Friday, August 13, 2004

(7 sonnets) REVOLT-BY-REMOTE ... for Real


RHETORICAL VERSE /
SEVEN (software-verifiable) SHAKESPEAREAN-FORM SONNETS
and ONE HAIKU



{ACS.056_01} WE PICTURE THEM as they watched radio --
{ACS.056_02} the rev'rent list'ners 'fore mid-century.
{ACS.056_03} The president in fireside studio
{ACS.056_04} who's chatting with each humble family.

{ACS.056_05} BUT WHAT WE DO NOT SEE IS in some lair
{ACS.056_06} of apple-pie refusers someone's yell:
{ACS.056_07} "That's BULLSHIT, Franklin!
Take this rotten pear
{ACS.056_08} and ram it up your ass, and go to hell."

{ACS.056_09} You know it's true. There's always folks like that.
{ACS.056_10} How many? We don't know.
Sometimes it's most.
{ACS.056_11} A BROADCAST'S BLIND to smiles
and anger spat.
{ACS.056_12} The speaker can't tell if we're pleased
or grossed.

{ACS.056_13} But once they'd trained an audience on cue,
{ACS.056_14} the audience at home learned what to do.

{ACS.057_01} A LITTLE BOY SEES lots of people lined
{ACS.057_02} up for a film and begs his mom to go.
{ACS.057_03} Though Bridget Jones' Di'ry's not designed
{ACS.057_04} to please a boy. The boy does surely know ...

{ACS.057_05} ... that all those people cannot be far wrong.
{ACS.057_06} That many people in the same line means
{ACS.057_07} he ought to join that line. The pull's so strong
{ACS.057_08} his mother takes him, though
"she don't know beans" ...

{ACS.057_09} ... about it -- 'cause, well,
"look at all those folks."
{ACS.057_10} I DIDN'T YELL, "Hey you, that film's no joy.
{ACS.057_11} Will you please tell this kid, before he smokes
{ACS.057_12} his time in there, that you've
just read some ploy ...

{ACS.057_13} ... by Briget Jones' publicist who fooled
{ACS.057_14} you to go stand in line -- by bullshit ruled."


{ACS.058_01} OF COURSE, I would not yell that.
They'd yell back
{ACS.058_02} and maybe someone bigger might come punch
{ACS.058_03} me in the nose for social grace I lack.
{ACS.058_04} So, even though I'm right, I had a hunch ...

{ACS.058_05} ... that silence will not cause too great a loss
{ACS.058_06} of anything in this case, so I walk
{ACS.058_07} away from that occasion while I toss
{ACS.058_08} those words into the void, instead of talk.

{ACS.058_09} THE SOCIAL PRESSURE outweighs truth
that day.
{ACS.058_10} But if those folks had been in line to die
{ACS.058_11} (and didn't know it) then I think my say
{ACS.058_12} would have been said,
'cause I'm that kind of guy.

{ACS.058_13} Two sonnets on that story was too much.
{ACS.058_14} THE SOCIAL LOGIC barely did we touch.


{ACS.059_01} THE SOCIAL POWER OF THE TV's next
{ACS.059_02} in this night's line of flight through lines of verse
{ACS.059_03} connecting fragments and insightful text
{ACS.059_04} into a pattern that may patch what's worse ...

{ACS.059_05} ... into what's better in some vital sense.
{ACS.059_06} THE FIFTY YEARS OF TELEVISION's changed
{ACS.059_07} the way that our society consents
{ACS.059_08} to how the deck chairs are now rearranged ...

{ACS.059_09} ... on U.S.S. Titanic's public mind.
{ACS.059_10} The education that should stop the leak
{ACS.059_11} is out of date, created for the kind
{ACS.059_12} of print-based analyticals too weak ...

{ACS.059_13} ...to plug the bullshit that now weighs us down.
{ACS.059_14} MORE RHETORIC's required, or we will drown.

{ACS.060_01} WHEN ORATOR'S TRIED RADIO they knew
{ACS.060_02} the audience was missing. No sweet face
{ACS.060_03} or puzzled eyes or scowling. No signs you
{ACS.060_04} were winning their approval or disgrace.

{ACS.060_05} BACK THEN that bothered them,
BUT THEN they learned
{ACS.060_06} to just pretend all hearers all agreed
{ACS.060_07} you were a genius. Famous folks aren't spurned
{ACS.060_08} by "ordinary" people that they lead ...

{ACS.060_09} ...for anything they say. They're always right.
{ACS.060_10} Now perfect, they no longer need to hear
{ACS.060_11} how people are responding out of sight
{ACS.060_12} and out of mind. They never need to fear ...

{ACS.060_13} ... a hiss or boo or "BULLSHIT!" They are god
{ACS.060_14} of perfect speech. The people'd surely nod.


{ACS.061_01} "REVOLT BY [the] REMOTE," the slogan says.
{ACS.061_02} A puff of marketing I wish was true.
{ACS.061_03} If my remote had ways to let the Prez
{ACS.061_04} know what I thought of him,
I might sit through ...

{ACS.061_05} ... a speech of his dumb bullshit, just to vote
{ACS.061_06} at ev'ry moment of his bag of crap.
{ACS.061_07} And not just him, but all folks who devote
{ACS.061_08} their time to hear as they hold in their lap ...

{ACS.061_09} ... the power to give feedback line by line
{ACS.061_10} who'll vote while seeing how the nation leans.
{ACS.061_11} How many "folks like them." How many "swine."
{ACS.061_12} A public measure of what power beams ...

{ACS.061_13} ... into your house. At last we'll have a score
{ACS.061_14} of what they're saying. "Shut up" or "Say more."


{ACS.062_01} WE WON'T BE LOOKING for one average/sum
{ACS.062_02} of all our cheers and jeers, but sev'ral counts --
{ACS.062_03} these floating sets of slide-graphs will become
{ACS.062_04} the common ground
that every speaker mounts ...

{ACS.062_05} ... that everybody sees. It's hard to spin
{ACS.062_06} the bullshit afterwards if all have seen
{ACS.062_07} the picture of opinion -- lose or win
{ACS.062_08} in colors red to yellow, blue to green.

{ACS.062_09} A THUMBSLIDE on the clicker in your hand
{ACS.062_10} spring-loaded to the center to return
{ACS.062_11} to "no opinion" if the words are bland.
{ACS.062_12} Slide up for "I agree." Down: "You should burn."

{ACS.062_13} Yes, Cutler's bullshit slogan paves the road
{ACS.062_14} for BOKE's transcendent future episode.

# # #


HAIKU CODA

The slogan is right ...

But the show's not about that.

That's my slogan, boys. {smile}