LAURELS NO LONGER HAVE MORALS

Silence!  Or else!   Hsssssssssss!

In a democracy that’s not a sham, articulating and sharing public opinion is paramount; free speech is the engine of democracy.

Scarriet speaks its mind precisely in this spirit, and if you are one of our many readers who does not comment, we know why.

We forgive you.

A po-biz reputation is not born in a democracy.  Poets don’t emerge from public debate, from heated public discourse, or from the popularity of books or poems sold.

The public muse is shaped in private; poetic reputations are made with a secret handshake, by the wink, or a nod, of a well-connected editor or professor.  Perhaps all the expertise and wisdom in the world goes into the decision, but it’s not a democratic one.

When important decisions are made in private, it’s necessary that public discourse ‘follow along’ with this course of action; no ‘shouting out’ different opinions, no ‘calling out’ the annointed, no ‘ chasing down’ the embarrassing reality of the secret handshake; the private machinations must seem to be democratic and inevitable, not what they really are: secret, random, opportunistic.

But the center does hold, for we  fear any sort of questioning or mockery will lead to riots, burnings, torture, the destruction of the state.  So we hold our tongue.

Yet, in reality, open inquiry is the soul of Letters and contemplative, civilized existence.

Strange, how good is seen as bad and bad is seen as good!

Part of the issue is that so many poets, and those interested in poetry, are teachers, and teachers naturally fear irreverence and disrespect—once students cross that line (they think) chaos will result, so heaven forbid we insult the poetry we teach; we must be respectful, polite, quiet.  But this muzzling finally shortchanges students and poets, even as it facilitates the random status quo.

Ultimately the status quo is disrespectful.  True debate in the public square is finally the most respectful kind of discourse there is.

Like Socrates, we’re looking for the good.  And we’re here to stay.

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