This is a poem I wrote back in January. Full text below.
The subtitle is “what happens when you understand conflict, but don’t understand power,” something that, I have to say, is very, very relevant in today’s political discourse. This is a super weird, very specific poem, but I think it’s pointing at an issue that is definitely worth thinking critically about.
Related: This is part of an informal series of poems about POWER. I mean, all of my poems are about power in some way, but this series (which also includes Thoughts and Prayers, Pro-Life, and A Pragmatist’s Guide to Magic, are all very explicitly about power in the context of organizing. I hope they make more sense when experienced in proximity to one another. Here’s the full text:
10 Excerpts From New York Times Op-Eds in Fictional Realities
(or “what happens when you understand conflict, but don’t understand power”)
1. “I condemned the destruction of Alderaan. Then I saw the longer video in which Princess Leia says some pretty mean stuff to Grand Moff Tarkin. In this outrage culture, it’s just so easy to ignore the larger context, and I apologize.”
2. “When we focus so much on the ‘wolfman’ terrorizing our village and eating our children, it implies that all men are wolves. We need to do a better job celebrating the men who aren’t werewolves, not just condemning the ones who are.”
3. “Dolores Umbridge tortured students. That’s no excuse for disrespect.”
4. “I don’t enjoy the hunger games. I think they’re ugly, violent spectacles. I just wonder, though, in our rush to make everything more ‘politically-correct,’ whether banning them would amount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
5. “I am part of the resistance inside The Nothing’s transdimensional cabal of existence-eaters.”
6. “While it’s certainly true that the phrase ‘there is no war in Ba Sing Se’ is propaganda meant to brainwash the populace into submission, one has to admit: it is peaceful here. Residents of Ba Sing Se aren’t constantly embroiled in debates about cultural appropriation or trigger warnings; it’s a place where things just work. The politics are moderate. The economy is roaring. The strangers are helpful.”
7. “This complete inability to see nuance, to put yourself in your rival’s shoes, to compromise: indeed, the people fighting the Nazgul are the real Nazgul.”
8. “I don’t agree with Thanos murdering half the universe. But does that merit harassing him in the street, calling him names, having people trying to steal his glove? Imagine this happening to someone you agree with and see how you feel. Sure, Thanos is evil; but the Avengers are no angels themselves.”
9. “Who among us hasn’t, as an unruly youth, wiped out a village of Tusken raiders, or killed a few younglings while in the throes of teenage angst? Let boys be boys.”
10. “Count Dracula may be a blood-drinking murderer, but when these liberal college students pressure their universities to not invite him to campus for paid speaking engagements, they’re committing a different sort of murder– the murder of our first amendment rights. Now, I’m no expert, I don’t have any ‘qualifications’ that merit a regular column read by millions of people, but I do know this: as my body is devoured by a swarm of giant bats, my last thought will be one word: civility, civility, civility.