Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

SlamMania

What’s So Funny ’bout Bush, Lies and Torture Memos?

SlamMania

by Lisa Martinovic

If you haven’t leapt off your barstool cheering along with a couple hundred other poetry fans lately, well then you probably haven’t been to a Poetry Slam. The hippest and hottest new form of live entertainment has rejuvenated this ancient art, fused it with other genres such as hip-hop, stand-up comedy and dramatic monologue, and inspired vigorous debate—and some condemnation—in academic circles.

So what is a Poetry Slam? Described most simply, it is competitive performance poetry. Here’s how it works. First you write a poem. It could be an intense political rant against dot-com culture, a tender

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What’s So Funny ’bout Bush, Lies and Torture Memos?

When an ACLU email directs you to a Stephen Colbert take on torture, you know it’s time to reassess the news-as-entertainment phenomenon. 

Colbert was riffing on the Justice Department memo advising the CIA that its agents could legally use waterboarding and other so-called harsh interrogation techniques if they had an “honest belief” that their actions did not cause severe pain—even if that belief was “unreasonable.”  Colbert has a gift for spinning conscience-shockers like this into satiric gold.  But is that a good thing?

At the level of our media saturated group-mind, political jibes, by their very ubiquity, make familiar

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