Mr Benders, why do you regularly do these sort of ‘auto-interviews’?
We live in a time where the media are dysfunctional, in the sense that they do not contain any means for any serious writer or artist to actually climb up any ranks since there are no ranks. We have a serious problem which is easy to name: there is no more movement. The authorities in literature and music are the same authorities that were already there in the eighties. It’s still all those eighties bands that draw the big audiences and make the big bucks. New musicians cannot do so, since the media has become dysfunctional as a means of evaluation and recognition of talent. Of course the structure never was perfect, but it has never been as bad as we see today.
Anyone in such situation can only do one sensible thing: create ones own media if you want to bring a message across. So that’s what I’m doing and have been doing for many years.
How is the current situation in Dutch literature?
Dutch literature never was much to begin with, we had a few good writers, like Reve and Hermans and a few good poets, like Gorter and Koenegracht and Duinker, but overall I wouldn’t say it’s where I would go for a ‘literary climate’. Last 20 years have been sort of insane: subsidized overproduction, which caused us to now, instead of having like 30-40 poets, we have 300-400 poets and 98% write completely shitty sort of stuff and no one sells anything anymore, since they snuffed out any type of serious literary criticism or better said: there is no one around capable enough for the position. Hence, there’s some sort of lukewarm postmodern ‘anything goes’ attitude, that’s been around for 20-30 years and won’t go away, because no matter how hard you kick it, there’s a guy behind it making a living with it and now you’ve kicked him he won’t give you either airtime or money.
In other words, it’s disastrous. My mission has always been to completely destroy Dutch literature. I would put all these guys in front of a firing-squad. I have so far not entirely succeeded in doing so, but I have managed to chase most of these wankers off the internet. They are hiding now, somewhere, in their attics and their basements, in their little bunkers of mediocrity. But they have no idea who they are dealing with. I am a One Man Army, I am going to smoke these bunnies out of their holes. The enemy is in retreat, the clear air of the Canon is breezing through the Dutch landscape again. It’s wonderful.
You claim to be the poet who got the best reviews in recent years
It’s true, my debut at Nieuw Amsterdam got 8 gleaming reviews and the follow up, which I had to self-publish since the entire Cartel by that time was against me, got about five gleaming reviews. There simply is no one else with those numbers. Most poets get only one half-assed review per book, so there is no competition. It’s just that all these pathetic little cretins did not expect that after giving me a gleaming review i’d still kick their lazy butts. They thought I am one of those ‘career poets’ who is interested in the comfortable sofa of recognition. I am interested in Mount Olympus. I don’t want the muffled air of provincial literature around me. They can stick their Vinex-cardboard recognition up their hineys. What I want is a bunch of peers with balls. Canonballs. We need to restore the idea of responsibility and authority, and we need to get rid of this godawful ‘community’ that just exists for its own sake. After a few years of stretching my muscles, however, I can say that they are as good as non-existent now on the internet. They still breed on offline though, sponsored with government money, like hidden fungi and they still do their ponyshows where they grant each other awards and stuff. But we managed to chase them off the internet, which is the first victory in a long line of victories to come.
What are some of your new projects we can look forward to?
After chasing the vampires from the internet I have had more time to deploy some projects. I have ventured into philosophy and I am writing a Philosophical Opus called ‘Tractate of the Sun’, but it won’t be a traditional philosophical work but rather a book of philosophical adventures. I already have about 700 pages full of stuff but i need to completely rewrite the whole thing into something interesting and sensible.
Then there’s my new poetry volume named ‘Wôld, Wôld, Wôld!’ I am way into that one, I have like 70 new works of which about 30 are real good ones. So as I’ve been in such positions before I would say about 18 months later I will have a book, but this also will not be a conventional one: it will be combined with ‘The Book of Dead Owls’ which I am also writing and contains fusion-like translations.
Then there is a third book, more conceptual, called ’50 centuries of Dutch Poetry on 20 pages’. It’s the only anthology I promise I will ever create. Time is a relative phenomenon, but it has really seemed that long already. A long, long time. And it’s about time someone says something about it.
The fourth and last project is a record with electronic music. I have about 300-400 song sketches. Now I will reserve some considerate amount of time to turn these into real songs. The idea is to make a record with brilliant philosophical dance music so young people can think and dance at the same time. Not very easy, I hope I will succeed with that one. By far more hard than any of the projects above.
All 4 projects will appear in due time which will be likely 2013.
You also started a political movement named ‘Sparta’ but as reported it only gather two invalid votes at last elections.
Sparta, Firm but Sportive. Well the idea was never to become another political party, as we don’t believe in political parties. The whole idea is more to set up a think tank for the future of humanity. One of my objections to Zizek is that he talks a lot about what is wrong with current society but never offers any alternative, and instead relies on some flimsy Marxist theories that are at best a good laugh at cocktail parties. It’s not strange people start to look at the West with disdain when even its supposedly best men don’t have the creativity to think of some simple alternatives. We of Sparta do have alternatives – for example I completely redesigned the concept of the ‘School’, which in our system becomes the spill of society. literally, rather than a training ground for corporations. However, when you do publish such alternatives you start to notice that people have little interest in them. They all seem to be very much in love with the idea of an Apocalypse and very less so in love with the idea of putting their hands out of their pockets.
What would you say is the core problem of the world we live in today?
Not the problems. The people. I see the same happen everywhere: the clever people, the brilliant people, they are not found at the top, but rather at the bottom of the system. I have seen this phenomenon everywhere in my entire life. Our system is build in such way that the most mediocre types flow to the top, guys who can withstand 15 years of absolute boredom, while the really intelligent ones usually become dropouts. Now, in a world that is threatened severely by several huge problem sets that really is the most problematic thing: you need exactly those people on top, and get rid of the others. But this is impossible, since the nomination process works as such that c-types will always only nominate c-types, simply because they are completely unable to detect or admit the existence of even b-types let alone a-types. So when a system is flooding with c-types, it can never ever recover from that. This is exactly what happened last 30 years, with the creation of Europe: it’s a giant bureaucracy filled with c-types.
It can only self-destruct, really. That problem, wrong people in wrong places, is far worse than any other problem, since you cannot solve any sort of problems with such people.
So what do you suppose we could do about that?
Well the problem is nothing will happen, until its way too late and the whole things crashed itself. Then the masses will probably choose some aggressive moron with some simplistic solutions to ‘take care of business’. History repeats itself, unfortunately. It’s not my idea. I have been preaching an alternative society since my early teens, but no one cares or listens. If we want to face the problems humanity is going to face we will have to put all of our best people together. That will only work, though, if we don’t do it from within the current value system. What you get then is utter boneheads, hardly capable of producing a coherent let alone an original idea.
No, man. There has never been any revolution that has brought substantial improvement. The formula is always the same: angry masses, biggest mouths get the political positions and bullshit starts all over again. It’s really just a bunch of bollocks. Just look at what happened in Egypt and all other Mideastern places. Better now then before? Yeah right. Same bullshit different suits.
So what solution do you really have to offer then?
You cannot solve the worlds problems through politics. The problems we will face are of a scientific nature: lack of resources, and such. We need to walk our talk and finally make the biggest investment into independent science ever. Because the scientists, the philosophers and the inventors: those are the people that advance this world, not the politicians. What is a politician? They are treated as the ‘new celebrities’, but what have they really ever brought this world?
Martinus Benders – Istanbul, 16-09-2012