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2009-03-04

The Multicolored, Polyphonic Tides of Revolution

This past February 20 was the centenary of the publication on the front page of Le Figaro of The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and credited with starting the Futurist movement. F.T. Marinetti's document had a profound influence, for very different reasons, on early-20th century Fascism and, later, on Marshall McLuhan.

It is difficult to know how serious or sane Marinetti was. He was an outsized figure given to outsized pronouncements and self-contradictory behavior. He was a supporter of Mussolini, so he held at least some convictions toward Fascism. He denounced pasta. He fought a duel with a critic who dealt with his work harshly yet on at least one occasion heckled his own play. He wrote an anti-Catholic novel but later reconciled with the Church and stated that Jesus was a Futurist. He protested against fascistic Antisemitism.

Of course, we librarians can never forgive him for the 10th point of his manifesto, which begins, "We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind...." But who couldn't love a guy so innately opposed to order (despite the whole Fascism thing, that is) that he included 11 points in his manifesto, which we all know are supposed to be some multiple of 10? Is that where Nigel Tufnel got his idea?



In honor of F.T. Marinetti, I offer The Manifesto of Manifestos:


  1. We affirm exclamation points!
  2. We will destroy our own movement before it starts by issuing a manifesto.
  3. We will act contradictorily to everything we say we stand for and call it art.
  4. In the absence of exclamation points, we will question everything cryptically.
  5. We will wear hats and pins.
  6. We will put up inscrutable posters and stickers in public places and wait for the curious or impressionable to rally around them.
  7. We will wait for the New York Times to report on our movement, then sell hats, pins, posters, and stickers.

Since this is, you know, a movement, I invite you to to add your own declarations in the comments or even re-post The Manifesto of Manifestos on your site. There are hats to be sold, and I need a new winter coat. If there aren't hoards of 20-somethings wandering around Brooklyn or the Lower East Side wearing merch within the month, then the movement has failed!

2 comments:

Steve said...

Point pi - We will stop using solely integers to number our manifesto points!!

librarian@play said...

Yes! And while we're at it, why use numbers or any other ordering system at all? We want the movement to be relevant to the mashup culture. That's what the kids are calling it these days, right?