Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

WOM-PO and Walt Whitman
May 3, 2008

In a scene dubbed “a bit too precious” by one reviewer, an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” makes an appearance in the excellent film, L.I.E., above.

And separately, I have been graciously granted, by Annie Finch, the Women’s Poetry Listserv moderator title that she has worn many years now:

The WOM-PO (Discussion of Women’s Poetry) List was started in December 1997 by Annie Finch with an invitation to a small group of poets, critics, and lovers of women’s poetry. These people in turn invited other people to join, and the list has grown gradually by spreading through these networks. In April 2008, Amy King succeeded Annie as List Moderator for WOM-PO. Discussion on the list covers women poets of all periods, aesthetics, and ethnicities. It has been characterized by its high caliber, relatively low volume, and openness to a diversity of aesthetic perspectives.

Thanks, Annie! And friendly interlopers, please feel free to join us!

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Daisy Fried’s Poetry Exercises
April 2, 2008

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Daisy Fried on Poetry:

* I’ve never found an explanation for why poetry, apparently alone among the art forms, is asked to do more than be itself.

* But poetry’s the High Art which is also democratic: inexpensive, portable, reproducible, quickly consumed (except for epic and very difficult poetry), requiring only literacy to participate. So maybe it’s good that poetry carries this extra burden, even if it means that the idea of poetry is more necessary to people than individual poems, and that people tend not to pay attention to what’s happening on the page. But this doesn’t explain why the superfluous demands are often made by educated poetry experts. I doubt most poets, good and bad, political or not, put these demands on their own work. Why should we make them of poetry in general?

* Words matter. Use is not function. War and Peace makes an excellent paperweight; I’ve used it that way myself, after reading it. The function of War and Peace is greater than its many uses. So too poetry. Bad poems are often more useful for healing, persuasion, and celebration than good ones. They lack that rich ambiguity which Keats called negative capability, and so fail as poems. Take, for example, bad 9/11 poems, at which I do “sniff the air.” There are good 9/11 poems. The degraded Romanticism of the mass of bad ones often amounts to decorative displays of the poet’s own sensibility. Such displays may be emotionally or politically useful, but who needs them? They seem to claim authenticity for individual experiences derived from watching TV—and fail to ask the question, why do these people want to kill us? Good 9/11 poems sustain the possibility that America was both victim and guilty. I believe 9/11 solace poetry has given support, however indirectly and unintentionally, to the Bush administration. Solace poetry is to serious poetry as pornography is to serious art. Sex pornography has its uses, even positive ones, but nobody confuses it with serious art about love. The difference between solace porn and sex porn is that solace pornographers seldom seem aware that they’re making pornography. Shame on them.* Poetry matters. Great poems don’t always fit categories of usage: Martial’s hilariously filthy invectives, Dickinson’s apolitical lyrics, and, despite their stupid fascism, Pound’s Cantos, all function as great poetry. Meanwhile, the four of us write poems. We might begin by intending to be merely useful (I never have). But at some point the poem takes over, makes requirements of us instead of vice versa. That’s the moment of poetry; poems exist to let readers share in that moment. So our focus on mere use strikes me as odd: is this really all we know about our poems? Why exclude ourselves from our own readership?

* Enjoyment matters. Poetry is fun! I mean this seriously. In “Lapis Lazuli,” Yeats insists on the gaiety of human existence alongside its tragedy. Yes, there is terrible suffering; we are all going to die. And when, on the carved lapis lazuli, a man “asks for mournful melodies;/Accomplished fingers begin to play;/…their eyes,/Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.” The gaiety of great poetry reinforces and deepens our humanity. That’s personal—and therefore social. Forget that, and we forget poetry’s true function.

–from “Does Poetry Have a Social Function” @ The Poetry Foundation

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ALSO, listen in on a conversation I had with Daisy Fried HERE: powered by ODEO

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A POEM A DAY BY DAISY FRIED

1. Write a ten-line poem in which each line is a lie.

2. Write a poem that tells a story in 18 lines or less, and includes at least four proper nouns.

3. Write a poem that uses any of the senses EXCEPT SIGHT as its predominant imagery.

4. Write a poem inspired by a newspaper article you read this week.

5. Write a poem without adjectives.

6. Ask your roommate/neighbor/lover/friend/mother/anyone for a subject (as wild as they want to make it) for a ten-minute poem. Now write a poem about that subject in ten minutes; make it have a beginning, a middle and an end.

