Slam Poetry, SJW-ism and Rant Poems

Before I begin, let me ask you this: Is it real­ly THAT hard (par­tic­u­lar­ly for ide­o­logues) to write a poem with­out mak­ing a polit­i­cal state­ment?

Good lord, it’s get­ting hard­er and hard­er to find poems on Youtube that are NOT Far-Left / Neo-Progressive or Far-Right Religious tripe. Not that I mind lis­ten­ing to them (some of them are pret­ty good), but they’re so rid­dled with… bull­shit.

On top of THAT, it’s almost as if most poets are wor­ried their art will have no mean­ing if they don’t shoe­horn Social Justice mes­sages into it. I mean, we all love SJW-ism once in a while, but does is nobody write some­thing that makes you over­come with WONDER any­more? Does nobody tell a sto­ry any­more?

Does nobody do any­thing but RANT any­more? Does every­thing have to be over-the-top-dra­mat­ic these days?

But most impor­tant­ly, it’s the amount of absur­di­ty these poems can imme­di­ate­ly seep into, often treat­ing even the most inno­cent of things as a tragedy that Hiroshima suf­fered in days gone by (and I’m not talk­ing about “try­ing to give an impact” like poets are sup­posed to do, but lit­er­al­ly com­par­ing it to some of the most hor­ri­ble things peo­ple go through).

For exam­ple:

1) There’s a poem called “Elementary” (beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten, no doubt), where the poet lit­er­al­ly implies that words are appar­ent­ly worse than throw­ing stones, that they can destroy someone’s life like an atom-bomb, as if the per­son on the receiv­ing end is a frag­ile lit­tle flower who can’t stand up for her­self when she’s called “gay”. Infantilization over­load.

2) There’s a poem about a girl com­plain­ing that hold­ing a door open for her some­how makes the dis­con­nect­ed-but-altru­is­tic man a patri­ar­chal oppres­sor who rapes women with every step he takes.

3) Then there’s anoth­er poet (from PPS itself) who I once heard appar­ent­ly whin­ing about presents her par­ents give her, as if it some­how equals to the actu­al hor­rif­ic accounts of misog­y­ny women tend to be unfor­tu­nate to face. The entire poem gave me can­cer.

4) And not to men­tion, one poem (I can’t remem­ber by whom) I noticed some of my (for­mer) friends on Facebook had been shar­ing around — typ­i­cal male-bash­ing. And peo­ple applaud­ing. Yup. That’s pret­ty much it.

5) Not to men­tion Mike Rosen (of whom I’m a fan), who lit­er­al­ly starts some of his poems with, “Dear Chauvinists, take a seat, this is going to hit you hard”, then spouts long-sinced-debunked sta­tis­tics in a poem to encour­age “sol­i­dar­i­ty” against “the wrong kind of men”, and how men need to be “allies to women” as if… we’re in some kind of war?

It’s almost as if 90% of the poems you hear are designed specif­i­cal­ly to taint every­thing with neg­a­tiv­i­ty, to make you FEEL bad about mere­ly being your­self and doing some­thing inno­cent that some­one else doesn’t like, make you feel guilty for mere­ly “exist­ing” as you do, but offer­ing lit­tle to no solu­tions besides the obvi­ous: “Join the ide­ol­o­gy, we have cyanide-laced cook­ies”.

Whatever hap­pened to “art is about empow­er­ment of the indi­vid­ual”?

It’s almost as if Spoken Word is no longer an inde­pen­dent expres­sion of a word­smith. It’s almost as if it’s noth­ing more than a weapon of cul­tur­al war­fare, a medi­um of pro­pa­gan­da. In fact, that almost makes sense when I heard some­one tell me last time that they thought Poetry is point­less unless it has social mes­sages in it some­where.

Like, lit­er­al­ly.… Five stan­zas about rain­bows, then, “Moral of the Story: Genital Mutilation is bad.”

Seriously?

Or is it sim­ply because some of these artists just feel a boost of dopamine when they believe they have some sort of moral high-ground com­pared to the “oth­ers in here”?

But if it’s a Cultural War they want, it’s a Cultural War they’ll get — I’m fuck­ing tired of Neo-Progressivsm just up-and-tak­ing-over every art­form I hold dear, and will hap­pi­ly counter them with alter­na­tive views. Perhaps this has more to do with the fact that alter­na­tive views aren’t wel­come (in fact, even tend to be cen­sored), and thus my rebel­lious­ness.

But most impor­tant­ly, I rec­og­nize the “kinds” of poems that are lack­ing in slam scenes these days — the ones that make you won­der, the ones that tell sto­ries, the ones that make you laugh, the ones that invoke with­in you the kind of human­i­ty you nev­er thought you had, etc. — and I believe I have a sacred duty to be the one to fill this gap.

Will I stop mak­ing Social Justice poems, though? Of course not; there are some I have in mind, and they are still on their way (such as one about Free Speech / Liberalism). But I will def­i­nite­ly try to min­i­mize the num­ber of those poems in favor of more diverse ranges, or at the very least approach those poems “dif­fer­ent­ly”. If any­thing, this is pre­cise­ly why I framed my oth­er SJW poem “Bheja Fry” into a much more heart-warm­ing com­i­cal nar­ra­tive instead of mak­ing peo­ple feel bad about “hav­ing more priv­i­lege than oth­ers” — even though there was a clear vil­lain to the sto­ry (the Class System and opi­ate nar­ra­tive), it was for the pur­pose to invoke empa­thy (not sure how much I may have suc­ceed­ed, though).

Until then, here’s a hid­den gem I hap­pened to find, one of those rare species of poems that puts a gen­uine (and refresh­ing) smile on your face, so wide that even your soul feels it.

In fact, I’m find­ing myself lis­ten­ing to it over and over again.

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