Sunday, January 27, 2008

ARTS & LEGERDEMAIN. The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto remembers this time he got into a heckling match at the Bowery Poetry Club:
Heather and I sat down near the back of the small hall, and things soon took what I feared was a disastrous turn. The mistress of ceremonies, poet Daniela Gioseffi, opened the proceedings with a vulgar rant about Beltway politics -- specifically, her glee over the "fall" of Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, then the Republican congressional leaders. (Rep. DeLay had just been indicted, and Sen. Frist was under investigation for insider trading.)
This would place the action in the fall of 2005. I guess Taranto was saving this for his memoirs but got caught on a deadline.
It was then that I said I came to hear poetry, not politics -- although according to a contemporaneous account I emailed to a friend, I said it in a mutter rather than a shout. Evidently I muttered loudly enough to get Ms. Gioseffi's attention...
I've been to the Bowery Poetry Club, and I know that a mutter can't be heard from the "back of the small room." I also know that the Club has a bar, which may explain the misunderstanding.

Anyway Taranto, to hear Taranto tell it, sure told her. And he deduces that people don't read or listen to poetry anymore because "the world of poetry is so politicized as to exclude from its audience anyone with a distaste for tendentious left-wing ideology." To prove his point, he names other poets who... oh, wait, I can't find them; must be something wrong with my browser.

Slow culture-war day, I guess. But I can understand his point. I got food poisoning in a restaurant a few years ago, and have since then subsisted solely on military-issue MREs. Those damned germ warriors won't catch me twice!

Next week: Taranto recalls a long-ago visit to CBGB and predicts that "gobbing" will doom the commercial chances of punk rock.


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