7. Write the worst poem you possibly can. Now edit it and make it even worse.

8. Poem subject: A wind blows something down. Or else it doesn’t. Write it in ten minutes.

9. Write a poem with each line, or at least many of the lines, filling in the blanks of “I used to________, but now I_________.”

11. Write a poem consisting entirely of things you’d like to say, but never would, to a parent, lover, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best

friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.

12. Write a poem that uses as a starting point a conversation you overheard.

13. First line of today’s poem: “This is not a poem, but…”

14. Write a poem in the form of either a letter or a speech which uses at least six of the following words: horses, “no, duh,” adolescent, autumn

leaves, necklace, lamb chop, Tikrit, country rock, mother, scamper, zap, bankrupt. Take no more than 13 minutes to write it.

15. Write a poem which includes a list or lists-shopping list, things to do, lists of flowers or rocks, lists of colors, inventory lists,

lists of events, lists of names…

16. Poem subject: A person runs where no running is allowed. Write it in ten minutes.

17. Write a poem in the form of a personal ad.

18. Write a poem made up entirely of questions. Or write a poem made up entirely of directions.

19. Write a poem about the first time you did something.

20. Write a poem about falling out of love.

21. Make up a secret. Then write a poem about it. Or ask someone to give you a made-up or real secret, and write a poem about it.

22. Write a poem about a bird you don’t know the name of.

23. Write a hate poem.

24. Free-write for, say, 15 minutes, but start with the phrase “In the kitchen” and every time you get stuck, repeat the phrase “In the

kitchen.” Alternatively, use any part of a house you have lots of associations with-“In the garage,” “In the basement,” “In the bathroom,” “In the yard.”

25. Write down 5-10 words that sound ugly to you. Use them in a poem.

26. Write a poem in which a motorcycle and a ballerina appear.

27. Write a poem out of the worst part of your character.

28. Write a poem that involves modern technology-voice mail, or instant messaging, or video games, or… 29. Write a seduction poem in which somebody seduces you.

30. Radically revise a poem you wrote earlier this month.

Who Thought of That?
March 30, 2008

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** “The tooth-in-eye technique, pioneered in Italy 40 years ago …” [Blind teen to have parts of tooth, jaw inserted in eye]

** “The procedure used on McNichol involved his son Robert, 23, donating a tooth, its root and part of the jaw.” [Blind Irishman sees with the aid of son’s tooth in his eye]

**“The surgeons then remove the iris, the lens and the jelly of the eye that lie behind the cornea.” [Tooth used to save woman’s sight]

**“Former soldier Lionel James, 72, will be seeing in the new year for the first time in more than seven years – thanks to his eye tooth.” [Miracle operation restores grandfather’s sight.]

~~

If we are so advanced, “What makes us so mean?” Ron Padgett ventures a guess in his new book, “HOW TO BE PERFECT,” in the long political poem:
 
THE ABSOLUTELY HUGE AND INCREDIBLE INJUSTICE IN THE WORLD

What makes us so mean?
We are meaner than gorillas,
the ones we like to blame our genetic aggression on.
It is in our nature to hide behind what Darwin said about survival,
as if survival were the most important thing on earth.
It isn’t.
You know–surely it has occurred to you–
that there is no way that humankind will survive
another million years. We’ll be lucky to be around
another five hundred. Why?
Because we are so mean
that we would rather kill everyone and everything on earth
than let anybody get the better of us:
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Why didn’t he just say “Grrr, let’s kill each other”?
 
