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**CURRENT PRINT: THE PEOPLE!: "All viz" are the watchwords for our 26th broadsheet, featuring a print by Birmingham's Charles Buchanan, comics by longtime Antipurpose Driven Lifer Andrew Davis. It's all tied together by the Sandburg-inspired illustrations by our resident, Rob Funderburk.

SHOW ME Lauren Pretnar

Pitchfork Battalion (Todd Dills, Kate Duva, Spencer Dew)

We are in the business of the creation of new things. This tri-cornered manifesto debuted Dec. 29, A.D. 2007, at the Book Cellar in Chicago.

We live in a time of intelligence. Everything -- from bombs and insurance policies to mood medications and the interfaces that guide our communications devices, which is to say nothing of the communications devices themselves, to the multiplicity of the choices available to us (make it the smart choice, goes a commercial local to someplace in the anonymous American wilds, for a particular brand of soap) -- yes, everything, is smart. Everything, except for ourselves, and by extension our literature. Where we might achieve success, ever defined by money and happiness, our literature can only be a good read, a page turner, a titillating memoir of a CEO come from the brink of financial ruin to a truer self-understanding. Malarky, we say, a word with a rich history that we well know. And this: if we are being excluded from the panoply of intelligence amassing in veritable constellations, or massive, very real military ranks, around us, what can we be but stupid?

It sounds like an insult, but let us embrace it. Philosophs and litterateurs the eons over have played games of definition, after all. Let us be stupid like the fox, that trickster of folklore, stupid like the fools of Shakespeare, like the Invisible Man of the modern American canon, he who once warned us to beware of those who talk of the spiral of history, for they are preparing a boomerang. We hold our steel helmets at the ready. The messengers of the new intelligence amass at the gates to the halls of the literature. The Stupidists meet them, remanufactured typewriters and pens stolen from office garbage bins our weaponry, cast-off printouts from PowerPoint presentations our ammunition. We fill the empty backs of the prints with exquisite stupidity. We need not loaves and fishes -- we feed the armada with words. --Dills

Fiction on Demand

Seeking organic alternatives to sleeping pills? Look no further than modern literature! Lukewarm, sedentary, derivative, unable to admit to its own cellulite, the mass of it dominated by an "intelligent" and "educated" elite -- is it any wonder that literacy rates are plunging? Is it any wonder that in many households, books are prized only for their flatness, for their effectiveness in spanking dogs and supporting the rolling of doobies? Ladies and gentlemen of the literary world, remember that we are competing with foosball and paintball. We are competing with high-tech video games that help consumers hone their skills in virtual kickboxing, hip-hop dance and humping.

We'll need a seismic energy boost to save literature. But to bring our passion to the masses, we must ready ourselves to embrace the stupid.

Stupidism: it takes the focus away from your head and down to your beating heart. Start making literature that mingles directly with the neurons, literature that throbs in a heavy pelvis. Germinate your masterpieces with a good dose of buffoonery, and discard brains in favor of a vast, celestial brawn.

Fellow scribes, we can only survive if we break into the stupid market! Poetry will fill the stadiums and be interpreted bodily by the gyrations of fleshy babes and men with magnificent ripples. Juicy novel plots of love, deception, incest and intrigue shall be mapped out on the sheets lining our burger trays. Haikus will greet us at the gas pump, and villanelles on the stall walls of piss holes. Kids will bust out variations on Shakespeare sonnets next to beat-boxers on basketball courts. Dazzling vignettes will be printed on undergarments and read aloud as a precursor to coitus. Writers will get onstage to shake their indomitable groove thangs -- for the best literature springs from deep in the primordial tail. Audiences will whoop and swoon, and each wordsmith will be auctioned for the night to the highest bidder.

We'll mine centuries of great literature, stealing ideas for sitcoms. We'll begin with Chaucer's timeless tales of women sticking their arses out the window for panty-wastes to kiss, fools crashing in apocalypse bathtubs, and infidels ripping the night open with their farts.

Instead of putting us to sleep, literature will launch us leaping madly into the streets. The masses will be awakened by work they can gnaw on. Work that throttles them. Work they wanna wrestle with. Literacy will skyrocket! Starving scribes will become millionaires, finally able to afford exquisite lap dogs and exotic prison sentences. And children, even those foaming at the mouth with fevers of 103, will beg, "Mom, I'll lick your toes for life, just please let me go to school!"

When Stupidism finally sheds its stigma, we'll realize how astronomically idiotic it is to tinker at any hobby at all on this wee blue planet slaving in orbit round and round a colossal fireball while the universe laughs in the face of gravity, expanding in emptiness at unfathomable rates of acceleration. In the face of this senseless genius, we garl durn Stupidists tinker anyway. 'Cuz we got fine lit gleeing through our veins and rocking our brains, and it feels gooooood. --Duva

In a world we judge to be stupid, unintelligible, we generate cultures of surpassing unintelligibility, trumping stupidity with stupidity, rejecting the irrationality that we see and know in favor of belief in more preposterous irrationalities.

Literature, for instance, strives stupidly for the impossible, the inexpressible, offering a chronicle of almosts and not-quite-like-but-similar-tos, a patchwork of visceral resemblances, its greatest successes tinged with lament, a taste you can just nearly imagine.

Stupider, writers persist in the belief that -- despite its continual failure to do so -- literature can affect change, stop war, achieve love, communicate authentic encounter, or rise above fear-based hatred.

A particularly stupid poet, Kenneth Patchen, writes, "It is the artist's duty to be alive," stupidly conflating existence with deliberate experience and stupidly feeling an obligation to truthfully testify to a way of being human that will -- he recognizes -- sooner or later be wiped out.

In a world of rampant, random disregard for justice, recompense, or human values, a world incapable of reason, pity, or compassion, what possible meaning or value can literature have?

Patchen continues this rant of art's duty: "To drag people into glittering occupations / To cry out nervously at every knock / To overflow the volcano in semen and phlegm / To reel in an exquisite sobriety / To blush perpetually in gaping innocence"

"A feeling of passionate mercy," he writes, "the rest doesn't matter a damn!" which is surely the most bald restatement of the stupid.

We know that passionate mercy doesn't matter, nor holding a mirror to music, nor yawping from rooftops, nor chanting over candles in the rain...

The very idea of ideals: stupid through and through. To live for them, striving, passionate, frustrated and inspired, is to willfully embrace stupidity after stupidity, like the snake that, seeing that the tail it is swallowing is its own, chokes on, nonetheless, its appetite whetted, swallowing more and more. There can be no satisfaction, only death. --Dew