We begin with a game. And although it might end up a good advertising gimmick, it was conceived as a deliberate compromise. A passage of writing on Trinidadian music came into our hands. It almost literally boggled the mind. But since, like most humans we have two hands and suffer some degree of schizophrenia, the piece posed a dilemma.
On the one hand, we thought, we should copy and post to web immediately. This, after all, was the emancipatory promise of the internet, a kind of postmodern day Toussaint freeing powerful information from the despotic old media order. On the other hand, we also wondered if it wasn’t more prudent to compose and publish a short essay that publicizes while contextualizing the passage. The absence of this kind of reflection, after all, has been the bane of the internet, a kind of postmodern Dessalines indiscriminate in its revolutionary fervor to liberate information. Unable to resolve the dilemma, we opted to do what neither Toussaint nor Dessalines could afford to choose: we came up with a game! We decided to post the passage and have readers compete at figuring out the year in which it first appeared. The first correct respondent will be invited to contextualize the piece. It will be posted, and the rest of us, we hope, would then join the discussion.
Our game, if all goes well, should resemble an exercise in democracy. It is the kind of thing, we would like to think, that will have Toussaint and Dessalines giggling in their graves.
Here is the passage:
“…Another thing done to a large extent is, whenever a business firm hears a good jingle, its composer is rushed to commercialise it. It is then heard over the radio with the announcement that such and such a firm presents this tune as its “road march…”