Friday, May 23, 2008

On the Poverty of Internet Life: A Call for Poets - Reader's Digest Condensed Version

It's by a poet, for poets. So, clearly, the conversating is going to be slow going.

Jasper Bernes's essay "On the Poverty of Internet Life: A Call for Poets" (Action, Yes) argues for an understanding of internet culture in terms of the logic of capitalist accumulation and the ideological imperatives of the U.S. ruling class after 9/11. It closes with a call for poets to realize the emancipatory promise of the internet in a space and manner less susceptible to regulation and subsumption.
But good golly Miss Molly was that a slog. i condensed it for you.

1 There is a lot of stuff on the internet. Connected stuff.

1.1 All that stuff has a lot of information in it.

2 It's futile to own anything on the internet.

2.1 Relationships - it's all about that.

2.1.1 You thought you were acting in your own self-interest. Ha ha! You're really working for the man.

2.2 It's class, race, and sexual warfare. And man, it's brutal.

2.3 Nothing has substance.

2.4 The virtual has become the real. It's a bummer.

3 The internet is - shocking, I know - affected by real life geography.

3.1 Internment and interment - they both have the word internet in them. Whoa!

3.2 Proles and working class - organize!

3.2.1 If you don't get what I'm saying, you're missing the Big Idea. Pass the pipe and I'll explain it again ..

3.2.2 All this work exposing the Machine and no one gets to get off the world.

3.3 No matter where you go, there you are.

4 The modern world sucks - even as we concentrate the masses they're being segmented. Give me another hit on that, bro ..

4.1 The internet makes the modern world suck harder while appearing to make it suck less.

4.1.1 This is some good stuff. Who is your dealer?

4.2 The internets are the distillation of all that is sucky.

4.2.1 Life. Don't talk to me about life. We're being distracted by pretty pictures .. ooo shiny!

5 Privacy is privation. Once you grok this we can build a common space.

5.01 My version numbering scheme sucks.

5.1 Soylent Green is people!

5.2.1 Like Communism, we can make the internet better. Faster, stronger.

5.2.2 We need an internet of the streets - one that's real, baby.

6 American poetry sucks, and it's all the fault of that evil bogeyman, Capitalism.

6.01 The Man is keeping us down.

6.1 The strip mall - that's the problem.

6.2 Web 2.0 helps poets. It won't last.

6.3 Marx and primitive accumulation: dig it.

6.3.1 Burning police vehicles and vandalizing property require f2f time.

6.3.2 The franchise is moving online. Wal-Mart? The net's future. Fear.

7 People are mad as heck. But outrage does not transmit well; it's lossy.

7.1 This is because the internet was a tool of the military, way back when.

7.2 My fellow oppressed poets - keep on keeping on. But while you're doing that, hip the squares to what's going down. Operation MF? Like that.

7.3 You can't organize Operation MF. It has to happen.

7.4 Despair is a sin.

7.5 Our comment forum is over run by spammers and pictures of girls doing things that should make you blush. Discuss.
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