Quote Of The Day.

Friday, February 28, 2003

That’s Rich.

Rich Lowry that is. He lets loose on those wealthy idiots who know just exactly how you should live your life.

“The ‘limousine liberal’ is back.

“The phrase once conjured Manhattanites who championed the poor while getting chauffeured to dinner parties. Now the locus of limousine liberalism has shifted West, and the vehicle of choice has changed. Its new practitioners don't dare get caught in a limousine and, instead, ostentatiously drive the latest hybrid cars.

“But the dynamic is the same: Just as the old limo liberals in the 1970s made everyone else suffer for their principles -- they lived in neighborhoods too nice to be affected by a soft-on-crime justice system, for instance -- the new ones want to make the rest of America shoulder their fancies.”

Rich people are far more dangerous when they play with their ideological toys than with their material ones.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 28, 2003 | link

Sowell Patrol.

The Sowell Man gets relevant. Actually, he sets the idea of "relevance" up on a tree stump and opens up on it with a twelve-gauge.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 28, 2003 | link

Weevils Attack!

FARC is really in for it now! The American they executed after downing that plane on Feb. 13 was Thomas Janis, a noble Alabamian. Those stinkin’ marxists done picked on the wrong damn state.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 28, 2003 | link

Mr. Rogers, R.I.P.

Fred Rogers has died of stomach cancer at the age of 74. It is a sad day in the neighborhood. I wish I could say more but nobody in my family could stand his show. I guess we aren’t the neighborly sort.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 28, 2003 | link

Frog Stomp.

For all your France bashing needs. Thanks to Robert Bove for the link.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 28, 2003 | link


Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Say Goodnight, Geeky.

Phil Donohue is gone. MSNBC has dropped his show, citing “low ratings.” That’s much nicer than admitting the excruciating dullness of Phil’s repartee violates the Geneva Convention.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 | link

Catholics Rule!

If you needed yet another reason why Catholics do it better, check this out.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 | link

Joe Bob vs. the Victocrats.

Actually, it’s Joe Bob vs. the Spineless, Victocrat Appeasing Number Crunchers.

“What kind of Wimp Gene has been raging through the media the past 20 years? I can understand politicians having to kowtow to mobocratic fads, but magazines and newspapers and TV networks are owned by the private sector and don't need to grovel in the gravel. Moreover, it's against their self-interest to grovel. The more times you grovel, the more often you'll be asked to publicly atone for your sins, and each time you'll find that you're groveling lower in the gravel. You'll need a gravel pit and a shovel."

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 | link


Monday, February 24, 2003

Sowell Patrol.

Thomas Sowell on why sitzkriegs were stupid before and are stupid now.

“International terrorists had already declared war on us. The countries that sheltered them and aided them could hide behind the fact that they had not declared war on the United States. They were fighting an undeclared war, using others as their hit men. . . . President Bush has changed that with his invasion of Afghanistan, one of the centers of international terrorism. We haven't started a war. We have just recognized the war that others started, instead of burying our heads in the sand, as the ‘anti-war’ demonstrators would like us to do.”

As evil as war is, the only thing more evil is a wrongly avoided war. Sometimes war is the necessary, temporary evil that must be endured in order to remove a greater evil that threatens permanence. Evil men do not wake up one morning slap themselves on the forehead and suddenly realize that they have been naughty boys. They believe everything they do is justified and righteous. They enjoy their power and will not give it up without a fight. They have no conscious, no remorse, and no mercy. They will brutalize their nations and their neighbors until an outside force steps in and puts a stop to it. Leaving a brutal dictator in power because you have created a false idol called “war” is the same as actively assisting in the evil deeds of the man you refuse to oppose. G. K. Chesterton once said that idolaters do not only set up false gods, they set up false devils too. The “anti-war” crowd are Chestertonian idolaters. They have created a fearsome demon, called it war, and strike at it no matter what the real world consequences of their delusions. We should have taken care of Saddam years ago instead of letting him recoup his strength and threaten us anew. Appeasing Saddam has left too many Iraqis dead. It has let too much money be filtered into Al Qaeda and other terror groups. It has funded too many genocide bombs in Israel. The fetishist avoidance of war has caused more misery than actual combat would have. Let’s end the suffering of the Iraqi people and the people of the world. Hold your nose and fire when ready.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 24, 2003 | link

No Needle.

Regan the spy is spared the death penalty. Admittedly, he was less deserving of it than others were. Hanson and Jihad Johnny, who caused Americans and our allies to be murdered, truly deserved to die. But still it’s high time the truly traitorous paid the ultimate price. I suppose I was hotheaded to say fry Regan, but treason needs to be taken seriously or there will be more of it.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 24, 2003 | link


Here is an amazing essay from Dale Price on the destructive consequences of modernizing the liturgy. Whereas the old liturgy used human objects (incense, ritual, statuary, art, chant, etc.) and used it to raise people up to God, the modernists use abstract theory to drive people away from Him.

“I think the neopagan and New Ager instinctively understands what the Western Church used to, but has largely forgotten: the power of transcendent symbols in worship, and their ability to point to God. Items like Chant, the high altar, baldacchino, altar rails, iconography, smells and bells, etc. The Eastern Church understands this perfectly, as can be seen with the iconostasis, complete with gates, which, far from proclaiming ‘exclusion,’ proclaims instead mystery and holiness. Not coincidentally, Vosko doesn't seem to get calls from either the Byzantines or the Orthodox.

“Indeed, far from separating us from God, these artifacts remind us of Him.

“The early Church understood the longings of pagans. It did not deny them, but rather the Church baptized and redirected these longings to the true worship of God Become Man. Think St. Paul on the Areopagus. Frankly, these spiritual cravings are not so much pagan as universally human. As part of this process, the Church pointed the newly-converted to more universal elements in the liturgy, such as the use of altars, images and incense, and adopted church design, art and even Roman civil organization (the ‘diocese’) from the surrounding Empire.

“In addition, the Church developed other art forms which it incorporated in the liturgy, like the aforementioned Chant, high altars, etc. These items stayed on because they pointed to the transcendent.

“And, lo, it worked. The Catholic Church became a Church Universal indeed, converting and retaining the descendants of such diverse cultures as the Chinese, Aztecs, Slavs, Africans and even barbarian Saxons and Celts on two largish islands off the northwest coast of Europe.

“No more. The vertical is largely lost, and what remains is obscured.”

In short, everything that would create an atmosphere of religion, a pervasive sense of His presence, is erased and a humanist celebration of man himself is substituted. The eternal tradition of the Church is chucked out and replaced with the trend of the day. Too often the latest trend is inspired by an unchristian or explicitly anti-Christian movement. It’s like the liturgists and the architects are consciously excising any trace of Catholicism.

