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HowtoWriteanAvantGardeManifesto (AManifesto)

LeeScrivner thelondonconsortium April,2006

Tolaunchamanifestoyouhavetowant:A.B.&C.,andfulminateagainst1,2,&3. TristanTzara,DadaistManifesto,1918

Founding Ihavebeenupallnight,draftingthismanifesto.Butnounboundedpridebuoysme up,onlycaffeineandtheexpectationsofmycomrades.Earliertodaythesecomrades, nowallsuckingtheirpillowsinsleep,sentmeanoutlineofeverythingtheywanted,a roughsketchofgrandplanstodestroytheoldworldof1,2,&3normalstufffor radicalorfringegroupslikeours.Butblast! Ihavetumbledafulltumblerofcoffee ontheirmanuscript,whichtheyhadinexplicablypennedwithadullquillandsome homemadeIndiaink.(Thoseguys.Alwaystryingtobeantique.)Nowtheirwordsare amurkymorassofshifting,competingsignifiers,agraphemegruelinmidnighthues. AndIamleftwithoutaclearblueprint.Ihardlyknowwheretobegin. Sinceitsgettinglate,andImgettingdesperate,Ivedecidedtopilferthe manifestosofotherradicaloravantgardegroupsFuturist,Vorticist,Surrealist, Dadaist,Unabomberist,etc.forideasofwhatkindofdiatribeisexpectedofme.Yet

2 lookingoverthesescreedsnow,eachseemsatturnseffectiveandineffective,utterly convincingandutterlyridiculous.Andwhilesuchantithesesmightbeperfectly acceptabletome,Ifearmycoconspiratorswouldnotapprove.SoIwilltrymybest topinchthebestfromeachtextandcastoutthechaff.Maybethenbytomorrows deadlineIllhavepennedakindofavantgardemanifestowritershowtomanual, whichmightitselfbeanavantgardemanifestoofsortsforeventhemostfinicky fringegrouptodemolisholdordersandestablishnewoneswith,thoughitwillhave beentotallyplagiarized.

RuleOne DOdrinkcoffee Thisrulemightsurpriseyou,forhasntcoffeebeenonlycatastrophicthusfarinour project?Yet,aftermuchresearch,Ihavebeenwonoverbythestuff.Initsdefense, mayIstartbymentioningthattheopeningofEnglandsfirstcoffeehouse correspondedwiththeheightofthemonarchytopplingEnglishCivilWar?Orthat overtheensuingdecades,asLondoncoffeehousesbecameincreasinglypopular,they increasinglybecamebreedinggroundsforradicalism,showcasesforthecitysradical pamphleteers.Sothreateningwerethesecaffeinatedestablishmentsanti establishmenttendenciesthatin1676CharlesIIfeltcompelledtotemporarilyclose them,seeingthemasplaceswherethedisaffectedmet,andspreadscandalousreports concerningtheconductofHisMajestyandhisMinisters(fromKaufmann,1).Itis nosurprise,then,thatinthenextcenturyBenjaminFranklinturnedtothesesame Londoncoffeehousestorefinehisradicalpamphleteeringskills,whichthroughhim passedintothatseminalavantgardemanifesto,theAmericanDeclarationof

3 Independenceof1776.Norisitsurprisingthatthatparticularradicalmanifestowas firstpresentedtothepublicatPhiladelphiasMerchantsCoffeeHouse.

Coffeestainson TheUSDeclarationof Independenceof1776, aseminalavantgarde manifesto.

Perhapsthesearejustcoincidences.Buttherearemore.In1876,acentury afterthebirthofAmericanindependence,thefounderofFuturismwasborn,F.T. Marinetti,whosemovementsradicalrecipesoftencalledforcoffee.RichardJensen describesoneofthemoreradicaldishesfromMarinettisFuturistCookbook,as salamiimmersedinabathofhotblackcoffeeflavouredwitheaudeCologne(35). Also,fromMarinettisdaughterwelearnthatherfatherreferredtoawaiters inadvertentjugglingandspillingofcoffeeasaFuturistdanceoraverytheatrical formofFuturistaviation(49).But,perhapsmostinterestingishowMarinetti imaginescoffeeasakeyingredientofMarinetti,therousing,alarmingMarinetti beforewhomsomanytrembled.ForapparentlyMarinettilikedtodescribehimself

4 asthecaffeineofEurope(Ford,1).Andhisfriendswhohelpedhimissuehis Futuristwakeupcallpresumablyfelthiscaffeinelikeinfluence.Wehavebeenup allnight,myfriendsandIMarinettisays,intheFoundingsectionthatprecedesthe FuturistManifestoof1909,animmensepridewasbuoyingusup,becausewefelt ourselvesaloneatthathour,alone,awake,andonourfeet(1).Marinettismanifesto runsrifewithwakefulness,restlessness,activity,andmotioninoppositiontothat dreamyreposeofnotjustthepeoplesleepingallaroundhimwhowerenotupwriting


th Futurismsmanifesto,butparticularlyofthe19 centuryRomantics.Thisopposition

isinnowaylostonthem."Uptonow,theysay,literaturehasexaltedapensive immobility,ecstasy,andsleep.Weintendtoexaltaggressiveaction,afeverish insomnia(1). TheinsomniathatMarinettiherepraisesandsuffersfromisevidenttoa


th greater orlesserextentinmanymanifestosoftheearly20 century.TristanTzara,in

hisDadaistManifestoof1918,claimswehaveexperiencedthetremblingandthe awakening.Drunkwithenergy(1).AndAndreBreton,inhisSurrealistManifestoof 1924,similarlystates: MyeyeshadbeenopenforalongtimewhenIheardtheclockinthe apartmentabovestrikefive.Iwantedtogobacktosleep,butI couldn'tIwaswideawakeandathousandthoughtswerecrowding throughmymind.(1) Thoughfewcriticshavetouchedonavantgardeinsomniaperse,theyhave mademuchofFuturismsvalorizationofaggressiveactivity,motionandspeed.Forit seemsonecouldeasilyassumethatunlikeBretonhere,Marinettiwouldneverputin hismanifestothathewantedtogobacktosleep."Furthermore,manycriticsseethe Futuristsandtheiraffiliateisms,especiallyVorticism,as,forthemostpart,

