J. Martin Strangeweather, Exit Poll

J. Martin Strangeweather, Exit Poll

Is your work political?

All works are political, whether they’re trying to be or not.

What is the place of literature in politics?

Historically, literature has been employed to overthrow/undermine/establish political movements, spread propagandist agendas, and influence/reinforce political sensibilities in general.

What is your favorite political work?

I wrote this answer in the form of a fictitious dialogue:

“We’re here to do what people normally do in libraries,” said the librarian. “We’re here to find and read the book we’d like to write ourselves.”

“I’d say it’s the opposite,” said the teacher. “We’re here to learn how to write the book we’d like to read.”

“Maybe we’re just supposed to finish our homework quick as possible and get out of here,”

said the student. “Maybe we’re supposed to explore what’s beyond here—see what’s going on outside.”

“If I’m here for anything,” muttered the janitor, “it’s to burn this whole fuckin’ place down.”

Simple answer: I don’t have a favorite political work. I go through endless phases of enamorment: Foucault, Deleuze, Butler, Ball, Tzara, Breton, Orwell

Zen koan answer: If you want to know what Karl Marx really thinks, read Ayn Rand, and if you want to know what Ayn Rand really thinks, read Karl Marx.

Do you feel voting is important?

I think everyone should do whatever they can to keep a tyrant from running the U.S. for another four years. That includes voting. However, you asked how I feel, not how I think. I can’t help but feel like the game of U.S. politics is rigged, not to mention shortsighted and hypocritical, from the foundation on up.

What are your hopes for this election?

Pharaoh Ramesses the Third was betrayed by his concubines, who slit his throat. Julius Caesar was stabbed thirty times by the senators of Rome. Caligula was stabbed an equal number of times to end his bloody reign. Pretty much every Roman emperor met their end by assassination (makes you wonder what the appeal of so much power was.) Emperor Fu Sheng was tied to the end of a horse and dragged through the streets. Vlad the Impaler was cut to pieces and his head was given to his enemy as a gift. King Henry the Third of France was gutted like a fish by a messenger. King Charles the First of England had his head lopped off with an axe for treason. King Louis the Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette were beheaded by guillotine. Benito Mussolini was shot to death by a firing squad and then hung on a meat hook in the town square for everyone to spit upon. Hitler blew his brains out in a bunker before anyone else could get to him.

Our history lessons are written in blood on parchments of human flesh, and every century teaches the same despairing lesson: If you spill enough innocent blood into the scales of justice, it will eventually tip against the favor of gold, but only for a short while.

Simple answer: I hope we don’t get fooled again. I hope there’s a peaceful transference of power. But honestly, I’m done hoping for certain members of our society to play fair. Pray every day, if that’s what you’re into, but don’t pray for miracles to come from beyond. Instead beseech the higher power (however you define this term) to give you the strength and ingenuity to create miracles with your own two hands.

Mr. Strangeweather is an amalgam of words and memories with too much past and not enough future. Discover more: www.jmartinstrangeweather.com

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