Opinion Piece by Denis Joe
The news about the call to shut up US shock-jock, Glenn Beck, over the past month got me thinking about the ranters on this side of the Pond.
I recall it was one of the final Dead Good Poets Society open-mic nights at the Everyman, in Liverpool, before it closed, temporarily, for refurbishment.
I like the work that DGPS do. The open-mic nights can showcase some really well-crafted poetry. But the people who take the mic, and seem to be the most popular are those that fall under the umbrella label of performance poets. Aside from the fact that most are simply a bunch of self-deluded chancers who, if a word doesn’t end in ‘ion’ are pretty lost for rhyme, what I found really disturbing was the level of hate-filled bile most of them spewed out. And worse: no one in the audience seemed uncomfortable with it. The contempt for people from the north side of the city (where there has always been high levels of poverty) is openly displayed without any hint of irony. The Mathew Street festival is a major target for attracting scallies hell-bent on drink and drug binges: spewing up in the streets or threatening violence (you have to understand that these angry young men who pontificate on such behaviour are really just shrinking violets, so easily frightened); and the women are just as bad, wanting to cop-off with anything in trousers. They all shop at Primark (Oxfam-chic being de rigour in Aigburth) and gorge themselves on fast food . In short: they’re fat, loud and scary.
Of course Beck doesn’t pretend to be a poet, but he shares much with the moralist ranters. Beck’s racist and anti-Semitic rants would appal the charity-shop, angry rhymesters But like them, Beck displays his intolerance. Beck’s mistake, however, is that he displays the wrong sort of intolerance. It is not the liberal intolerance against people who dress differently, who take their pleasures differently, who live differently. Beck’s venom is aimed at different cultures within society. But for the liberals, their venom is reserved for those they do not see as part of society.
Sadly this view is so entrenched that when these hate-mongers take to the stage they are greeted as far sighted; bringing savage critiques of social dissection, preaching to the converted who failed to notice their rheumal baptism.