Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Poems and Explosions

Back in November 2008, I was considering starting a political blog. I already had in mind lots of things I wanted to say and do with it. But I kept getting snagged on one question: Do I know enough to write a political blog? Sure, I have opinions and ideas, but what qualifies me to write on politics/economy/society?

Then I came across this quote from Woody Guthrie:
"You may call the workers' phrases vulgar and untrained, but to me their forms of speech are much more clear, more powerful, with more courage and poetry than all your schools in which our leaders smile to see us learn empty grammar. A man's most basic character, most basic wants, hopes and needs come out of him in words that are poems and explosions."
I instantly wanted to name my blog Poems and Explosions (...until my sister pointed out that people would think it's a blog of poems that I think are explosive). Woody's right. Sometimes speaking up is more important and more beautiful than speaking well. That is certainly the case with politics.

The notion that politics and economics are chiefly sciences disempowers people and strangles democracy. This is one of the ways the right is able to keep corporate capitalism from being dismantled by democracy. They hint that we're not studied enough to have an opinion. They say we should keep our mouths shut and listen to "experts." We think there ought to be a job available for everyone who wants to work and medical coverage for everybody, but they tell us we don't understand economics and such things are actually bad. The only way this game works is if we believe them and keep quiet, hoping the experts will sort things out. The only way it will change is if we speak up and act out about our "basic wants, hopes and needs."

And that's where Poems and Explosions come in. I'm going to start including more quotes, lyrics, poems and such from fellow non-experts on this blog. Sometimes, as in Woody's case, the people will be famous. Sometimes, as in the case of the striking worker from whom this blog takes its name (see top right corner of page), they won't. Either way, the words won't be formal dissertations, but just people speaking up.

Look for future posts tagged "Poems and Explosions."


Sara said...

I like it!
That is my vulgar and untrained opinion ;) Plenty more where that came from!

Dave said...

Vulgar and untrained? Nah, sounds like a poem. Or an explosion!