Sunday, February 05, 2023

Why the Revolution Will Not Be Televised, 2023 Version

Silent-Super on Holiday (Case)
My go-to creativity generator

I first heard Gil Scott-Heron's iconic jazz poem The Revolution Will Not Be Televised on local public radio station KUNM a few years ago, and was mesmerized by its combination of jazz beat, spoken-word poem and unique approach to a serious social issue.

Scott-Heron was born on April 1, 1949 and died on May 27, 2011. His first well-known album Pieces of a Man (1971) included the iconic The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

Just yesterday I was driving across town, listening to Sirius XM's Jazz station, when they played Revolution, instantly bringing the piece back to my mind, which soon thereafter inspired me to sit down at my Smith-Corona Silent-Super and whip up my 2023 version, inspired by Scott-Heron.

There's a special relationship I have with certain machines in my collection. Some of them seem to more easily enable freeform creative expression than others. This Silent-Super, built in 1954, came into my possession via a Craigslist ad, some years ago. It was very filthy looking and smelling, and required months of repeated cleaning and adjustment before I'd sussed out all its issues. While troubleshooting an intermittent skipping issue I discovered on several occasions the ease to which I could brain-dump random thoughts straight to paper. Since then it's become the one machine I can rely on to truly be creative.

I don't claim to be a poet, nor does the following piece claim to, in any way, approach Scott-Heron's skill; and I can't say I've grown up under a cloud of oppression, but for what it's worth, here's my 2023 version of Revolution.

Why the Revolution Will Not Be Televised
(Any resemblence in this piece to the names of actual people or organizations is strictly coincidental, and should be taken only as social commentary.)

The point of this exercise is that we should strive to find a cybernetic union between human and machine to unleash our inner creativity. Mechanized writing can enable us to operate faster than we can write by hand. Sometimes it takes time with a machine to discover its hidden potential, other times it becomes immediately obvious. For those of us typewriter users who've amassed sizable collections, this implies we need to give sufficient time with each one to find whether its mechanical attributes mesh with our inner creative needs. It may not be the machine you expected at first, may not be the brand or model with the best reputation, but don't be surprised when you do find it that it speaks to you like no other can. You owe it to yourself to spend more time with each machine in your collection.


Anonymous BillG said...

Just make sure that you always hang on to that Silent-Super.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Bill M said...

I've found it interesting when I use certain typewriters that some inspire more writing than others. Those are my problem typewriters that delay rotation of others into use. I tend to keep the inspirational ones in use longer.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Good flow on that Super-5! :D

8:12 AM  

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