(Mal)Content

(Mal)Content is a term that Darren Wershler uses in his exchange on the poetry website Circulars with Brian Kim Stefans, compiled on Stefans's website in 2003 and later collected Adalaide Morriss's and Thomas Swiss's New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories in 2006. In this exchange, Wershler exclaims:

    don’t just ‘write’ (a verb that in many cases bears the superciliousness of the romantic), build (mal)content. Bring on the hyperlinks, intro paragraphs, pictures, php scripts, and html formatting, especially if they
    help to demonstrate the mutual indebtedness that all creativity entails. Use Your Allusion. (Stefans and Wershler, “Exchange” 82)

Buried within Wershler’s characteristic humour and jouissance, the term suggests a content—a product—that carries within it the potential to function like a parasite. (Mal)content feeds off existing literature and grows indefinitely, producing new parasitic texts and always linking back to them. In this way, (mal)content encourages reader freedom and autonomy while at the same time working parasitically to dismantle the structures of linguistic expression that typically limit this freedom. Interestingly, Wershler repeats the "use your allusion" line—an obvious reference to the 1991 Guns N' Roses album Use Your Illusion—in his poetry collection the tapeworm foundry.

This glossary entry has been adapted from Dani Spinosa's Anarchists in the Academy "Chapter Three: Easy Concepts."

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