Welcome to Dadaland
Sundry observations by Alex Caldiero, yr frendly naybohood sonosopher.
The other nite, to be exact, November 8, 2016, after the results of an unprecedented presidential election, some of us went to sleep content, fulfilled, and enthused; some of us went to sleep distraught, discombobulated, and freaked out. We ALL went to sleep not a little puzzled and in anticipation of the future.
But on the next day, the heavens opened, and your humble sonosopher heard a choir as if of angels intoning the double-syllabled word: DADA….and suddenly the un-understandable events of the night before were clearly unfolded and understood.
Georges Grosz, Metropolis, 1916
A hundred years ago, 1916 to be exact, Europe was in a state of total and utter economic and social ruin. And the heads of the ruling governments of the time put their aforementioned heads together to find a solution. And in their collective wisdom they invented W.W. I. (in other words, World War One), “the war to end all wars”, as it came to be endearingly labeled.
Thus, the killing of fellow humans reached an all time high, due to the introduction of technologies such as missiles and airplanes and chemical weapons, including barbed wire and machine guns! And the governments of Europe, in tandem with the pillars of society, laid the ground for mass destruction and unprecedented bloodshed. And these honorable folk did thus perpetrate their abominations by couching their psychotic behavior under the guise of time-honored labels:
PATRIOTISM!! DUTY!! LIBERTY!!! FATHERLAND!!!
George Grosz, Pillars of Society, 1926
Disgusted with the stupid actions and inane atrocities of their elders, and seeking to make sense of the madness, groups of self-exiled men and women, almost all under the age of 35, gathered in Zurich, in the land of Switzerland. Their venue of choice was none other than a cabaret; and to invoke the voice of reason, they named the cabaret after that most rational of philosophers, Voltaire, even the Cabaret Voltaire.
And it came to pass, that in the darkness of the above absurdities and inanities, lest the nations should continue to blindly congratulate themselves on the great achievements of western civilization, these young women and men began the re-evaluation of all values (as taught by Saint Nietzsche) and to voice their anti-authoritarian sentiments.
What is the function & meaning of institutions, organizations, and establishments??
What is the nature and intent of human creativity and art???
How is it that in spite of all great music, wonderful cathedrals, spectacular sculptures and paintings, humans, nevertheless, and with even greater ease and tenacity, continue to slaughter their own kind???
Thus, the above-mentioned youths did indeed expose and denounce these events and choices thrust against and at the expense of the people.
And the word DADA was made flesh and dwelt among us and spoke out thus:
George Grosz, as he walked up and down the Kurfurstendamm in Berlin,1918
THROW OUT THE KULTUREBABY WITH THE WARSHWATER!!!
So it was that, writing his novel on America, Kafka misspelled the title. After he was corrected, he opted to leave it as is: AMERIKA. The K seemed to fit. For the only way to approach this new world of impossibilities and false hopes may be by seeing it askew, with a K, a spelling error that any immigrant might make.
by Franz Kafka. Cover image by Alvin Lustig.
Like Kafka, we need to readjust our view of our homeland and see it as it is, just a bit out of kilter, skewed, that we may know the content of our character more dispassionately, to wit, Amerdica (only real patriots can appreciate the love embedded in this venerable name).
THEREFORE, as we approach the end of 2016, what better way to cap off 100 years of DADA than with the election of The Donald J. Trump! Verily & Bigly! TRUMP!! Our 45th and 1st anti-president of these here United States of Amerdica.
WWI, 1916 dadadadada WWII, 1945 dadadadada WWIII??
(I aint no prophet…but they sure do make nice book-ends.)
non-sense makes sense, at last!
DADA by any other name is DADA.
DADA is not a movement.
DADA is not an idea.
DADA is not a protest.
It is disgust.
“A virgin microbe.”
It is an infectious growth!
Got us out of the water.
Got us out of the caves.
Got us into the sky.
Into inner & outer space!
GO OUT UNDER THE MOON
LONG LIVE DADA!!!!
Alex Caldiero is a performance poet living in
Utah County. He is the Senior Artist in Residence
in Humanities at Utah Valley University and the
subject of a 2009 documentary. And yes, he is
also the father of “America Ninja Warrior”