I came from even further back, from before Band or Comedy, when the path to victory over adults was poetry. Poetry, too, favors the precocious and is a fine instrument of rebellion, calibrated just right to send arrows of disdain into the heart of conformity. It makes sense that music wedded to poetry should soon follow and congeal in the Dream of the Band, just as it makes sense that television should draw both Poetry and Band into its glow and return both magnified by the strength of the audience. And it makes sense also that the Internet should follow both Poetry and Band because it envelops all media and returns rebellion to its source, pure information, unencumbered either by poetry's referentiality or comedy's complex messages.
Poetry, when I first started in the very early '60s and in a society poor in means of expression, was an almost totally individual act of resistance, without much echo. Forming a band was a much grander public proposition, but it was a collective assault made by complicated interpersonal relationships. The comedy stage and its connection to TV, with its wires and producers behind the scenes, had an even larger audience, but a lot less independence. Now, it's the turn of another generation, and, superficially, the Internet seems to return the power to the adolescent creator because it is pure information emanating from a single source. It would seem also to correct the dilution of power induced by the collective of the Band and to eliminate the cross-purposes of producers. I say 'seems" because the Internet startup is not the blog or the individual Web site, but a commercial proposition that enmeshes youthful rebellion with the collective of consumer society, making it indistinguishable from conformity.
We have come full circle: poetry has become money. Rebellion is dead, but power has passed on to the children. It's up to the old to rebel now. Poetry is a pretty good tool.
Andrei Codrescu's latest book is New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writing From the City (Algonquin Books).