All Bad Poetry Is Sincere.


Oscar Wilde.

Something’s been bothering me lately about the “sincerity defense”: “yes, I’m misreading and misrepresenting your position, but I’m sincere in my efforts” or “my ideas might not make any sense, but I’m sincere in my affirmation that I am indeed correct” – not that I’m against sincerity, but there’s something fishy about this appeal to sincerity that is supposed to make me feel better about someone’s obvious dickish behavior.

On “bad poetry” and related matters, see here.

11 thoughts on “All Bad Poetry Is Sincere.

  1. The “sincerity defense” is an interesting one, as well as the “insincerity attack” (perhaps they go hand in hand). I am being sincere in my expression of absurdity, and you are being insincere (ghoulish, jealous, unoriginal, mean spirited) in your criticism of it.

    • This is also true of poetry, which can indeed be crticized at any number of levels (and appreciated), despite its sincerity. Some would like to slip, as it were, between philosophy and poetry, with one foot on the dock and one in the boat, and shift weight whenever the dock or the boat is challenged (at least it would seem).

      And as well, to take the example from poetry, “bad poetry’ often is the kind that is marked PRIMARILY by its sincerity, a poetry that is sincerity conscious, aware that its concentrated attempt is its own justification, rather than an expansive incorporation of its reader, or things beyond. Bad poetry is that which strains, one might say, and perhaps this is the same for bad philosophy.

      How to match this up with the Harman thesis of the One-great-idea, the exaggeration-that-shocks, well, to some degree they are in conflict.

  2. Mikhail. It seems that not only very sincere “bad poetry” is in the arsonal of these objectological folks, we also have the skills of the Artist (no doubt expressing the Objectological commitment to aesthetics).

    Check out “chalk breaker” Levi Bryant’s recent Neo-Lacanian matheme analysis of “who”…you? (Thank God I am no longer in the ranks of the anonymous and have entered into the service of the “normal” person):

    http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/important-new-media-social-relations-relation-theory/

    As Levi claims, every diagram reveals “a bit of the Real”.

    I wonder what “normal” person he has in mind, perhaps the “normal” Neo-liberal “subject”? Its nice to see the guy expressing himself, but one has to wonder, why are Shaviro and Harman aligning themselves with this?

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