“Barf Manifesto” by Dodie Bellamy, WHEN THE SICK RULE THE WORLD p. 53
The essay form I’ve always found oppressive, a form so conservative it begs to be dismantled. In the San Francisco avant garde feminist poetic circle of the early ’80s, a sort of patchwork personal essay was de rigueur. The feminist poetic essay riddled with collaged texts and vulnerability. It switched person at will, “I” flipping to “she,” inside magically flipping to outside, and back again. I didn’t know what to make of all these anti-logocentric Theresa Cha/Cixous/Irigaray inspired poetic prose things, spastically shifting and disrupting before my eyes with no apparent rhyme or reason. ’80s avant garde feminism produced lots of self-indulgent, sloppy work, but still it was exciting — and important — to undermine the patriarchal hegemony that created the MLA Style Sheet. Around the same time I discovered Kathy Acker, who in some novel had a character shit on a priest’s altar — which I’m sure she got from Bataille. Even though desecrating Catholic icons is so old school, has been so done to death, the zeal with which Acker does it is infectious. Passion in writing or art — or in a lover — can make you overlook a lot of flaws. Passion is underrated. I think we should all produce work with the urgency of outsider artists, panting and jerking off to our kinky private obsessions. Sophistication is conformist, deadening. Let’s get rid of it.