18 Apr 2011

The Feeling of Clifford Duffy's News Machine

posting by Corry Shores
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At Clifford Duffy's the guattari complex, he posted a news poem of sorts:

The war machine the

There are some interesting things going on in it, and it might be a new genre; or, if news poems like this already exist, his techniques might still have brought something new to it.

He in a way poetically follows the narration in a news story found here: [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/libyan-rebels-ask-do-they-want-gaddafi-to-win-2264963.html].
It describes NATO's accidental bombing of Libyan rebels.

Consider this part.

Our eyes glide down along the underscore-line, like the sleek and speedy path of a bullet. When the phonetics break in, with the emphasized MA of MAchine, we feel the physical impact of the bullet, and then we feel the path of the next one to follow after the end of the line. The / slash creates a bullet-shot-like temporal punctuation to the flow of text, as if the speaker is talking in the midst of a barrage of machine gun bullets.

The fragmented and chaotic nature of warfare finds expression in the breaks, pauses, and sudden changes in text presentation, bringing us into the jarring and violently dynamic motions of battle and into the the confused thoughts and feelings we might have under these circumstances.

In this part below, we are taken to the moment just preceding the bombing. The text begins in black. In midsentence and midword, the text falls to a shorter height, as if dropping to the ground to protect from incoming fire, or as if dropping under injury from it, as its change to red suggests. We have then the sliding underscore, still in red. It turns bold, as if blood accumulates slowly into a pool. The word 'blood' also appears in red. The blood-line continues until ending in an arrow. The blood of one wounded keeps flowing, even as we turn our attention to others fallen.

Between quotations there is poetic commentary, driving home points, thoughts, and feelings that no straight factual reporting is capable of conveying.

The slashes here below seem like erasures. In war, often there is no time to make complete sense of events. The slashes are like our minds scratching-out contradictions and unknowns in our thoughts, under the weight of the necessity for immediate action rather than reflection.

Here the breaks are like a crying person who must take deep breaths that interrupt his own flow of speech.

The feels, affects, demonstrations, and phonetic imagery in the following makes this scene something tangible and emotionally graspable.

When we read a straight news story, do we have all the necessary 'information' to come to a proper judgment of it? And when we read just news commentary, are we much better off dealing with someone else's processed opinions? To judge the situation, don't we need to have the sensations and feelings of the event? Would not news poetry like this better 'inform' us of events, by giving us more relevant sense-material for making sense of what went on?

Clifford Duffy. The war machine the.

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