Media Story

 

Dalek generation can’t tell a Bee

from a Wasp. Today’s children are more likely

to know a brand of shoe than a leaf.

 

Helen Moore

 

 


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57 Responses to Media Story

  1. Dave Tomlin says:

    Waste of good space. 0/10

  2. theed says:

    It hardly takes up very much space. In the very short space it does take up, it makes a profound comment on how modern children have succumbed to materialism whilst being deprived of naturalism. ‘Nature deficit disorder’ is now recognised as a modern illness.

    Ken Campbell use to talk about ‘dead kids syndrome’ – a change he’d noticed during his career in children’s theatre.

    IT notices this is your second attack on the work of Helen Moore.

    When she’s not writing poetry she works as a Forest School teacher, taking children out into nature and teaching them how to appreciate it, what it is, etc. It’s a new type of education. Behind her very small poem is a very big picture.

    For what it’s worth, IT has just heard today that Helen Moore’s book HEDGE FUND – which includes the two poems you’ve attacked – has just been nominated for the Forward Prize by her publisher SHEARSMAN PRESS. As Alice Oswald is the judge, Helen’s modern, politicised nature poetry will probably be a serious contender for Best First Poetry Collection.

    Thanks as always for your enlightened feedback.

  3. Henry says:

    What a strange little piece. I wonder why IT published it?
    The prizes that the author has won are irrelevant. Each poem must be judged on its own merits.
    Sweeping generalisations have no place in fine Art writing.
    The phrase “today’s children” has no meaning. Today’s children in Uganda? In Kensington and Chelsea? In an incubator? Bombed dead on any suburban High Street?
    And when is today? Certainly not yesterday. Definitely not tomorrow. These words would seem to condemn themselves to a very short shelf life.
    Were yesterday’s children any different?
    If this is an appeal to sentiment which sentiment does it appeals to?
    What’s wrong with knowing more about a brand of shoe than a leaf?
    What is there to know about an unspecified leaf?
    What is there to know about an unspecified brand of shoe?
    These words are not beautiful. The sentiment is unclear. No infomation is conveyed.
    I think the editor’s defence that it does not take up much space is the most valid point in this discussion so far.
    Wonderful illustration. Makes the whole thing worthwhile.
    PS
    I thought the Daleks became extinct around 1960.

  4. theed says:

    Dear Henry Hiroshima

    Well, clearly you’re no nature lover, to guess by your chosen moniker.

    The poem has received several objections. Why? Because it’s radical, it challenges, it is ECOPOETRY, that is, 21st century nature poetry, pastoral with attitude.

    It critques a society – obviously not Uganda, obviously contemporary Britain – where brand-fixated children can name designer clothing but not native flora.

    People seem to disagree with the message, without fully understanding it. It’s a new type of consciousness, my friend. Not aesthetics at all.

    What about fine critical writing? I’m not seeing any! Your questions are all badly written bluster.

    Todays children know all about daleks, a symbol in the ecopoet’s mind – perhaps – for all exterminators of the natural world.

  5. Editor says:

    From Facebook, more comments:

    Rick Morrow You know… I might not read it more than once. But the orders of reference in it are pretty damn clever.

    Dave Bryant I want to like it, but the phrase “today’s children” is very weary and clunky. And in such a short poem, two words can make all the difference…

    Rick Morrow I like the bee/wasp distinction — if you’re a farmer bees are pollination, honey… the stuff that makes food. If you’re not, just a nuisance, just like a wasp.

    Niall McDevitt I think the problem is that the people reading it don’t understand the personal talent of the author. That is ultimately what makes the poem work.

    Rick Morrow also: the complaint about “today’s children” + other things being being vague… deixis, deixis, deixis. It’s not hard to figure out.

    Niall McDevitt The orders of reference ARE clever. And don’t forget the title: MEDIA STORY.

    Rick Morrow I wonder if some of the trouble people might have with this that it’s an overt, didactic piece? It’s not uncommon in US circles, at least, to frown on didactic work.

    Niall McDevitt How else would you say ‘today’s children’? Postmodern toddlers? Contemporaneous infants?

