Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Putting the "Fest" in Manifesto

Recently I posted a manifesto entitled The Bonfire of Inanities on another blog, The Fellow Idealist. As with most manifestos that I've read, it attempts to make up for its vagueness with passion. To be honest, I had originally intended to write an Executive Summary for a business idea and it got away from me. I stay up late, and don't often end up with what I had set out to do (please don't attach "in bed" to the sentence like it's a fortune cookie). Here's a little taste:

"We are young… and we will not stand pat, arms dragging idly by our sides, soaking up the endlessly radiating signals, calling to us like sirens of lethargy from our televisions, while the next wave of ideologues and careerists flood our nation and our world with their closed mindedness deeply rooted, their ears (and eventually their hearts) too clogged to hear the voice of our nation gasping for change and new direction. We will cut them off at the pass. Ours will not be to confront those of our generation whose beliefs and opinions differ; no, ours will be to welcome them with a fabric-softened embrace into our ever burgeoning numbers. “You are one of us. We are some of many,” we will say, though we know that in the now dim, soon blazing light of our future there will be no “us and them” -- no opposing sides locked in continuous stalemate, but one vast and interconnected, enmeshed and borderless blob of Humanity, pulsating to the tempo of our passion."....Click Here For The Rest

You get the idea -- a call to arms for our generation, a stream of consciousness rant. I'll be the first to say that it's overblown, naive, etc., but dammit it gets me fired up; and if nothing else, this is for me the primary fuction of a manifesto (even if I'm the only one it fires up). In an apocryphal anecdote, the Greek orator of mythic repute, Demosthenes is complimenting his ruler and fellow reknown orator, Pericles. In a gesture of humility, Pericles concedes to Demosthenes' supirior oratorical acumen, saying, "When Pericles speak, the people say, 'Oh, how well he speaks'; when Demosthenes speak, the people say, 'Let's march!'."

And that's the basic point, each manifesto should arouse even a base level of emotion in its readers, and ideally it should get them to take action. Here are some other examples that I found on the internet.

Blog related Manifestos

1. How to write your own creative manifesto - good way to start off your manifesto writing

2. Launch of Negativist Manifesto - good example of a more convoluted manifesto, but you could just read The Bonfire for that.

3. A Continuously user-edited, manifesto called The Future of Learning Manifesto

4. The Voice 2.0 Manifesto, which is related to The Bonfire

5. Motherhood Manifesto (possibly not your cup of tea)

6. And it's counterpoint found on www.beingdaddy.com, The Un-Hip Parent's Manifesto (pretty funny)

Historic Manifestos

Communist Manifesto - sorta the granddaddy of manifestos and one of the more successful ones, depending on how you define the success of a manifesto.

Futurist Manifesto - this one is one of my favorites and a work of art in itself. It's about youth and speed and art keeping up with the modernization of the world. It's so choice, if you have the means I highly recommend it.

Playboy Philosophy - Hefner himself wrote out this multi volume work, describing the ethos behind the sexual revolution as the master sees it.

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