so live an let... But then came ....
> the 'quippers' (for once not guilty) and suddenly my non participation
> became a fault and reprimand. It was irksome to say the least. By proxy
> my non-engagement with the discussion was tantamount to a non
> engagement with the world, poetry, politics......whoooaaa...
> . How wrong. How very very wrong..I can, and usually
> am ,vehemently political and concerned about the world around me.
> I grab any grassroots chance to change it for the beneficial But.
> I can't and don't want to articulate it in the language of dead philosophers
> academics and other rarefied surroundings. It's not my scene. But iIt is
> no less real and vital. In fact, sometimes I think moreso.
> Maybe I use the language of the streets in my politics
> but they are informed and passionate. Peter asked why not more people
> took part in the discussion and even laments the dead for not being here
> to modify and ameliorate. That is a great tribute to Doug but also a great
> insult to all us still living and loving and tearing our hair out over the
> act of
> being in a very unsettled word and overwhelming world. To intimate that
> there is just the three or four of you and one dead is tantamount to 'every
> bodies out of step but our Johnny'
> It's crap and yet Peter gave us via that discussion
> one of the most intelligent, incisive and 'one from the heart' letters I've
> read on the mailbase. It was a joy to read for its passion and
> angst I loved it. But I think the 'quips' have opened it up..and that
> can't be
> a bad thing.
> Night night.
> 'What use is poetry?' 'What use is love?'. A lovely and apt
> riposte. What use food other than keeping you alive so you
> can fret another day about what use poetry and love? Well
> they all sometimes taste damn good and all sometimes taste
> bloody awful and all are subject to definition and circumstance.
> ....flobl-a- lob...to be not continued...
Like Geraldine, I've followed the 'totality' thread with a kind of
'switched-off' interest. It's not that I don't care about the 'totality of
relations', the reverse rather, but that I suspect the totality of things
is something so strange, so unlike any expectation we may have of
it, that it is apt that the eyes of the just-dead look so uncannily,
eerily, almost comically suprised. As if they have had the shock of
their no longer lives. As if they're saying 'No, it can't be that ....'.
So I find I regard statements that air themselves as being in
possession of a vantage point on the cloud seat of all-seeing, on
the uttermost utmost vista panoramica, with a wary suspicion, the
suspicion of someone who has endured much of his life being
managed, being told what to do, and resignedly complying, and
being presented by those who want tell me what to think, and
determinedly refusing their controlling amours. I echo with a rueful
chord to Phil Simmons's ward-eye words (an assembly of the arts
there) on Platonic social modelling. Likewise, I would sidestep the
advances of Critical Theory, not that I am averse to it, but that I
refuse the brand of ownership that LitCrits would press upon the
imagination's refugee-nation as an induction into a homeland of
enslavement. Where the populace becomes food. For grand
abstractions and Shelley-pale rarefications of thought. Food for
Too, I am not unpolitical, I've been a shop-steward as we used to
call it and more in the past, but as for active politics now ...
There is a widespread and general resistance to the structures of
power, but it is something that could be called the black economy,
in other words, working-class people asserting themselves in ways
which those who think for them might not like.