A writer is not a jukebox


Susan Sontag once talked about a black poet of her country, and alas she didn’t quote his name, who was reproached by some fellow African-Americans for not writing about the indignities of racism. And he put it this way: “A writer is not a jukebox”.

What he meant is that the writer’s first job is not to shit opinions just as a coin-operated machine shits mechanical sounds, but to speak the truth. And I believe he spoke the truth by saying that, and that the discourse must be be broadened to other categories as well.

I love critique, I love to observe and to annotate, and I accumulated enought contempt for the Sarcasm-Cynicism Industrial complex to have turned myself into a bore to they eyes of the ironic, from the laidback buffon I once was. But I am also wary of those who dictate an Intervention – an anxiolytic, schizoid, compulsive one – on the drowned refugee as well as on the Kurd guerrilla group in between cat pictures and a ravioli dish on Instagram. For there will be moments like Brussels (or Paris, New York, etc.) where the Intervention is grabbed, minced and crocheted into the repressive purse of the State, within which any possible humanism will die. Confined to insignificance, pure automatism; a background noise.

Better to study, study again, to connect between the few and then the many, and study once again. In times like this, the call for ideas isn’t much different from the call to arms.


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