Sunday, 26 November 2000

From "The Age in its Cage"

By Stephen Rodefer.

I FEEL LIKE IKE, warning the post-McCARTHY ERA of the military/industrial complex. Is there an academic/literary complex equivalent, or at least similar, to that earlier one? Why are we not more uneasy with this cozy arrangement? Because it’s bringing in money, jobs, new careers, and a refurbishable pre-sold cannon. If there were something like an academic/literary complex—as intertwined, devious, and enduring as its EISENHOWITZER paradigm—does it not threaten to extend or intrude even here, especially here, where we are now, at the alternative N.S.C. of U POETRY, in its central strategy and planning room? Where the move to become more accessible and to unveil new forms, is roughly the equivalent of PENTAGON STRATEGY and smart, heat-seeking missiles [GENERAL POET indeed]. The power figures, their lackeys and aspirants standing around in casual dress at the midnight-swim cash bar of the new BOHEMIAN GROVE, bartering the unrefurbished prices for the arms of the latest writing. OR variously: Are we not treading precariously close to a kind of avant-garde VANITY F’AIR? Ist A.G. & E. writing not coming comically—or is it cynically—close to VANITY LIT? Somewhere between cottage industry, force feeding, and government WHITE paper.

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