Monday, November 27, 2006

I Want to Write a Manifesto

by Brenda Roger

I want to write a manifesto.

That’s what I think every time I hear the title of a manifesto. Doesn’t it just sound like a situation where you make a set of rules, declare them before society and then everyone pays attention? Sounds good, right?

My first exposure to the idea of a manifesto was The Futurist Manifesto, written by a group of young Italian male artists in 1909. The Futurist Manifesto is anti-museum, anti-feminist, pro-speed and pro-violence. It is both a rant and a jolly good read. It was 1909. Women were asserting themselves more in many countries. Add to that the fact that these young, male artists were surrounded by the revered ghosts of DaVinci, Michaelangelo and the like. Imagine how suffocating that would have been to the Italian male ego. Add an artistic temperament and a manifesto is born.

It is funny that when I think of Futurist paintings, the first one that comes to mind is Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. Ok, I get the speed thing, but it is so charming that it is hard to think of it as radical in any context.

I have an artistic temperament, so I should be a good fit for authoring a manifesto, right? It might be advantageous to consider the crowd I will be joining as author of a manifesto. The Communists, the Unabomber and the shooter of Andy Warhol all wrote manifestos.

In fact, The S.C.U.M. Manifesto, penned by Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Warhol, still sells copies. S.C.U.M. stands for “Society for Cutting Up Men”. It is considered a groundbreaking piece of feminist writing. I would not consider Solanas’ life as a road map to immortality and success, but there are certain elements of The S.C.U.M. Manifesto that I have trouble disagreeing with. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Sorry fellas.

I think it might be therapeutic to write a manifesto. I can’t control much of the world around me, so it would be satisfying to pretend to do so with a set of rules and principals tailored specifically for my own needs. Then it should go into the paper shredder and I should get over myself. Manifestos are usually about large and important ideas. They are frequently political in nature and fraught with anger.

I’m not particularly angry or political. About as political as I get is contemplating the idea that the Unabomber has a much higher IQ than the leader of the free world. That does kind of make me angry, though. Hmmm.

Perhaps, I should stop reading manifestos.


Tory said...

Yes, I agree with you about manifestos, Brenda. That idea of being the center of the universe and having the world revolve around you for a change is pretty appealing, isn't it?

Then I come back to reality.

Brenda Roger said...

As our authority on therapy, Tory, what do you think about writing a manifesto as a therapeutic exercise? We should all write one and then read them over cocktails at a meeting. heehee

Pat said...

Manifesto? What a word... it would be a great name for a breakfast cereal.
"MAN-I-FESTOS! Man up every morning with a heaping bowl of Manifestos! Crunchy, confetti colored phalluses and marshmallow..."
Okay, back to work for me.

Brenda Roger said...

Pat! LOL!

Anonymous said...

As an out-of-control control freak, I like this idea, Brenda! A chance to stand up and say "Do it my way!" Of course, no one ever listens to me now and I'm sure a manifesto wouldn't change things, but it might indeed be therapeutic.

Brenda Roger said...

The Yoga Manifesto! Hmm, does the idea of a manifesto usually go with yoga? V. funny idea! You should write it, Annette!

lisa curry said...

Hey, I think I wrote a manifesto back in the mid- to late '80s, in the form of personal journal entries and letters to close friends, only I didn't know that was what it was called. I was in my early twenties and still figuring out who I was and what I believed and how I wanted to live, and that was my way of solidifying all that. Now that I think of it, I'm still living in accordance with the rules of my own manifesto 20 years later, so either it was a good thing or I'm a case of arrested development!

Nancy said...

I'm just wondering if we should try to elect the Unabomber . . .

Kristine said...

I'd also love to write a manifesto just to be able to say I wrote one, but sadly I don't think anyone would want to read it. LOL!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

*scratches head*

You mean the world doesn't revolve around me???

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