    Rick Morrow There’s also a very specific play on temporality to “Today’s” that fits media shifting of the now — where a Dalek is something 60s, but also present in the permanence of and continual reworking of shows, movies, music, etc. Don’t know if that’s putting too much into it or if she intended to do that… nonetheless.

    Dave Bryant Well, “Today’s children” is certainly a huge leap away from “dalek generation” which is possibly why it clunks for me – and that’s a purely instinctive reaction. As a piece of imagery, it feels rather broad and sweeping sat next to the in…troductory words which I think are actually pretty inspired. It starts off interesting, then brings in something of a sweeping Daily Mail-ism out of nowhere. OR MAYBE THAT’S THE POINT. But it still sits uneasily with the overall tone for me.

    Niall McDevitt Rick’s hit the nail on the head. The objections to it are the frowning upon didacticism, but they are from people who’ve not taken on board any ecological imperative and so fundamentally dislike the whole revolution that is being proposed between the lines, one that aspires to the overthrow of capitalism and to so may of its unnecessary artifcialities. Not for a Marxist disaster zone but for something approaching eco-anarchism. A society in which cheap bits of shit with stupid logos cannot be mass produced anymore, and even the cities will be much more natural than they are today.

    Niall McDevitt ‎’Dalek generation’ and ‘today’s children’ are synonyms in the logic of the piece. The former phrase was ‘found material’, a newspaper headline, which might account for the Daily Mailism. The tone IS negative, disapprovng, even party-pooperish, I agree, but the message is sound. On MORAL MAZE tonight they were debating as to whether children should be prohibited from overuse of social media. ‘Children spend six hours online before they even go out!’ complained one.

    Niall McDevitt One feels sorry for children and adlults who prefer consumer goods to nature, know tons about the former and ounces about the latter. It’s mass ignorance.

  6. Editor says:

    Dave Tomlin and Hiroshima Henry should take note of the statistics at the bottom of the poem. 27 people have ‘liked’ it on facebook. It’s an unusually high tally of ‘likes’ for a poem on IT.

  7. Helen Moore says:

    Well, as the author of the little piece in question, I’m simultaneously astonished and delighted that it’s generated so much discussion! Better that poetry and art provoke some reaction, whether positive or negative, than be treated with indifference!! As to its language, it is a ‘found poem’, and the phrase ‘dalek generation’ was lifted directly from a newspaper, hence the poem’s title ‘Media Story’. Interestingly in terms of modern children with retro tastes… only the other day an eight year old who attends my Forest School was saying how the old Tom & Jerry films are so much better than the modern remakes! The overwhelming majority of contemporary Western kids are familiar with daleks from the ongoing Dr Who series, and are not familiar with their local flora and fauna. With the massive ecological crisis we are facing collectively, this is of grave concern (and is part of the background story as to why we’re in this mess.)

  8. Editor says:

    I Now count 30 likes. Tomlin bedamned!

  9. Henry says:

    Dear theed,
    Who is hiding behind this pseudonym? Whoever it is cannot tell the difference between literary criticism and personal invective; this is both lamentable and cowardly. Furthermore, it is unwarranted and simpleminded to assume that anybody who reminds us that we have already waged one atomic war cannot be a nature lover.
    I’m amazed at Helen Moore’s candour in admitting that she finds her text in the daily newspapers. Why doesn’t she crib fourteen lines from Shakespeare’s Sonnets? Some of them are quite good.
    There is nothing obvious about what is being criticised except perhaps young people who are interested in footwear.
    I am astounded by the lynch mob attitude this correspondence has engendered. Many thousands of people like Paris Hilton. Does that make her a worthwhile work of literature? Millions love Death TV, does that guarantee its literary excellence?
    Furthermore, your gang of Facebook fans seem singularly ill informed. Wasps are a pollinating insect belonging to the hymenoptera order.
    Sühs, R.B.; Somavilla, A.; Putzke, J.; Köhler, A. 2009. Pollen vector wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) of Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), Santa Cruz do Sul, RS, Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biosciences 7, n. 2, p. 138-143. Link: http://www.ufrgs.br/seerbio/ojs/index.php/rbb/article/view/112

    • Editor says:

      Niall:

      Dear Hiroshima

      Unike Rick, you’re not hitting the nail on the head. You’re hitting your own thumbs. It must be painful.