“People get plenty of themselves during the week--they want to experience something beyond themselves on Sunday.”

The liturgists, architects, and the bishops who hire them never get too much of themselves though. They are acolytes at the altar of the Therapeutic Culture. The American Catholic Church of the 1960s internalized a lot of the anti-Catholic prejudices of society at large and in turn institutionalized self-hatred in the AmChurch. I like my home church but it is really little different than the typical protestant church. The architecture is just as dull and there is nothing specifically Catholic about it. The music is folk mass awful. It’s like they’re afraid someone will think they are Catholic.

“In an increasingly paganized world, the Church would do better to witness with its traditional strengths, and the liturgical treasury that successfully converted pagans.

“Because what is being tried in most parishes is converting Catholics into pagans who stay home most Sundays.”

Amen. This is exactly what happens. When Christ becomes trivialized and demoted to privilege some new trend in copying the secular world, why bother with Christ? Most of the post-VII changes in the Church were not mandated, prescribed, or even recommended by the Council itself. The changes were instituted by people who felt that Christ was not sufficiently molded to their own image. I’m not talking about vernacular or other minor cultural adjustments; I’m talking about the wholesale suppression of the culture of the Church that extended from the Apostles until the 1960s. If there was a conflict between a tradition originating with the Apostles and the self-affirming whim of a liturgist, bye-bye Apostles. The effect of this relentless (and unpopular, the architectural and liturgical decimation of the churches was always done over the objections of the parishioners) modernism was to drive people away from the Church. By changing so much without any reason, they made everything look arbitrary. By junking everything that was Catholic, they made it clear that The One True Church wasn’t very important. Why bother? Go someplace else, it’s easier.

In contrast to the modernists, the traditionalists are growing and thriving. By holding fast to the traditions of the Church, they are making it clear that it means something to be Catholic. By respecting sacred tradition, the orthodox Catholics preserve the eternal connection that connects all Christians from the first Christians to the Church today. They do this by embracing humanity and the artifacts of humanity. The creations of human hands, the art, the architecture, the rituals, and the traditions, were created by man to fill a psychological need and a religious purpose. Men needs help to see beyond himself. Man needs a lot of help to really connect with God. Ritual and Beauty help him do this. Old churches have a pervasively religious atmosphere that seeps into you and keeps your mind focused on God. They let you know you are in a sacred place for a sacred purpose. Your mind is focused on God and prepared to hear His Word. That’s why the traditions of the Church are important.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 24, 2003 | link


Res et Rationes has a handy list of important information for any of you Left Coasters who venture into the heartland. It is a forward but this is the first place I’ve seen it. My faves?

“11. You bring Coke into my house, it better be brown, wet, and served over ice.”

“14. Our women hunt, fish, and drive trucks because they want to. So, you're a feminist. Isn't that cute.”

“20. That Highway Patrol Officer that just pulled you over for driving like an idiot...his name is 'Sir'...no matter how old he is.”

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 24, 2003 | link


Sunday, February 23, 2003

Quiz Time Again.

It’s like I need an obsession to know I’m alive. It passes the time anyway.

My Tarot Card. I have a tarot deck. Tarot works because it is impossible for it not to. Tarot cards are so broadly interpreted that they are more all-encompassing than accurate. Take the Death Card. Does it mean you are going to die? Yes. Or that you are getting a new job. Or a new boyfriend. Or leaving school. Or moving. The Death card signifies a major change in your life, good or bad. I don’t know anybody who isn’t undergoing some kind of change. All the cards are like that. Cast a wide enough net and you’ll eventually catch something.

WATER OF AIR. You're aloof, depressed and seasoned. You'd make a good psychologist, executioner, black widow, arsenic poisoner, heretic queen or commentator. You're too witty for your own good. Have to get up early in the morny morn to fool you, as you spot lies a mile away. And WOE TO THOSE who dare attempt such a stupid move. You're Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, when she cuts Michael's head off. You're Anne Robinson, the host of The Weakest Link!
created by Polly Snodgrass.

No taxation without rep . . . screw that, no taxation! I am my favorite Revolution.

What revolution are You?
Made by altern_active

What’s my symphony?

Take the test, by Emily.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, February 23, 2003 | link

Liberals Strike Again!

In this week’s installment of the Liberal Racism Chronicle, we have the UN forcibly sterilizing poor, minority women. So much for the Rights of Women. Or Rights of the Poor. Or Right of Minorities. Heck, so much for Human Rights.

“Coerced sterilization happens all over the world. But opponents of the practice got a lucky break when two Mexican human rights organizations--one governmental, one not--released twin reports condemning the sterilizations in that country. The government report, released December 16, charged that more than 400 women had been sterilized against their will, and that coerced sterilizations or contraception (for example, IUD insertion) have occurred in every one of Mexico's 31 states. Mexico's forthright behavior contrasts to the response of the United Nations Population Fund (known as UNFPA), which suppressed a report showing that Brazilian clinics supported by the Fund had pressured women into various contraceptive methods. The report, when leaked to the Register, revealed unprepared health care workers who spoke of their clientele in contemptuous terms, refusing to listen to the women they supposedly served.”

Isn’t it nice of the UN to decide whether or not you are fit to reproduce? Apparently these are the Reproductive Rights the feminists keep harping on. They should have been more specific on who gets to exercise what rights on whom.

“The driving force behind the population-control movement is the belief that poverty is best alleviated by reducing the birthrate of the poor; one of the many problems with this diagnosis is that poor women often disagree with it.”

The stupid poor, they never listen to their Liberal betters.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, February 23, 2003 | link

Once Bitten.

The Great White Fire probe is widening. Their contract rider (thank you Smoking Gun) does not mention pyrotechnics. Two clubs say the band used pyro before without permission, but two other clubs say the band asked in advance about using them. Both the band and the club blame each other. Both are at fault but the club is lying if they say they didn’t have any knowledge about the pyro. Every club (unless grossly negligent) has a sound or stage manager who checks out the featured band's equipment set-up before each performance. For example, I have frequented a small club here in Birmingham called The Nick. Before each night’s show, there is a guy, the aforementioned stage manager, who periodically walks the stage, checking that the band’s instruments, amps, etc. are set up as they ought to be, that everything is in working order, and generally giving the stage a look-see. The pyros that sparked the fire would be readily apparent to anybody with functioning eyeballs. The club manager saw what the band had set up and let them go on with the show. This is a pretty sick way for an 80s hair band to relive their arena days. Which brings up the philosophical question: what’s worse, burning to death or burning to death while listening to Great White?

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, February 23, 2003 | link


Friday, February 21, 2003

Rest In Peace.

