Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Kasey insists that rumors of the existence of "Flarf" are greatly exaggerated. Which made me greatly relieved, as I had just sent off a pretty pathetic email to Stephanie begging her to enlighten me.

You see, this is how crazy ideas that there are "movements" and "schools" out there get started. Somebody does something goofy, a couple of her/his friends follow suit, and then maybe somebody in jest comes up with a descriptor for it. Those few people, and maybe a few more of their friends, start tossing the term around as a convenient shorthand. ("Flarf" has the advantage of sounding like a noun--you don't have to write "flarf poetry," you can just write "flarf." I suppose, in fact, it can also be a verb--you can just "flarf." Kinda like "smurf," that way.) Okay. Then some ignoramus like me--even worse, some critic or grad student looking for the next big thing--stumbles upon this discussion, sees everybody saying flarf this and flarf that, and thinks he's found a mysterious new avant-garde birthing itself. Pretty soon I'm--sorry, he's--doing things like demanding definitions of Flarf and wanting to know who writes it and who doesn't. Prompting the originators of the term to have to write explanations of the term masquerading as denials of it, which of course in another cycle become definitive statements of what it is.

Sorry, Kasey--I think you might have just written a manifesto.

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