Saturday, July 05, 2008


"We're here," said Kurt Vonnegut, "to help each other get through this thing. Whatever it is." Well, yes, and whoever we may be. What "it" is varies with who we are supposed to help "get through" it. As the editors of Octopus long ago noted, our task may in fact be to, as Jerome Rothenberg put it, "take a squad out to the woods/& beat them." Whoever they are.


Kirby Olson said...

I think it's important not to beat on people, or hurt them in any way. I don't think this helps them.

Thomas said...

My sense of Rothenberg's suggestion is that "we" are the squad and "they" (the "them" to be beat) are the bad guys. I think he means "beat" not as in thrashing them but as in defeating them.

Once we posit a "them" to help or hurt, as if they are wholly at our mercy, the damage is done.

Surely you would agree that there is nothing wrong with a confrontation that yields winners and losers?

Kirby Olson said...

I like games in which everybody loses.