Introduction to Misfit 20
“It’s four in the morning, the end of December. I’m writing you
now to see if your better. New York is cold but I like where
I’m living. The music on Clinton Street, all through the evening....”
-- Leonard Cohen, “Famous Blue Raincoat”
As I write this piece, Leonard Cohen is close to my heart. Not just because he died so unexpectedly recently, a tragedy but because it is beyond the midnight of the soul, is the darkest morning of our history, the hour of the world between democracy and something else. Something clearly not of benefit to the common man. Anyone who does not think democracy died on November 8, 2016, hasn’t been paying attention.
The man who was elected president, I don’t say we, because the people who are reading this are not the ones who voted for him unless they are part of the insidious surveillance community. If you don’t they aren’t; watching, you haven’t been paying attention. We live in a world that is so far beyond anything Orwell imagined in 1984, where the president elect of the united states has appointed a man not subject to senate approval head of the largest spy apparatuses in the world, one who watches over every and all communications, written, published or electronically transmitted in the country. Did you know that all your mail is photocopied? You should unless you use lead envelopes your first-class mail is scanned, indexed and saved somewhere. Why? Just because they can. How long is it saved? Who knows? Why would you believe anything they tell you about conversations eavesdropped on, service providers who co-operate with government to allow surveillance. Yes, your service provider for your cell phone is in league with the NSA. This sin t paranoia or fear mongering, this is the truth. A fact and as the recent election showed, facts are boring. That is until it is too late and one bites you in the ass.
There is no categorical They or a categorical we or our as E.B. Whites so amusingly illuminated in his essay on categorical words (It’s time for our shot, Mr. White? It was definitely not our shit, it was My shot....) they are not a general term any longer, it is specifically The government and a vengeful, radical right wing convert, think Dick Cheney with military experience, is the head of it and no one can stop him. That is assuming someone thought they should, it is way too late for that. We wanted it to happen, why else would we join Facebook, acquire cell phones, use the internet and now vote an unprincipled man into the presidential office
So, what does mean of Us. We the readers, the writers, the poets? It means they are making a list and checking it twice. When they monetize the Internet, just as the government and world affairs will be monetized, unprofitable, anomalous, inconvenient parts of the puzzle should be shout out of the process. Silenced or, at the very least, muted. Someday, if we live long enough, we will look back and say, “Remember free Internet?” Just as we remember when TV was free. When your local teams played were on TV for all to see. The playoffs? The World Series? How difficult would it be for the security gurus to plug in a key word Trump and find a few billion hits, then refine the search, to find the negative ones and root those folks out? Oh, brave new world that Leonard Cohen has died and Donald Trump lives on as president of the former United States. There is no justice in the world.
Remember the wall that keeps people out, keeps people in. There will always be misfits: read on.