A fire in a Rhode Island nightclub has claimed 95 lives. This is unbelievable. Even the mild footage on TV shows a tiny spark turning into a small blaze and start growing into an inferno. I cannot imagine the horrors experienced by those trapped inside. I will be praying for the victims and the survivors.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 21, 2003 | link


Brian Regan was convicted of espionage for trying to sell information to Iraq and China. Fry him. With Jane Fonda sitting on his lap.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 21, 2003 | link

Quote of the Month.

Courtesy of Ben Shapiro:

“Ted Kennedy's weight and intelligence are inversely proportional. He was actually smartest as a newborn, and his decline into stupidity will continue until either he goes on the Atkins diet or his weight causes the Earth to spin off its axis.”

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 21, 2003 | link

Whatcha Got Cooking?

I love to cook. It is satisfying, physically and emotionally. Cooking is beautiful. You take disparate foodstuffs and, through judicious chopping, stirring, spicing, and heating, create something that fills the stomach and the soul. Cooking is an accomplishment, a skill with delicious results. I am very good at it. There is something very satisfying about knowing that you are capable of truly sustaining yourself. I am dependent upon no delivery boy. Cooking is independence and embrace all at once. I can survive on my own or I can nourish you with good things. Cooking is a blessing.

Unfortunately it is a blessing too many people are oblivious to. A generation or two of putting convenience and career ahead of family has taken its toll on the art of cooking. I knew people in college who had never eaten a home-cooked meal. They adored the cafeteria food because it was such a vast improvement over the freezer food they were used to. I know people who actually regard it as a point of pride that they cannot cook. That’s like bragging about illiteracy. Living off prepackaged food reminds me of dogs eating prepackaged pellets. It reduces the human need for nourishment to an animalistic feeding. Eating is different from feeding. Animals feed; they don’t care much what it is they put in their bodies. They consume and depart. Humans eat. They take care over what they eat. Taking a meal, alone or in company, is an act of civilization. Dining in company is a recognition of community and common humanity. Fast food and freezer food short circuit this essential human act. People raised to feed are different than people raised to eat. There is something inexpressible that is lost when food becomes an alien thing fabricated according to scientific formula. Fast and freezer food are produced as single units for solitary consumption. One factory made serving for isolated beings. The human chain of cooking and eating is broken, replaced with a conveyor belt of scientifically measured nutrition units manufactured for consumption.

The loss of the art of cookery is a failure of civilization to beget itself anew. Cooking is a heritage of tastes and sensations. Cooking is a tradition that encompasses the living and the dead in a savory embrace. Cooking is good.

Rant inspired by Lenore Skenazy.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 21, 2003 | link


Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Pulled or Chopped?

Ah, barbecue. Food so good it transcends food.

“Like religion, barbecue was pure. And purity, once accepted, will brook neither proof nor comparison.”

Read only with napkin.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 | link

Steyn Alive.

Mark Steyn slices up the antiwar Left and serves them on a bun. You thought I was going to say “silver platter” didn’t you? Ha! I defy that easy metaphor. But I digress. Here’s Steyn on the peace marchers’ ideology:

“It's not Saddam who's the thug, it's Tony. It's not the Baathist killers from Tikrit who are the bunch of criminals, it's the Republican Party. It's not the million-man murderer of Baghdad who's the new Hitler, it's George W. Bush. It's not the Iraqi one-party state with its government-controlled media that ‘crushes dissent,’ it's the White House. It's not the Wahhabis who are the fundamentalists, it's Bush, Blair and the other Christians. It's not Osama bin Laden who's the terrorist, it's American foreign policy. Supporting the continued enslavement of the Iraqi people is ‘pacifist,’ but it's ‘racist’ for America to disagree with the UN, even though it's Colin Powell and Condi Rice doing the disagreeing and the fellows they're disagreeing with are a bunch of white guys from Europe.”

Reasoned debate on war? From one side only:

“But, as Colin Powell and Jack Straw have surely learned by now, there's no real point doing the patient line-by-line rebuttal: Nobody's interested in French oil contracts or German arms sales or even Saddamite corpse tallies because it doesn't fit into the Universal Theory which insists that everything can be explained by the Evil of America. On the other hand, the indestructible belief that ‘over 4,000’ civilians were killed by U.S. bombs in Afghanistan is impervious to scientific evidence because it accords perfectly with the Universal Theory.”

Logical analysis? Try again later.

“In fall 2001, being pro-gay and pro-feminist didn't stop the left defending an Afghan regime that disenfranchised women and executed homosexuals. Yet these are the same fellows who insist that a secular regime like Iraq's would never make common cause with Islamic fundamentalists, apparently requiring a higher degree of intellectual coherence of Saddam than of themselves.”

It has become blindingly obvious that the “anti-war” movement is a “pro-Saddam” movement. The illogic of insisting that a man who has flouted UN resolutions and played shell games with the diplomatic community is suddenly going to start coloring within the lines. Saddam’s made a monkey of the UN for 12 years because there was no military backing to its resolutions. So the solution is to absolutely remove any possibility of military retaliation for wrongdoing? Brilliant! The protesters haven’t even made a show of setting standards for Iraq. No, only the US is subject to standards of conduct. The status quo in Iraq benefits Saddam Hussein, the French oil industry, and career weapons inspectors and nobody else. The Iraqi people are being brutalized, raped, and murdered. The Israeli people are being slaughtered by bombers paid off by Saddam. Unfortunately, the peaceniks see the dead Jew thing as a humanitarian effort on Saddam’s part. An eternal inspections regime benefits only Saddam (who gets to stay in power), the French oil industry (who get their lucrative contracts filled), the French and German armaments industries (who make a nice profit illegally arming Iraq), and the UN bureaucrats (who get to make a career out of setting arbitrary rules for Saddam to pretend to obey). The Iraqi people are stuck with their dictator (who cares, its not like the peaceniks have to suffer), the nation of Iraq loses its sovereignty to an externally imposed inspections regime (sovereignty is so inconvenient, those darn People never do what the peaceniks want), the Israelis get to die (see, a silver lining to everything say the Left), and innocent Westerners get to hope the Islamofascists on Saddam’s payroll are targeting some other city/resort/airliner this week Explain to me again how this adds up to “peace”?

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 | link

Love Is All You Need.

Actually, a Leatherman tool is pretty essential too. With all the hoopla over Code Orange and duct tape it can be hard to figure out if you should actually be concerned about your safety and if so, what you should do about it. Jed Babbin gets down to brass tacks. As I said, think Leatherman.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 | link


Monday, February 17, 2003

SUV Nation.

