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The Defenestrationism Manifesto

I.
“The House without windows is hell; the foundation of Religion, Oh God, is to make windows.”
–Rumi

II.
“Everyone wants to understand art.  Why not try to understand the song of a bird.” –Picasso

 

 

I hate manifestos.  It is really two entirely separate occupations to create art and to try and understand it– and this usually is best done by two separate people: the artist and the critic.  Artists hate critics because they can be mean and insensitive and, uh, critical, but critics usually have interesting things to say.  Anyrate, manifestos sure are popular, and there is quite a long tradition of artists making them.  Plus, the Defenestrationism Manifesto is such a catchy title.  Titles really are my favorite part of writing.
So regardless of whether or not I know what I’m talking about, it cannot be denied that we have a new century to craft.  My most fundamental belief is that there is always something to be said.  And there is a great deal of evidence that artistic statements are possible.  So, what do we say?
To defenestrate is to throw a person out a window.  It happened historically in Prague.  It doesn’t matter what’s on the other side, what matters, in this instance, is the breaking.  Applied mathematics doesn’t have the equation for everything.  Maybe it never will.  But many of the smartest humans in the universe believe that advanced physicists are making true statements about the reality of our universe.  Chaos Theory, with it’s understanding of feedback loops, seems very believable to me.  Regardless, there is a lot we don’t understand in the universe.  But I believe we are breaking through.
So hopefully, as our movement grows, more artists will bring statements entirely different from the ones I will now suggest.  Personally, I think this new century is an opportunity to advance beyond Post-Modernism, to put Post-Modernism behind us as a fabulous and wholly worthwhile enterprise that happened between the end of World War II– specifically the revelation of Nazi atrocities, now fully documented– and the beginnings of the 21st century.  We have changed much since World War II.  Hell, we have changed much since the eighties.  Everyone knows that the internet and blogs and online shopping have changed the world drastically, but I don’t think the importance of simple email has been stressed enough.  It has been argued that the advancement in the speed of communication allowed by the telegraph had the power to start World War I.  Talk about a breakthrough– hyuk, hyuk, hyuk.  Puns get too much grief.  I mean, they say that it’s actually sarcasm that is the lowest form of wit, and that is the most wide-spread form of humor, today.  The lowest form of wit is incredibly popular, therefore, it clearly doesn’t matter the quality of the wit, wit is wit, and puns should get more respect.
But back to moving beyond Post-Modernism.  So, the Modernist notion is that the subjective self is the only knowable thing, with Post-Modernism, not even the self is knowable,  then Identity Politics happens, and there is no identity… which is only one way of interpreting that.
Ancient Greek literature began with oral epic poetry– as far as written history is concerned, I am a firm believer in centuries of pre-historic lost texts.  The Platonic universe and the era of the great religions began with oral teachings, lessons.  The Renaissance– I love that term– more or less began with Shams-i Tabrizi and his disciple Rumi and then Chaucer, both of whom were poets and travelers.  Enlightenment thinking began with Descartes, a philosopher.  The backlash, Romanticism, began with Poetry, but it was believed at the time to be ancient English myth, followed swiftly by Romantic novels.  Modernism began with Baudelaire, a poet, followed swiftly by Impressionist painting.  Post-Modernism begins with Borges, specifically his short stories, though I would argue Woodie Guthrie’s folk music is equally Post-Modern, at roughly the same time.
I date the beginning of Post-Post-Modernism with Judith Butler’s book, Gender Trouble, which was a best seller in 1990– a book of Literary Theory, a best seller, that’s astonishing; critical theory sells even less than poetry.  This grows into Identity Politics.  Groups– like African-Americans, Queers, Disabled People, Madpersons– come together to establish their rights, then disband again into individuals.  So what becomes of Identity, if it is just an act; post-humanism happens.  I love that stuff, queer theory, gender theory, disability theory.  And it’s fundamentally about subjectivity versus objectivity.  And what it says is this, that woman, black, eastern, gay, disabled-body, madperson, these are mysterious, objective others to the normative, white-male, western heterosexual who’s good at sports; others that cannot be understood– yes, that’s what DeBeauvior says.  But she changes the context, saying that these mysterious others are equally subjective selves, themselves, that cannot know the normative male.  We’re all the same, here, in our ignorance of each other, there is no otherness.  But even though the other is actually a self, this is still a major revelation about the nature of what we thought was an objective other.  WHOA!  We do know something about objectivity and the other, it’s not actually an other.  It is possible to know the objective.
So that’s kinda kinky, knowledge of the objective is thoroughly possible, a distinctly post-post-modern sentiment.  Shouldn’t the term for this new knowledge-filled era keep the post and drop the modern?  Hence, post-humanism.
So, the mainstays of post-humanism are rooted in Foucault and Althusar, basically that there is no human subject, that we are completely controlled by ideology and commercial interests and antique notions of beauty and constructions of Freudian desires.  I personally consider that complete bullshit– but, then again, I am a diagnosed raving lunatic on an extended tirade.  The Defenestrationism Manifesto is such an extremely catchy title.  First and foremost, how you gonna explain good poetry without the human subject.  No one can tell me our poems come from some commercial interest or that millennia of built up ideology control what we write.  These poems are clearly too original to be written without some notion of the human subject.  At anyrate, post-humanism either needs to be rethought or abandoned.  Hence Defenestrationism: We do not know what we are breaking toward, only what we are leaving behind.
Personally, I endorse Populism more than any other movement.  Poetry needs to go pop, like the contemporary novel already has.

–PNR signing off, thanks for tuning in sports-fans

 

 

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