Monday, December 12, 2011

Let the record show I foretold this if....

Tonight, Michael brought home the Post-Gazette, whose front page bears the following headline (above the fold, no less): "Constitutional convention call gains traction". What's this mean? They're seeking to incite a movement to alter the Constitution. Let the record show that, if this actually begins to pick up speed and it is not handled with care, I foretold this development with this story, "Conceived in the New Liberty".

So, to all the journal editors who have rejected it, one of whom responded: "this doesn't resonate with us," I welcome you to think more deeply about what you feel is relevant and what should resonate with you. Contemporary literature is becoming too insulated, too inward looking, too sexually obsessed. Wake up! We can express ourselves freely only because we still have a Constitution that permits it. Start messing with it, and censorship might be the new American way. It can happen insidiously slowly, in ways we might not even realize until it's too late. Believe it, kids. I feel like I've been yelling at the top of my literary lungs over the past few years, and no one listens, no one cares, no one wants to hear it. And because I can't say it any better than my boy, social satirist George Grosz, I'll refer to his criticism of the socially detached avant-garde in the 1925 essay "Art is in Danger". Grosz, who collaborated on the manifesto with Wieland Herzfelde, wrote:
           Today's artist, if he does not want to...become an antiquated dud, has the choice
           between technology and class warfare propaganda. In both cases, he must give up “pure art.”
          Either he enrolls as an architect, engineer, or advertising artist in the army (unfortunately very
          feudalistically organized) which develops industrial powers and exploits the world; or, as a
         reporter and critic reflecting the face of our times, a propagandist and defender of the
         revolutionary idea and its partisans, he finds a place in the army of the suppressed who fight
         for their just share of the world, for a significant social organization of life. ("Art in Danger")

Shouldn't we writers be at the barricades and use our voices to advance a message that matters?

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