There has been much blather about SUVs being unsafe, terror supporting gas hogs. This is nonsense but that never stops the Nanny Staters. Woody Hochswender tackles the idea celebrities denouncing SUVs for supporting “terror at the pump”:

“Leaving aside for the moment that this is trendy, illogical thinking — and leaving aside also the odd sensation of being lectured on socially responsible behavior by the producer of ‘Pulp Fiction’ — isn't this really a backdoor way of blaming America for Sept. 11 and other crimes like it? Those who implicate Americans — particularly our adventurous habits, offbeat choices and breathtaking freedoms, including the freedom to drive to a poetry reading followed by dinner at a French restaurant in the midst of a raging snowstorm — validate the terrorists as essentially right.”

Hochswender is right, by focusing on SUVs as a funder of terror they are blaming America for being attacked. We make use of a legitimate service whose owners funnel money to terrorists, and we, who have been lied to, are at fault? When all those Islamic “charities” get busted for funneling money to Hezbollah, we blame the heads of the organizations, not Joe Muslim who gave money thinking he was supporting orphanages. Blame the bad guys, not the victims. This all reeks of Champagne Socialists lording their moral superiority over the peons.

As much as I hate to say it, SUVs aren’t the problem. Yes, I hate having to back out of a parking space next to one. But the main problem with them is their drivers. Too many soccer moms think driving a big bad SUV means they can disregard traffic signals and run people off the road. So deal with the bad drivers and leave everyone else alone. SUVs waste no more gas than minivans or pickups. They are safer in most accidents. They are only more dangerous in rollovers, but rollovers are rare and are heavily caused by “driver error.” SUVs may be unnecessary in the urban areas frequented by Arianna Huffington and her merry band of Champagne Socialists but down here in Alabama they are very necessary. Allow me to cite Lee Ann’s Law of Southern Infrastructure:

Just because it’s on the map doesn’t mean the roads are paved.

This ignores the problems caused by storms, flooding, straight-line winds, or tornadoes. SUVs are also one of the few vehicles (with the aforementioned minivan) that can transport more than 2 children at a time. Want more than 2 kids, too bad unless you have an SUV or minivan. The carseats take up a sedan’s whole backseat and the airbag will kill the kid if he sits in front. Banning SUVs is a de facto Two Child Policy for everyone but the rich. It is unamerican to have Sumptuary Laws on anything, especially children. For crying out loud, if I want a dang SUV and am willing to fork over the cash for gas, shut up and leave me alone. Welcome to America. My car, my choice, back off.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 17, 2003 | link

Pius in the Sky.

Now that much of the Vatican’s archives from 1931-39 have been released, the liberal media is finally starting to admit that the anti-Pius XII case is a fraud. This article lists some relevant documents, not necessarily from the batch just released. The articles specifies four letters dealing directly with the Jews, but Pius rarely put anything in writing; that would have endangered those he was trying to save. It is a good little article though. It shows the evidence is there; it just points to a conclusion some people don’t want to see.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 17, 2003 | link

Exhibit A.

Here’s a peek inside the torture mills that pass for Saudi prisons. Here’s how the protectors of the Religion of Peace treat the prisoners they frame.

"Legal documents obtained by The Observer show that the men were badly beaten by interrogators, who would threaten their families if they did not confess.

“They were tied up with ropes and suspended upside down from the ceilings of their cells. Then they were tied by their hands to the tops of cell doors as they were punched and slapped. Finally, they were deprived of sleep for up to 10 days.

“Such treatment can kill. One prisoner was eventually examined by a doctor. He found a wedge fracture of the vertebrae, severe bruising to arms and legs, cuts on wrists and heavy bruising of the soles of the man's feet.”

The men in question are six Britons arrested in Saudi Arabia after a series of bombing directed against westerners. Despite overwhelming evidence that Islamic terrorists are behind the bombings, the Saudis arrested these men to avoid dealing with the real problem. Here’s a summary of Saudi “justice”:

“In fact, despite sentencing the men in secret to lengthy jail terms and in two cases public beheading, the Saudi authorities have offered no evidence of their guilt.

“The Observer has learnt that Saudi police never forensically examined the explosive devices, nor did they search for fingerprints. Witnesses who provided alibis for the men have never been interviewed. Others have been threatened with arrest to keep them quiet.

“A special UN report on the Saudi justice system looked at the mistreatment of the Britons. It found they were denied access to lawyers and brought before judges without lawyers present. It concluded that none of the men was even aware he was being tried as they stood in court.”
[Emphasis mine.]

Just a reminder of why the Middle East needs desperately to be destabilized.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 17, 2003 | link


Sunday, February 16, 2003

People Eating Tasty Animals.

Make that Animals Eating Tasty People. It seems eco-tourists are helping to put humans back on the menu for lions. The question remains, were they organic eco-tourists?

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, February 16, 2003 | link

Quiz Time.

Well, at least it’s a new obsession. I stumbled onto Not For Sheep, a Buddhist turned Catholic blog and she had a mondo-hoss quiz thing going. I took some and here are the more interesting results.

What Cocktail am I? This seems so wrong.

You're a Shirley Temple!  A non-alcoholic beverage made up of ginger ale, grenadine syrup and a stemmed cherry.  You're spiritual, sensible and at one with nature, especially birds and fl
""Which cocktail are you?""

brought to you by Quizilla

Here’s my inner Sexy Cartoon Chic.

You're Jessica Rabbit!
Jessica Rabbit

Who 's Your Inner Sexy Cartoon Chick ?
brought to you by Quizilla

What’s my Element, my dear Watson?

You are Fire...you are action, spirit and vitality.
You warm whatever you are around with your
large spirit, but you can sometimes lack a
sensitivity to others.

What Element Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

How about an Obscure Animal?

What Obscure Animal are you?

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, February 16, 2003 | link

Ars Derbica.

The Mighty Derb has rightly pointed out that there are a fat lot of things we ought to do but don’t have the guts to do. He says suck it up and get on with it. First, pull out of the UN, then cut the NEA, then there’s the matter of public servants and suffrage. You seriously need to read this.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, February 16, 2003 | link


Friday, February 14, 2003

What Kind of Poetry Are You?

Finally, the perfect quiz for me.

I am, of course, none other than blank verse.
I don't know where I'm going, yes, quite right;
And when I get there (if I ever do)
I might not recognise it. So? Your point?
Why should I have a destination set?
I'm relatively happy as I am,
And wouldn't want to be forever aimed
Towards some future path or special goal.
It's not to do with laziness, as such.
It's just that one the whole I'd rather not
Be bothered - so I drift contentedly;
An underrated way of life, I find.
What Poetry Form Are You?

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 14, 2003 | link

Sowell Patrol.

More Random Thoughts from the Sowell Man.

“The Empire State Building was built in less time than has already been spent debating what to build on the site of the World Trade Center.”

“One of these days the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals may declare the Constitution unconstitutional.”