      You can only be arguing the way you do because of poetry philistinism. Poetry philistines are ten a penny. They read a poem and immediately start groaning whining wheezing. A poem does not operate like a piece of prose. There’s more going on. Don’t read it literally!

      Tomlin also is a poetry philistine, obsessed with a few Petrarchan rules that he lacks the technical competence to stick to himself. He hasn’t a clue about contemporary poetry. His ‘zero out of ten’ rating has been made to look pretty stupid – as you have Hiroshima – by the generous response to the poem as measurable by the cyber thumbs ups. The number of likes does count for something because our readership are mostly intelligent – with two notable exceptions! You’re both MR JONESES here; you just don’t get it, and you never will.

      Also, Hiroshima. Should Bob Dylan have gone to Shakespeare instead of newspapers when he wrote The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll? Inartistic people should really think before they speak on artistic matters.

  10. Rick says:

    O Henry — I think you might being just a bit reactionary and assuming more than a little about the “gang” — I’m not aware of being a part of any gang. As far as I knew, I was talking about a poem and what kind of meaning might be there. I’m also pretty sure most of us weren’t particularly lynch-mobbish. But I suppose that’s beside the point since you seem pretty willing to go there yourself. So some wasps pollinate, but not all do. Most aren’t particularly efficient about it. That stuff aside, it wasn’t the point. I could be ill informed again (it won’t be the last time) but I can’t think of a case of wasps being used as domestic pollinators (it wouldn’t surprise me if a case could be dug up) — the point was about a functional knowledge of and connection to nature as it pertains to human life.

  11. Sid says:

    I wrote a poem as a response. I hope you like it.

    It’s titled “Smile”. Also here -> http://shorts.sidcarter.com/post/20103634554/31-smile

    Apparently the Dalek generation can’t tell.

    Can’t tell a Bee from a Wasp?

    But then, the Bee generation can’t tell

    a Dalek from a Cyberman.

    The Dalek generation doesn’t care,

    just like the Bieber generation doesn’t care

    about the pencil and the cassette.

    And the pencil and cassette generation shouldn’t care

    that the Bieger generation is all gaga about Lady Gaga.

    Why do you care what others care about,

    or not care about.

    There are better things to care about.

    Like the beauty within and without.

    The dandelion floating across you,

    with the sun streaming across the window.

    That beautiful spire on the church.

    The beautiful glass building,

    reflecting all the beautiful buildings,

    and the sky.

    That lady in the red,

    with the pink lipstick,

    blue eyes, blonde curly hair,

    beautiful hips and the lovely smile.

    Smile.

  12. Helen Moore says:

    Dear Henry,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that it is preferable that personal invective be kept out of literary criticism! That aside, ‘found poetry’ is a fairly common practice in contemporary poetry…. I can only guess as to why other poets take snippets from the great sea of (dis)information that surrounds us, but for me it can be a way of framing something that would otherwise be lost… of bringing something to my own and hopefully others’ attention, and of remembering it.

    I can assure you that my work is not consistently informed by this mode of composition… but since you make reference to Shakespeare, I think it’s interesting to contemplate the fact that he lived in a very different world, pre-media, of course… nevertheless, I’m sure there were many snippets of colloquial dialogue/stories etc that he picked up here and there, and which then came to be woven into his plays. The practice of writing inevitably leads to Magpie tendencies in whichever culture we find ourselves!

    Final thought… I wonder how you personally feel about the ecological crisis we and future generations face? Is it something that concerns you? Perhaps your nuclear sobriquet is an ironic reference to fears that many of us share about the radical uncertainty in which we currently exist?

    Best wishes,
    Helen

  13. Dave Tomlin says:

    I hesitated to explain such a harsh judgement when posting my comment, waiting to give a rather more condidered follow up later. Of course one might say ‘You should be kinder to ladies’, and I admit to the ungentlemaness, not to say downright rudeness of the remark. However, where art is concerned the judgement must be impartial and gender free, while it is the work itself which is scrutenised. As such it is a charming and harmless little three liner, almost a Haiku of sorts. But what is such frivolity doing on the website of what might be the most radical international publication on this island, with a pedigree going back some 46 years; surely a little more profundity is called for, although I suppose it’s OK to laugh.