 
–The first stanza, of many, continued in HOW TO BE PERFECT by Ron Padgett

~~

Benjamin on Baudelaire
March 30, 2008

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 The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire

From the “INTRODUCTION” By Michael W. Jennings — THE WRITER OF MODERN LIFE: ESSAYS ON CHARLES BAUDELAIRE by Walter Benjamin:

Yes the ragpicker is also a figure for Baudelaire, for the poet who draws on the detritus of the society through which he moves, seizing that which seems useful in part because society has found it useless. And finally, the ragpicker is a figure for Baudelaire himself, for the critic who assembles his critical montage from inconspicuous images wrested forcefully from the seeming coherence of Baudelaire’s poems. Here and throughout Benjamin’s writings on Baudelaire, we find a powerful identification with the poet: with his social isolation, with the relative failure of his work, and in particular with the fathomless melancholy that suffuses every page.

Benjamin concludes this first constellation by contrasting Baudelaire with Pierre Dupont, an avowed social poet, whose work strives for a direct, indeed simple tendentious engagement with the political events of the day. In contrasting Baudelaire with Dupont, Benjamin reveals a “profound duplicity” at the heart of Baudelaire’s poetry–which, he contends, is less a statement of support for the cause of the oppressed, than a violent unveiling of their illusions. As Benjamin wrote in his notes to the essay, “It would be an almost complete waste of time to attempt to draw the position of a Baudelaire into the network of the most advanced positions in the struggle for human liberation. From the outset, it seems more promising to investigate his machinations where he was undoubtedly at home: in the enemy camp … Baudelaire was a secret agent–an agent of the secret discontent of his class with its own rule.” … By the late 1930s Benjamin was convinced that traditional historiography, with its reliance upon the kind of storytelling that suggests the inevitable process and outcome of historical change, “is meant to cover up the revolutionary moments in the occurrence of history … The places where tradition breaks off–hence its peaks and crags, which offer footing to one who would cross over them–it misses.” … Benjamin thus seeks to create a textual space in which a speculative, intuitive, and analytical intelligence can move, reading images and the relays between them in such a way that the present meaning of “what has been comes together in a flash.” This is what Benjamin calls the dialectical image.

In the central section of “Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire,” titled “The Flaneur,” Benjamin turns to an extended consideration of the reciprocally generative relations between certain artistic genres and societal forms. In the crowded streets of the urban metropolis, the individual is not merely absorbed into the masses: all traces of individual existence are in fact effaced. And popular literary and artistic forms such as physiologies (literary and artistic exemplifications of physiognomic types) and panoramas (representations of “typical” tableaux in Paris) arose, Benjamin argues, precisely in order to quell the deep-seated unease that characterized this situation: through their “harmlessness” they suggested a “perfect bonhomie” devoid of all resistance to the social order of the day, and in so doing contributed to the “phantasmagoria of Parisian life.”

…Physiologies are in this sense deeply complicit with phantasmagoria, in that they fraudulently suggest we are in possession of a knowledge that we do not in fact have. As Benjamin says, physiologies “assured people that everyone could — unencumbered by any factual knowledge — make out the profession, character, background, and lifestyle of passers-by.” …

If Baudelaire’s poetry is neither symptomatic of social conditions (as were the physiologies) nor capable of providing procedures for dealing with them (as did the detective story), what exactly is the relationship of that poetry to modernity? Benjamin champions Baudelaire precisely because his work claims a particular historical responsibility: in allowing itself to be marked by the ruptures and aporias of modern life, it reveals the brokenness and falseness of modern experience. At the heart of Benjamin’s reading is thus a theory of shock, developed on the basis of a now-famous reading of the poem “A une passante” (To a Passer-By). The speaker of the poem, moving through the “deafening” street amid the crowd, suddenly spies a woman walking along and “with imposing hand / Gathering up a scalloped hem.” The speaker is transfixed, his body twitches, wholly overcome by the power of the image. Yet, Benjamin argues, the spasms that run through the body are not caused by “the excitement of a man in whom an image has taken possession of every fiber of his being”; their cause is instead the powerful, isolated shock “with which an imperious desire suddenly overcomes a lonely man.”