“The end of the Cold War now reveals that many on the far left who were thought of as pro-Communist were in fact anti-American -- as they have remained, even as our enemies have changed.”

“The biggest difference between people is between those who are trying to do the right thing -- whether or not they succeed -- and those for whom the only question is how much they think they can get away with.”

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, February 14, 2003 | link


Thursday, February 13, 2003

ATTN Art Lovers!

This is a great article on a Titian exhibition in England. It covers the artist and his work and gives a good insight into the importance of Titian’s work. The images are nice too. I’d have liked more images though.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, February 13, 2003 | link

Conscience Does Make Cowards of Us All.

I took a course on philosophy in literature at UNC, taught by a philosophy professor. During one lecture he remarked that the peasant finds it easy to be moral but the philosopher doesn’t. He meant to imply that the philosopher sees the complexities of the issue and the peasant just does what he’s told. I came away from the class thinking that the peasant knows his duty and does it while the philosopher does mental backflips to weasel out of things. What called all this to mind is this article from First Things on The Revenge of Conscience. The author tackles the question of why evil so quickly becomes tolerated, ignored, accepted, and then finally mandated. So is “Right and Wrong” written on the heart or is it just social conditioning?

“We do know better; we are not doing the best we can. The problem of moral decline is volitional, not cognitive; it has little to do with knowledge. By and large we do know right from wrong, but wish we didn’t. We only make believe we are searching for truth—so that we can do wrong, condone wrong, or suppress our remorse for having done wrong in the past.

“If the traditional view is true, then our decline is owed not to moral ignorance but to moral suppression. We aren’t untutored, but ‘in denial.’ We don’t lack moral knowledge; we hold it down.”

This is a very thought provoking article. The author really goes through all the issues surrounding the denial of conscience. From attacking others to avoid your own guilty feelings to promoting the wrong you’ve done as a means of seeking absolution, the modern amorality is dissected with perfect seriousness. The author makes it clear that there are serious consequences to rationalizing away our consciences.

“Here is an axiom: We cannot alter human nature, physical, emotional, or spiritual. A corollary is that no matter how cleverly devised, our contrivances never do succeed in canceling out the natural consequences of breaking the natural law.”

As for me, if morality is a social construct, why is so much of it universal? Why are culture wide rejections of traditional morality so emotionally and physically destructive? The sexual and moral revolutions of the 20th century have been failures, bloody, miserable, degraded failures. The most murderous regimes in history have been either Communist or Socialist (Nazis were socialists, remember?), both ideologies that strove to eliminate traditional moral structures and replace them with socially engineered “improvements.” If traditional morality isn’t an eternal truth, why have we spent so much time and effort trying to justify why we defy it? If it were really arbitrary and disposable we wouldn’t be constantly arguing it; we’d just junk it like a flat-earth theory. You don’t try this hard to weasel out of your duty if you don’t know deep down that it is your duty.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, February 13, 2003 | link

For Those Who Think Greed.

Pepsi and the hiphop world are best buds again, having kissed and made up for Pepsi’s sin of responding to public outrage. You see Pepsi was going to hire a foul-mouthed rapper to promote their cola but a public backlash made them drop it. Then they go and hire Ozzy and family. Cue outrage from “the hiphop community.” Cue large payments from Pepsi to several charities run by the fired rapper and Russell Simmons. No word on how much the rapper and Simmons make (if anything) for fronting those charities. I am very biased against Simmons because he and his trashy wife are always cluttering up my Vogues. I’ll say this once: Liberace Chic is tasteless when white; it is just as tasteless when black.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, February 13, 2003 | link


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

I Know You’re Obsessed, But What Am I?

As events conspire to prolong my poetry obsession, I present the following: the Opinionjournal, a pro-war poetry site, and two poets I forgot to include yesterday.

What brings all this about is that the Opinionjournal has posted its collection of pro-war poems. Taranto started asking for contributions when the White House poetry affair blew up. The quality of work varies but there’s some good stuff here. Scroll down to find Iraq by Robert Clippard, Compass by Robert Bove, and Upon the War in Iraq by Rob Rice. A Liberal’s Ode to Regime Change by Dan Calabrese is hilarious. My fave? From Leon Rutkowski:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Oh the hell with it,
Just kill him.

Poets For the War. If you haven’t had enough pro-war poetry, this site’s for you. Again the quality varies but there’s good stuff here. I like The Boy by Joseph Andreacchio and Unabandoned by Bove. Spring Offensive by Jamie Irons is pretty good too.

J. Bottum. I only discovered him recently. I’ve only found his stuff in First Things. I don’t have a grand theory of him but I like him. Here’s Baptism, The Winter Orchard, and The Fall (which is longer and very impressive). Here’s the Google link to all the FT stuff.

Robert Bove. I’ve linked to him before. He’s also a fairly recent discovery. Here’s his main site. I like Poems at Diaphanous Hotel and To a Dancer. Just poke around. I like his newer stuff. Very interesting development.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 | link


Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Yes, I am Officially Obsessed.

As I have been preaching lately on poetry and its modern abusers, I probably ought to present my credentials so to speak. After lambasting those who are guilty of poetic malpractice, I ought to better explain why I think so. I also should present evidence in favor of those I purport to be Poets in good standing. I will take a moment to explain myself, as Good and Bad are somewhat subjective. Not completely, but a more than a little.

The criteria for Bad Poetry is general unenjoyable awfulness. Maudlin, sentimental, pretentious, dull, vulgar, preachy, obscurantist, sneering, and overtly political. The first six qualities are pretty self-explanatory. To be obscurantist, poetry must be unintelligible to the educated reader (see note below). It must refer to events, persons, or artistic works recognizable only to a small, insular group. It must use these references as “code words” to the “initiated.” The poetic structure must be chaotic and confusing to the reader. The content must be esoteric and disjointed. In other words, a whole bunch of random stuff nobody’s ever heard of thrown together in a deliberately confused manner. To be sneering, the poet must present his vision in a manner most condescending to those outside of the Poetry Establishment. The use of the above mentioned obscurantism is a means of making it clear to the reader that they are intruders into a closed lyrical circle. This is often accomplished by connecting the poetry to an extra-lyrical political or artistic vision. Essentially, when the poet, in interviews, non-poetic writings, speeches, etc., derides the poetic conventions preferred by most readers as bad or “school” poetry and establishes only certain modernist conventions as acceptable, or when the poet links, as if necessarily, poetry and certain political attitudes. Thus if you don’t share their tastes, you are too dumb to get Poetry. “Sneering” poetry establishes a hierarchy of certain poets and the helots (i. e. everyone else.) As for overtly political, I’ve covered that elsewhere. When the political cause takes precedence over the poetry, or when the poem exists only to further the politics, the quality of the poetry suffers. Political art is bad art; more accurately, it is propaganda.

