|39 West Press is an independent book publisher of art, poetry, literary fiction, and creative non-fiction.|
|39 West Press seeks to arouse the contagion of inspiration in the hearts and minds of in-the-know artists, actors, and activists; singers, songwriters, and musicians; painters, filmmakers, and writers; and independent entrepreneurs and business owners.|
39 West Press is an independent book publisher committed to releasing books that encourage critical thinking and promote constructive discourse on key social, cultural, political, and economic issues affecting life in the U.S. We publish books of art, poetry, literary fiction, and creative non-fiction, thereby promoting a diverse range of experiences and voices, including but not limited to people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA, as well as ethnic and cultural minorities.
She is as good as new and ready to hit the road on what might be her final curtain call: one last gesta cross-country pilgrimageto both lands unseen and destinations revisited. The Lincoln (my reliable traveling companion), restored within the confines of a limited budget and (mostly) reborn to her original 1997 glory, embarked with me on what now has evolved into a fifty-thousand-plus mile journey of self-exploration and discovery, seeking not necessarily more fruitful pastures but rather trekking westwardand then eastwardon a noble quest of inspiration, an escapade of adventure, in search of an American Dream that once hearkened the spirits of forgotten voyagers who beckoned me from afar as Horace Greeley loudly whispered in my ear, "Go west, young man ... Go west."
Blank stares populate the faces of what Emory University English Professor Mark Bauerlein dubs "The Dumbest Generation," the fifty million "diverted, distracted, and devoured" minds of Millennials and Echo Boomers who represent Generation Y, The Google Generation, or Gen Net.
But Bauerlein's labeling of only Millennials as "The Dumbest Generation" expresses a short-sided world view and a misplaced condemnation of only a small percentage of the nearly 1.8 billion global adherents of the Facebook Fad, a peer-pressure driven social networking culture of assimilation that distracts users from the realities of the world (by repeatedly trending "news" stories that are actually works of fiction) and focuses their attentions on interpersonal social dramas, which devour thoughts with unnecessary obsessions that entirely revolve around knowing exactly what online "friends" are up to (and thinking about) each minute of the day.
"The Dumbest Generation" should be defined more accurately to include all passive participants of The Information Age: the majority of Web users who access the Internet only to consume commercial media, which includes both news and entertainment, and/or engage in the creation and exchange of typical (and chiefly humdrum) user-generated content (selfiies, superficial status updates, unnuanced commentary, etc.) via social media, representing, therefore, a trans-generational phenomenonaptly referred to here as The Borg Generation (apologetically borrowed from the Star Trek antagonist comprised of a hive of assimilated drones)where citizens of all ages plug into a global collective of electronic voyeurism and narcissism that employs auto-paparazzo and self-adulationand whose major purpose, in essence, is to project to others an overly aggrandized and well-crafted façade, a bleached (yet revealing) narrative, of one's own ego-centric view of themself (their "likes," their individuality, their social standing and self-professed importance in the world, etc.)by way of (the previously mentioned) status updates, wall posts,
six-second looping "vines," ephemeral "snaps," filtered faux-Polaroid "insta" images, and one-hundred forty character "tweets," creating slangs of reduced vocabulary while eliminating complex thought, abolishing insightful reflection, and reducing articulate prose to the lowest common denominator, forever trapping the majority of partakers in a prison of postponed social, emotional, and cerebral development.
While information is more readily available to The Borg Generation than to any previous generation since the advent of writing in the fourth millennium BCE, the sources of this instantaneous information emanate from fewer and fewer providers (Google Search, Facebook News Feeds, Twitter Timelines, etc.), and the contents of the bulk of information discovered online are determined solely by proprietary algorithms that aggregate previously collected personal data, thus limiting online users' exposures to viewpoints differing from their own and subjecting them to intrusive, behavioral-tracking commercial advertisements designed to embolden superfluous consumerism by changing how they think about themselves and convincing them of what they want well before they themselves even know what they need.
Furthermore, compelling evidence suggests that big data billioniare Robert Mercer and his data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica are at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network designed to replace the mainstream media with questionable rightwing sites like Breitbart, which he co-owns, and that Google's search ranking system is being "manipulated and controlled" by tech-savvy radical rightwing groupswhat the media has dubbed the "alt-right," a deceptively benign phrase used to rebrand and downplay the intolerant and fundamentally racist beliefs of white supremacists (neo-Nazis)with their hate sites now dominating the results of basic keyword searches on Muslims, Jews, Hitler, and women, thus emboldening a once fringe movement that also has been energized, wrongly validated, and elevated into the mainstream by the dangerous ideologies of key White House advisers, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, and the inflamatory statements and puerile tweets of demagogue and narcissist-in-chief Donald J. Trump, who intentionally diffuses bigotry, misogyny, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism into the norm of propaganda already present within the misinformation bubble of most people's mediacentric lives.
As a direct result of the lack of ethics behind the questionable business practices and supercilious rhetoric of the afore mentioned information monopolies and data-analytics firms, more and more "prisoners" willfully sit shackled in the darkness of Plato's cave (The Republic: Book VII) and consequently remain unenlightened concerning basic scientific, political, and historical facts. The majority of social media users, in truth, fail to comprehend the simple tenant behind the massive revenue generation and vast market caps of data mining firms such as Facebook and Google: that they, the users of "free" Internet services, are not the customers of these companies; they are these companies' uncompensated productstarget demographicswho unknowingly pay a great price for the catered, and often narrow in scope, information they seek: the commodification of personal data and the elimination of privacy.