    • Fergus says:

      Wait… I’m no expert, but didn’t International Times always feature quite a high level of frivolity? Or in some cases seriousness and profundity cloaked in frivolity?

    • Editor says:

      Niall:

      Tomlin, your gender attitudes are as out of date and as laughable as your grasp of poetics.

      Nothing is more frivolous than a pat little bit of poetry-by-numbers, a New Formalist five finger exercise.

      Media Story is not frivolous. It speaks. It heats the heads of idiots and touches the hearts of the intelligent.

  14. James says:

    Let us not forget that Today’s Children of Britain smashed their way into Millbank Tower, the Conservative party’s headquarters. The window’s were kicked in by branded or unbranded footwear. Missile’s were fired, including an art piece, a carrot. Fire’s were started. An effigy of David Cameron was burned. True revolution.
    Some of these Children had read Guy Debord and Shakespeare. Some were raised on council estates with little access to the radio 4 Middle England countryside. Some were raised on council estates with Ladybird books on nature and trips to city farms. Some may have been from comfortable middle class homes or even upper class country houses full of flora and fauna, but these Today’s Children from every walk and class are better than the last generation. They are awake and they care.

    • Editor says:

      Niall:

      James, it was not children that stormed Millbank but young adults. Their action was exemplary.

      • James says:

        Niall:

        The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child state that the child ” means every human being below the age of eighteen years ”

        Many of those at Millbank were schoolchildren as young as fourteen years old.

        • James says:

          Also; as a working class child growing up in London, I did not know much about leaves either, other than those I cut my fingers on whilst playing by a canal, and daisy chains that my sister made. I defied economic and psychic repressions and went to University. I kept quiet about my lack of nature knowledge, Latin and family table games, I changed my accent in order to fit in and survive emotionally in a middle class milieu.
          I don’t consider myself an idiot or unintelligent, but my head is a little hot and my heart is touched, in a painful way by this poem and the editorial comments. Surely we don’t all have to conform or be dammed ?
          From what I see and from my work with children in London, this generation of children and young adults are painfully aware of what is happening to our planet ecologically and politically. Their world orientation is a quantum leap from the one I grew up with in the seventies. I don’t find that this generation of children are that into designer labels either, despite what the media says.

      • Editor says:

        P.S. Children do NOT read Guy Debord!

        • James says:

          Well some children under eighteen DO read Guy Debord.
          Visit any comprehensive school.

          • Editor says:

            Niall:

            Dear James, are you out of your box? Guy Debord is NOT on the English school syllabus, let alone the French. Most grown adults can’t understand a word of him anyway.

  15. johnny void says:

    There’s nothing political about this poem other than crass conservatism and bourgeois contempt. Liking Nike trainers is no more or less political than shopping in a health food shop or bird watching. The middle classes attempt to position their place in the market as morally superior to the proles beneath, whilst all the time eating the same shit. They think because they paid more for it, this is an indicator of their political worth. The Observer has more adverts in it than the News of the World ever did.

    It was working class kids who ransacked central london, working class kids who brought the country to a stand still and working class people who have put their jobs and incomes on the line to attack this Government. The lofty middle classes still seek to hector us for wanting a fraction of what they have, ever desperate to put as much ground between themselves and the dirty chavs. This isn’t politics, it’s old fashioned snobbery. What you buy, or what you like, makes no difference. Politics isn’t a competition of lifestyles or aesthetics, it’s about class relations and the organisation of labour and resources.

    The poor are getting shafted and the green and yellow alliance want to shaft them further by sneering at them for not knowing about fucking leaves. Keep your class prejudice to yourselves. You are yesterday’s news. Shit is getting real now whilst you pick flowers and look at the pretty clouds.

    My kid can tell the difference between a bee and a wasp and think daleks are awesome. Just by the way.

    • James says:

      Thanks for this Johnny Void.

      • Editor says:

        Niall:

        Whenever Johnny Void launches into his ‘bourgeois wankers’ attack on the green movement, big government and big business must love it.

