Lovely and apt Pound quotes, Brandon, although I don't think that his line about the gleaming-then-not-gleaming can be equated with American Pragmatist© ideas of created meaning and value (beginning to discern some discursive tactics here, btw-- watch out or I might quote Rorty in support of "house-shows"!).
[And, pedantically/Poundantically I would point out that you excluded with ellipsis the Latin, saeculorum Athenae, invoking the sacredness of the olive to Athena, and the Greek invoking the gleaming sheen that can be attributed to the olive-- therefore the gleaming-then-not-gleaming could also refer to the historical fading of the olive's sacred aura, not back and forth, but pessimistically, gleaming fading with time. "Zarathustra, now desuete [obsolete, out of date]"-- the spezzato/broken nature of Paradise could imply an historical dysfunction. Glimpses of paradise represent transcendent, accidental experiences of a certain 'rare gleam' nowadays mostly absent-- Sorry, but you've caught me in serious Pound-mode]
BUT ANYWAYS, I would like to continue with the poetic theme, singling out approaches to interpretation as another dyadic categorization of the optimistic and pessimistic.
With the example of the vintage wine vs. the grog/glog, you recommend searching out "the possible poetics of the glog" and state:"...for me, many things could be turned over into Good by an act of strong poetics"-- I think we can classify this strategy, changing something, through interpretation, to a Good thing (from a presumably less-Good thing), as Optimistic. I don't want to misquote you, and while you do add that "the mixed chemistry can be tampered with to extract the good elements from the bad", I think that this process of 'interpretational bettering' is still misleading in dangerous ways. This type of interpretative distortion is, in fact, one of the fundamental evils for the pessimist-par-excellence, Adorno.
I would argue that Adorno's use of pessimism is primarily as a strategy towards action/agency, and not at all as simply moody musing. The satisfaction of the populace is what keeps them from taking action to make things better. Contentedly slurping the grog they make no effort to procure the fine wines. By convincing the populace that their lives are in fact terrible, convincing them of the truly poor quality of the grog in their cups, they become suitably dissatisfied and take to the streets in search of the good stuff.
"If the Pessimist is only trying to underscore that suffering is ineradicable, he is not really adding anything to the landscape or language. "
Well, this is another, Buddhistic form of pessimism, but to underscore that what one is experiencing RIGHT NOW is suffering and not satisfaction (that what one is sipping on is nasty headache-inducing bile), one does not need to offer substitutes of Better for Bad. The subject will be so enraged at the realization of his shitty situation, that he will take action and find HIS OWN 'Better'.
(Following this line of thought I've just convinced myself that Adorno-ian Pessimism is itself "the premise of true agency," in that its aims are only to upset the subject, prodding him on to find his own path towards betterness.)
On Brandon's strategies- Taking a page from the Adorno playbook, you may better convince people of your strategies, and 'demonstrate to them their own folly', if at first you convince them that their lives are really pretty terrible. I mean, this is starting to sound exploitative, but autonomous change comes always from desire which comes from recognition of lack. Adorno's first steps towards 'revolution' were to pessimistically, violently, crudely force people to fully tarry with the unthinkable negativity of evil and the disastrous deterioration of culture (and the full reality of both), in order to depress, to outrage, to inspire fear and loathing in the hearts of the populace, not to make them despair, but to make them care. (Or simply, to "make it personal.")
To instead offer a 'poetics of the glog' is to do the opposite— to accustom the populace to a worse product, a lesser paradise, snuffing out their drive towards betterment. Wasn't it Adorno who said "no poetically idealizing crap wine after Auschwitz"?
All joking aside, Adorno's infamous "No lyrical poetry after Auschwitz" was perhaps intended to point out the power of poetry to interpret in a harmful way— i.e. to interpret romantically a moment of pure evil, to create heros where there were only animals being led to slaughter.
My Adornoian professor Lydia Goehr presented a good story to illustrate this concept:
At the opening ceremonies of some Holocaust museum where Goehr was scheduled to give a speech, the organizers had hired a band to perform music that had been played by Jewish musicians in concentration camps. The organizers presented this as a testament to the spirit of good, that even awaiting execution these brave musicians found the hope to play music, to bring some beauty and joy into the darkest of situations. However, as Goehr harshly pointed out in her speech directly afterwards, these musicians had no such goal in mind; they played the music because the Nazis enjoyed it, and they realized that if they kept playing they would be alive longer. So this perverse performance at the museum opening, presented as a testament to the spirit of joy, was essentially a tribute to the shameless fight of a few talented musicians to survive at the expense of others, by amusing Nazi prison guards. This kind of pastoral revisionism is what Adorno's pessimism aims to prevent.
"But the Pessimist strategy of eye-spying the Bad, especially from a critical rather than creative vantage point, accomplishes nothing unless coupled with a programme for a new Good"
I disagree here; what is accomplished is a creation of discomfort, the establishment of an ethical impetus, a prick in the side, which in turn incites one to action, to agency, to create for oneself an autonomous and individualist "program for a new Good". And this, I think, is a better strategy for inciting change in a populace than trying to convince people of the value of your own program. This freedom in some way posits Good negatively, as that which is not Bad; and by only pointing out the Bad, dwelling on the Bad, the pessimistic approach allows one a freedom to accomplish individually the arduous and anxious task of determining for oneself what it is that exists outside the sphere of Bad.