This notion of a shock-driven poetic capability as a significant departure from the understanding of artistic creation prevalent in Benjamin’s day and in fact still powerfully present today. The poet is, in this view, not a genius who “rises above” his age and distills its essence for posterity. For Benjamin, the greatness of Baudelaire consists instead in his absolute susceptibility to the worst excrescences of modern life: Baudelaire was in possession not of genius, but of an extraordinarily “sensitive disposition” that enable him to perceive, through a painful empathy, the character of an age. And for Benjamin, the “character of the age” consisted in its thoroughgoing commodification. Baudelaire was not simply aware of the processes of commodification from which the phantasmagoria constructs itself; he in fact embodied those processes in an emphatic manner. When he takes his work to market, the poet surrenders himself as a commodity to the “intoxification of the commodity immersed in a surging stream of customers.” The poet’s role as a producer and purveyor of commodities opens him to a special “empathy with inorganic things.” And this, in turn, “was one of his sources of inspiration.” Baudelaire’s poetry is thus riven by its images o a history that is nothing less than a “permanent catastrophe.” This is the sense in which Baudelaire was the “secret agent” of the destruction of his own class.

…Baudelaire’s spleen–that is, his profound disgust at things as they were–is only the most evident emotional sign of this state of affairs.

–From the “INTRODUCTION” By Michael W. Jennings — THE WRITER OF MODERN LIFE: ESSAYS ON CHARLES BAUDELAIRE by Walter Benjamin

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Tags: SEXY
March 30, 2008

This blog has received regular hits for The Knife’s “Pass This On” ever since I posted it at the end of May 2007. Since then, the video was removed by Youtube or the subscriber who posted it. Today, I found it elsewhere on the site (w/ an annoying “Z” in the upper corner) and posted it above for all of those Knife groupies on the hunt. You can view more of “The Knife” videos, which are wonderful, here. The music of this brother-sister moves us – yep.

~~

How to Hate Hillary
March 29, 2008

“You can … discuss this avalanche of misogyny without endorsing her campaign …” –Bill Moyers in conversation with Kathleen Hall Jamieson

~~

Select excerpts from Robin Morgan’s “Goodbye To All That (#2)“:

—When a sexist idiot screamed “Iron my shirt!” at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted “Shine my shoes!” at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.

—John McCain answering “How do we beat the bitch?” with “Excellent question!” Would he have dared reply similarly to “How do we beat the black bastard?” For shame.

—Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not “Clinton hating,” not “Hillary hating.” This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage—as citizens, voters, Americans?

—Goodbye to the news-coverage target-practice . . .

The women’s movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments (www.womensmediacenter.com). But what about NBC’s Tim Russert’s continual sexist asides and his all-white-male panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN’s Tony Harris chuckling at “the chromosome thing” while interviewing a woman from The White House Project? And that’s not even mentioning Fox News.

—Goodbye to pretending the black community is entirely male and all women are white . . .

Surprise! Women exist in all opinions, pigmentations, ethnicities, abilities, sexual preferences, and ages—not only African American and European American but Latina and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Arab American and—hey, every group, because a group wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t given birth to it. A few non-racist countries may exist—but sexism is everywhere. No matter how many ways a woman breaks free from other discriminations, she remains a female human being in a world still so patriarchal that it’s the “norm.”

—Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn’t as “likeable” as they’ve been warned they must be, or because she didn’t leave him, couldn’t “control” him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!) Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn’t bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She’s running to be president of the United States.

—Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they’re not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten thestatus quo), who can’t identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her. Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking “what if she’s not electable?” or “maybe it’s post-feminism and whoooosh we’re already free.”

—So listen to her voice:

“For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.

“It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls. It is a violation of human rights when woman and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide along women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

“Women’s rights are human rights. Among those rights are the right to speak freely—and the right to be heard.”

That was Hillary Rodham Clinton defying the U.S. State Department and the Chinese Government at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (look here for the full, stunning speech).

–Select excerpts from Robin Morgan’s “Goodbye To All That (#2)

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From “All You Need is Hate” by Stanley Fish:

She is vilified for being a feminist and for not being one, for being an extreme leftist and for being a “warmongering hawk,” for being godless and for being “frighteningly fundamentalist,” for being the victim of her husband’s peccadilloes and for enabling them…

But the people and groups Horowitz surveys have brought criticism of Clinton to what sportswriters call “the next level,” in this case to the level of personal vituperation unconnected to, and often unconcerned with, the facts. These people are obsessed with things like her hair styles, the “strangeness” of her eyes — “Analysis of Clinton’s eyes is a favorite motif among her most rabid adversaries” — and they retail and recycle items from what Horowitz calls “The Crazy Files”: she’s Osama bin Laden’s candidate; she kills cats; she’s a witch (this is not meant metaphorically)…