5 cheerleadersofthetechnologicalprosthesesthatelicitforhumanssuchactive,speed enhancingcharacteristics.HalFosterclaimstheFuturistsandothermachinic modernismsturnedtechnologyintoanartobjectemblematicofthemodernspirit (5).JeffreySchnappseestheracingautoasMarinettisemblemofthe transformationofpremodernintomodernman(Speed,3).Marinettisfetishization oftheracecardoesmuchtowarrantsuchcriticalhyperbole,butdespitehissalivation onthebonnetofhiscar,wemustnotoveremphasizetheemblem,andmustcautiously gobacktoremindingourselveswhatthisracecaremblematicof,namelyspeed, agitatedenergy,franticmovement,tirelessfactorywork.Thus,especiallyasitisthe substancethatfuelstheactivityofwritingabout thecar,ortheactivityofwritingthe manifesto,ortheactivityofwriting,oractivity perse,wemustnotforgetcoffees statusasoneoftheprimary,perhapstheprimarymodernprosthesis.WhenMarinetti singsofgreatcrowdsagitatedbywork,then,wemuchremindourselvesofhow, willfullyornot,heevokesBalzacsdescriptionoftheeffectsofcaffeine. Balzac,undercoffeesinfluence,writesofcoffeesinfluenceinhisTraitdes Excitantsmodernes,claimingthateverythingbecomesagitated,thatideasareset inmotion,thatmemorieschargeforward,thatlogic'sartilleryrushesoutwithits trainandcanoncartridges,andthevigilbeginsandendswithtorrentialdownpours ofblackwater,justlikethebattlewithitsblackpowder"(fromSchnapp,Romance 249).Comparetheseirrepressiblemovementsandviolentactionsoccasionedby BalzacscoffeewiththosebroughtonbyMarinettisspeedingcar.Comparethe cannoncartridgesofblackpowderofBalzacscoffeewiththemachinegun fireandtheexplosivebreathofMarinettishotrod.Boththeexoskeleton prosthesisoftheautomobileandtheinternal,nervoussystemenhancingprosthesisof

6 coffee,overlaphereinaguntorrentofwarfare.Andinbothcases,thiswarfaremakes anenemyofcomplacency,lassitude,sleep,thepast,death.

F.T. Marinetti AsThe caffeineof Europe.

InEliotsTheWasteLand,oftencalledthemanifestooftheLost Generation,coffeeagainfuelsthehumanmachineintoarestlessinsomnia.The coffeeconsumedintheHofgartenintheinitialstanzasustainsthepoemswakeful vigilance.Itseffectsarefeltalmostimmediately,whenbytheendofthestanzawe readsomeoneisreadingmuchofthenight.Thechasingofdeathuntilitescapes downthevastvioletlivingandthrobbingskyofMarinettismanifestobecomesin TheFireSermonanotherviolethourofvigilance,inwhicheyesandback/turn upwardfromthedesk,whenthehumanenginewaits/likeataxithrobbingwaiting. FromtheMarinettitotheEliot,theyouthfulcareeningofacarspeedingoutofcontrol huntingdeathbecomesthestaidandserenevigilofawaitingtaxi,butbothscenes throbwithalifethathasdonnedthecaffeineprosthesis.

7 AndasIrecollecthowjustyesterday,whiledrinkingcoffeeonDenmark Street,Isawsomeonetackonthecafwallacoffeestaineddocument,ARadical ManifestofortheNewMillennium,byS.BrianWillson,itseemsthatwherever coffeeisserved,sotooisservedthelongheldtraditionofoverturninglongheld traditions.Coffeegivethandcoffeetakethaway.Fordidntitbringmeto thispassby destroyingtheoutlineofmycomradeswhoarenowrestingcomfortablyintheirbeds likethemindlessautomatonstheyare,whileIstayupallnight,withthehelpof coffee,towritethisdamnthing?

RuleTwo DONOTobscureyourradicalmanifestowithPYROTECHNICS. WyndhamLewis,in BlastingandBombardiering,describesanoddencounterfrom soldieringdays,when,inthemidstofleadingtroopsthroughclockworkgunnery maneuvers,somesuperiorbrassaccostshimabouthisotherlifeasanartist: BombardierwhatisallthisFuturismabout?(22).Lewis,standingatattention,in uniform,withrifleonshoulderandheelstogether,isappalledbytheimproprietyof thequestion,ofthesuddenmeetingofhismilitaristicandartisticlives.Hesaysthis Jackinofficehadnorightreallytocatchmeinthatattitude,since[]itwaswholly unsuitedforexpoundingonthemysteriesofanesoterictechnique(23).Continuing, hedeclaresthattheparadegroundwasaplaceforarms,andnotaforumforcivic discussion.ButwhywouldLewisimplyartandwararemutuallyexclusive,when justafewyearsearlierhehadwillfullysoughttoconflatethem?Lewismanifesto, publishedin Blast!in1914lustilyexpoundsaliterarymilitarism.Theincendiary rhetoricofMarinettisdispatchof1909excitedLewissomuchthatheledEnglands nascentavantgarde,theVorticists,intothenewfieryfray.HowcouldLewisresist:

8 Wewanttoglorifywar theonlycurefortheworld,Marinettiraged.Letthegood incendiarieswithcharredfingerscome!Heretheyare!Heapupthefiretotheshelves ofthelibraries!Together,MarinettiandLewisarmedtheavantgardemanifestowith themortarroundandthemachinegun.Lewisincandescentcannonsin Blast! pulverizevastepochs:BLASTyears1837to1900,andbohemiansociocultural castes:BLASTPastyshadowcastbygiganticBOEHM.(30). Perhapstheverynameavantgardepresagedthecausticmilitarismof MarinettisFuturistsandLewisVorticists.Whereasasthemilitaryavantgarde formedtheleadingfringesofanattackunit,whereonewouldfindthemosthighly trainedsoldiers,thehistoricalorartisticavantgardeimaginedthemselvesasthe radicalartisticelite,ontheleadingfringesofculturalsociety,evenreality.Therethey soughttocarryouttheironlymission,toruptureprescribedculturalboundariesthat they,ontheleadingfringe,werealwaysbumpingupagainst.ThereMarinettis fetishizationofthefactoryandthemachinerupturedthesleepylibraryandmuseum cultureofbourgeoisItaly.Therehisprosthetocentrismexplodedtheromanticidealof theunifiedbody,thenontechnologicalsubject(Foster5).Theavantgardes revolutionarynaturecarriedoverintototheirmanifestos,whichthemselvesseem eagertobreakoutoftheirprescribedlimitationsaswordsonpaper.Thustheavant gardemanifestosfieryrhetoricdoesnotmerelydescribeitsauthorstacticsfor explodingnorms,butperformsthem(Puchner451).Theoftcitedtypographical innovationsofFuturismandVorticismevincethedesireoftheavantgardetoissue wordsthattranscendtheirstatusassuch.Blastsbonmots,writlargeinexplosive BOLDCAPITOLSplayfullyperformthebombingraidsimplicitinitsradical bombasticism.LewisandMarinettiimaginethattheredglareofincendiarieswould comeasapackagedealwith,andshineglowinglyupontheirradicalmanifestos.

9 Butthingsdidntquiteworkoutthatway.FromwhatIcangather,theGreat Waranditspyrotechnicsrecontextualizedtheavantgardesculturallocale,rendering itsrevolutionaryagendaafantasybubblealreadyburst.Forsuddenly,afterthefirst fewdaysofAugust1914,explodingbodiesbecamethenormtheleadingedgeof actualarmies,armedwithactualincendiaries,wasrupturingboundariesallover Europe.Soonthesetropesoftroopsrupturingboundariesandexplodingbodies,asthe newstatusquoandthusthenewpass,werenolongerunderthejurisdictionofthe avantgardeelitetheyhadbeenappropriatedbythemasses. Marinettiprobablyknewthiswouldhappen.Forasmuchashismanifestos militarismenactedFuturismsrevolutionaryparadigm,itenactedMarinettisployto grabtheattentionofasmanypeopleaspossible.Forhebelievedthatthecommonear andeyearenotparticularlysensitiveearsandeyes,thattheyessentiallyneedtobe yelledat,thattheyneedtohavethingsSPELLEDOUTforthemwiththesubtletyof handgrenades.Hebelievedthatifhewantedtoachievehismissionofpopularizing theactofexplodingboundaries,say,betweenhighandlowart,hewouldhavetofill thepagesofthepopularpresswiththemostfulminatinghighartbombasticismhe couldmuster.Sohedid.Andinasense,itworked.Atleasthegotthepublics attention.ButMarinettihadtoknow,aftercapitalizingonEuropeansreadinessto tuneintohismanifestoviolence,thatthelouderandbrighterviolenceinthebombs ofWorldWarOnewereboundtostealtheshow.Theyears1914to1918testifyto lowbrowcultureseagernesstobethecaptiveaudienceparexellence,reactivetobig guns.Andanyraisedbrowsofcritiqueatthateagernesssundershighandlowculture alloveragain.Whichiswhathappened. For,by1918theDadaistsstartedissuingradicalmanifestosthatparodied Marinettisincendiaryrhetoric,thusdrivingawedgebetweentheirgroupand

10 Futurism/Vorticism,whichtheyfelthadbecome,becauseofthewarsviolence,too affiliatedwithwhatwasnowthemainstream:Tolaunchamanifestotheymocked, youhavetowant:A.B.&C.,andfulminateagainst1,2,&3(1).Thereal violenceofthewarhadtrumpedtheartificialviolenceofincendiarywords,somuch thatafteritLewiscomplainedofthedistinctfeelingofhavinghadhisvoice smothered:NosoonerhadIbecomefamous,orrathernotorious,thantheWarcame withacrash,andwithit,whenIjoinedthearmy,Iwasinasenseplungedbackinto anonymityoncemore(Lewis30). Andperhapsthisiswhy,whenthebrassaccostedhimaboutFuturism,Lewis gotsoanxiouslyindignant.ThewardidsomuchtomakeFuturistviolencepass,that manyoftheavantgardewhohadaffiliatedwithitpriorto1914eventuallyseemedto feelembarrassedbyit,andwantedtodistancethemselvesfromit,or,whenthey could,rewritetheirmorescathingmanifestotractstotonethemdownafewnotches. In1926,whenEzraPoundrewrotepoemsthathadappearedin Blast!,wefindtheall capsportionsofSalutationtheThirdsuchasinHEREisthetasteofmyBOOT. CARESSit,lickofftheBLACKING,havebeenputintolowercase,divestedof explosivetypography.Furthermore,certainofthepoemsmorescathinglines,such as:LetusSPITuponthosewhofawnupontheJEWSfortheirmoney,becomes, merely,Letusspituponthosewhopatthebigbelliesforprofit(Pound569,1312). Theformerexplosiverhetoricraisedinpeoplesmindsanassociationwiththewar,an associationinwhichtheavantgardeswordsmusthavealwayspalednextto memoriesofrealbombingraids.Howeasily,then,weretheFuturist/Vorticistliterary cannonselided,disarmed,orcircumvented,likeamisguidedMaginotLineof signification.

11 JustlikethemanifestosoftheVorticists/Futurists,theUnabomberManifesto
1 of1995compromisesitsownradicalismbytheadditionofapyrotechnicsdisplay.

