Thoughts on the Alt-Right and Online Trolls, while listening to Bob Dylan’s ‘Only a Pawn in Their Game’

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than the blacks, don’t complain.
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin,” they explain.
And the Negro’s name
Is used it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
’Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoofbeats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ’neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Copyright © 1963, 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music

I would like to make something clear and direct, now, in my late night, post night-shift period of reflection, relaxation and moderate whiskey drinking. A period in which I listen to music that encourages me to reflect, read poems or articles about the world’s state of affairs that drive my own thinking.

I detest the alt-right. Online trolls disgust me. I don’t mean because you (and yes, this is directed at you) revel in offending, revel in breaking taboos. I can get behind that, in certain ways. In many ways. It’s certainly not the source of my contempt, my absolute revulsion at your content, your methods, your style, your tactics, your selves.

No, what provides me with this complete rejection of your essential claim to existence – that you are waging some kind of war against orthodoxy – is the absolute laziness which underpins your attempt to prosecute this pathetic little rear-guard action. You have read no history, though you claim to have studied it.

You understand no philosophy, though you claim to be driven by the highest (mutilated) ideals of the Enlightenment.

You appear, most often, to have not even a basic grasp of the English language, competency in which you wield against immigrant others, to keep them from becoming a part of societies to which they will undoubtedly make incalculably greater contributions than your own laughably small, manifestly self-centered offerings of reactionary wrench-throwing.

If Bob Dylan, himself such a fluxing and tension-ridden figure, could scope out the basic premise of your position 50 years ago – that you are pawns in the game of people who care not a shred about your little selves, because what they care about is power, that you have been fundamentally misled, and have misled yourselves in this endeavor – well, if he could do that 50 years ago, then I really think it’s time for you to grow a pair, to wake up, to acknowledge your place in this world . . . or, really, to just quit.

Quit this whole circus.

Because you aren’t offering anything new, anything provocative, anything original or even interesting. And though it ain’t you to blame, ultimately, the fact remains you’re offering nothing but pathetic self-pity, and hatred, and tedious repetition of an insufferably boring, tiresome premise.


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Ben Adams performing Bukowski (Paroxysm Shaky Cam)

Me covering Buk’s “eulogy” at the 2016 Bukowski Birthday Bash.

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September 10, 2016 · 1:11 PM

‘Tenochtitlan’ by Ben Adams in Red Fez Issue 90   
Read on Red Fez | Read Later

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June 14, 2016 · 3:47 PM

Buy the Grapple Annual No. 1

The first Grapple Annual was officially launched at the National Young Writers Festival in Newcastle earlier this month. You can buy it now from their website.

The book contains my poem THE LAST NIGHT OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S LIFE along with a host of other great poems and short stories, and the whole package ‘feels good’ as the kids would say; ‘has a nice texture’. So if you like ‘art and/or literature’ or have a lot of money (or both) you should buy one. They’re only $20.

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The Grapple Annual

A poem of mine will be featured in the forthcoming Grapple Annual, which features a selection of poetry, short fiction, stories, memoirs and so forth, each inspired or somehow related to a particular day (or date) of the year. In the run up to release, they are now featuring selections from the Annual online, in full, on their given dates, for one day only.

Check out the pieces as they get put up at the Grapple Publishing home page, starting with a poem for tax return time by Monica Carroll. Also look out for my piece in the coming days (it’s about ol’ Papa, so figure that out).

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Australian Love Poems 2013

ALP_cover-180x220I will be among 173 poets featured in the forthcoming debut collection from Inkerman & Blunt, “a new Australian press dedicated to publishing books of originality, intelligence and beauty: fiction, non-fiction and poetry.”


Selected by award-winning poet and author Mark Tredinnick, new poets such as myself will be appearing in print alongside the likes of Cate Kennedy, Paul Kelly, Judith Beveridge and Les Murray, which needless to say, is dangerously ego-affirming.

From last Monday until the volume’s August 4 launch at Byron Bay Writers Festival (launch to be presided over by George Megalogenis, Australia’s best journalist — so that’s pretty neat), Inkerman & Blunt will be gradually revealing the names of each featured poet on their website and Facebook page.

You can also pre-order copies of the book directly through Inkerman & Blunt.


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Free-range porn: Shades of grey in the sex-on-film debate

sex1-380x505Recently, two articles regarding the by-now popularised debate over pornography and its social effects, particularly in the Internet and smart phone age, gave me some hope that a measure of complexity is beginning to replace the previously black-and-white, sensationalised and often misleading treatment of this discussion by some anti-porn activists.


The first was a piece in The Age entitled The problem with porn

It prompted me to write a one thousand word Facebook comment, which I’ve included below – largely because I feel that such a long essay rant, composed spur of the moment when I should have been doing more constructive things, deserves at least a blog airing.

Now, this piece features observations from Marree Crabbe, “an expert on young people and sexuality.” In many ways, it continues some of the more simplistic approaches to discussing and critiquing porn’s role in society. For example, as I discuss below, it repeats the oft-cited reference to statistically prevalent violence in today’s pornography, without discussing what is actually defined as violent or degrading behaviour when compiling such data.

Nevertheless, it does at least gesture toward the idea that pornography itself – the depiction of sexually explicit activities for pleasure and entertainment – is not inherently bad. Rather, as Crabbe says:

The point is not whether anal sex is good or bad, or that it’s no good to get ejaculate on your face or parts of your body. It’s that the script of pornography is normalising and misrepresenting the experiences of pleasure of lots of people, particularly women, and shaping a sense of what is expected as part of the sexual experience for many young people when that is not actually what a lot of people want to engage in.”

The second piece, refreshingly, makes this gesture more explicit. Heh.

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