The closest analogy is to anti-Semitism. But before you hit the comment button, I don’t mean that the two are alike either in their significance or in the damage they do. It’s just that they both feed on air and flourish independently of anything external to their obsessions. Anti-Semitism doesn’t need Jews and anti-Hillaryism doesn’t need Hillary, except as a figment of its collective imagination. However this campaign turns out, Hillary-hating, like rock ‘n’ roll, is here to stay.

–from “All You Need is Hate” by Stanley Fish

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And lest you buy into the notion that Clinton is “calculating” while the other campaigns are not, take a peek at “Mr. Obama Goes to Washington“:

That’s the key word in trying to figure out Obama: He seems like everything to everybody, which is not necessarily his fault. Much of the media coverage of Obama has been personality focused, as the story of the son of a Kenyan and a Kansan, the third African-American senator since Reconstruction. Because the media have not looked as closely at his political positions, Obama has taken on the quality of a blank screen on which people can project whatever they like. But he hasn’t discouraged this. A masterful politician, Obama has a Bill Clinton-esque talent for maximizing that screen and appearing comfortable in almost any setting. And, like Clinton, Obama has an impressive control of the issues and a mesmerizing ability to connect with people…

Obama has a remarkable ability to convince you that his positions are motivated purely by principles, not tactical considerations. This skill is so subtle and impressive, it resembles Luke Skywalker’s mastery of the Force. It’s a powerful tool for a Democratic Party that often emanates calculation rather than conviction….

–from “Mr. Obama Goes to Washington

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All campaigns and politicians are calculated, especially in terms of appealing to people on an emotional level. If they weren’t, they’d flop. So let’s call out and then ditch the ad hominem woman-hating attacks and start dealing with what really separates Clinton and Obama. Please.

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7 Responses to “How to Hate Hillary”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    February 7th, 2008 at 10:39 pm eaaauuuuugh! Evil lizard-brain bastards…
    they have no clue they are reverting to livestock.
    WTF century is this?
    Great interview…it really is a primitive
    fetishistic thing. Astonishing.
    To see a collection of sayings more
    cringing and primal than even Freudian
    theory is depressing. The animal still
    lurks.
  2. Jordan Says:
    February 9th, 2008 at 1:54 pm eShe makes little kids cry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW7s8TuvZ8U
  3. Amy King Says:
    February 9th, 2008 at 9:47 pm eOh no! Going for the stomach … how could they? How could she? Arggh!
  4. Greg Rappleye Says:
    February 10th, 2008 at 12:39 am eAmen.

    Thank you for this post.

  5. Amy King Says:
    February 10th, 2008 at 3:02 am eMy pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!
  6. Paula Delaine Says:
    February 26th, 2008 at 11:46 am eThe Misogyny of Hillary Hating

    What I have to say has nothing to do with which Democratic candidate would be a better president: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It has to do with the contest between Hillary, a woman who seeks to be our next president, and the “Hillary Haters”, people who have been relentlessly poisoning the public imagination with negative personal attacks against her. They don’t attack her politics, policies, intelligence or capacity to be president – only her personality.

    Hillary’s personality is no different now than when she held a comfortable lead in public opinion polls a couple of months ago and was favored to win. Recently, though, you’d think that she’s morphed into evil itself the way Hillary Haters on the radio talk shows, for instance, relentlessly portray her as: “evil Hillary”, “witch”, “ball-busting”, “prostitute”, “that bitch”, “mean-looking”, “untrustworthy”, “doesn’t know how to run her own home”, “she stuck with Bill just so she could use him for her own political ambitions”. These attacks (made mostly by men and some self-deprecating women) are unfair, sexist, and hateful. None of the male candidates are being demonized in this way. For those of us who have worked for women’s equality for so long, it’s painful to watch a qualified female candidate being trashed in this way.