The above criteria deal more with bad poets than specific bad poems, but there are standards for bad poems. The badness of a poem depends on the awfulness of its expression rather than its subject matter. Good and bad poems have dealt with subjects ranging from Love to french fries. The difference is in the skill of expression. The language of a poem should facilitate its meaning. Bad poetic language is either too highfalutin’ to be intelligible or too vulgar to be read. A language that is elevated beyond the needs of the poem or the normal voice of the poet is a pretension. It is snide and annoying. It is also known as a “false voice.” Language that is too “earthy” is no different. Slumming is always in bad taste. As for vulgarity, it does have a place in poetry but a limited place. A bad poet uses blue language to cover up a shortage of imagination, a limited vocabulary, or the emotional development of a pubescent boy. Excessive vulgarity means the vulgar words themselves are serving no intrinsic purpose; they are a stunt. Bad poetic language is also random; everything in a good poem should be deliberate. A bad poet will have a pet word or phrase and try to force the poem around it; the badly chosen language will stick out.

The structure of a bad poem will be overly elaborate and confusing. A poem should flow naturally, even if it is in a complex form. Bad poem structures are jarring. They distract from the poem’s content. You cannot enjoy or read a poem if you cannot figure out where the lines are supposed to go. A bad poet tries to show off by making his structure as complex and original as possible, without regard for the poem or its reader. Poetry is poetry, not a puzzle to fit together. Putting the structure and language together, a bad poem just won’t “work.” Bad poetry is exhausting just to read through, never mind trying to understand it on any level. Bad poetry is emotionally manipulative. It sets things up and stacks the deck to achieve a preordained result. It does not lead you to a conclusion, it drags you there.

Note on the Educated Reader: Allowing for our dismal educational system, I will set certain standards for “educated.” Roughly, this means the intelligent general reader. The educated reader has broad knowledge of history and culture, with a depth of knowledge on certain aspects of both. He will have a good, general knowledge of popular culture since WWII, with extensive knowledge of recognizable subgenres (i.e. genre music, local history or cultures, film, etc.); a general knowledge of and respect for High Culture; read for pleasure in both fiction and nonfiction, although one of those two will likely dominate the other; is interested in the Arts, not obsessed with them; a recognition of both the extent and limits of his knowledge. Basically, the educated reader is a thinking person who can find his butt with both hands.

The criteria for Good Poetry is harder to define. Good poetry is enjoyable and thoughtful. It is a challenge, not an obstacle course. It is superficially accessible, yet has layers of meaning that can never be fully mined. It is moving, natural, exuberant, solemn, playful, angry, and awakening. A good poem reveals more about the reader than about the poet. It brings out something inside you that you may not have known was there. The poetic language will be proper to the poem and natural to the poet. The poem will have a rhythm to it, if not an actual meter. Yes, they sometimes even rhyme. Words will be used for specific effects, not just to be shocking. Vulgarity will be there for a reason but not always there. The structure of the poem will advance the poem itself. It may be challenging but not distracting. Obscure or lesser known references will be supported in a universal cultural language. The poet refers to things outside the normal scope of the reader but not things alien to the reader. In other words, good poetry can be obscure but not in a way that deliberately shows off to or excludes the reader. You can still understand the poem even if you don’t quite know what the heck the second stanza just referred to. The elevated language of a good poem brings the reader up with it; the poet’s rising tide lifts the reader’s boat too. If the language is earthy, it will be familiar not degraded. I wish I could go on longer about Good Poetry, but that’s about all the definite characteristics I can think of. Good poetry can’t be reduced to a formula like bad poetry can. Each Good Poem is new and different while each bad one is more of the same. You know a good poem because it “works”; it flows; it gels. There’s something about it that is alive and strong and right and good. You can dissect a Bad Poem because it is a dead thing. A Good Poem is a living thing and it has to be experienced.

“a good poem is like a cold beer when you need it . . . a good poem can let you shoot craps with the devil and win . . .” – Charles Bukowski “Defining the Magic”

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 | link

Exhibit A.

So here is a listing of some bad poets, followed by some good ones. I’ll try to introduce each and tell what is good or bad about them.

Bad Boys

Adrienne Rich. Okay, okay, you’re a leftist lesbian already. At her worst, her poems get kicked, cut, punched, mangled, bent, folded, stapled, and mutilated, all to fit them around her identity politics. This site is a collection of her best, but even that is very uneven. Her worst stuff is left to those forced to read her collected works. It’s a bit hard to see why I hate he stuff from this site. Some are early and show her on the cusp of real greatness, like Living in Sin. Others are just not working. Snapshots of a Daughter in Law is too scattered and femi-nuts. Victory is random a dull. Our Whole Life is just bad.

John Ashbery. I will pay you money if you can tell me what the heck this guy is talking about. He’s confusing and obscurantist. Maybe there is meaning under all this, but I don’t care enough to find out. It Must Be Sophisticated and I must not be because I got bored and back-clicked somewhere around the third stanza. Now try The Burden of the Park, jumbled and aimless. Note how the language varies from high to low, high to low. Note how I got bored and left.

Amiri Baraka. I guess I could be accused of stacking the deck with this guy, but he is almost the Platonic ideal of Bad Poet. From obsessively proclaiming his “street cred” with hyper-hipster language to his hackwork political rants, this guy coasts along on liberal guilt and a black power trip. This isn’t poetry, it’s a walking Eddie Murphy skit.

Poets Against the War. A whole site full of pretentious, bad poetry. They’ve put themselves forward as Poets-Capital-P who command the conscience of the nation. They should try commanding a meter first.

Good Guys.

To make up for all the talk about Bad Poetry and the linking to actual Bad Poets, I will make amends by linking to a whole flock of Good Poets. Would you say I have a plethora of poets?

Charles Bukowsi. My favorite American poet. Very gritty. There is no rhyme or meter but he has a strong internal flow in each poem. A bawdy singer of Life. There’s always a tragic defiance to his work; even his humor is born of sadness. A tough old coot. This is a good general collection. Defining the Magic is about the good poem. Woman on the Street is one of my faves.

Georg Trakl. My favorite poet. I was going to write my masters on Trakl and Bukowski. He is usually classed as an Expressionist. He’s not but he is a Modern poet who writes in German and any Modern German poet of a certain era gets the Expressionist label. He’s more of a synaesthesiac poet, like Rimbaud. Very II Isaiah in his imagery. Very dark. I couldn’t find any good English translations online, sorry. Verklärter Herbst is one of his best known works. Am Moor is a very evocative, dark, and moody. Psalm contains most of his recurring themes. Grodek is his finest work.

