'Staying in Your Lane,' Poetic Voice, and Political Correctness - Page 2


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Thread: 'Staying in Your Lane,' Poetic Voice, and Political Correctness

  1. #11
    Global Moderator Squalid Glass's Avatar
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    Glasshouse: your point about putting more diverse voices into positions of influence is spot on. More perspectives on an issue leads to more acknowledgement of nuance.

    Pete: I agree. I set my questions as launching points, including the last question to allow the discussion to follow its own open natured path. Teacher trick. I think this conversation has been intriguing and informative. Id love to hear more voices too.
    "I don't do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision."

    "America I've given you all and now I'm nothing."

  2. #12
    I'm having trouble reconciling:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_C View Post
    We can love and hate, kill and cure, build and destroy, supply hope and supply fear, sooth or aggravate, fight or fuck.
    With:
    Words don't kill people. They don't harm people. Dey don't do nothin'.
    As a writer, I believe words are powerful. I believe the "build and destroy, supply hope and supply fear" aspect of your post, but that means I'm really not sure about words that "don't harm people" and "do nothin'".

    I think fear is harmful. When I look at the divisions within nations today, I think most of them are based on fear. Fear of the other, fear of the unknown, fear of being hauled out of your car and beaten by those in authority... whether the fear is justified or not, it's incredibly powerful, and, yeah, I think that power can be dangerous and damaging. And a hell of a lot of that fear is fed by words, written or spoken. So it's hard for me to accept the idea of words that do nothing. If they're not doing something, they're not the right words.

    In terms of the questions from the OP?

    1. I don't think there's anything wrong with apologizing if something you did had unintended consequences. If that's why they apologized, I think they did the right thing.

    2. I don't know how to distinguish between "possible controversy" and "good and important". I think they're closely connected, but they seem to be presented as opposing factors.

    3. I've always had trouble with the concept of "voice".Elsewhere on this board I believe I've read that "voice" is something that sticks with an author from piece to piece and is an inherent part of their writing... if that's the case, it seems like the wrong word to be using, here? Do we mean "dialect"?

    4. I truly think of political correctness as "not being an asshole", so, yeah, I think it should be a factor in everything we do, not just in our writing.

  3. #13
    Global Moderator Squalid Glass's Avatar
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    Bayview- to your issue with the word voice, that might explain some of the issue here. Clearly the voice in the poem is an appropriated voice. I think there are a lot of people who find that appropriation inappropriate, given historical and social context.

    In this case, I think the voice and dialect are inseparable.
    "I don't do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision."

    "America I've given you all and now I'm nothing."

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Bayview View Post
    I'm having trouble reconciling:

    With:

    .
    Sadly quotes within quotes are disabled.

    The first is a reference to fiction, the second to reality.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_C View Post
    Sadly quotes within quotes are disabled.

    The first is a reference to fiction, the second to reality.
    So you don't think your words have any effect on people? Why do you bother writing?

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Bayview View Post
    So you don't think your words have any effect on people? Why do you bother writing?
    I would love to comment, but following the Admin note that debate is not allowed, I’m kind of at a loss as to whether a reply would constitute debate or not. Given some of the other threads this one does seem to be very respectful, but it received a warning so who knows?

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_C View Post
    I would love to comment, but following the Admin note that debate is not allowed, Im kind of at a loss as to whether a reply would constitute debate or not. Given some of the other threads this one does seem to be very respectful, but it received a warning so who knows?
    I tried to edit my original post to make it less personal, but my internet is dodgy and it didn't work out. But what I was going to add, was...

    Do you think Martin Luther King's words had power? Hitler's? Churchill's? Do these words just have power because they're spoken out loud?

    I mean, I agree with the ACLU that the best defense against bad ideas is better ideas. I'm not arguing for suggesting outlawing anyone's words. It's just... words are communication, right? And isn't communication the best way to change people's minds? And is there any power greater than the power to change minds (for better or for worse)?

    ETA (see if it works this time): I'm not sure what the warning was for, but maybe you could ease off on the "they're dead inside" style rhetoric and it'd be okay? As long as we're talking about ideas and not people, hopefully we're in-bounds?

  8. #18
    Honestly, I've heard white youths from UK council estates talk like that since I was a teenager so I'm finding it difficult to wrap my head around this. I also struggle with the idea of cultural appropriation, and how it differs from cultural integration. Anyway, I will attempt to answer your questions from my unsteady stand point.

