January 19, 2006

Slate Critic Without a Clue

steveburt.jpg
Burt: Howless

STEPHEN BURT writing in Slate on Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" asks, "Is there a Howl for our own time, a cultural creation that explains, excites, antagonizes, and polarizes a wide swath of America?" He comes to the hasty and unlettered conclusion that "It could not be a poem."

Well. speak for your own silent muse, Stephen. Readers of American Digest and the many other blogs that linked, however, know better. There is the only true "Howl" for our time and that is GROWL!

Sigh, having known Allen on and off across the decades, I think it safe to say that he would have known how to Google his poem.

ginsbergnirvana.jpg
Ginsberg, the Nirvana Years

=====
GINSBERG UPDATED AGAIN!
[from the comments]

BOWL
by Mumblix Grumph Ginsberg

You sold your birthright for a bowl of porridge.
Then you refused to eat.

The Best and The Brightest.
You can lie to yourself, but not to me.

Botox, Viagra, Rogaine, and Paxil.
You are less than the sum or your parts.

Degrees on walls, they make exalted.
The lessons forgotten, the learning all for naught.

Trust no one over thirty you said once.
All right, then I don't trust you.

Your bodies decaying, despite all the work.
You fear the hell that you say and pray does not exist.

A lifetime fighting The Squares that you would never become.
The girls that spend your money, they tell you what you want to hear.

Older, but not wiser, you still fight The Man.
Look in the mirror, LOOK if you can.

Posted by Vanderleun at January 19, 2006 9:01 AM
Bookmark and Share

Comments:

HOME

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Here's a short one I composed on behalf of those us under the baby boomer age. I think it's as close as my generation'll get, if only because TV and computer games have ruined our attention spans:

I am so incredibly fucking SICK
of hippies.

Just die already, all of you. Every
one of you that persists in living not only
jeapordizes our ability to win the War, but
you're killing my social security.

Bad enough YOU spent all YOUR money on weed and pills (and, later, cocaine)
when you were being all free and real and natural,
but now YOU'RE spending all MY money
on YOUR damn medication, which YOU
wouldn't need except for all the weed and pills and cocaine
YOU took when YOU were rolling around in MUD
having sex with filthy, smelly, hairy HIPPIE
chicks, you silly, old GEEZERS!

Knock it off. Knock it all off.
Knock off the ridiculous self-congratulatory
circle jerks - pardon me - "peace marches."

Knock off all that damn, over-hyped Dylan, and, while you're
at it, quit bringing up Janis Joplin like she
was a good singer. You all know she sucked.

In fact, just take it all,
your entire contributions to popular culture,
the music, the drugs, the reruns of that horrible
show "30-something," anything and anyone
remotely connected to both Yoko Ono and/or the
Rocky Horror Picture Show, and especially that sick fucktard R. Crumb

and just fucking disappear.

Forever.

My GOD, can't you understand people how ANNOYING you are?

Can't you see that
you're FAR worse than
your WWII generation parents could ever
have TRIED to become?

I suppose that's one bad thing about WWII:
When the heroes came home, they were so sick
of violence that they forgot
to beat their kids enough.

And don't think you never deserved a good slap
upside da head.

Jerks.

- Cameron Wood

Yeah - it ain't much, but it's hard to write good poetry and howl at the same time, I'm discovering. -CW

And I suppose Gerard can stay since he seems to be slowly repenting of having once been a hippie. P.J. O'Rourke, while I'm granting immunity.

And I guess my older brother can stay since he never was a hippie, although he did wear the ugliest damn shirts in the 70s. I mean, they were horrible, and hilarious. -CW

Posted by: Cameron Wood at April 19, 2006 12:27 PM

Oops. I was too busy howling to edit correctly.

I blame you baby boomers for my inability to . . . uh. . . . concentra . . what? . . . look! A bunny!

Posted by: Cameron Wood at April 19, 2006 12:38 PM

Listen, Punk.

I can stay because I invented you.

I can disinvent you too.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at April 19, 2006 12:54 PM

As for the poem.... a good start, but if you are going to write in that wise, you've got to, at the very least, understand the basic principles of projective verse and the technique of breath grouping.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at April 19, 2006 12:56 PM

Brief example:

From
"I am so incredibly fucking SICK
of hippies.

Just die already, all of you. Every
one of you"

Get instead:

I am so sick,
so fucking sick,
so sick fucking sick
of hippies, hippies.

Just die already,
Just already die,
Die all of you,
Every one...

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at April 19, 2006 12:59 PM

Isn't this tune from PeterPan, sung by Peter and the Lost Boys?

"I won't grow up, I'll never grow up"

From Taranto's Best of the Web email today:

"That '70s Show
The man who assisted Bob Woodward in uncovering the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post, Carl Bernstein, has an essay in Vanity Fair in which he voices his longing for a new Watergate. Here's the nub:

In terms of imminent, meaningful action by the Congress, however, the question of whether the president should be impeached (or, less severely, censured) remains premature. More important, it is essential that the Senate vote--hopefully before the November elections, and with overwhelming support from both parties--to undertake a full investigation of the conduct of the presidency of George W. Bush, along the lines of the Senate Watergate Committee's investigation during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.

