I’m about to show you why I have so few friends. It’s because I don’t put up with ‘team mentality.’ Hey kids, come over here and join my poetry team! Yeah dudes! Get with it! Get hip to my dang poetry team, bro! We could win! We could take the whole prize, sista! Yeah, baaaaaaby!
I’m the kid eating the Twinkies, picking my nose, twirling the Frisbee on my finger and looking at you like you’ve got a gun. That’s me. You scare me, poetry dude.
For some reason, in our young national culture, we enjoy teaching our children to compete via talent shows of all stripes. Since it’s National Poetry Month, the Louder Than a Bomb demo video caught my somewhat jaundiced eye. I put up with it all the way through even though it made me squirm. Poetry as in your face talent competition doesn’t fit my world view.
Right away the video starts out with total obnoxiousness. The guy says, ‘We de-emphasize the competition, but you want to win!’ A-hole. What an idiot. Kids, remember, always run from a guy that says something like that. Run and don’t look back.
I feel the same way about film festivals, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and the Academy Awards. I even feel the same way about online writing contests, though I’ve hosted them myself. They are intended to boost traffic on a web site. They serve no real purpose and offer no true value at all. Contests are held to make mediocrities feel like they can hand out prizes. A kid who is going to be a poet is going to leave by the back door every time.