Unknown Favorite 



Apr 21 2015


Washington Square, NY

I've decided to post about a recent experience, considerable an "action" in its nature, and how it felt, which was comparable to solicitation rather than activism. However, there was a sense for consciousness-raising regardless of any tangible outcome. I offer it as a case study to consider the methods, ethics, and objectives that are a part of "rethinking the border between public and private life" ("The Art of Protest." Reed, T.V., p. 77. 2005)

I want to address its value, pertinent in Ch. 3 in Art of Protest; discussing the use of poetry as a means for political and cultural protest, particularly prevalent in the Women's Rights movement throughout the 60s and into modern feminism. I wanted to analyze this example, in the "real world" setting, outside of Washington Square; the context of which also adds into my critical concern...

Picture a women, hidden under a baseball cap, with golden caps on her two front teeth, motivated and somewhat preaching. I grew disconcerted as I listened to her speech. She explained to me the "cause" and how it was (supposedly) associated with some organization of which name was muttered under her breath and only after I inquired; I left questioning her motives. When I asked how to get involved, she only emphasized donation. Moreso, she began to talk vaguely about the "reality" assuming I wouldn't understand inequality without it being revealed to me... I guess, being white and an NYU student, she could justifiably mistake me for some over privileged asshole who falls into the commodity fetish-category. She emphasized the singular- binding need for food, uniting all of us as humans... and I resented her for this, A. I would NEVER throw food away, and B. people living on the streets and in shelters are visibly at a disadvantage and often result to drastic resources (i.e. trash picking). but, C. while I don't eat out of trash cans, I certainly will claim a piece of furniture intact but put out on the curb for garbage. So, when it became apparent the only objective was to obtain donation, otherwise her efforts were futile, I wondered how effective this strategy is and could be, and whether or not it acts for social change or complacency; if donation is the only the incentive for her campaign, is this even a campaign? or was she just hustling me? Furthermore, I wonder how many people stop and take the time to listen to her plea.

Posted is the hand out, for us to analyze. It contains certain poetic properties (however, illegible) that I feel are the creative and "personal experiences in order to turn them into analyses of common political and structural sources of inequality" (Reed, 76) The distribution of first hand accounts, each photocopied and unique, this flyer only one of them, relies on the critical reception of this occurrence to make it a successful "action". Agree or disagree?

"poetry is the way way give name to the nameless so it can be thought." -Audre Lorde

Posted by TrayJu on