The author of this falls under the category of, “he said things critical of Jewry, Israel and/or the Holocaust” which therefore means he must be an anti-semite and a Nazi, even though he’s actually a poet who lives in a small town in Vietnam. Maybe it’s even risky posting that link here and not immediately disavowing everything he says.
But, it’s a good article. For example:
Hedges has written quite a bit about how enthralled we are to illusions and pseudo-events, a make believe universe of distortions and lies that has removed us from reality. The mass produced images are the virtual bricks of this faux cosmos, and it all started with photography, invented during Whitman’s lifetime.
The fact is, there is no need to erase Whitman, for he and every other poet are already all but invisible in this nation of mirages, trivia and distractions, where sexed up, mass produced images have erased contemplation, reflection and, ultimately, thoughts. Poetry is no longer viable in the United States.
I don’t care much about poetry myself, lacking the cognitive ability to process it very well (or maybe I’m just impatient and lazy with what I read). But, taking the gist of what he’s saying, it’s apparent that he is spot on in a general sense. Take poetry as a metaphor for a larger spectrum of experience, things that used to be basic parts of human existence but which no longer fit into a world where everything is part of some media campaign or strategic plan.
Everything is fake now. I go to a nearby wildlife refuge for a walk and the boards in the footbridges there turn out to be made of plastic with a little sawdust mixed in, then imprinted with a wood grain pattern and colored to make them look “real.” Or, have you noticed how hard it’s gotten to find casual clothing that doesn’t have someone’s brand name clearly visible on it? A winter jacket, for instance. Try finding one that doesn’t have a logo on it. Or pants. We’re not wearing pants, we’re wearing “Dockers” or “Levi’s” or whatever the hell are the current brands (I know Dockers and Levis aren’t anymore). Even underwear has the logo of some company obnoxiously emblazoned around the waistband for fuck’s sake. Can a man take off his damn pants without becoming yet another advertisement? Apparently not! Our choice is to either be an ad, or run around completely naked.
We even have fake people now. A woman who I’ve known for pretty much a decade has a personality which I would describe as 100% artificial. The sad thing is, she’s quite intelligent and reasonable, with a good sense of humor, and yet, somehow she manages to not only act as if she’s never had an independent thought in her life, the impression she creates with her persona is that of a scripted TV character, and not a very well written one either. And she’s like that all the time. It’s not an act! It’s just how she is.
It’s a sad day when we don’t just have to put up with endless, tedious ads every damn place we look, or third-rate, one-dimensional characters in our entertainment, but when people start to lose the ability to see how artificial and narrow these things are, to the point where they themselves subsume their entire identities and personalities into them…all I can say is, that’s fucked up. And I have no clue how to fix any of it.
Maybe I should press “f” now.