Poetry is meant for more

I’m reeling. I read in The New York Times that The Nation apologized for publishing a poem because of social media backlash. The editors apologized—as did the poet—for using language identified as black vernacular because the poet is white.

Okay. I get the whole black face thing. I agree that no one should ever attempt to use language or cultural appropriation to make fun of another race. However, this poem (“How-To” by Anders Carlson-Wee) had a certain beauty to it and was not, in my opinion, intended to outrage anyone. But if it was…so what?

You think Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn with its anti-slavery views without intending to outrage his fellow Southerners? Do you think it would have been as effective if Mr. Twain had not used black vernacular? And yes, I know in today’s world old Huck has become somewhat despised among some literary snobs, but I still—and always will—love that book.

But poetry! Poetry is meant for more than being politically correct. Poetry is meant to entice and outrage. Poetry is meant to make you think about things a different way. Why the hell do you think it’s so difficult to understand? Why do you think your English professors could spend an entire class period on a ten-line poem? Because poetry is different. And it’s off limits to political correctness.

To those who think Mr. Carlson-Wee had no right to appropriate black language, I say this: He has poetic license. He’s a talented writer who sees the world a different way. He’s white but, for this poem at least, he spoke for another race because that was what his muse whispered to him. Who are you to say he was wrong?

By the way, I had a whole other post planned for today extolling the virtues of this cover for Dickens Magic. Because I seriously can’t stop looking at it. Many, many thanks to Farah Evers Designs for the fantastic work on it!

dickens-magic

Since when is it not PC to be politically correct?

It’s Super Tuesday and a lot of people are heading to the polls to vote in the presidential primary. I wish them all luck and hope they will vote with their hearts.

That’s the politically correct thing to say. It demonstrates a faith in my fellow human beings, a respect for their wishes and a desire for them to be able to express those wishes, even if they don’t correspond with my own. (#NeverTrump)

More and more often I’m hearing people say “Don’t be so politically correct”. To which I have to respond, why the hell not? To me, being politically correct is not calling people offensive names because they have a different race, color or creed from me. It’s respecting other people with different viewpoints. It’s embracing the boiling pot of America with pride and patriotism and saying, “America is great because of our differences.”

If you are headed to the polls today or in the coming days, remember that America was founded on the fundamental idea that every person (“person” is more PC than “man”) has a voice and should be heard. And that’s about as politically correct as it gets.