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Archive for June, 2009

As a fellow Union member I respect these guys to the fullest. You can find all you could ever want to know about them on their website: http://www.sandhogs147.org/index.aspx

Please click the link and find out more about this fascinating organization.

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When I was in high school I got in trouble during Physical Science class. I was a freshman and didn’t really care for school at all. My teacher, Mrs. Stonbraker, ordered me to write 500 words on why I shouldn’t misbehave. Naturally I wrote something to the effect of: If I misbehave I will not only do bad in school but I could let my family down and blah blah blah, for 500 words. When you are 14, 500 words is an eternity. The quality of the assignment, needless to say, was execrable.  Which is what I found out about Donald Barthelme’s The Indian Uprising. Louis Menand in The New Yorker praises it as “…one of the great literary responses to the Vietnam War…” and that “The babble of discursive registers mimics the incoherence of war against guerillas, a war in which the two sides are always in danger of becoming morally indistinguishable.” Now if you have connected the dots you are of either two minds: 1. I am crazy to go against Don B. he opened the doors and let all the bullshit in.  2. Hell yeah, he is a craptastic writer with nothing to say. After reading The Indian Uprising, I have thought that Don B. was, simply, a piece of shit hack who aped at being an author. Clearly he had aspirations, ambition and plenty of theory (read bullshit) to dupe any one and everyone into believing that here was something somewhat new for them to think about.

To quote Barthelme in an excerpt from the Louis Menand article we can see how people got steamrolled; Had I decided to go into the conceptual-art business…I could turn out railroad cars full of that stuff every day.”  Menand says that Barthelme “…used hackneyed prose in his pieces all the time, and he was a connoisseur of the linguistically tired and poor.’ Right ’cause that is what I want to read, something that is tired and poor.

Now on to the actual literary criticism.  Aside from being ‘tired and poor’ Barthelme doesn’t like to convey any sort of reality in his piece. Of course there is a war going on, an invasion if you will, but what is the main thrust of this crap? If it is to make dumb jokes and be ironic well then Mr. Barthelme has certainly succeeded.  But if it is to add to the shelf of literature well then he has certainly failed. Epic Fail Barthelme. Ha ha ha.

I wish this man was still alive so I could speak with him and tell him that in 100 years he will be remembered along with the backstreet boys as some of the worst dreck this society has ever produced. 

 

If you enjoyed this please check back as I buy my first Thomas Pynchon book in the coming weeks.

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After visiting a certain Bush League MFA show and then going to the Brooklyn Museum for the Gustave Caillebotte show my wheels and gears, pulleys and levers started grinding, (Yawn! most decidedly.) and I came up with an original thought.  Now if the Impressionists were avant-garde or whatever you would like to call their mode of expression what on earth should we call contemporary artists who flock to the institutions, schools and academia for patronage, protection, productivity and so forth?  Well I would clearly state that the Salon, Academy, call it what you will, is back and even harder to get into than when Caillebotte was painting. Only now, one’s concept of the thing is what moves one forward, well yeah one could say that it was highly conceptual to just focus on the play of light upon the landscape as the Impressionists did. But I might argue that at least they had some skill and proficiency in the traditional art of representing something figural. Now it is:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aeQ3DmKU7A Anything Goes! I mean not to disparage anyone in particular but! my disdain for video pieces can only rise with the tide and fall, irrevocably into indolence. Video pieces are an indicator of sorts for the theme here. That the avant-garde has been institutionalized and is now fed three hot meals a day and given its’ cot to slumber upon. All of the rage, passion and fuel for any new movement must somehow go through a credibility game of conceptualization and a process of gross, misleading mystification in order to sparkle and find its’ place on stage. The revolution isn’t televised it is just hypnotised, made a commodity and sold to you in the form of an MFA, BFA or in Russia you can buy one at a subway station. But lets not leave it at that, here is a fascinating website that I found which lists hundreds of artists on its’ programmable site: http://www.indexhibit.org/participants/

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While I have never been to a poetry slam, and probably never will attend one, I have been to the Green Mill in Chicago home to a weekly poetry slam.  Whoop dee doo you might say, but I would counter with “what a nice place for a jazz jam late at night say 3:30 in the morning” Anyways the gist of the NYTimes article is that the Poetry Slam is getting some recognition and now it is in danger of being corruptible by credibility.  Please read and think for yourself.

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Little Things

Little drops of water,

Little grains of sand,

Make the mighty ocean

And the pleasant land.

 

Thus the little minutes,

Humble though they be,

Make the mighty ages

Of eternity.

 

Julia A. Fletcher

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