In his paper "Poetry and the Aesthetic of Morality," Michael McIrvin charts the fall of language from its mythologized acquisition through its use in communal history and ritual to its present diminished function as advertiser's tool and means of control by those in power. The partial exegesis of a poem written in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the subsequent US response illustrates that the assignation of otherness on the present grand scale is emblematic of this diminishment. McIrvin argues that President Bush's misspeak leading up to the war and to the last presidential election is really a master propagandist's ploy suited perfectly for our age and our consumer culture. The poet's cultural role, as part of what Michel Foucault called the "search for an aesthetic of existence," can be to counter this diminishment of language and the reader's increasing inability to decode language.

CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture is published by Purdue University Press ©Purdue University in open access. Please support the journal: Click here for more information and to make your donation online.