This is the latest manifestation of a phenomenon we've noted before: nostalgia for Vietnam and Watergate, which were tragedies for the nation but triumphs for a certain type of liberal.

Bernstein's interminable essay underscores just how pathetic this nostalgia is. During Watergate, after all, Bernstein was an up-and-coming young reporter digging up dirt on a corrupt administration. Now, he's a sexagenarian scribbler writing thumb-sucking essays about how Congress really ought to do something about finding the corruption that he's sure is out there somewhere.

Similarly, in 1971 John Kerry* proudly slandered fellow Vietnam veterans. But by 2004 he was pretending he saw his own service in Vietnam as heroic, and he never made up his mind whether he was for the war in Iraq or against it until after he'd lost his bid to unseat President Bush.

These guys might actually have something to contribute to the country if they'd ever grow up and stop obsessing over their lost youth.

* Who subsequently became the second man ever to serve as Michael Dukakis's lieutenant governor."....Taranto 4/19/06


"Happy people more able to think logically"..

Angry/negative people {BDSers?} can be bad for your brain

Click here: Creating Passionate Users: Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain

Posted by: LARWYN at April 19, 2006 1:01 PM

As a Gen-Xer, I applaud the Gen-X verse above, but I think Gerard improved it in his example.

But that is really the hell of it:

The classics got deconstructed before we got to see them and we got shoveled Maya Angelou and assorted crap.

Now we don't even have the vocabulary to Howl even if we desperately wanted to. All we can really do now is Bleat.

I wish to hell I could have ever gotten a top-of-the-line classical education like Gerard and his cohort got at places like Berkley. I swear I wouldn't crap on it....

I didn't grow up in 'the sixties', but I did grow up reading Omni and Esquire and Penthouse. My mom ran off to 'find herself', and everyone I knew in Middle School smoked dope.

Gerard's claim of 'inventing us' isn't far off the mark.

This is by far the most interesting blog I've ever read.

Posted by: Evan Larsen at April 19, 2006 1:26 PM

Gerard,

Nice try, dude, but my late-20th century "Sesame Street" education has ruined my ability to even come close to comprehending your advi . . .

[. . . begins humming "Rubber Ducky"]

Oh, that's just great. Now I'm going to have THAT song head in my head all day. I blame Mrs. Harper, my second-grade teacher, and bead-wearing hippie. THIS is why we can't write poems.

[pause]

Or, maybe I just suck at it regardless.

[thinks about it]

Yup - I'm just not a very good poet.

That still doesn't get you guys off the hook for giving us Dylan and Joplin, though, so don't get cocky.

Posted by: Cameron Wood at April 19, 2006 2:17 PM

I sense a lot of anger here.

Can't we all just get along and sing a verse of Kum-by-ya? Or how about "Puff the Magic Dragon"?

Somebody? Anybody? :-)
Okay, let's turn off the lava lamps and go home now. /sarcasm off

Posted by: David at April 19, 2006 6:14 PM

Spring bloviation
Heighten outrage some excell
Long malarky spread

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at April 19, 2006 6:22 PM

Didn't know Dylan but I did know Janis and she was just a very, very talented and yet very, very sad woman.

Posted by: Vanderleun at April 19, 2006 6:43 PM

Alan....? Alan....?

Now Alan, it is going to be all right. Just go quietly back to your room. I do not want to have to call security.

Posted by: Vanderleun at April 19, 2006 6:44 PM

For the record, folks: no hostility here. I'm actually quite a fan of Gerard's.

Posted by: Cameron Wood at April 19, 2006 8:51 PM

BOWL

You sold your birthright for a bowl of porridge.
Then you refused to eat.
The Best and The Brightest.
You can lie to yourself, but not to me.
Botox, Viagra, Rogaine, and Paxil.
You are less than the sum or your parts.
Degrees on walls, they make exalted.
The lessons forgotten, the learning all for naught.
Trust no one over thirty you said once.
All right, then I don't trust you.
Your bodies decaying, despite all the work.
You fear the hell that you say and pray does not exist.
A lifetime fighting The Squares that you would never become.
The girls that spend your money, they tell you what you want to hear.
Older, but not wiser, you still fight The Man.
Look in the mirror, LOOK if you can.

Well, I'm out of bile.
I shouldn't try this kind of thing sober at 5:30 in the morning.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at April 20, 2006 5:41 AM

I like that last one.

Posted by: Eric Blair at April 20, 2006 6:56 AM

Norman Podhoretez, in his book "Ex-Friends", made many very interesting comments about Allen Ginsberg. (Fascinating book.) I never cease to be amazed at this liberal infatuation with criminality and nihilism.

Posted by: pst314 at April 20, 2006 10:33 AM

Oh Mumblix Grumph Ginsberg, thou hast been promoted to the front page.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at April 20, 2006 10:45 AM