William Blake. Mystic and visionary poet. He’s most famous for the Songs of Innocence and Experience. Much of his work is religious. Imaginative rhyme schemes. Just flat out imaginative everything. Wowza look at these links! Here’s The Tyger, tyger burning bright. The Little Lamb, of course. From Albion to the Four Zoas, it’s all here.

Christina Rossetti. Sister to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the painter. Tightly wound works with dense meanings and rich imagery. One of the best Nineteenth Century poets. Start with the Goblin Market and go from there.

Gwendolyn Brooks. Probably the best female poet America has ever produced. Delicate, beautiful, and deep. Her stuff has a musical rhythm. Here’s a good collection featuring We Real Cool. The Mother is profoundly moving.

Christian Morgenstern. If Shel Silverstein wrote for adults and couldn’t draw. Kind of like Edward Lear’s Nonsense Poems. A lot of playing with language. He loses a lot in translation but is still fun. Here’s a dual language page, featuring Der Lattenzaun in English. Here is the rest of the Galgenlieder auf Deutsch. Includes the Werwolf.

Rainer Maria Rilke. His poems have a light, almost otherworldly beauty. Like crystal shining and vibrating until it’s just about to shatter. Here’s the links to all his stuff, which is listed by collection. Here’s some faves: Archaischer Torso Appollos, Der Panther, and the Duineser Elegien. Here’s a good site in English.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 | link


Monday, February 10, 2003

Compare and Contrast.Just to display the difference between Mr. Collins’ vaunted modern, nonwhite, two-named poetry and the horrors of trinomial honkies, I present two poems for you to compare and contrast. The first is the first stanza of Nostalgia by Bill Collins. The poem was picked at random from Mr. Collins’ website. I present only one stanza because it is really long. The rest of the poem is here.


Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow."
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

In comparison, I present Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins, the first trinomial honky I could think of. I picked this poem because I like it.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted & pieced -- fold, fallow, & plough;
And áll trades, their gear & tackle & trim.
All things counter, original, spáre, strange;
Whatever is fickle, frecklèd, (who knows how?)
With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change:
Práise hím.

You can make your own decision about whose school you’d rather go to. But to be fair, I did poke around on Collins’ site and fond this other poem, Japan, which is quite good.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 10, 2003 | link

Poets Redux.

For a little taste of why poetry is so removed from modern life, here’s a short piece from the Daily Mississippian. The first half of the first sentence defines the problem.

“Poetry is alive and well in America, due in large part to the passion and work of Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003”

Who he? While it is nice to know we have a Poet Laureate, his passion and work seem to be entirely avoidable. I’ve never heard of him and assume he got in office on one of those “straight ticket” ballots. I certainly never voted for him. As for poetry being alive and well, raise your hand if you had ever before heard of Bill Collins.

To help explain why I’ve never heard of Mr. Collins and why you haven’t either, the article quotes the poor bard.

" 'School poetry really turned me off,' Collins said. 'I had to look around on the outside (of school) and discover magazines like ‘Poetry Magazine’ and ‘Chi-cago,’ which contained new and fresh contemporary voices rather than these dead white guys with three names I was reading about.' " [Emphasis mine and Patrick’s. He sent me the link. Visit Patrick's realm.]

So here we have the Poet Laureate tossing out almost all poetry ever written. The greatest achievements of the lyric Muse and Collins junks it as “school poetry.” That doesn’t say much for Mr. Collins. To assume that the accumulated treasures of Western Literature are inferior to the archives of Chi-cago Magazine requires either a monstrous ego or monumental stupidity.

To take the second half of this quote, the part about the dead white guys with three names, I must say that nothing screams “art” like snide racialism. Perhaps I am biased, being a trinomial honky myself, but I don’t believe the Muse distributes her graces through racial gerrymandering.

Just to show he’s not only narrowly modernist and politically insane, Collins decides to throw in shallow as well.

" 'I think we all start out as natural poets, dancers, musicians and painters as children, and when we hit adolescence all of that goes underground, never again to return,' Collins said."

True, children are natural artists and, like much of Nature itself, the natural artist stinks. The natural artist has talent but it is uncontrolled and ineffective. Real Art is as much craft as art. Poetry is a skill that is honed and channeled, not a random linguistic outburst. All children may be “natural artists” but they are not all good artists. By adolescence, the average child gets a good sense for where his skills lie. They focus on what they are good at and on what they enjoy.

While this article is just a puff piece to promote a poetry reading, even the small insight it gives into our governmentally ordained top poet displays why poetry is not alive and well. Dismissive of the magnificent lyric edifice that supports his modernist gargoyle and malignantly political, Bill Collins typifies the attitude that afflicts so many modern poets. Until the poets welcome their readers, readers will not care about poets.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, February 10, 2003 | link


Saturday, February 08, 2003

Poets Against Sanity.

I suppose by now you’ve heard of the cancellation of the White House poetry symposium. Laura Bush wanted to shine a spotlight on poetry, especially the work of Dickenson, Whitman, and Hughes. One of the invited poets, Sam Hemphill, decided to turn the event into an antiwar protest. The White House canceled the event to avoid a scene. Now the idiot poets are complaining of being “silenced” and the White House is moving on to other things. There has been a bit of controversy over this whole affair. Roger Kimball says the poets are being uppity pests. Marni Soupcoff says they are just further marginalizing themselves and their art. J. Bottum condemns the whole retrograde attitude of the “protest” and makes a truly remarkable stand for Poetry. I have to say I side with the White House. Not just because I am in favor of the war, but because I am in favor of poetry.

Poetry, as an art form, is in serious danger. It is marginalized, ignored, and derided. Who reads poetry? Name a major contemporary poet. When was the last time you bought a book of poetry? The fault for this lies less with the general public than with the poets themselves. Poets have done more to kill poetry than even the most philistine reader. Making their work deliberately obscure and treating poetry like a private fiefdom, modern poets have removed themselves from the reading mainstream. I’m not just talking about any “they don’t even rhyme” silliness. Their work is both difficult to read and impossible to understand. I don’t mean you really have to work at it; I mean it is dull, pompous, chaotic, incoherent, and flat out confusing. That’s before you even try to find meaning in it. The structure is bad enough, but the content is worse. Full of obscure references, weird vocabularies, and political hobbyhorses, the darn things read like coded messages exchanged between members of a secret, insular club. Modern poetry can be pretty “member’s only.” The average reader isn’t even offered a foothold into the work he is attempting to scale. When the surface of the work is so deliberately forbidding, few people are willing to move mountains to mine its treasures.