        The problem with Marxism is that it pits bourgeois against proletariat, and the people are thus divided and ruled.

        The future is red-green, eco-anarchism. Check out TRANSITION UK.

        Rich and poor alike share the same climate, and all scientists not in the pay of corporations are telling us that our climate is changing.

    • Editor says:

      Just by the way, it was middle class kids who stormed Millbank.

      • Fergus says:

        Call me crazy, but I’m guessing you’re both right on this count… working class kids/young adults working together with those from the middle class – could it be?!

      • James says:

        Outrageous to say that it was the middle class kids who stormed Millbank. It was EVERY class from England and Scotland. Plenty of EMA students, who were about to lose their educational allowance for 16 to 18 year old’s showed up that day. These children are from the lowest income homes in Britain.

        • Niall says:

          Johnny Void tried to claim it was working class kids.

          The Student Riots as they are called were primarily orchestrated and executed by middle-class students proesting against university tuition fee increases. This is why critics of the Student Riots accused the students of selfishness; they were only worried about their own finances.

          My own defence of the students was they showed how all the oppressed sectors in society could and should respond to the Tory onslaught. The students made the rest of us look apathetic.

          Yes, there were working class students and some schoolchildren also present, but the operation was middle class. The two public faces of the Student Riots are Alfie Meadows and Charlie Gilmour, not card-carrying proletariat. They are the same people who mostly were behind the Really Free School and UK UNCUT.

          Credit where credit’s due, James.

          Now to end this pointless quibbling as we’re both on the same side.

          • James says:

            Agreed that the students made the rest of us look apathetic, that quibbling is pointless.

            I still find this middle class labeling alarming. In my opinion the Student Riots and the London Riots are part and parcel of the same movement, the same generation, the same consciousness.

            Thanks for your time anyway.

          • Niall says:

            I agree too that the Student Riots, London Riots and English Riots were generational and expressing a generation’s disgust at their first taste of Tory government.

            Class differences, however, are unignorable. The Student rioters were noticeably more middle clas and knew how to target, say, Fortnum and Masons. The London Rioters were from the underclass and were indiscriminate in their attacks. Both riots were great successes and great statements, but both were flawed.

          • johnny void says:

            Niall I don’t recall seeing you at any of the student protests so I’m unsure how you can be so confident in your analysis of the participants.

            Why do you think the Tory press were so keen to make Charlie Gilmore the public face of the riots?

          • Niall says:

            Too middle class for me.

          • johnny void says:

            so you’re basing your analysis on what you read in the Guardian then.

            long live the spectacle.

          • Niall says:

            If I based my ‘analysis’ on your writings I’d have got the impression there was no middle class participation in the Student Riots.

            My idea of being left-wing is to try and see the truth, try and hear the truth, try and think the truth, try and talk the truth. It’s not about toeing a party line.

            For me, a left-winger is a philosopher, a right-winger is a sophist.

            Divisive lies, phoney statistics, and gratuitous slurs are neither truthful nor philosophical, and in my view do not qualify as left-wing.

            As the people most affected by the Work Programme are the unemployed, and as the people most affected by cuts to sickness benefits and disability benefits are the sick and disabled, so the people most affected by the tuition fee increases are the young middle classes who comprise the vast majority of third level students. As all of those groups are fighting their own campaigns – with some support from others – so are, or were, the students. It is no surprise that the ringleaders and majority of the Student Rioters were middle class students. What was surprising was the brilliance, ferocity and symbolism of their attack on Millbank.

            You call this a working class protest if you want. It’s not the truth but it fits your agenda.

            I’m a hearty bourgeoisphobe too, though my bourgeois-baiting is from the point of view of an artist rather than a proletarian.

            My larger belief is that Marxism divides bourgeois and proletariat, but that reform or revolution will only come when lumpenbourgeois and lumpenproletariat unite.

            If there is any truth to the 1% vs the 99%, it must be obvious that the 99% contains both bourgeois and proletariat.

