Greetings from Minersville PA, home of Grandpa and Grandma Zurawski. Today's breakfast: Apple Pancakes made with "high gluten flour." Really! Take that, all you Celiac Poets!
So a few weeks ago Mike Magee read out here at David Buuck's house and ever since then there has been casual conversation about the reading, mostly about one piece in particular. I wish I had a better memory or a copy of the book out here in Minersville with me, but it was a piece whose main character was something like "Teenage Asian Girl" or "Asian Chick" or some such slick epithet. I keep thinking about this piece, not because I'm an uptight white liberal, though maybe I am, but, well, I keep thinking about the point of using this character. I keep wondering about the piece's intentions. Was it 1) "Oh I'll use this Asian Chick as the main character in my poem so that all the white people in the room will get uptight and freak out about race and think I'm offensive and blog about it", or 2) "Asian Chicks are hot, but silly, so I'll write this poem about a silly, hip Asian chick." I guess I anticipated a third option, but I can't think of one right now. And in my opinion, I think it's number one, not number two. Which I guess would kind of be a Bruce Andrew's way of doing things, except Bruce doesn't rest on one note as long, and would move on through twelve other possible social offensives in a single piece, which has a completely different effect. Just a general feeling of all social taboos being messed with. But with this particular poem tracking the character of this silly Asian chick, my feeling is that the audience reaction is rather obvious, and so why do it? There's a whole room of more or less smart people, so why is it productive to ruffle feathers in this particular way, I mean why not flarf us in more unexpected ways, make us uncomfortable in ways that are more socially productive, in ways conducive to new thoughts about the political world around us? The piece felt as if it were written for a campus audience at the height of identity politics. And it has me considering a bunch of questions I thought were already answeres. Is authorial responsibility something I'm supposed to think is washed away by the method of composition? But flarfs are hardly accidents. They are highly aestheticized objects. So it can't be that Magee is trying to get me to believe that a flarfist is controlled by the search engine and not the search engine controlled by the flarfist? I am really puzzled by all of this and keep returning to the predicament in my bedtime thoughts, and yet am annoyed that I am returning to these thoughts at bedtime. Is that maybe the point? If you know, or think you know, please respond. If anyone posts a comment, I would love to paste it on the blog proper. I would like very much for this to be a real discussion. Thanks, Maggie