Archive for February, 2007

Black Homicides Fuel Nation’s Murder Surge

February 23, 2007

Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes that homicides are the number one killer of black males in the 16-34 age range. He calls for black homicides to become a high priority issue. The article is here.

Neruda Anti-Meme: Nomination for Worst Poem of the 20th Century

February 3, 2007

Okay, some blogs that I have been checking out lately have been publishing Chilean Pablo Neruda’s poetry in meme form. I would say his continuing popularity isn’t surprising as many famous artists are often celebrated in a historical vacuum. However, I’m not a fan of divorcing art from its political context. Neruda was a near life-long Stalinist from the Spanish Civil War to his death in the 1973, owing much of his fame (and pay) for cultural service to Soviet totalitarianism.

A particularly disgusting crime of Neruda’s was as a Spanish diplomat in charge of refugees of the Spanish Civil War. Neruda personally prevented non-Stalinist leftists and anarchists refugees from fleeing France, which no doubt lead to many of their deaths at the hands of Hitler’s war machine. Another crime was to help Mexican muralist (and Stalinist comrade) David Siquieros escape to Chile following his role in the murder of Leon Trotsky (not that he’s a great guy either) in Mexico.

I’m no poetry expert but I’m willing to go out a limb and call Neruda’s eulogy to Stalin the worst poem of the 20th century.

To be men! That is the Stalinist law! . . .
We must learn from Stalin
his sincere intensity
his concrete clarity. . . .
Stalin is the noon,
the maturity of man and the peoples.
Stalinists, Let us bear this title with pride. . . .
Stalinist workers, clerks, women take care of this day!
The light has not vanished.
The fire has not disappeared,
There is only the growth of
Light, bread, fire and hope
In Stalin’s invincible time! . . .
In recent years the dove,
Peace, the wandering persecuted rose,
Found herself on his shoulders
And Stalin, the giant,
Carried her at the heights of his forehead. . . .
A wave beats against the stones of the shore.
But Malenkov will continue his work.