          • johnny void says:

            I fail to understand why you have decided that all students are middle class, but that aside their were huge numbers of EMA and school kids at all of the student demonstrations. They, by and large, were the ones who confronted the police, this created the space for all the other shit to happen, some students did this as well, but the teeth of the protests were working class kids, who were, in their own words, ‘from the slums of london’.

            Your idea that Marxism divides the proletariat and the bourgeois only reveals a lack of understanding of the subject. It is capitalism which creates this divide, ever heard of the class war?

            There is no truth in the 99% versus the 1%, it is a crass analysis that sidesteps any true criticism of capitalism in favour of liberal whinging about the super rich. it is capitalism which embeds economic hierarchy in society, and therefore capitalism that must be got rid of as a priority for an anarchist society to emerge. That means hedge fund managers and small shop keepers alike – fuck all the bosses – anything else will just bring us right back to where we are now.

    • Helen Moore says:

      Many amongst I.T.’s readership will doubtless share Johnny Void’s anger and pain at the massive inequity of the entrenched class system. And perhaps they will feel equally enraged by other social issues that still haunt Britain today, such as racial prejudice and the suppression of women’s power? Of course no one can help the context into which they were born, but what we can all do is take responsibility for ourselves, our behaviour and choices as adults.

      The Green Movement understands that social and ecological justice issues go hand in hand. Exploitation of workers is almost always accompanied by exploitation of the environment; there are countless examples now and historically of workers’ physical health degraded by poisonous chemicals etc, which are simultaneously destructive to life as a whole.

      And that’s the point, isn’t it? We are not separate from the Earth, although those who perpetuate the exploitation of people and planet act as though we are. Environmental problems transcend all borders and boundaries, although the appalling irony is that the global warming generated by the industrial revolution in the rich Western nations to date is currently affecting the world’s poorest. Increased precipitation, as well as altered rainfall patterns, are some of the symptoms of climate change; in 2010 an area the size of the UK was severely flooded in Bangladesh, displacing hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis who were already struggling to survive.

      Meanwhile the rapacious greed of corporate capitalism is devastating every ecosystem it can get its hands on, and again it is the world’s poorest who are being affected – in parts of Africa and Latin America as rainforests are cut down, indigenous peoples living there are bereft of home, of the means to hunt and forage, and their cultures are eroded by capitalist propaganda peddling them a ‘better’ life.

      There is however a unique opportunity to be grasped right now, and that is the very fact that despite our extraordinary diversity – both humanity and other species – we are all ONE. For centuries the elite has ruled by dividing people along national, religious, ethnic, class and gender lines. It has fractured and fragmented our power. By recognizing that we all rely on Mother Earth for our survival, the peoples of the world can become united as never before against the oppressive enemy, which is corporate capitalism, and the myths underpinning it. It is up to us to vision new ways of living in harmony with each other and our planet, and there are already many amazing projects empowering people to address these issues in their communities. The future is green, or not at all. And the Revolution begins now…

  16. Editor says:

    Niall:

    James, the poet teaches children – in natural spaces – under the age of ten. They are certainly who I have in mind when I read the poem, and possibly who she does in writing it.

  17. Peter Ceresole says:

    It’s a perfectly nice, gentle observation that’s been around for a long time. In the ’60s (can’t remember which year) I saw Buckminster Fuller talk at Westminster Hall. It was full to bursting, a real bear garden; all the hippies just went on talking themselves- I couldn’t work out why they’d come if they weren’t interested in what he had to say- and Fuller surfed the dull roar. The bit I remember best was when he said that his family lived in upstate New York, under the flightpath to Idlewild, and his children knew more about aeroplanes than they did about birds. As we lived in West London under the approach to Heathrow, I could see what he meant. But in those days we believed in Progress.

    Moore’s concerns are more about commercialism, maybe more relevant to the present time. It’s nicely bitter. But it does raise the question; does poetry, or art, have any ‘useful’ purpose? Does it change anything? Should it? That’s been a live issue pretty well for ever.

    • Editor says:

      We like Buckie. Glad that our Helen Moore was thinking along the same lines as such a colossal genius as Fuller, unlike the waspish hecklers.