LiketheVorticistsandFuturiststhemselves,TedKaczynskididnotthinkhiswords alonewouldget,orperhapsevenwarrant,thepublicsattention.Seemingly,hefelt impotentwithouttheprosthesisofincendiaries:Inordertogetourmessagebefore thepublicwithsomechanceofmakingalastingimpression,we'vehadtokillpeople" (1).Buthisincendiarieswerenottypographical,indeedtheyconsistedofanactual bombingcampaign,withmailbombsincarvedwoodenboxes,butotherwisetech savvilyconstructed,whichisironic,consideringhowloudlythemanifestoitself fulminatesagainstthemilitaryindustrialcomplex.Thisjuxtapositionofpro andanti technologytendenciesconfusedthepublicenough,withoutthemthenhavingthe moraldilemmaofthebombsactuallydetonating,afterwhichtheyfeltarmored againstanythingtheUnabomberManifestomighthavehadtosay. AllthisistosaythatbecauseKaczynskismanifestocameequippedwithits ownGreatWar(becauseithadalreadybeencontextualizedbyhis17yearstintasone oftheCIAsmostwantedterrorists,andbecausetheTimesandPosteditorsagreedto publishhismanifestoonlyundertheduressofthreatsthatthatcampaignwould continue)hedidnothavetowaitforawartostartforpopularinteresttofocusmore onbombsthanbonmots.Ithappenedrightaway.So,thoughKaczynskisbombing rampagesucceededingettinghismanifestopublished,itultimatelybackfiredbecause itdistractedtheworldfromtheradicalistperformanceofhislettersonthepage.He wouldhavebeenbetteroffwithasmallerreadershipwhocouldactuallyseehiswords than,whathegot,millionswhojustsawsmoke.Insum,Pyrotechnics,andothersuch

Iamawarethat,unlikethispaperspreviouslymentionedmanifestos,the UnabomberManifesto hasbeenreadby mostcriticsasapieceofpoliticalactivismratherthanofavantgardism.Yetasmyfocusinthissectionisthe efficacyofradicalperformativityinmanifestosingeneral,Ihopethisleapwillnotbetooirritatingtothereader.

12 hamfistedextravagancesultimatelydeafen,blindandgenerallynumbthereceptors ofthepopulacetothesubtletiesinheritinanyradicalagenda.Surely,then,radical manifestowriterswhoemployincendiariesshouldreapwhattheysowand[Insert nuclearhellfire]

RuleTwoandaHalf DONOTuseFRENCHexpressions. Thisinterdiction,propos,simplycommemoratessomefardistanthistoricalevents. Thefirsttwo, auboutducompte,contrasteachother: 1)In1657,theEnglishParliamentofferedmonarchtopplingOliverCromwell theEnglishcrownherefusedit. 2)In1804,theFrench SenateofferedthemonarchtopplingNapoleon BonapartetheFrenchcrownheaccepteditandcrownedhimself Emperor. Thisoversimplifiedjuxtapositionillustratesthetraditionalslighttiltof French towardstyrannicalelitism.TheNormanConquestofEnglandlocatedFrenchwithin aristocraciesfromaveryearlystage,asWilliamtheConquerorandhisbarons imposedtheirlanguage,fromthetopdown,ontheEnglishmasses.Andevenwhen
th welooktotheotherhand,tothefringesofsociety,weseethatsincethe19 century,

Frenchhasbecomethelinguafranca ofradicalismandtheavantgarde.Marinetti,for instance,showedhiscontemptforthephilistineEnglishbydeliveringhisLondon lecturesinFrench.Wecannotabideinstalledculturalestablishmentsofanykind, especiallylinguisticones,andespeciallyamongfringegroups.Iftheavantgarde becomescomplacentwithFrench,surelythatcomplacencywillkeepthemfrom discoveringnewrealitiesthatare,asisaumieuxdenosintrts,offtheconceptual

13 mapofthaturelitistlinguafranca.AsfarasIcandetermine,keepingallFrench expressionsatbaywillgiveyourmanifestocarteblachetoexpoundanevermore
2 radicalradicalism,insteadofjustproppinguptheestablishmentsradicalism.

RuleThree TheAntidialectic:DONOTuseQUOTATIONS IwriteamanifestoandIwantnothing.Insayingthis,theDadaistManifestoof 1918castigateswhathadhithertobeentheroleofavantgarde,thatof unsatirically wantingA,B,Candscorning1,2,3.DunaMaverexplainsthatthisantimanifesto sentimentamongtheDadaistsstemsfromTzarasrejectionofthelogicof territoriality(76).TzarafelttheFuturist/Vorticistmanifestosdrawingofdividing linesbetweenacceptedandviolentlyrejecteddogmawastoomuchaprocessof rationalthought,whichheviewedwithsuspicion,holdingitresponsibleforEuropes seeminglyendlessandpointlessintellectualdebatesandarmedconflagrations.Tzara thusresistedthecompetitivenatureofdialectics,whichpittedintellectualcamps againsteachother,eachvyingforcontroloftheterritoryofthemind,andimagined Dadaism asoutsideofdialecticalrationalism.Answeringdialecticaldebates dialectically,ontheirterms,hethought,wouldmerelyaffirmandreinforcethe contextinwhichrationalityisvalorized.SaysTzara:Dialecticskills.Itlivesby producingcorpses,whichliestrewnacrossanemptyfieldwherethewindhasceased toblow.

Ithardlyneedsmentioningthat English,thelanguageoftheunwashedmassesinKingWilliamstime,andever morethemainstreamlanguageofourcurrentglobalvillage,shouldneverbeadmittedintoanytrulyradical manifesto.

14 Dadaismhelpedspawnotheravantgardegroupswhorefusedtoplaythe manifestosrationalthoughtdrivengameofwantingA,B,Candscorning1,2,3.For isntitmuchmoreradicaltowantA,B, Q?Ortowant,asTzarawanted,nothing? Suchgroupswerequicktowritemanifestostodescribethisnewdesireforirrational things.BretonsSurrealistManifestoof1924announceshisdisdainforrational systems,andimaginesanddesiresadreamyworldbeyondthem: Wearestilllivingunderthereignoflogic[]Butinthisdayandage logicalmethodsareapplicableonlytosolvingproblemsofsecondary interest.Theabsoluterationalismthatisstillinvogueallowsusto consideronly factsrelatingdirectlytoourexperience.(1) ActionbasedgroupsliketheSituationistsandFluxus,too,removed themselvesfromwhattheyconsideredlifesprescribedrationalsystemsthe SituationistManifestoof1960states:wedispute[politicalandunionorganizations] capacitytoorganizeanythingotherthanthemanagementofthatwhichalreadyexists (1).PerhapsseeinghowTzaraultimatelyabandonedDadaismonthebasisofits unsustainability,duetoitsinnatelackofgoals,GuyDebordinnovatedawayinwhich Situationismcouldcreateitsownselfcontained,selfreflexivegoalsandthus establishakindofdialecticsbutstillremainbeholdentonone.Thiswastoelicita
3 seeminglycontradictory blurringofthedistinctionbetweenartandlifeingeneral

oratlarge,whichhadbeenamaingoaloftheavantgardeatleastsinceMarinetti.But theSituationistsdidnotshyfromcontradictions.Indeed,itseemstheysoughtthem out,celebratedthem,performedthem.Forexample,theymightontheonehandclaim thatSituationistsengageinthetheoryorpracticalactivityofconstructingsituations, andintheirnextsentencetheymightdefineSituationismas"ameaninglessterm


