Poets read their work on Minneapolis-St. Paul buses during rush hour yesterday, apparently on the theory that if there’s one thing that public transportation needs, it’s crazy people ranting loudly about things that make little to no sense. […] Who sponsored this program? A car dealership? A bicycling group? The Society to Make Sure Nobody Ever Gets on Another Fucking Bus Ever Again?
I’m so with Bookslut on this. I hate being a captive audience. I don’t want to hear my cabdriver’s political opinions—or your loud conversations in elevators. I’m fine with live music in subway stations because if I don’t want to hear it I can just walk away, but I won’t give money to musicians who play on the trains themselves, even when I’m impressed by their talent and skill. Leaving aside the fact that busking is never legal on board, the heart of the matter is that, for us working stiffs, commuting time is often our only chance in a busy day for certain kinds of reading, or thinking, or important staring out of windows. Taking that time from people without their consent is, plainly and simply, abuse. This Minneapolis program is a bad idea for poetry, for public transit, and for the basic humane idea that civilized people don’t inflict themselves on the unwilling.