This is a comment I received from probably the most un-followed blogger in the bloggosphere…in fact, I think I’m one of three or so “followers” listed on his blog site. I find many of his posts to be as passionate, intelligent, and profound as I’ve seen on WordPress.
I’ve gotten to know a bit about him over the few months I’ve been blogging: he is a hospice nurse, a taxing occupation I can imagine; he served in the Peace Corps in Armenia, a country whose population has been nearly exterminated by its geographical neighbors, and whose infrastructure is still devastated by a killer earthquake from a few years back; and he is a highly intelligent, articulate, and talented poet, often writing in three languages – English, Spanish, and Armenian. He fed refugees from his own food supplies, and continues to champion the cause of an abused, terrorized, and destitute people who have become road-kill under the wheels of history. It all sounds so noble, and in my estimation is…but it is not hard for me to understand why he is probably the most un-followed blogger – he posts quite a bit of erotica.
When I first came across his blog it was one of those WTF moments. There were images of what some people would deem pornographic. There was a Supreme Court ruling which has become the common definition of pornography, and that is that art may be graphic, and it may contain adult-oriented material, but if it has artistic merit, it’s erotica, not pornography. I’ve mentioned in comments that his wonderful poetry and other posts would draw quite an audience if he cut down on some of the more graphic imagery. He has made it clear he couldn’t care less. He creates his posts for himself and does not care about any mass readership.
I once mentioned a poet I followed on WordPress that could definitely benefit from reading his work, but she is a deeply religious Muslim, and would be offended by some of the material on his site. He immediately replied that I should not refer her since the last thing he wanted to do was offend or shock anyone’s sensibilities. I can respect that. He recently commented on a post of mine, “Just Who am I Writing For?” with a bit of his usual sensible advice…advice which benefitted me, and, I thought, might be a bit of self analysis on his part, since like me he often posts politically charged material.
This is in no way an endorsement of ch3mical r3nt boy’s blog – I think he’s satisfied creating art for art’s sake…art he knows will evaporate into the ether of the cyberspace unseen, unappreciated by the masses, and completely satisfying to him. So, here is his reply to my question about just who I write for and why:
I love this post of yours! You ask (and answer) so many question I’ve been struggling with too. You remind me of something I read by Bertolt Brecht, his essay about the difficulty of writing about the truth. For an artist to tell the truth, Brecht said, he or she needed:
1. courage to write the truth
2. the keenness to recognize the truth
3. the skill to manipulate the truth as a weapon
4. the judgment to select those in whose hands the truth will be effective
5. the cunning to spread the truth among many
For the most part the moment, it seems to me, 90% of artists who feel compelled to “speak the truth” (whatever that means to them) are very good at points 1 and 2 and then completely fail at 3,4 and 5. It’s why political poetry, say, tends to be less art and more preaching. Blogging is wonderful, I do it every day and am very proud of what I create, but the Internet is a gated community and only those who have the money and time to participate in it can benefit from the wisdom within. In a world were 3/4 of the population don’t even know where their next meal is to be found it’s hard to take blog activists as seriously as they take themselves.
This isn’t to say blogs and social media don’t serve their roles and play important parts for those who use them (we create families here, we make friends and fall in love and get a chance to send our desires and dreams out to an audience of like-minded people), but the Internet is still an echo chamber (granted, a very large echo chamber) and I think a lot of us forget that. In the end the Internet as a tool for spreading truth will never be the solution to Brecht’s five difficulties since those who need the truth the most have no access to it if we keep it on-line.