Monday, September 6, 2010

Two notes


e.e. cummings had a way of putting back in the politician's faces with their own politicized babble, but only after taking a hammer to it. Under all the huff and puff about God, glory and country stands revealed forces that would have us all fearful, in debt and apathetic to calls for change. How appropiate for the current climate; the poem, though, does not let us off the hook; we are complacent with the fools for letting them have their way. The shock of this poem is that there are many of us, these days, decades after this was written, who recognize our own voices saying moronic things like this.

“next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims’ and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn’s early my
country ’tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?”
He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water

ee cummings

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The benefits of our culture is that we can read, view or listen to anything that appeals to our  particularized sense of quality, and that as consumers we've the right to say what think about what it is we've bothered to invest time in investigating.  There are occasions, though, when who you're talking to isn't interested in the legendary exchange of contrasting opinions. Rather, some react as if you've insulted their personal Jesus. Worse is when  you find yourself accused of being jealous of what the truly gifted are capable of. My friend Jon used to say that you pay your money, you take your chances. Accusing a critic of a favorite writer's work of being "jealous" is cheap, dishonest, and a dodge from the issue that's raised in the first place, that some writers have books that sell more based on cults of personality than  merit above  personal confessions of blissfully indulged fuck ups.

 I say that  if you think the man is a great writer, there's the expectation that his rumored genius would inspire to describe , in his defense, how his writing clicked with you and opened up a world you previously knew nothing about.Not jealous  merely and profoundly fed up with several decades worth of cant and babble attesting to unsubstantiated claim to  greatness , a marketing campaign aimed not at perpetuating counter culture values and spiritual individualism, but to make his publishers and the owners of his estate more money.. We have, in many ways, a mechanism that is manufacturing consensus on the man's life and work, and those opposing the view constantly being shamed into submission.