      • James says:

        Niall
        Guy Debord will not be found on the school syllabus, but in the school library, and in a rucksack or two. Commonly read by media and philosophy students.
        Many more schoolchildren than adults are now at least aware of Debord and inspired to radical action by The Society of the Spectacle. Children growing up post Thatcher are only too aware that consumer society is not about living but about having.
        I am sure that you are aware that in March 2003 tens of thousands of school children in Britain staged walkouts in Birmingham, Yorkshire, Bradford and London to protest at the invasion of Iraq. Some were as young as thirteen and fourteen. These schoolchildren studied the protest movement that went before.
        Children are teaching each other and looking for information and guidance not in the mass media.

        I understand now that the poem is written about younger children.
        I passionately feel that out children are our teachers.

        • Niall says:

          Debord’s brand of Marxim – an update of Walter Benjamin’s – is the only Marxism that inspires me. It is Bohemian Marxism, as opposed to academic.

          I am surprised and delighted to hear that Debord might be available in school libraries, but it’s only a ‘might’ and I am very sceptical that Debord is – as you claim – ‘commonly read’ by schoolkids. I wish it were true.

          Only an exceptional schoolchild would read Guy Debord, perhaps one of the media and philosophy A level students you mention, and even then s/he’d be going beyond the curriculum, jeopardising his/her exam results in the process.

          Debord is a very difficult read. The Society of the Spectacle is modern mysticism par excellence, by a visionary genius. I’ve seen for myself how his writings and films inspire undergraduates, but schoolkids? Never.

          However, Debord’s basic critique can be understood easily. It adds up; it rings true.

          His idea is more relevant than ever after 9/11. ‘The’ spectacle to which we’re now all in thrall in the 21st century is that of the planes crashing into the towers. That single spectacle has been the excuse for a decade of total warfare, oppression, exploitation, and ‘New American Century’ madness.

          • James says:

            Debord could also be found at home on the parental bookshelf alongside Ladybird
            books of plants and trees. Exuding magic.
            Or on the internet.
            TV is dead.
            Increasingly young people don’t even watch TV. I suspect that Daleks if they are still exist are watched by the middle aged.
            Children are educating each other through social media and books.
            Children of every class.
            Sensitive children, intelligent children can find their way from any background class or creed to become leaders, activist’s scientist’s artist’s and poets.
            Working class / Every class intelligentsia is on the move.

          • Niall says:

            Dig the poetry, James. Blakean children reading Debord. I’m all for it myself!

  18. Dave Tomlin says:

    MANIFESTO

    Poetry is the cutting-edge of the evolutionary mind
    It is thus too preciouse to waste on politics.
    Poetry seeks insights
    But into what?
    Ask, ask, and ask again.

    • Niall says:

      You’re all over the place, Tomlin. One minute you give 11 out of 10 to Hakim Bey who’s a totally political poet, next minute you produce a ‘manifesto’ saying poetry is too precious to waste on politics.

      You’re unserious.

  19. Dave Tomlin says:

    MANIFESTO II

    Poetry has the perogative to break all rules
    Even those which it makes up for itself
    Although, it is important to know what those rules are
    All else is mere hooliganism.

  20. Niall says:

    Prerogative.

  21. Fergus says:

    The thing I find most intriguing in all of this is the vagueness of many commenters with respect to the role of daleks in contemporary culture.

    Doctor Who returned to UK television in 2005. The first episode of the new series was watched by 10.8 million people, more than a sixth of Britain’s population, and the most popular episode reached 14.5m – close to a quarter. It is also a hit elsewhere in the world, and is widely considered one of the BBC’s greatest hits of the last decade, both in terms of popularity and critical reception in many quarters. It has been a huge cultural phenomenon especially among young-ish adults – those who perhaps dimly remember Tom Baker from their youth. 19% of viewers for the fifth (new) series are under 16; 9% are aged 16-25.

    Daleks have indeed appeared several times in the new Who.

  22. Mary Jay says:

    ECO-POETRY IS. DEAD.

  23. Dave Tomlin says:

    MANIFESTO III

    The Poet asks his Muse
    ‘O Queen of all the Arts,
    what is the meaning of life?’
    And…
    ‘Syntax darling. Syntax’
    She whispers in reply.

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