The ever-more common-place resurgence of censorship, and the complacency it enjoys among the generation of the millenials, has gotten me obsessed to the point that I find myself scanning the art exhibitions and Anglo-American literary journals, the chatter of poets, the dishonest dizzy-discourses I encounter, for traces and residue of the collegial commitment to censorship. It seems ”online” comes to mean what is hung up to dry in the sun after a good wash with laundry and detergent. A sickly weariness pounds my brain, not unlike that weariness of Mr Censor himself. The perhaps unnecessary question, of how to monkey-wrench those overwrought-do-gooders* has gotten me overwrought, as I am after all a ”minority” one way or another who should not have to worry about the open-season on WAsp poets (*the word ‘dog’ is to be found in ”do-gooder” hyphen-broken) My attentiveness to it has begun to resemble how a censor reads every text, checks the pulse of every poem to make sure it beats in the right lackluster, lack-of-rhythm and is low and dim enough, the Censor who listens to every rhetorical jive with his butter-knife ear seeking the ”inappropriate” or offending content. It is like holding up a bill to the light-bulb of an Italian futurist painting, to see if the watermark of the treasurer, the Subsidized Righteous is there. The interventions of that good-looking gang of fellow young-folks of the death-watch, concerned about ”problematic” literature needing their corrosion before a fiasco arises, comes always dressed up in the schooled post-marxist rhetoric from people who read a lot of Foucault and no Stendhal, and who have not listened to Chopin Mazurkas played by Argerich or Rubistein and therefore will never understand a revolutionary etude despite their immersion in studies of the pre-revolution. There is a grand Diversity of Wardens for hire! The chatter of milennial censorious ”vanguardists” of both literary and plastic arts exhibition bear a resemblance to none more radical than Angela Merkel, who recently allowed an inquiry into German-Turkish comedian Jan Boehmermann’s Erdogan jokes, referring to an archaic German law (dubbed the “Shah law” for how the Iranian allied regime used it in the 1960s) that makes offensive speech about a foreign shrunken head-of-state liable for prosecution. Will I be permitted to exhibit my propaganda art for Free Kurdistan in a Deustsches kunsthalle?
It seems a generational affliction, this twisted expression of holiday goodwill during the financial crises’ latest bout of hysteria, this championing censorship as a positive form of social activism, or as a commitment to good causes. In its political colours, all Red and Green and consumptive and full of chimes as that atrocious holiday. What good is the Sadism if sexless and humorless? It is fruit of the generation that came of age during neoliberal hey-day of consumption, reared on the films, music and discourses of that aesthetic, who hid from the financial crises of 2008 by a prolonged sheltering within academia. These now struggle to be heard in a time of artistic over-production that justifies the indifference and the brutality towards the producer of art, whose value plummets on the market scale, as the rising figures of ”curators” censors and information-management within culture gain prominence, the theorist supplanting the writer to fulfill the childish charlatan Derrida’s vision of “Death of the Author, Birth of the ”Reader'” (meaning, the college-bred “Theorist”.)I recently came across a translated quote from a Russian woman poet, Galina Rymbu, who seems confident that “”Poetry must work for a utopian exclusion of the languages of violence, but it can only do this with the help of a certain violence of its own, fiercely struggling with those languages for a future of peace.” Her quite interesting verse, championing the Russian opposition (pre-requisite for Western translation and distribution) is translated by the American Jonathan Platt, and perhaps the violence Platt flatly translates means something else in Russian–the violence of sentimentality, of persuasive communications, of the un-specific, of the careless use of language to support politician’s rhetoric of violence. In translation in the West, however, it serves to justify the Centre-Labour-party models of inclusionary, neoliberal politics and censorship that are imitated by a literary world under financial attack and hoping to regain the protection from progressive political establishments (such as the Labour and Democratic Parties) at the expense of freedom or of ideological and artistic diversity. Which are the languages of violence then, to be excluded by the club-bouncers of that dim land of peace? Ezra Pound’s violence, Celine’s, Knut Hamsun’s?