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).
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.”
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.