3

(totheirgoalofremainingbeholdentonone)

15 improperlyderivedfromtheabove,orclaimthenotionofsituationismisobviously devisedbyantisituationists(1).Situationismsmanifestoitselfperformsitsowngoal ofirrationalitybyselfmedicating,throughabsurdcontradiction,itsownrationalist infections.Andperformingsuchcontradictionssustainedstrange,selfreflexivegoals becausecontradictionscontaintheirowninnerdialectic. Thishostilitytononselfcontradiction,thisrefusaltoplaytheselfaffirming gamesofothers,pervadesSituationismssituations,suchastheirinfamoussituationist sandpaperbookcover,whichservestoerodetextualenvironmentsindiscriminately, ortheSituationistInternationalpresentationin1989atLondonsInstituteof ContemporaryArts,atwhichanaudiencememberwhoaskedinquisitively,Whatis situationism?wascounteredwith"Wearenotheretoanswercuntishquestions." SuchselfreflexiverejectionsofallprecedentcontextsdrawfromEmerson,who urgedwouldbeselfreliantfreethinkingscholarsofhisdaytostoplisteningtothe courtlymusesofEurope,remindingthemthatmeekyoungmenwhogrowupin librariesforgetthatCicero,LockeandBaconwereonlyyoungmeninlibrarieswhen theywrote[their]books(Emerson934).Sentimentssuchasthesemusthavecome totheSituationistsviaMarinettiwhoalsopickeduponEmersoniansselfreliant libraryscorn,frequentlysandpaperingthesameviewsuponmuseumsandthevisual arts.InhisFuturistManifestoof1909,heclaims:Toadmireanoldpaintingisto pouroursensitivenessintoafuneralurn,insteadofthrowingitforwardbyviolent castsofcreationandaction(1). Surely,then,quotinggreatwritersinaradicalmanifestoexposesoneslust foracceptedprecedentsandrationaldialogues,fordusty,deadcanonicalauthorsand artiststoriseandswivelatonescommandeitherfororagainst.Icanseelittle differencebetweensuchmanifestomethodologyofbringingoutthebigliterary

16 gunstoimpressyourreadersandKaczynskisfirebrandbombasticism.Andwe
4 knowhowthatstoryended.

RuleFour EVERYONEdeservesasay:DONOTpublishyourmanifesto. TheselfreflexiveillogicofSituationismanditsaffiliateshasgerminated throughthesocalledpostmodernage,informingamenagerieofavantgardeisms whosemanifestosincreasinglyprizedselfnegation,selfdeprecation,andageneral tongueincheekunseriousness.TheinventedpersonalitiesoftheNeoistManifesto, forinstance,engageinfauxangstriddledagitpropyokedtonoclearagendaother thanoneofobfuscationofanythingthatmightbeconstruedasone.Suchisthecase whenKarenEliotscornspeoplesofarbehindthetimesastolookforintellectual meaningsinatext.Thisisastickystumper.IfwetakeatfacevalueEliotsmeaning, thatweshouldnotlookformeaninginatext,wehaveimmediatelynottakenher implicitadvicetonotlookformeaninginatextintheactoftakingheradvice,in eventhinkingthathermeaningshouldbetakensoseriously.But,ifthereisno meaningtothetextthatsaystherearenomeaningsintexts,thenmaybethereare meanings?ButifthatmeaningistosaythattherearenoneHmm.Thehallof mirrorseffectofthisparadoxendlesslyreplicatesanemptyrhetoric. Replication,ofwhichwewillshortlyseemore(andmoretangible)examples, hasbeenoneofdefiningcharacteristicofpostmodernistart,artwhichbecomesa Platonic'simulacrum,'fittinginandfittingforanageredundantwiththemass

AccordingtoRyanSimmons,Kaczynskishowsthatthedistinctionbetweenauthorshipandterrorismis increasinglyuntenable.

17 productionofsomanysoupcans,CampbellsorWarhols,orboth(Jameson158, Eagleton133)itwouldhardlymattertotheNeoistsandlikemindedists,becauseto themartandlifehavebecomeinterchangeabletheirmanifesto,thesameonethat scornsintellectualmeaningsintexts,alsocelebrates therecycling,editingrearranging,reprocessingandreusingof multiplicity,ofthepoliticalpropaganda,corporatecommercial messagesandculturalsignsthatarepresentedtouseverydaythrough themedia thenewspectacularlandscapethathasreplacednature

TheNewand ImprovedNeoist Manifestosaysyou shouldnotlookfor meaninginatext,but ratherreaditlikea paintingordoesit?