Therefore, within this maelstrom of technological modernitywhere we stand (perpetually) at the edge of an intellectual, cultural, and (potentially catastrophic) global economic crisis ... and where the outcome of a domestic, presidential election can be influenced by cyber attacks carried out by black-hat hackers authorized by the senior-most officials of the Russian Government, who, at the direction of their president and autocrat, Vladimir Putin, leaked a trove of unflattering emails intended to humiliate the Democratic Party, undermine American democracy, and facilitate the election of Trumpthe real test of our survival and continued evolution as a cognizant people hinges on our concerted efforts to vet and validate informationespecially content emanating from traditionally unreliable sourcesbefore virally broadcasting it, remain skeptical of unsubstantiated claims that contradict all aspects of higher reasoning, and resist blanket surrender of our valuable, personal data to what (on the surface) appear to be trustworthy online corporate entities: cleverly designed, colorful logos camouflaging hidden server farms that hover magically in the "cloud" of data control. Instead, we must pool our resources (and talents) and put the full puissance of our labors into developing, independent of data collecting/information disseminating platform corporations, innovative (and open sourced) methods of correctly accessing, using, and circulating accurate and constructive information via the au courant technological might that sits freely at our disposal.
In the mid-fifteenth century, those in power saw Guttenberg's movable type printing press and subsequent distribution of one-hundred eighty Bibles as the potential bastion of downfall of elite control over the masses: knowledge is power. In many ways, that new medium of communicating information on a broader scale facilitated the mainstreamingnot commercializationof counter-culture and allowed novel ideas that contradicted archaic thought to spread amongst the multitudes, thereby propelling a Renaissance of science, art, and literacy.
To many people, however, the printing press seems outdated by today's technological standards. With a computeror smart phoneand an Internet connection, any global citizen has the potential to reach far more blank minds than Guttenberg's Bible ever did. The Internet, accessed thru applications and the World Wide Web, garnishes the capacity to invoke positive changes that benefit all of humanityas we have seen in the social-media-led Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Egyptnot just app developers, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street. (Note: Sorry neo-libertarian hipsters who believe in the social good of unregulated, anti-union, "sharing economy" firms, which is in fact a misnomer for what are actually platform economy firms, that exploit and abuse the labor of their underpaid subcontractors while spying on their "customers": Uber fits that bill, and its overvaluation is propped up by data mining practices.)
And even after Edward Snowden's damning (and frightening) revelations of the NSA's unconstitutional global spying programs, which, unfortunately, have had little effect on people's cyberspace habits (save the decline in searches of NSA watchwords), the potential, and yet mostly unharnessed, power of online activism remains awesome. But at the same time, by virtue of Internet and social networking companies' earnings goals and indubitable attempts to appease shareholders by connecting and monetizing the usernames, MAC addresses, IP addresses, IMEI numbers, advertising/cookie IDs, GPS locations, etc. of anyone who goes online, distractionvia the unbridled accumulation, manipulation, and dissemination of personal dataruns amok on the Net, latently creating false realities by promoting the proliferation of targeted advertising based on multi-platform behavorial tracking, the propagation of fake news and hate speech via data science and armies of bots, and the promulgation of worthless information, e.g., when your co-worker last had a bowel movement, needlessly distracting us from the worthwhile information that actually affects our daily lives and economic well-being.
While sipping lukewarm coffee in a sterile, Internet café and reflecting upon where my travels with The Lincoln have led me (which included stops at the now failed #OccupyWallStreet movements of New York, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angles, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Madison, and others), it would be presumptuous of me to assume that publishing printed books (of poems, fiction, essays, and art) qualifies as producing worthwhile information, but I do, however, hope my words from the roadand the words of the scriveners published by 39 West Pressarouse the contagion of inspiration in the hearts and minds of in-the-know artists, actors, and activists; singers, songwriters, and musicians; painters, filmmakers, and writers; and independent entrepreneurs and business owners who, through simply saying "no," choose to transcend the control of mainstream corporate, capitalist ideology and instead strive to create a self-realized American Dream of know how vis-à-vis self-explorative creative, artistic, and transparent commercial endeavors that selflessly serve to uplift the majority of humanity rather than further facilitating the advancement and concentration of wealth of the minority of individuals and immortal corporations who economically enslave us all.
We must stand together, and apart, in unison and discord, as a generation of knowing individuals whose ideas and ideals aim to focus our collective energies on social change rather than social networking, on tearing down walls rather than (building or) posting gossip to them, and on fostering face to face connections rather than facebooking from afar, thus sowing the seeds of a twenty-first century renaissance where each individual embraces an empathetic existential freedom and embarks on a voyage of self-discovery that immediately seizes life and unselfishly makes the most of each opportunity by putting the shared needs of humankind first and the self-centered desires of the individual last. Our survival depends upon it. Welcome to the k(no)w ...
from Undiscovered Paladins: Westward Rymes Revisited
We must stand together, and apart, in unison and discord, as a generation of knowing individuals.
39 West Press is an independent book publisher committed to releasing books that encourage critical thinking and promote constructive discourse on key social, cultural, political, and economic issues affecting life in the U.S.
39 West Press publishes books of literary fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. We are looking for innovative and well-crafted, high-quality works by new and established authors. Click here for our submission guidelines.