    Here are some other examples of what has been said about her, but not the other candidates:
    • “I don’t trust her. She’s calculating and manipulative.” – What candidate isn’t calculating and manipulative when they want to sway public opinion and gain support…even the ones who are perceived as “honest”. It’s the nature of politics. Why berate Hillary for doing the same thing the male politicians do?

    • “I don’t know why I don’t like her. I just don’t. I mean, she’d probably be a good president, but she just rubs me the wrong way.” We’re supposed to be seeking someone who’s capable of running the country – not a personal relationship. Hillary Haters are being rubbed the wrong way because she’s a woman seeking power, going out of bounds of her expected sex role.

    • “I don’t like the way she talks or looks.” This is a personal projection having nothing to do with her ability to be an effective president. “Like-ability” is not the best measure of leadership. After all, George Bush was well-liked, and look what we got…twice.

    • “She’s a Washington insider, part of the Establishment. We need a change in the way things are done in Washington.” As members of Congress, all three of the leading primary candidates are Washington insiders…Hillary, Obama, and McCain. But a candidate’s status as an “insider” or “outsider” doesn’t guarantee we’ll get what we want. Uh, didn’t the “outsider” George W. Bush run for president with a promise to change Washington politics? He did, but not the way we wanted.

    In another example: when Hillary showed a little emotion in public – moist eyes – the media grabbed hold as if here was a true sign of her weakness and inability to be a strong president. Yet when Bill Clinton and George W. Bush shed a few tears while in office, they were perceived as positively human. It is mostly men who are concerned about Hillary’s emotions. Most women do not believe the public expression of natural human emotion is a weakness – especially when it’s as self-controlled display as Hillary’s was. In fact, it’s perceived as a strength.

    One could easily assume that curtained Republicans and/or corporate media moguls are injecting the virus of Hillary Hating into the media for ulterior purposes. So much of American media is now owned by a few people, most of whom are white, male Republicans. But I think the success of such a tactic points to a deeper problem than dirty politics or how a media message is skillfully crafted to favor one candidate over the other. If fear of Feminine Power weren’t so rampant in our hyper-masculine culture, and if the American public weren’t so susceptible to media manipulation and idol-worship, the Hillary Haters would not have found their seeds of slander so quickly bear fruit in the public imagination.

    Hatred of the Feminine is not always easy to see when you’re swimming in it. But thanks to blatant media bias during this long primary season, the non-objective choice of words and images that were fed to the public about Hillary and Obama starkly reveal our resistance in being fair to women. Why do we still silently stand by and accept this? Will our media be able to silently get away with racial bias against Obama if he wins the Democratic primary and challenges John McCain for the presidency?

    I’m glad that both a woman and an African American finally have a good chance to become president of our country. But misogyny should not be any more acceptable to Americans than racism. Reflect on this: if nothing other than gender changed, would Obama be able to gain as many votes if he were a black woman (unless, of course, he is Oprah)? Could Hillary Haters skewer Hillary’s character in the media as successfully if she were a white man?

    Barack Obama may inspire us because he speaks to our frustrations and longing to be better than we are. But If Hillary is a polarizing figure – as Hillary Haters claim – it’s not because of her politics nor even her personality. She’s a pioneer, a woman who dares to take on the most powerful leadership position in America, the provence of men. Pioneers always encounter resistance from those most frightened at the prospect of real change.

  7. Amy King Says:
    February 26th, 2008 at 6:12 pm eWell put, Paula. Thanks very much for this. The fact that only a handful of self-identified feminists are discussing this bursting, publicized misogyny is shameful for us as an “advanced” nation. We claim to be purging ourselves of such hatred, but the truth is that those who attempt to even point it out, or even not to play along, get called names in an attempt to shut us up. Damn shame our advanced society is so backwards.

A Little Weekend Beauty and Clarity
March 29, 2008

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I hope to make something this lovely one day. Listen to Iron and Wine’s new album, “The Shepherd’s Dog”, at Rolling Stone (scroll down a bit), read about it at Pitchfork, or watch the video below of Sam Beam performing “The Resurrection Fern” (click here to find out what one is).

3 Responses to “A Little Weekend Beauty and Clarity”

  1. didi Says:
    October 6th, 2007 at 4:31 pm eThat is a tremendous painting. I love it.
  2. ashok Says:
    October 8th, 2007 at 11:48 am eLove Iron and Wine, and didi’s right – that painting is marvelous.