Beyondthisblankpastiche,suchWarholianconsumerfetishismsdonotseemto functionascriticalorpoliticalstatements(Jameson158).MartinPuchnerhasthe sameexperienceofotherpostmodernmanifestos.InastagebillfortheLincolnCenter FestivalhefindsthatBloomingdaleshasissuedIsabellaRossellinisManifesto

18 whichinstructsthereadertoWriteyourownmanifestoinitsblankspaces,leaving ittothereadertodecidewhatitwillsay.Thusthismassproducedblankinvitation servestodemocratizetheavantgardemanifestogenreoncereservedforcultural elites,muchlikehowWarholsmassproducedsilkscreenedsoupcans,intheory mimickingwhatHenryFordsModelTdidfortheautomarket,madeartaccessible tomereplebs.Butin bringingitselftomassconsumeristculture,themanifestohas becomemassconsumeristculture.Puchnernotesthissimulacrum,considering IsabellaRossellinisManifesto,where itdoesnotmatterwhatkindofmanifestoyouwriteaslongasyou writeitwithBloomingsdalesproducts[]Justasavantgarde aestheticshasbeenappropriatedbyinstitutionssuchastheLincoln Center,sothemanifesto'srevolutionarygesturehasbeenappropriated byadvertisement. BillDrummondsOpenManifesto,too,exhibitsmassconsumerculturestincturingof agenrethathasbeenopenedupandemptiedout.Appearingonline,butotherwise structurallyidenticaltoIsabellaRossellinisManifesto,DrummondsOpenManifesto
5 letsreadersmarkemptyboxesofcyberspacewithcontent. Aslongastheylimittheir

inputto100wordsorless,theirsquaresofradicalismmightthenbequiltedintothe evergrowingdocument.JimBeattiehasmadethecutwith:
FUCKARTIWANTABURGER jimbeattieUnitedKingdom252:13/12/06

Mostrecentmanifestoshavebeengroomedforcyberspace,wherewesee,concurrentwiththewhatis arguably(relativelyspeaking)thegreatestexplosionofradicalpamphleteeringandavantgarde manifestomakingsincetheleaduptotheEnglishCivilWar,thedemocratization(forthosewhocan


affordcomputersandwhoarewillingtosubjugatethemselvesundertheinfrastructuresandbadposturesthatmake thempossible) of selfreplicatingselfrevolvingsatellitestopplingthemselves,topplingallbutthemeans

behindthesimulacrum,whatformesaysAcerorWindowsXP.

19

SoDrummondmerelymidwifesBeattiesrevolutionaryrevelation,thelikesofwhich havenotbeenseensincePounddeliveredusfrom(T.S.)Eliotspolicevoices,except heretherevolutionturnsaturnstileintoaMcDos,chrometoreflectnaughtbuta


6 McDoshardadcopysoundbytemindcrack. ThusDrummondsandIsabella

Rossellinismanifestosilencesspeakvolumesabouttheconsequencesofthe postmoderntendencytoviewsayingassomekindofcolonialist,oppressive,soul crushingenterprise.Where,asPuchnerclaimsIsabellaRossellinishiesawayfrom writingonbehalfofanyone,fromexertinganykindofauthority,andDrummonds OpenManifestoseeminglyseeks,ifanything,tokeepDrummondfromspeaking,a vacuumgapes,untiltheprevailingtendenciesoftheenvironment(i.e.thedesirefor burgers,inthiscase)getsuckedupintoitandthemediumbecomes,solongasthe receiverhangsuphisorherhangups,themessage. ButwhysonervousaboutsayingwhenthisagehasrunrifewithKarenEliots, allproclaimingtheessentiallyarbitrarytiebetweensignifierandsignified?Ifwe wieldsuchnoodleyweaponrywhenweusewords,whythereticence?Shouldnt sayingbecomethenlikeaNerfsport,where,sincetheprojectilesaredivestedofthe meanstoharm,theuseofthemcompensateswithincreasedvigour?Buttheopposite hasbeenthecase.PostmodernistavantgardegroupsliketheNeoists,Fluxusand othersstruggletoreconcilewhatPuchnercallstheauthoritativeanddogmatic characterofthemanifestowiththeirownagendaoftopplingauthoritiesanddogmas. Thisconcernamongmanifestowritersseeminglyproceedsfromconcerns underpinningour RuleThreeagainsttheuseofquotation.Thefearisthatwhenwe

PuchnernotesthedifferencebetweenthisnewertendencyofthemanifestoandthoseofMarinettis time:The manifesto,aformthatshunsreflectionandprivilegesaction,isthusturnedbackonitselfagenreofaction becomesagenreofreflection(453).

20 speak,ourfutureselvesmightbeforotherswhatCicerowasforEmersonswouldbe selfreliantscholars,apedigreedaristocratcanonicallyoppressingallwhohadnotyet writtentheirowndeclarationsofindependence,whothusmightallowthemselvesto beintellectuallybulliedbythepast.ThisfearisperhapsthemainreasonwhyKaren Eliotseemssobentonproclaimingthemeaninglessnessofwordsitisheralibis,if sheevercomestoexistandgetscalledanauthoritariantyrantforhavingamanifesto andusingitasaplatformtopropound,aswouldadictator,anauthoritarianagenda, evenifitisthatofnothavingone. Thisisnotanewconflict,betweenwantingsayandnotwantingtooppress.It ragedeveninthetimecoffeecoatedFranklin.Franklinsavantgardemanifesto InformationtoThoseWhoWouldRemovetoAmerica,describesademocratizedNew WorldwheretheoldthronesofEuropehavebeentoppledtotheextentthatatypical Americanofhistimewould thinkhimselfmoreoblig'dtoaGenealogist,whocouldproveforhim thathisAncestors&RelationsfortenGenerationshadbeen Ploughmen,Smiths,Carpenters,Turners,Weavers,Tanners...& consequentlythattheywereusefulMembersofSocietythanifhe couldonlyprovethattheywereGentlemen,doingnothingofValue, butlivingidlyofftheLabourofothers...andotherwisegoodfor nothing...(3) Yet,apparently,theconsequencesofthisAmericangenealogicalideal,whichrevokes aristocraticlineagescouldnotbereconciledwithFranklin'sownmanifestauthorial ambitions atthetimeofhiswritinghisInformationheislivinginFrance,forreasons thathedivulgeswhilewaxingsecretlyautobiographic:

