Danger Brewing

Evan Karp and Charles Kruger cover the SF lit scene, here.

While reading the write up of Paul’s new reading series, Bitchez Brew, it got me thinking about the idea of power, referred to in the banter as this idea of  “being dangerous”. Dangerous. Me, well, I substitute the word power again and again, to me that is what being dangerous is about: it is inextricably linked to actual or perceived power. This power can be physical, circumstantial, practical. But at its core, being dangerous is about having the power to exert one’s influence in a harmful way, to negative outcomes. (negative, based on leverage of said danger actualized. blah blah)

Of course, that depends on who has a stake in the outcomes. What is negative to the “status quo” might be a hard-won achievement, depends where you stand. Power is a complicated bitch.

I don’t think Paul means “negative” when he talks about a group’s coalescence, and being dangerous. I think he is referring to the way a group can coalesce into something powerful, with the ability to affect outcomes, to be a threat to things in need of threatening but to ultimately be a force of community who approaches the issue of power with candor.

I mean, show me a movement ignorant of power dynamics. Is he trying to say, in being dangerous, that there needs to be more traits of a movement and less the characteristic formulary? There was something understood by the old school, no?

I have argued, and will again, that power is really the matrix of  “the scene”. In the end, people circle around, mating not for offspring but ultimately for The Contract, the Somebody Status. Networking happens just as much in the coffee house as on the golf course. Is that bad? Not necessarily, we needn’t take a smug view on it. It is what it is though.

Before we can talk about danger, and power, and indeed- a vision for a group, we have to be very clear about a few things. Whose cause is championed?

And even more important- who needs to be scared?

-Lynn Alexander

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5 Responses to Danger Brewing

  1. Chad says:

    That is why language is so important, “dangerous” can be bad but it can also be good, as in shaking things up, like how alternative energy is “dangerous” to oil interests.

    Maybe the lit generation before got a few things wrong and a few things right but they also understood image despite the ridiculous clique-ey groupthinks.

  2. editors says:

    I sense the desire in a lot of people to return to a sense of boldness, I won’t try to paraphrase the post and the idea of being “mainstream” but I think there is a sense that there is a lot of talk that doesn’t truly amount to the influence of anything. Why? Because the people in positions of authority scoff at the modern day armchair activist, whether literary or artistic or political.

    I recall a political meeting with an official I will not name who said the new hippies are a joke, a fashion statement, the anti-war movement a group of either nostalgic yuppies or bored brats. I’m not weighing in, but I think the perception is that people blow a lot of hot air but when push comes to shove they run off to their comfort zones and rarely step out.

    What I get from Paul is the desire to be perhaps more true to the root ideas, “dangerous” in the sense of being more provocative.

    Truth be told these are tough things to put our fingers on.

  3. editors says:

    Sorry I should have identified myself as Lynn, not meaning to be anonymous with my two cents.

  4. Sarah Page says:

    Do you have a link to the original article you’re referring to? As far as being a “dangerous” artist did u know charlie chaplin basically had to leave the us bc the powers that be, i.e. capitalist bastards, were so threatened by him?

  5. editors says:

    Apologies, the link is on the word “here” which should be displayed as underlined.
    This is the original article: