So where will authorship go? "I think it's important for writers to connect themselves with all forms of media," Amerika says. "If all you're doing is writing with a Powerbook at home, and you don't want to perform it, that's your choice

"Most of my writing is letter based, but in the last 10 years it's evolved into performance, digital audio recording and editing, video, and now into networking. It's evolved into those territories which avant-garde writers haven't felt comfortable with in the past, and that includes marketing. I see it as necessary for writers to hone their own marketing skills if they can. Marketing is not a scary term for me."

But marketing smacks of commercialism, something a lot of artists feel is anathema to their creative process.

"I totally understand that," Amerika says. "I feel that that philosophy has been marketed to artists by other artists to keep them in their place. How have the religious right and their cronies who are running the House [of Representatives] gotten to this point where they have? Is it because they have ideas? I would suggest not. I don't see any real ideas there, and I think of myself as pretty open-minded. I think their success has been in their marketing.

"As we start encountering the wrath of these religious right people who want to censor our voices, and now even bypass the marketplace itself through laws and other seedy ways," offers Amerika, "we, too, are going to have to enter that arena and counter it. The only way we're going to counter it successfully is to market real ideas."

In other words, to fight fire with better fire.

"We will have to fight the good fight," Amerika responds. "I'm talking about activism, really. What has evolved in this culture, and I'm not necessarily saying that I like it, is that in order to get your ideas out there you have to market them. It's the marketplace of ideas. It's the science of spin.

"To many artists it's gross. That gut level feeling is part of the avant-garde lineage. I wonder what Allen Ginsberg felt going around all these years as he spoke about freedom of expression, freedom to be ourselves, freedom from censorship, and to do what we want in a culture that supposedly embraces these civil liberties and rights. He didn't hide in a corner and chew his nail trying to figure out what was going on. He went out and made a fuss, and probably used some of his skills he learned in his twenties when he worked for an advertising agency. That's my guess. And that's all right! I'm not opposed to that. I think that's OK."


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