|Comments July August
Friday, June 10, 2005
Dan responds to yesterday's Brad Pitt post:
Ed, It certainly is sad, but I do think lots of teenage girls probably have Brad Pitt icons on their desktop.
These kinds of conference papers are silly. I always think of the Popular Culture Conference I presented at a few years back in
Albuquerque. Our panel was on the seriousness of humor in post-modern literature. We were automatically lumped into the
humor section of the conference. Needless to say, our session was not knee-slapping fun. Most of the people walked out
before a half-hour had gone by, one of them left talking to his friend saying, "They're not funny at all".
I feel bad saying this, but when I am the most academic person at a conference...how seriously are you going to take it? There
were no Brad Pitt sessions that I recall, but there were many laughable ones: Philosophy of the Grateful Dead, The Prime
Directive in Homeric Epic, Buffy and other strong women in Literature, the Matrix and Philosophy, to name a few. I tried going
to some talks, but I just couldn't bear it.
Dan, I don't think pop culture is all meaningless. Some of it can be quite fulfilling. But I found the Brad Pitt one ridiculous
because the jargon of the CFP was just masking bullshit. The bit that I copied would apply to just about any actor of "edgy"
films. Or worse yet, plug in Vin Diesel's name to the CFP text. Go ahead. The jargon works for him as well.
Thursday, June 2, 2005
Sean Scotwell responds to yesterday's post on Chaucer in the Senate:
I love literary references on the Senate floor. Especially amusing is when one senator ends a speech with a poem another
senator had just used. There then ensues an unscripted moment explaining away the redundancy, as if everything else in the
speech hadn't been said before. Since such speeches are usually penned by staffers--Byrd's, however, are idiosyncratic
enough that he is likely the primary author--politicians are probably especially sensitive to drawing attention to the words of
BTW, "The Second Coming" was invoked a couple times in the filibuster debate. The lines I heard were "the best lack all
conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Unfortunately, the speakers stopped short of the good stuff: "what
rough beast...slouches toward Bethlehem to be born." Perhaps those lines are more fitting for a member of the House.
Sean, does Senator Byrd's use of Chaucer make the Senate a Parliament of Fowls?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Dan comments on yesterday's post:
I was extremely baffled by the mini-Shakespeare craze that seems to be sweeping the country. I must admit, I am totally
intrigued, but at the same time, I don't understand. Now the Lego Bible...that made perfect sense.
Also...Rosie O'Donnell Poetry Blog!?!? I really do have a lot to say (all extremely mean-spirited) about it, but I decided to
follow your advice and not ruin my day and stayed away from it. I can only imagine how horrible her stuff is, and that alone is
Dan, Mini-Shakespeare! What, toys? Give me my money back! I was hoping for an all midget cast. Now that would be
And poor Rosie. The mind boggles at not only what some people think is poetry, but at their willingness to share it as well.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
A comment on Tuesday's Heaney and the bagpipes:
When I first read the Heaney blurb, I thought the same thing you did. Bagpipes and poetry? Maybe Heaney was trying to send
a subtle message to the Emperor about rekindling their friendship? Maybe in Tokyo they made him sit through a reading of The
Tale of the Genji accompanied by a Kyoto? Anyway, it started making me think about background music and poetry. I
wonder if in ancient times you could hear a drunkard tell a musician to stop that infernal lyre nonsense while he was trying to
listen to Homer. I would love to know what poem Heaney read. I know there are lots of ways to play the bagpipes (insert joke
here). Maybe it added to the tone or enhanced or enabled the form. Who knows? I have never had the experience, but I did
get to read a poem of mine whilst a didgeridoo played. It had a comical effect that I can only compare to someone blowing in a
half empty Coke bottle behind me.
Monday, May 2, 2005
Peter Parker writes in about the Superhero blogs I mentioned last Thursday:
I would like to state just for the record that I disapprove of the comic book heroes and villians blog. These people should have
better things to do with their time. Getting on line and telling their readers about their exciting lives, give me a break. Yeah, the
Hulk likes Baloney. So freaking what. These people should get a life. Besides, I'm pretty sure they are all phoneys anyway. I
mean, I'm the real Spider-Man and I didn't write that blog. It must have been that doppleganger, cloned, alien symbiote I'm
always chasing around the city. Oh well.
Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to vent. Now if you'll excuse me, my spidey-sense is tingling,
p.s. I'm using this made up name and not my real one to keep my identity a secret. I am not really Peter Parker. Peter Parker is
not Spider-Man. I don't even know a Peter Parker.
Peter, Get a grip. Your secret is safe with me.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Dan W writes:
In response to the Guinness article. First, I have to mention that I love that photo. The harp, the smoke, the beer!! It makes me
want to book a flight to Old Erin tomorree! Of course that's not going to happen. It's a sad state of affairs when I have a better
chance of actually going to Ireland then smoking a butt in a pub there.
Also, it's amazing to me that places like Northern Ireland would even consider following suit with the rest of the country. Why
don't they just cave in all together and sport the Union Jack. Sinn Fein! Slainte!
Is it possible I am being unreasonable? I don't know. I would love for a smoking ban to sweep over the world and be the
unifying force to a lasting peace. I might even quit for that. But I don't think we smokers have to worry about that. I'll start
worrying when the paper headline reads: Tali-Smoking-Ban.
Lastly, what is the deal with the Diageo corporation? Did you see the brand names they own? Smirnoff. Guinness. Jose
Cuervo. Captain Morgan. Looks like they've cornered the market on international tipplership. Anyway...a yo ho ho and a
bottle of rum, prosit, salud, slainte and a smoke to you,
Dan, "I would love for a smoking ban to sweep over the world and be the unifying force to a lasting peace." Yeah, right. The
last Western government to outlaw smoking was called . . . what was that name? Oh, I remember— The Nazis. (And
remember, the Allied forces distributed cigarettes to their troops)
Thanks for writing. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
Sean Scottwell responds to my question from yesterday:
<If you watch a poorly played game, will your prose suffer as well?>
Only in the sense that I would then be more or less distracted. A shortstop flubbing a routine ground ball is easy to ignore, but
a ball bouncing off Jose Conseco's head for a home run might get my attention. In either case, it would influence how I write,
not what I write. I was unnecessarily flip when I asked if listening to a second-rate song would lead to second-rate prose. In
fact, I don't think there is any consequence. What we're talking about is the writing process. I object to the notion--certainly
not Norfolk's--that writing in a café or subway stop or any other "real life" set