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POETRYETC  2001

POETRYETC 2001

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Subject:

Re: (no subject)

From:

Frederick Pollack <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 18 Dec 2001 01:10:27 -0500

Content-Type:

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david.bircumshaw wrote:
>
> > There's music in Kabul now; and who knows, kids may someday have a
> > chance to fuck and disco and eat wonderful junk food.  A net gain.  OK,
> > I've walked right into it - now you have a chance to portray Al-Qaeda as
> > victims and indulge in yet more transcendent moralism.
>
> I don't who has ever portrayed Al-Quaida as victims here, Frederick, but I
> love your statement of values: disco, a fuck, and junk food too. Somehow you
> make the first two sound like the latter.
>
> One of the things the comes across to me with the US is that all it really
> believes is the dollar, that is in general terms of course. There is a
> reductionism forever in your culture that wants to limit everything and
> everyone to its own base level. If human behaviour really was purely based
> on self-interest, on the greed and gain that the US adores, then if someone
> collapsed on the street who was a stranger to me I would just walk past
> them. But no 'decent' human being would do so.
>
> I notice you haven't mentioned Bush's abrogation of the nuclear weapons
> limitation treaty, on the hilarious grounds that it was necessary to defend
> the States against terrorism. Presumably he plans to nuke the next post
> office that passes an anthrax letter. In fact there's been such a silence
> about that act, so complied with by the dollar-starved Putin.
>
> But I can't get over the junk food: so really the bombing of civilians in
> Afghanistan was justified on the grounds that one day there'll be a
> MacDonalds in Kabul.
>
> David Bircumshaw
>
>

Leaden, wooden, imperceptive ... I detest many if not most aspects of
American popular culture as much as I detest Bush's opting out of the
'72 treaty (but by the way, where was I called upon to "mention" that?
Must I list ALL my liberal bona fides?).  But you know something - the
kids, worldwide, seem to like it.  To want it.  When they have any money
at all, to buy it.  Despite everything the mullahs can do. Or even fusty
old cultural elitists like me. My point, above - which I thought was all
but obvious - had something to with freedom of choice.

There's a late essay by Simone Weil - written, I think, just before she
died in '43 - which says that the Romans were absolutely horrible cruel
people but because they won they're revered, and that if the Germans
win, in a thousand years people will speak of their "grandeur" ...
Interesting to think about how America would be handling current
problems if it really had, after 1945, thought imperially.  Instead we
win - and both those words could be in quotes - in part because we sell
things people like.  Retroactively, the Romans are - in a way that would
utterly disgust the peoples they enslaved - something other than thugs.
Retroactively, the bombing of Afghanistan - which, I wearily repeat
(really not liking to do the State Department's work for it), tried to
avoid civilian casualties - will be justified if someday the youth of
Kabul can enjoy a disco, a Big Mac, a bit of worry-free sex, a prayer,
or whatever form of entertainment they choose.

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