Home | Archive | Itineraries | Events | FAQ | Columns/Links
Advertise | Newsletter | About/Subscribe | Submissions | Art Walk | Books | THE2NDHAND Writers Fund

**PRINT: FRIENDS FROM CINCINNATI: Installment 24 features this part coming-of-age short by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, author of the Trouble collection of shorts out in 2006. | PAST BROADSHEETS |

Back to Archive Index

Corey Frost

1. The Communist Manifesto: In the revolution, we will all be digitally remastered.
The Communist Manifesto walks slowly out of the water and up the beach. It is absolutely naked. Meanwhile, a spectre is haunting Europe. At the secret headquarters, the workingmen of the world unite. A car chase ensues. The bourgeoisie is trying to escape with the means of production, but the proletariat is following closely in a Lada. As the vehicles careen onto the sidewalk, racks of value-added goods are sent flying. Oranges bouncing everywhere. The fruit vendor stands in the street, waving his fist angrily at the rear window of the vanishing proletariat. The bourgeoisie escapes. But later, the Manifesto, disguised as an electrician, infiltrates the bourgeoisie's private party in an abandoned factory. The bourgeoisie turns out to be extremely difficult to kill, and in the struggle they both fall into a vat of molten steel, which will eventually be used to build a brand new superstructure.

2. Problems for Discussion: What is to be done?
The Communist Manifesto is a document outlining the fundamental tenets of Communism. And, a whole lot more! It is also the opposite. For example, if an assassination occurs on the other side of the world, and the alleged assassins emigrate to this country, then what is my own personal moral imperative? What is this other country? We don't know. We don't know whether it begins with a B or an M. It may begin with some other letter we have never even heard of. What kind of government do they have? Who was this assassinated prime minister? Was he an evil despot who loved his grandchildren? Or was he a revered leader who promoted peace and made the people aware of their own pitiful inadequacies? We don't know. The country is too far away, and there are too many countries, and too many letters of the alphabet to begin with. How can we know these things? What can we do? And I need it on my desk by, like, yesterday.

3. Art and the Manifesto: The manifesto is always pathetic.
What, according to the Communist Manifesto, is art? Art is anticapital. If anticapital comes into contact with capital, the whole system self-destructs. All art is quite useless, according to Oscar Wilde, not unlike a popsicle stick inscribed with an impossible philosophical query. In a world where capital is matter, then art doesn't matter. The bourgeois artist claims that art is merely the repository of all human knowledge. In fact, art is the suppository of all human knowledge. Art itself, in its unlimited glory, should become a form of art. The French have a word for art. Art should be exercised every day. Take art out for a walk in the park. Throw the frisbee around. If you love art, tie it to a bench and leave it there. Walk away from it, ignoring its pleas. If it escapes by chewing off its own leg and tracks you down, it's yours. If it attacks you, you may legally kill it in self-defense. That's love. That's art.

4. The Dadaist Manifesto of the Communist Manifesto: Feeling Removed
Sadly, today manifestos are falling out of popularity. A manifesto is rambunctious, and perhaps a tad over-earnest. In art, they have largely been supplanted by autobiography, and by corporate mission statements. It is difficult for the surface and the not-surface to agree, but I assume in my work that the not-surface is actually only superficially removed from the surface. The substructure and the superstructure are the same. Whether it is removed above or below the surface is unnecessary. Q: How would one recognize the Communist Manifesto on the Metro? A: Really it's about feeling good. Feeling confident. Secure. You have to have a dream. In the beautiful park, in the evening light, a breeze is moving the children in the lake. A frond is waving in the breeze. Think peaceful, think fresh. GO FOR IT!

5. The Triumph of the Communist Manifesto
("The manifesto has become a historical document which we have no longer any right to alter.")

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Oscar and Gloria Adams of Swift Margin, Minnesota: I hear that you have a very smart dog. I hear that he can take the squeezie nozzle of your garden hose in his mouth and that he can spray your two-year-old kid, who is playing in the plastic wading pool, in the face. He knows that he will be rewarded with a twinkie because this is a very funny thing to do. Clearly, your dog is very intelligent. I'm writing, in fact, because I have something to ask your dog. I want to know if he would mind being featured in a story I'm writing. The story is about the Communist Manifesto. It's a great story with powerful dialog and international appeal. The ending is a bit anticlimactic. But a dog as smart as yours, Mr. and Mrs. Adams, would really make all the difference. Yours sincerely,

(K. Marx, F. Engels, 1872)

Chicagoans, come out to the Hungry Brain for the Chicago stop of Montreal resident Corey Frost's tour in support of his latest, The Worthwhile Flux, Thursday, May 12, 8:15 PM, where he will perform with THE2NDHAND editors Todd Dills and Jeb Gleason-Allured in addition to the screening of a number of short films. See Dills's review of Frost's book in WING AND FLY. Check out the show's poster here.