21 HencethenaturalgeniusesthathaveariseninAmerica,withsuch Talents,haveuniformlyquittedthatcountryforEurope,wherethey canbemoresuitablyrewarded.(5) OnthesurfacehereheissimplytalkingabouthowtherearefewinAmericarich enoughtopurchasethepaintingsandsculpturethatadornthepalacesoftheOld Worldaristocracy,andthatpaintersandsculptorsbornintheNewWorldhavetogo backtotheOldiftheywishtofindwork.Butifweread(andevenwriteabit) betweenthelines,Franklinhereunveilshisrealizationthatinapurelydemocratized worldwherenoonehaspedigreed,privilgedaccesstorealmsofgenius,aworld consistingentirelyofbuddingCiceros,Bacons,Lockes,thesupplyofworksofgenius willalwaysexceededthedemand.ForwhywouldAmericanssubordinatethemselves totheintellectualworkofanynaturalgeniuswhentheyresupposedlyawareofthe latentnaturalgeniuswithinthemselves?Realizingthissupply/demanddisparityin America,Franklin"quittedthatcountryforEurope,"whichremainedasafehavenfor theintellectualaristocracy,aplacewherehecoulddupealiterateleisureclassto subordinatetheirnaturalgeniusestohis,wherehecouldreapsuitablerewardfor beingwhathewas,aprecursortoNapoleon,theselfcrowneddictator.Early Americanliteraturerunsrifewiththissameconundrum.HawthornesTheDevilin Manuscriptdescribesthesamesaturatedmarketofnaturalgeniusinanidealized NewWorld:WhatavolumousmasstheunpublishedliteratureofAmericamustbe! OhtheAlexandrinemanuscriptswerenothingtoit,saidmyfriend(Hawthorne 332).Hereevenanunpublishedmanuscriptbecomesanencodeddemonicforce,a sigilthroughwhichthewouldbeauthorinvokestheOldOne,theOldWorld monarch.ForwhenoutoffrustrationitsunpublishedstatethestorysauthorOberon throwshismanuscriptintothefireplace,itburstsintoflamesand,whenitspagesof

22 smolderingpotencyarebornealoftuponthechimneysmokeandwidelydisseminate, itgetspublishedatlast.TheninanorgasmicthrillOberon,too,becomesa Kandinskian,Napoleonicdestroyer: Mytales!...TheChimney!Theroof!Thefiendhasgoneforthbynight, andstartledallinfearandwonderfromtheirbeds!HereIstanda triumphantauthor!Huzza!Huzza!Mybrainhassetthetownonfire. (Hawthorne337) AmbitionsofauthorshipwillalwaysrunrifewithpassGreatWarviolence, willalwaysbetrayalustforcanonicalpedigreeandremainthusunavant.Unlessyou keepyour"naturalgenius"toyourself,youare,likeFranklin,likeNapoleon:you claimtobringusallaneworderofthingsthenyoudonthewellrestedonlaurel crownofthetyrant.So,inthestrictestsense,thereisnofreedomofthepress.When yousendtothepressyouoppressinyournostalgiaforanauthoritarianvoice.And,if inthedisseminationofourwritingwethusdestroythefreeworld,ifweatrophythe armsofthepopulacebyflexingourintellectualmusclesforthem,ifweimpoverish bygivinggiftstothosewhowouldhavegiftstogivehadtheynotbeensoused tojust receivingthem,thenevenanunpublishedmanuscriptcontainspotentialforpowder kegpotentateslikeOberonsimpsinanunopenedPandora'sbox. Knowingallthis,seemingly,thewritersofthemostrecentcropofmanifestos haveseentoitthat theirprojectshavebecome,asmuchaspossible,exercisesinnon existance.MichaelBetancourt,forexample,haswritten The___________Manifesto of1996,whichallowsonlinereaderstofillinblankspuncturedtextsculledfrom Dadaistmanifestos.Andeventhisisntenoughtorenderallauthoritarianagendas blank,since,attheendofthemanifesto,thereisaresetbuttoneventheseonline participantsultimatelyunderminethemselves.TheStuckistManifesto, too,

23 perpetuatesaKarenEliotianselfdenouncery,spinningandnibblingontheheelsofan ouroboros:Stuckismembracesallthatitdenounces.Weonlydenouncethatwhich stopsatthestartingpoint Stuckismstartsatthestoppingpoint!(1)Soclearly, afterreviewingthesemostrecentmanifestos,onefeelsthaterasureisthebestantidote forthem.Andwithsuchconclusions,IfeelthatIcanonlyadvisesucharuleofthumb formanifestosingeneraltheyshouldneverexplicitlyorimplicitlyadviseotherson whattheyshouldorshouldntdo,sayorbelieve.Soperhapsthebestbetwouldbeto steerclearofpublishingthemorevenwritingtheminthefirstplace.Dontsay anythingatallbecauseultimatelyeveryonedeservesasay.

RuleFive RepeatRulesONEthroughFIVE. Toconclude,andtosummarizemyfivepoints,thefierypentagram,ifyouwill,that shapesandsharpensthisthemostradicalofradicalpamphlets:drinkcoffee,dontuse explosives,neveruseFrenchexpressions(biensur!),neverinvolveyourselfin dialecticswithprecedents,neverpublishnorwritenoreventhinkyourmanifesto. Ultimatelyyouwillundothewholeprojectoftopplingvainglories,findingita vaingloriousactivity,fittingonlyforradicalselfdebasement,foritwillbeclearthatit istherupture itselfthathasbecomevaingloriousandstatusquo,ratherthanthe
7 statusquowithwhichyouarerupturingyourties. Then,postultimately,youwill

findsuchareposedresponseofselfundoing,orofnotdoingtheundoingortoppling orrupturing,thoughseemingatfirstmilitantly avant,alsosignalsanepochofanepic retreatfromtheleadingedge.For,byconstantlyturninginwardinselfreflexivenavel


7

Puchnerspeaksatlengthaboutthisdominantfeatureoftheavantgardemanifesto,how,overahundredyearsthe revolutionitwantstoelicithasitselfgrownpasse:FuturismbreakswithSymbolismVorticismbreakswith FuturismDadaismbreakswitheverythingthatcamebeforeSurrealismbreakswithDadaismSituationismbreaks withSurrealismFluxusbreakswithDadaConceptualArtbreakswithFluxus[]Eachtime,thebreakwiththe pastisthepreparationforanewdeparture(451).