    1) Good that they apologised but I think it came from the wrong place, more like it was an attempt at corporate appeasement rather than a genuine apology. It reads like it was from a PR script they found in a back office. I'm an apologise if you really mean it sort of guy.

    2) I think publishers and editors shouldn't back work they won't fully support after it comes out. If you can't stand the controversy then don't fry it up for breakfast. It's good to support free speech, but if you're going to do it, realise what you'll be in for and prepare for it.

    3) I find it interesting that people are arguing that AAVE is a functional language but at the same time, you're not allowed to use it if you didn't grow up with it. I think this says more about the state of racial tensions than it does about poetry and art. Although, I wonder how other cultures would feel about work from outsiders in their language? Maybe it's not that simple as I consider it.

    4) You have a responsibility to not incite violence or hate. There is a big difference between actively doing this and commenting on how things are/how you perceive the world. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people get their wires crossed and focus on us vs. them rather than the what the piece is trying to achieve, how it is attempting to do so and why it might not have worked.

    5) Ultimately it falls down to the cultural climate. We are seeing the response of our time. I wonder how it will be viewed in fifty or more years time?

    A university student's union over here painted over a mural of If by Rudyard Kipling based on racism and colonialist views they saw in his other works. If an unrelated piece can be scrubbed out and retired due to the views of the author, unpleasant to us but somewhat acceptable at the time of the work itself, then perhaps one day the piece that started this thread will be seen as attempt at empathy by a future culture or disappear from thought entirely.

  9. #19
    WF Veteran SilverMoon's Avatar
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    3. In regard to artistic voice, does an artist have a responsibility to "stay in their lane"? Or is any voice available to the artist, provided they use the voice correctly (as argued in the Atlantic article linked below)?

    Somehow, it’s very easy for me to slip into in a male voice. If my character uses the “C” word does this mean I’m offending women at large? Betraying my own kind? Straying from my own lane? I like to travel with my writing and staying in one lane gives me the same vista. I’ll never short change myself by abiding to other’s expectations, dictates. And if everyone stayed in the “Box” we’d have no new genres of writing.

    5. There are perhaps many other issues at play here. What do you think?

    Yes. I believe that Andres Carslon Wee’s apology had everything to do with succumbing to the pressure put on the “Nation” for not staying in their lane. They’ve published Bishop, Neruda, Walcot – familiar names. If a finger should be pointed in the name of prejudice it should be pointed at them.

    And for crying out loud! This is not a literal poem. Not the stale message everyone out there is carrying on about.

    If you got hiv, say aids. If you a girl,
    say you’re pregnant––nobody gonna lower
    themselves to listen for the kick. “Great Word Play”
    People passing fast. Double meaning. Up for interpretation
    Splay your legs, cock a knee cockney (More WP and speaking of dialect, guys…)
    (funny.) of or characteristic of "cockney humor"
    It’s the littlest shames they’re likely
    to comprehend. Such as this poem? “Brilliant sarcastic innuendo as I see it.
    Don’t say homeless , they know or destitute, deprived? leading to idea of crippled. Why so literal?
    you is. What they don’t know is what opens
    a wallet, what stops em from counting
    what they drop. If you’re young say younger.
    Old say older. If you’re crippled don’t
    flaunt it This should not be taken at face value. It’s too simplistic considering his erudite mechanics. A poignant caustic acerbity pointing to speaking up. Defy all that which is stigmatized.
    Let em think they’re good enough
    Christians to notice (the pain) Don’t say you pray,
    say you sin.(say what they want to hear)
    It’s about who they believe
    they is. You hardly even there. Again, too easy. He’s not saying AAs are insignificant. It’s about other’s self- righteousness, more importantly their narcissism – that’s why you hardly even there - black or white.

    Daft! All of it. But sometimes it jus be dat way......
    Last edited by SilverMoon; August 9th, 2018 at 02:00 AM.
    The man who cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.
    Andre Breton

  10. #20
    Global Moderator Squalid Glass's Avatar
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    I did not pick up on some of that wordplay. Very nice analysis, SM.

    And I agree with you: The Nation has a long history of standing by their artists. Going back on that now is very problematic.
    "I don't do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision."

    "America I've given you all and now I'm nothing."

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