Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Catatonically Speaking

Hiatuses rule. I wish I could take a permanent one from my real job, but I regress. My real job funds my  life (such as it is) and enables me to carve out a bit of temporal matter for this here webzine, so hay. Don't bite The Man that feeds you, or whatever. Actually I'd like to bite The Man, but again, I egress.

(Oh, and this is how I feel when confronted by idiot assholes, who seem to pervade the workworld):

But anyway, onto more civil topics. I did most of what I wanted to accomplish during The Cat's nearly year-long snooze-fest. I wanted to publish more of my own poesie, so I did (one at MungBeing, four at Mad Hatter's Review, and one at Counterexample Poetics). I wanted to publish more reviews and rants elsewhere on the net, so I did (two at MungBeing, one at Bad Subjects, and one at Fringe Magazine). You can see all of my published work by visiting my brag-blog: Symmetry of Birds. Granted, it may not seem like an embarrassment of publishing riches to some of you more prolific poets and routine ranters, but for me, it's quite the feat. Poetry is a sporadic, "on a whim" thing for me, you see, and while I do typically write copious reviews and rants, the majority of what I write I publish here at my feline zine.

So yeah, I'm happy with all dat; the caliber of the publications is what gratifies me the most.  MungBeing rocks my giddy world, and I could not be more thrilled with landing a few gigs with them. Hopefully there will be more to come, too. And mad mad props to Mark Vincenz and the crew at the scintillating Mad Hatter's Review for featuring my stuffs in their Wit and Whimsy section. The spunky spirit of visionary MHR publisher and writer Carol Novak lives on. And as always, I am humbled to partake in any way of Felino Soriano's fascinating literary cosmos; his Counterexample Poetics is a Zen-like space in a crazily cluttered webzine landscape. 

What I did NOT accomplish during the happy hiatus was locate a new home for Clockwise Cat. I am rather tired of Blogger, but apparently they've heard my anguished moans and have renovated their digs, so maybe I can hang on a bit longer. I am still casually shopping for a new habitat for Clocky Kitty, but I need to find a format that is flexible and fun. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way. 

But something else I accomplished which I did not explicitly set out to do is create a little sister zine called Clocktocracy. Clocktocracy will publish time-themed poems, flash fiction and art (visuals, verse, and vignettes, yo). Clocktocracy will start accepting submissions in January, 2013. 

Another thing I accomplished which likely has minimal significance to anyone but myself is establish the six tomes that epitomize my wacky and wicked worldview: Les Fleurs du Mal, Surrealist Subversions, The Second Sex, The Shock Doctrine, and the Natural Superiority of Women, and Lathe of Heaven.

So Les Fleurs du Mal was the collection of verse that actually radicalized my relationship with poetry so many moons ago. Upon reading Baudelaire's classic tome, I went from disdaining verse as an assemblage of mundanely sentimental stanzas to embracing its potent primal possibilities. Sure, I'd digested some lively lines in my high school days, but it wasn't until college, when one of my esteemed professors introduced us to Baudelaire's murky masterpiece, that verse proved to me that it could flaunt a dark and daring essence.

Surrealist Subversions is my Blasphemous Bible. It affirms, in an astounding yet paradoxically grounded way, my latent suspicions that we all inhabit cages of our own fear-fueled construction. All institutions should be overthrown in order for us to realize authentic freedom, which has nada to do with the propagandized notion of freedom force-fed to us since birth. Authentic freedom is only actualized when we dive into our deeply creative cores, and we can only activate our powers of imagination when we are unfettered from the rigid rules of a compulsively conformist society. Surrealism is the subversive device through which we can achieve this authentic freedom. We must stage a coup against the deadly dull forces of consciousness and install our subconcious as dictator. That is the thrust of surrealism.