I am not here complaining about works that are hard to fathom in the colloquial sense of the phrase. Eliot’s The Wasteland is pretty tough to work with. Blake is notoriously difficult to unravel and let’s not even start with the Europeans. Trakl? Hoelderlin? Baudelaire? I don’t think we have to go there. Difficult themes, ideas, and language are common throughout poetic history. Yet think about the works and authors I’ve just mentioned. Their works are hard to understand on their higher levels, but they are simple to read on their surface. The words and structure are accessible to any reader even if their deeper meaning is harder to grasp. Common language and traditional structures are used as gateways to higher meaning. Poets like Milton and Donne use religious language and traditions to speak to a truth wider than strict theology. Hopkins uses the common things of natural poetry to move in the opposite direction, towards God. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is as small as a tragedy aboard a single ship and as oceanic as the world. You have to understand the sentence written on the page before you can understand the meaning behind the words.

But in modern poetry that surface layer of common poetic experience is cast aside for a deliberately obscure winnowing out of an anointed few. Modern poets like Asbery are just too confusing to waste time with. You just can’t read them. Worse than being obscurantist, they are unenjoyable. Themes and references come and go with little or no connection to the themes and references of the line before them. Can you really break down the parts of a whole that never coheres? The reader cannot enjoy the poem as a poem and has no incentive to read further into what he doesn’t like. A reader thinking ‘what the heck is going on here and why should I care’ is unlikely to venture further into the fields of the Muse.

Worse than the deliberately confusing structures of modern poetry, the content can be hideously political. It is a simple fact of literature that the more political a work is the worse it is as art. Modern poetry veers headlong into the realm of propaganda. Almost always embracing Establishment Leftism, poems serve to reaffirm the poet’s status in the eyes of his selected peers. While there has obviously been “Establishment Poetry” in the past that served what would now be considered right-wing causes, virtually all of it has been discarded as the schlock it was. Right or left, political poetry is bad poetry. Politics takes over and consumes every art form it invades. The political poet inevitably casts out poetic skill in the service of the political cause. See the collected works of Adrienne Rich for proof. In the 50s that girl could write. The Muse was at her feet and she threw it all away for a sinecure in Halls of Leftism. Poetry transcends the merely political and to tie it to a political vision is blind it to its artistic mission.

All this brings us back again to the Antiwar Poets we started with. Chances are you’ve never heard of any of them. Yet all of them spout off as if you cling to their every word. They speak of the sacred duty of the Artist. In fact, they speak of little else. Even their antiwar statements circle around to their self-proclaimed status high above the unrhyming masses. Too bad the only thing these poets will accomplish is to drive the reading public even further away from the art they claim to love. The readers driven away from poetry by its pretensions, obscurities, and didactic rantings will see their worst suspicions confirmed. They will be even less likely to reach for a volume of verse than they were before. Modern poetry, lacking an invigoratingly broad readership, will become even more inbred. Just remember, readers did not abandon poetry: poetry abandoned them.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, February 08, 2003 | link

My Kind of Guy.

Now this is an environmental cause I could get worked up about: “Support the world's dispossessed and protect nature -- wear fur.”

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, February 08, 2003 | link


Thursday, February 06, 2003

Weevil Overcome!

In response to the unrepentant uppitiness of the Mighty Marsupial’s questioning of my pride in being the sole bearer of the Order of Morawski, I omitted the honor so as not to make potential employers jealous. Some people don’t want to hire those with more medals than they themselves have. I take exception, and Nyquil when needed, to my Alabamian patriotism being challenged by a mammal who has played so fast and loose with the entrance requirements for the vaunted Axis of Weevil. He has come darn close to admitting Yankees. Let it be hereby known that we Purist Partisans of the One True State will have none of that. If the Yankees wish to get in good with the Weevilites in preparation for the coming Alabama Empire, they will have to do so as Fifth Columnists.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, February 06, 2003 | link

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy birthday Ronaldus Magnus! Ronald Reagan turned 92 today. He won the Cold War, brought America back from Carterian squalor, and kick-started a powerhouse economy. He was also one of the greatest presidents in US history. This proud Reaganaut salutes you, Gipper!

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, February 06, 2003 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Thomas Sowell, Intellectual Deity, on universities, achievement, and quotas. Only two of those topics survive.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, February 06, 2003 | link


Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Just So You Know.

I am fanatically punctual.

I have at least 10 dictionaries, in 6 languages. I also have a Fowler’s, three different writing and style guides, and an autographed copy of the collected poems of Gwendolyn Brooks.

I have always been popular with my coworkers.

I dress stylishly and professionally, yet with a personal flair.

I have never gotten a ticket.

I have won many creative writing awards, for both prose and poetry, and my research papers have been praised as especially lucid.

I am the proud creator of the A-Team Theory of Literary Criticism. Seriously.

I can cook and bake. In fact, it appears that I may be gifted with the elusive “light touch.”

I single-handedly put down the great cubicle rebellion of 2001 using only a paperclip, a Styrofoam cup, and skills I learned from McGuyver.

I bring this up for the benefit of any potential employers who have googled me. You see, I ran across this article a few days ago and it has been freaking me out. It is on the new, unintended uses of Google. Employers now can google potential hires to check out their backgrounds. They can also call up things like articles you’ve written, interviews you’ve given, arrest records, or blogs. I have written no published articles, never been interviewed by any media outlet, and have never been arrested. I do have a blog and have been wondering if it is helping or hindering my job search. I don’t think I’ve posted anything offensive. I have posted some political things and my pro-Israel sympathies are on my sleeve. Still, what if a potential employer thinks I’m too political? The most outrageous things I’ve said have been obviously facetious, but people can and do take things out of context. To sum up, I have probably been giving this far more thought than is warranted.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 | link

Compassionate Contempt?

That’s Theodore Dalrymple’s summary of the liberal academic treatment of Arabs. To make themselves feel noble they pretend an enlightened compassion for those they actually despise. He is speaking specifically of the British academic boycott of Israel:

“There’s nothing British academics like more than a good academic boycott. It makes them feel they are at the center of things, important cogs in the motor of history—and virtuous into the bargain: for virtue these days is more a matter of making the right gestures and expressing the ‘right’ opinions than of conforming one’s behavior to inconvenient ethical standards. It allows one to be a libertine on a Neronian scale and yet detect the odor of sanctity emanating powerfully from oneself.”

If that isn’t an accurate diagnosis of modern academia (and society to a great extent), what is? The gist of his argument is below:

“Here is one more example of what the French author Pascal Bruckner described: compassion as contempt. We boycott the Israelis because they are like us, and therefore ought to know better; we don’t boycott the Arabs because, poor things, they don’t know any better.”

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 | link


Sunday, February 02, 2003

The Literarium.

The Literarium has been updated. Mega-Merton has begun.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, February 02, 2003 | link


Saturday, February 01, 2003

Astronauts, R.I.P.

The seven astronauts on board the space shuttle Columbia died as the ship came apart on reentry. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, February 01, 2003 | link


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