    Hope all is well.

  3. Rachel Mallino Says:
    October 11th, 2007 at 2:01 pm eI’m in love with Sam Beam.

Mariah Carey Revisited
March 29, 2008

By Owen Pallett from Final Fantasy and The Arcade Fire.

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3 Responses to “Mariah Carey Revisited”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    August 30th, 2007 at 2:10 am ehmmmm…
    I’m awfully tempted to get that 4-track min-studio,
    or a sampler..
    Fun!
  2. Amy King Says:
    September 4th, 2007 at 3:40 pm eI know the feeling …
  3. Jim K. Says:
    September 5th, 2007 at 2:35 am eMe-me acapella would own my soul for a few months, I’m afraid.
    The cassete 4-tracks are ~$100,
    and the hifi-stereo-mp3-mic-plus-4tracks are 200–300 suddenly..
    Must resist!

Épisodes
March 29, 2008

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It’s just me who said just cinema … “Just cinema.” … not like showing a photo of Marilyn Monroe when you’re talking about her, more like showing a photo of something else to introduce another idea … Not long after the Liberation there was a brief vogue for what were called “poetic films,” there would be poetry or text and then there was simply illustration. You take a poem or a text and you simply put photos or images on it, then you see either that what you’ve done is banal, that it’s worthless, or that the image you add enters into the text and eventually the text, when the time comes, springs from the images, so there’s no longer this simple relationship of illustration, and that makes it possible to exercise your capacity to think and reflect and imagine, to create. That simple form, whether with an interviewer or an illustrated poem, enables you to discover at a stroke things you’ve never thought of before.

–Jean-Luc Godard, “Constellation and Classification”

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… there was already this way of working with a photo and a text that didn’t exist separately … Benjamin says that in the beginning is understanding, in other words hearing as much as seeing, and to say one understands is to say two things, yes I hear what you say and yes I apprehend what you say. In my opinion these are two different things that go together and are indissociable. So you can say crudely that there is image and text. In my view, they were on a socially equal footing from the start; one may come first at a given moment and the other second, one can be stronger than the other for a moment, but without any inequality at the start or finish … It was here, if you like, that the whole thing was badly misunderstood, and misunderstood by the distributor Gaumont, which brought Historie(s) out like this … I wanted to do it in the usual way: television showing, books after that, perhaps high-quality videocassettes later. They did the opposite: books first, then cassettes — of appalling quality — with television still to come who knows when. I anted to put on a small exhibition or something of that sort in a gallery, assemble something that would show the different modes of entering and leaving what one can call History. Because for me the book is what will remain afterwards, books survive longer. Apart from that it has a small audience, a small print run of a book isn’t felt to be shaming, but in cinema it is and actually it’s very rare. There are secondhand bookshops but there’s no secondhand cinema … in the book, you perceive much more clearly the equivalence or fraternity or equality between the photo and the text, which are on strictly equal footing, things that completely disorient historians but don’t disorient film people. But they don’t want that, people who talk about films; they want illustration and their separate text, in which they can exercise a certain learning and a certain power. They do texts, and that’s the snag. Rather than taking three images simply and arranging them differently, going too far and remaking cinema. They could be doing that, but they aren’t, they want to do text … The book has more of that than the film proper, the book shows this relation between image and text. They may say the book hasn’t got everything the film has, it hasn’t got all the sound, it hasn’t got all the tricks … no matter, more of it comes through, while with the film audience, except for sincere people, it gets lost.

–Jean-Luc Godard, “Historie(s) du cinéma: Films and Books”

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There’s no such thing as reason. Thinking, creating, is an act of resistance; that’s what Deleuze was saying in his fashion. It was to get through on the level of understanding, to be understood in the raw sense and the intuitive one.

–Jean-Luc Godard, “Towards the Stars”

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All excerpts taken from CINEMA by Jean-Luc Godard & Youssef Ishaghpour.

