‘Verban blight’ at poetry slam

I have lived in Encinitas the better part of a half century, watching it evolve from a sleepy coastal village into a vibrant, thriving statement of community character.

With typical requisite local pride I have contributed self-appointed beautification projects to the local landscapes. I have also produced hundreds of free live music presentations that have enhanced the artistic ambience of the city as well as commercial benefit to local businesses.

However, I witnessed something this weekend, which I considered at the least embarrassing and at worst disturbing. It occurred at the Poetry Slam at the La Paloma theater last Saturday night.

I personally have very strong and defined political concepts, an important component of which is a high level of interest in other people’s points of view and especially the bases for them. I think the best process for resolving differences of opinion is a very complete understanding of those with whom you disagree.

The Poetry Slam has long been a revered local event, providing a unique forum for poetic statements on virtually every aspect of the human condition. Unfortunately, the stage and event was hijacked by presentations that can only be considered by some of us ostensibly fair-minded individuals as hate speech. Worse, they were aided and abetted by very high scores from obviously politically biased and nonobjective judges.

Conversely, one offering by a longtime slam contestant beautifully expressed the need for and importance of moderation in our current political discourse. It was on point and deftly delivered, receiving generally high marks but not to the level of the verbally violent rants of the aforementioned.

How sad that our once generally diverse and tolerant local culture now seemingly validates the lowest denominator of creativity and artistic expression.

Mike Whisler is an Encinitas resident.

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