24 erasing,theSituationistsandlikemindedavantgardersrevealtheirtacticalaffiliation
8 with thatageoldtradition Monasticism,orthesleeping,or thedead. TheNeoist

Manifestosaysasmuch:Goingtosleepmay bethemostimportantpartofthe
9 creativeprocess.

www

ThoughIfeellikeIhavefailedmytask,Ishouldbegoingtosleepnow,too,sincethe morninglightisslowlysteepingthroughmyblinds.ButhowcouldIsleepwhenmy bloodstreamhasbecomeutterlysaturatedwithboilingstreamsofcaffeine?SoIwill leavemyselfoutonthistableforthebreakfastofmysoontobewakingcomrades, whohavebeensnoringforwhatseemsfiftyoddyearsnow.Omycomrades,awake. Comespillme.Toppleandupturn.Ortopplemyexpectationsofbeingtoppledand leavemebe.Andthen,whenIamleastexpectingit,dashmeroundwithyour


10 clumsilynavefuturistenergies.Iwillbearyourpastscornwhenitcomes.Yoke my

Gordianneckwithyourfavoredhand.Kissmewhenyoudrinkdeep.Thenout.Open

SeeEliots"TraditionandtheIndividualTalent"in TheEgoist,September/December1919,inwhichheevokes th early20 centurymanifestoesthatseveredthemselvesfromthepast.HereEliotcharacterizeshimselfasa member ofthelargestcollectiveofall,thedead.Nowbodiless,thedeadarepresentasthelivingpastofliterature.


9

Siwel,myfamiliarrat,staysupwithmetonighttohelpmeedit.AtthispointsheinsistsItranscribea Marinetteanfulminatingrebuke,somethingabouttheselfaggrandizementinvolvedinputtingonesself sousrat ure?Somethingaboutthetyrannyinvolvedinleavinginviolatethosewhodidnotwanttofindthemselves intellectuallyuntyrranized?Icanbarelyhearherthroughhersqueaky snarls.IsshecritiquingSituationismor Neoismorme?


10

yourdesireforcoffeeupon

25 yourmouthwideandproclaimyournewera.11 Iwillremainonlyfaintlyonyour breath.

11

Apparently,atsomepointafterIwrotethis,someonespilledandsplashedcoffeeallovermydesk,stainingthe followingrudimentarymanifestonotes: Theemptyvesselsofconvo: 1. Sayorbesaiduponyourethecolonistoryourethecolony(eithercanbe fun). 2. Listencarefully.Speakcarefully.Thatdoesntnecessarilymeanyoucantsaythingslike: OomphBrouhaha. Theconvoy: 1. Weregoingsomewherenewnowwehadbetterbeprepared. 2. Newnessisthenewoldness. 3. Wewantanagendatoodeliciousandcomplexforbulletpointlists. 4. So(a)putthisdownandgoonalongwalknow.(b)Eathealthfullyinmoderation,and(c1)as muchaspossible,bekindtoyoursurroundings. 5. (c2)HeresoneIcantquiteansweryet,soitwillremainaquestionratherthanastatement: Divvyoutjustice? 6. Dontdespair,youlldiesoonenough.

26 WorksCited Breton,Andre.TheSurrealistManifesto http://www.tcf.ua.edu/Classes/Jbutler/T340/SurManifesto/ManifestoOfSurreal ism.htm Childish,Billy.andThomson,Charles.TheStukistManifesto www.stuckism.com/stuckistmanifesto.html Eagleton,Terry.'Capitalism,ModernismandPostmodernism'.AgainsttheGrain: Essays19751985.London:Verso,1986.13147. Emerson,RalphWaldo.TheAmericanScholar.TheNortonAnthologyof rd AmericanLiterature3 edition,Ed.FrancisMurphy,etal.NewYork:W.W. Norton&Co.1989. Ford,Mark.TheMadnessofMarinettiLondonReviewofBooks,May2004. Foster,Hal.ProstheticGodsModernism/modernity4.2(Apr.1997):538. Franklin,Benjamin.InformationtoThoseWhoWouldRemovetoAmerica. London:1794. Hawthorne,Nathaniel.TheDevilinManuscript NathanielHawthorne,Talesand st Sketches1 LibraryofAmericaEdition.Ed.RoyHarveyPierce.NewYork, LibraryofAmerica.1996. Jameson,Fredric.Postmodernism,or,TheCulturalLogicofLateCapitalism.London andNewYork:Verso,1991. Jensen,Richard.FuturismandFascism,HistoryToday45.11. (Nov.1995):3541. Kaczynski,TheodoreJ. IndustrialSociety&ItsFuture(TheUnabomberManifesto) JollyRogerPress,Berkeley,NoCopyright,1995. Kaufmann,Miranda.CoffeeCultureBeganinBritainTheOwlJournal.2.7. http://www.theowljournal.com Lewis,Wyndham.Blasting&Bombardiering.LondonEyre&Spottiswoode,1937. Lyon,Janet.Manifestoes:ProvocationsoftheModernIthaca:CornellUniversity Press,1999. MarinettiBarbi,Luce.ReminiscencesofMyFatherTrans.LawerenceRainey. Modernism/Modernity1.3(1994):4554. Marinetti,F.T.TheFuturistManifesto. http://www.cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/T4PM/futuristmanifesto.html

27 Pound,Ezra. PoundPoems&TranslationsNewYork:LibraryofAmerica.2003. Puchner,Martin.Manifesto=TheatreTheaterJournal54.3.(Oct.2002):449465. Rainey,Lawerence.TheCreationoftheAvantGarde:F.T.MarinettiandEzra PoundModernism/Modernity1.3(1994):195220.

Schnapp,JeffreyT.CrashSpeedasEngineofIndividuationModernism/Modernity 6.1(1999):149. TheRomanceofCaffeineandAluminumCriticalInquiry28.1 (Autumn,2001):224269. Simmons,RyanWhatisaTerrorist?ContemporaryAuthorship,theUnabomber,and MaoIIMFSModernFictionStudies45.3. (Fall1999):675695. SituationistManifesto http://www.infopool.org.uk/6003.html

Tzara,Tristan.DadaistManifesto http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~jenglish/English104/tzara.html