April 05, 2007


  on “Heidegger and Poetry,” for New

Jersey College English

Association Conference, Seton

     Hall University, March 18,




different philosophers, one

   pre-, one post-3rd Reich, Derrida says. Okay,



                                                         language, poetry,

                                       and sha na na,



                     are important too. Initially,

                Nazis seem to

          the left—being so

        oppositional yet

      turn so


  compete with Communists after all, and,

likewise, Martin


adapts left,

  adapts right.


      His bud of being slips through anyone’s lapel.


Let be BE the elephant in the room

                                                easily lending itself to


                                                                           it IS

                                                         the room thru

                           gently deconstructive feats

or BE the water in the air we breathe




                                                                        of IN-ITSELF

                                             like salt from water

                           and drinking

            the good clean

existence with all

         nominally frothy

         preconscious being

           on the side—

            I mean on the left,

             but, on the right, man

             criticism sure fails us, so

               we could do with a good poet like Hitler.

                Hey, for 5 secs I’m curious

                 about supply side economics, which after all play

                off a 60s “everything will

               be ok w/o the govt” ‘tude.

              Reagan never calls me, thank God.

             Point being left and right work

            on a continuum


          and Heidegger is the bridge,


        overarches. As

       traditional right and

      left fail, paths cross over them.

    Heidegger “surfs electromagnetic waves,” Marshall

   McLuhan’s Gutenberg Galaxy says, and

  his late sixties Playboy

interview foresees one

genocide after another. He’s sorry,

he says, it’s not inevitable, he’s just calling

it as he sees it likely to happen and it did happen and is happening.

  Goodbye enlightened constitutional


       our electromagnetic body is goin’

         all tribal on us. Sounds hokey but

           a place to start. I want to thank this poem/talk for

                                        making me think of McLuhan,

                                       and is it farfetched to think

   Heidegger knows Mac’s early media work when

in some of MH’s last important work, he writes that

   technology needs to

     touch a poetry embedded

        in it—not

           that influence matters much, but

             Martin at least stylistically I

                   think influences Marshall, and


                           is a course we


                             take & teach.


             McLuhan opposes Heidegger to Cartisian rationalism.

        Hedegger fits for McLuhan because Mac

   feels the rational as ratios—pentagonal

interactive sense-goo, not hard logic or

truth as we know it, though


    Neocon “we’re cooler than truth” or

      Nazi “we are truth” frames also might—I

             mean do—reference at least one Heidegger,

                             and what am I standing on?


       I’m too New Left by

     half to

   work for Humphrey and root

for Nixon and I’m kinda right—things get

            bad & Carter’s

                                   someone way outside and

                              that last weekend I work so

                          hard I


                   him over the top

            by just a little

     in NY state,

deciding the election, but then let the nation down,

                                     and, in 1980, go 3rd party,

courting disaster, but disaster doesn’t work. It’s

                                                      boring AND
                           it sucks. There’s something

                         Nazi/Heidegger in it

in that little is leftover except maybe

        Dasein, being there. That sounds good to this

                                        New Leftist

                     but inevitably we

          don’t flourish; is

it any wonder, is

             what we need FAME (from  

         Indo-European for SPEAK)? Better



                                                       be good,

                                                 as E.T. tells

Drew Barrymore. Be light. Be “all inside”

              as J. C. Penny’s mall campaign asserts.

     Be light inside. It’s all good in so many ways, so

    fully Left—not priggish or Weatherman Left. I

mean cultural left, Sgt. Pepper left.

   Uh, er, like, er, as right wing politicians

     tweak the consensus, the Beatles

        lead audiences culturally left,

                 how Bobby Kennedy explains why he’s

so lovingly

            mobbed: “Oh, I’m the Beatles.”

              He’s willing to take his audience somewhere new,


the Beatles weren’t always in black people’s radar so

                                      say black pepper left or

                                     Bobby left,

                           which might include Bill

                          Clinton, in that Bill takes

                        a lot from Bob’s 68 speeches

                cuz the two Kennedys don’t

             trust entrenched



     so just ad hoc making things possible, providing

opportunity, the conditions of being,

dasein, always

figures in for

Bob and Bill

   so there’s at least one Heidegger in them but

         could Bob have solved anything that way?

                                                  Bobby argues that

                                               without the war

                                        they could try: where


                         I’m now: we need


         not working against us thru

voter fraud, war, governmental negligence, aggressive


           disregard, incestuous hiring, and criminal  

                                    payoffs….Now I’m crazed


                if I New Left it,

        fuzzy if I don’t.

FDR changed “progressive”

to “liberal” because

progressive’s Repub big cousin Ted’s faction

or maybe progressive just sounds too Red.

And then, McLuhan says, Franklin & Hitler need radio

  to heat their respective nation-state’s oral


       and get people into

         the program and


                   talk radio still seems to set the agenda.


Heidegger may have wanted a show. He wanted to be


Nazi philosopher king or Nazi philosopher Larry King or                    

       anyway SOMETHING. But no one ever answers    

                                                  his letters.

                    So Derrida has a point

that at that point the Nazis



              hot for Martin H. and he writes more


of philosophy as over. The way’s not through Mein Kampf—

                           the camp, the clearing

                                       is through poetry and art,

                               even marginally discredited

                            semi-modern art


                 and there’s definitely a lefty

            way to take all of H.

        Let’s beeeeeee; Babe, Heidegger’s hip, though

      temporarily in a weird cult called “the Nazis,” but

     forgive him

    that; “We on the left don’t blacklist”

famously explains

Zero Mostel as why

   it’s fine



      Jerome Robbins helps with Funny

       Thing on the Way to, since,

         as Heidegger

          says, How

           we think is more important than what. Let

            us be cool, coolly Jerome    

             Robbins West Side Story cool cool.

The left hinges on Heideggerian Dasein,

                                           but Intelligent Dasein,

                                     cuz we’re

not smooth Cartesian operators.

         Heidegger’s master

              move is to turn the primacy

                    Husserl gives the turn of

                          perception into the turn

                                 of being—where you

                                     flow more than take in—think

                             more than drink, make more than take,

                           everything thought from the ground up,

                  the less enframed and frozen and always already,

              the better, so no wonder he takes a shine to Hitler—

            Heidegger’s a weird mystic rad brother—or

           anyway family,

         and Hannah makes this point. Arendt

       feels it unfortunate

      Heidegger is

     where and when

    Nazis dupe him.

Poor baby!!!

She LOVES her mentor.

   But Heidegger really is Nazi.

          Even if his wife Elfride, who

           conceives Marty’s oldest son with another man—

          a mutual

      friend she loves—before Martin makes love with


more a good Nazi than her philosopher husband,

                    Heidegger rats out who knows how many

professors’ ethnic

and/or political orientations. You

     chalk up some stuff to

       ordinary enthusiastic Nazi service,

         but the personal


               go on till war’s end AND after it

                   you want to wring his neck

                       for sucky apologies about that

                                              whole Nazi thing.

                             Horrors? Nazis? Am I missing the


           Heidegger might

     know all about genocide from friends closer to it

but it’s a matter of proportion,

priorities, what one cherishes—

    some of my best Jewish friends are fantastic, but

what’s best big picture?


Let not a little holocaust impede our Nazi union.


   Plus I as Heidegger take credit for where

          Husserl leaves me, removing my Being and

Time dedication to

    the Jewish Husserl from its wartime edition,

          and otherwise

                   dissing the poor guy.


If language is the house of being, can it be used to build itself?


Martin puts

   his foot down. “Poetry

     is the letting go of language.” The greatest


                                                       of poetry’s

          worldly, even meta-worldly, import,

       Martin Heidegger,

says that.

Point is in some fashion the language we let go of is

                  the bureaucratic nation-state

             that loses credibility

     in Germany post-WWII

and the US post-Vietnam.

   Wired totalitarianism is one replacement,

          but what’s the other?

                It doesn’t have to be the anticipated



                                      mode. Wherever

supplely strong and gentle intuitive light

          fills reason and poetry suffuses politics,

                       Heidegger will say he’s sorry.



—Stephen Paul Miller

Posted by dwaber at April 5, 2007 11:31 AM