DeBeauvoir's epic and iconic feminist treatise, The Second Sex, is dense with head-spinning details about the tragic and systematic suppression of the female spirit, and shimmering with humane ideas for overcoming such toxic oppression. DeBeauvoir takes indignant exception to the fact that men (slightly moreso at the time of writing than now) achieve transcendence, while women lead "finite" lives. Women merit transcendence as much as men - that is De Beavuoir's thesis in The Second Sex. The text's thorough and meticulous scholarship stun and humble, and the fact that it does not resort to misandry further dignifies this brave book. Best of all, DeBeauvoir displays such genius in her writing and research that the tome itself stands as towering testament to the powerful potential of the feminine intellect.

I am far from having mastered the fraught and convoluted field of economics, but really, one hardly need be expertly versed in the subject to intuit the inherent unfairness of our economic structure. Furthermore, one hardly need be an expert on capitalism to instinctively understand that US politicians are waging economic terrorism on ordinary citizens everyday. According to The Shock Doctrine, the real disasters are not just the natural ones, though those are real enough, but rather the way that natural tragedies are exploited to profit from others' suffering. We live in an economically sociopathic milieu, where, say, the victims of Katrina, disoriented from the shock of the hurricane's destruction, are further victimized when they are unable to return to their homes and neighborhoods because the government and its corporate cronies have decided to gentrify the city. Or, say, where Bush installs private profiteers Halliburton and Blackwater to run the "War on Terror" while a war-shocked country watches in passive dismay. Klein's book is shocking to the core, and shakes up our sense of security while exhorting us to resist the powers that would inflict such sick misery on innocent people.

While DeBeauvoir, a female, called for gender equanimity in her book, Montagu, a male, is arguing something more controversial in his The Natural Superiority of Women: he posits that women are naturally, biologically superior to men, and that men should essentially subjugate themselves to the better gender. Mongatu does not disdain men nor think that women should domineer in a destructive way, but rather he feels that men should interact with women in a spirit of humility, recognizing their greater gifts for love and compassion. He says that men's historical domination of women has emanated from the illusory idea that men's superior physical strength is tantamount to overall superiority. But Montagu's thesis is that women are stronger constitutionally: they live longer, fight disease more robustly, and are emotionally more integrated. Montagu is quick to point out, of course, that he is making boldly sweeping statements and that individual cases will always mitigate his assertions. And also, very occasionally Montagu will make naive generalizations about gender roles and issues that threaten to destabilize his theories. But nonetheless, it's a compelling and heartening read; Montagu wants genuine harmony between the sexes, and thinks that principle will only be palpable when men cede their ill-begotten power and yield to the supremacy of the feminine entity. 

It's hard to pin down only one novel that so astutely aligns with my philosophy as the above texts do, since several leap to mind (One Hundred Years of Solitude, House on Mango Street in particular). However, Ursula K. LeGuin's Lathe of Heaven seems up to the task. In the novel, a man pursues the ever-elusive Utopia through his "effective" dreams, which have the ability to alter reality for everyone. The problem is, his attempts to humanely solve problems like poverty and overpopulation through his hallucinations are often inadvertently destructive. Too, because the man's dreams have the power to change reality, he is considered dangerous and must be "rehabilitated" through therapy. LeGuin's novel impressively tackles social issues like greed and the flaws native to the practice of behavioral psychology, filtering them through an intriguing dream motif. With her novel, LeGuin has created her own genre - Magical Sci-Fi. 

So obviously after reading and contemplating such luxuriously liberating tomes, I become agonizingly cognizant of how stiflingly strict society's rules can be, and I feel like saying this to the menial-minded uber-conformists I come into contact with on a daily basis:

But I do value my life, so instead of spewing profane venom, I just slap shut my trap, which further
entrenches my existential ennui. Got apathy?

So yeah. I am hopeful that in the coming months, Clockwise Cat contributors will enliven these pages once again with their startlingly subversive verse, tyrannical tirades, and reviews of obstinately unorthodox movies and books. After all, I do this more for ME than anything; I am hardly the admirable altruist I feign being. Without poetry and art and progressive politics, life has ZERO meaning, so I am trusting YOU to help ME impose powerful PURPOSE onto our puerile little lives.

Submit or die, sukaz!

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