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2 Responses to “Épisodes”

  1. Ana Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 7:59 pm eI’ve JLG to thank for a poem — in ‘Notre musique’ (2004) he has the narrator read a poem by the Cuban poet José Lezama Lima — I misheard the quote and used it (with misread/new meaning) as the title and starting point of this poem:

    http://www.octopusmagazine.com/issue08/ana_bozicevic_bowling.htm#light

    The (correct) original line is: light is the first visible animal of the invisible

    Godard really is a poet and wonderful to steal from.

  2. Sam Rasnake Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 9:25 pm eThanks for the Godard, Amy. His work is so essential.

MTV’s Poet Laureate
March 28, 2008

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MtvU, the subsidiary of MTV Networks that is broadcast only on college campuses, will announce Monday that it has selected its first poet laureate. No, he doesn’t rap. And it’s not Bob Dylan, or even Justin Timberlake.

It is John Ashbery, the prolific 80-year-old poet and frequent award winner known for his dense, postmodern style and playful language. One of the most celebrated living poets, Ashbery has won MacArthur Foundation and Guggenheim fellowships and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.”

Excerpts of his poems will appear in 18 short promotional spots — like commercials for verse — on the channel and its Web site (mtvu.com, which will also feature the full text of the poems). In another first, mtvU will help sponsor a poetry contest for college students. The winner, chosen by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, will have a book published next year by HarperCollins as part of the National Poetry Series.

“We hope that we’ll help discover the next great poet that we’ll be talking about for years to come,” said Stephen Friedman, the general manager of mtvU, which broadcasts at 750 campuses nationwide.

The idea of the laureate program was not to create more English majors, but simply to whet an appetite, said Friedman, a poetry aficionado since he majored in literature, philosophy and history at Wesleyan. Ashbery, he added, was the No. 1 choice to inaugurate the position. “He resonates with college students that we’ve talked with,” he said.

Ashbery, who was the poet laureate of New York State from 2001 to 2003, was immediately receptive. “It seemed like it would be a chance to broaden the audience for poetry,” he said.

The poems used in the campaign span his career, and the spots are simple: on a white background, black text floats in to a sound like a crashing wave, appears on the screen for a minute, then floats away. From “Retro” (2005): “It’s really quite a thrill/When the moon rises over the hill/and you’ve gotten over someone/salty and mercurial, the only person you’ve ever loved.” From “Soonest Mended” (2000): “Barely tolerated, living on the margin/In our technological society, we are always having to be rescued.”

The excerpts were chosen by David Kermani, Ashbery’s business manager, and two interns and an employee, all in their early 20s, in his office.

“We were just trying to pick lines that were catchy and sort of meaningful in some way, something that would appeal to what we thought younger people would be interested in,” Kermani said. These young people picked “things that had sort of raunchy references,” he added. “They thought it was sort of a hoot.”

Ashbery too was pleased by their choices, particularly because they reminded him of what was in his own canon. “I have a lot poems, so there are a lot of them that I don’t really think of very much,” he said. ( Ashbery published “A Worldly Country: New Poems” in February, and an anthology, “Notes From the Air: Selected Later Poems,” is due out in November.)

But will droves of young people respond?

READ ON @ International Herald Tribune

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4 Responses to “MTV’s Poet Laureate”

  1. didi Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 5:33 pm ewell I am glad MTVu finally got on the ball. I have only been trying to get poetry into the hands of a younger crowd in the last two years on itunes for example.

    good for them. I wonder if this channel is available on itunes. I will look into it.

    d.

  2. Mark Lamoureux Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 7:40 pm eTHANK GOD Ashbery got another award!

    Hey, we’re teaching at the same place this semester!

  3. Jim K. Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 11:40 pm eTwo pieces of great news. All kinds
    of interesting possibilities.
  4. Ryan Downey Says:
    August 28th, 2007 at 3:36 am ei wonder if the contest is open only to undergraduate students or if it is open to any university student. if it is open to any university student then it is essentially the same as any other book contest. there are few realistic chances for undergraduate poets to be taken seriously in the poetry publishing world. i would like it if mtvu would post guidelines and some dates so i knew what i was working with here. “but will droves of young people respond?” i don’t know that there is a lack of young poets that were moving along just fine before mtvu became our advocate. droves is a terrifying word to me.