REVIEWS, POLEMICS, PANEGYRICS & TINGLY FANCIES of the SCHADENFREUDE GAZETTE

sg-DSC_3675 (2)

 

1. UPSTATE, by JAMES WOOD: a GLOATING REVIEW from a LONG TIME HATER

 

With the doggedly cheeky defiance that often passes for self-belief,  Yuppie Book Club Bouncer James Wood has submitted his second completed assignment toward earning his certificate as a Fledgling Novelist. Wood’s first effort, the meticulously soporific The Book Against God, was a forgivable failure which left unanswered the question of whether this unnecessary book was a novelist’s first failure, in essence,  or that of an overreaching critic’s. Was James Wood’s first completed long-form fiction assignment, The Book Against God,  the inevitable dud of a dabbler?

The completion of Wood’s second effort, Upstate,  answers that question.  The answer (one may be surprised to learn) is “no”. James Wood is not a “dabbler”. Wood is genuinely attempting to write novels… with the result that his efforts are no better or worse than the contents of the preponderant bulk of Earth’s bursting warehouses of published, long-form, fair-to-middling fiction. There are just as few imperative arguments for Wood to quit as there are for him to keep at it. He should probably flip a coin (if his audience doesn’t).

Wood is a solidly mediocre novelist with (blatantly-telegraphed) ambitions far above the middling station of his technique and imagination. Without the social pressure exerted by his high profile gig as the (neo-Anglophile) New Yorker’s Flagship Middlebrow Sensibility, James Wood might well have found a cozy niche in the Soccer Mom Genre or in YA fiction. Sadly, more is expected of him.

In Upstate, a concerned father is summoned to undertake a road trip from the Northeast of England to Upstate, New York.  The father is on an introspective mission to rescue one of his two daughters from brainy depression; the father is 68 (although the book reads as though Wood decided to increase each key character’s age by a decade, halfway through writing it, to increase the gravitas, or fix a hole in the chronology, or something; lines like “And the truth was, Vanessa had been much happier in recent months, since she and Josh started going out in June; she was full of new projects and resolve,” feel rather off regarding a 40-year-old woman). The book is meant to be, among other weighty things, a philosophical inquiry into the mysterious nature of personality,  and personality-as-fate, the philosophy embedded in the interior monologues of Wood’s mouthpieces. The problem being that only a 25-year-old would find such passages enlightening.  Or (again) be likely to say (as 40-year-old Vanessa is made to say) such things as:

“Heidegger. I’m reading him with the German philosophy reading group. Remember—tonight? I’m plugging away at him, but I don’t think I’m quite ‘getting’ him. A very difficult philosopher, Dad. Famous for his impenetrability. I can give you the original German terms, if you want.”

Wood treats us to free indirect access to more of 40-year-old “academic philosopher” Vanessa’s moody ruminations about two-thirds through the book:

She saw, now, that her own small battle to reconcile analytic philosophy and
continental European philosophy could probably be traced back to this moment,
in bed in her Oxford college … Sartre was right: Camus was no great
philosopher. But Vanessa admired Camus for not being philosophically
sophisticated. Now she felt that Nagel stood for academic philosophy, with all its
strengths and weaknesses, and that Camus was life, with all its bigger strengths
and bigger weaknesses.

Sartre? Camus? Life? To a 40-year-old? Even in 2006*, the year in which Upstate is set, shouldn’t she be obsessing on Zizek, Kristeva, Lacan or something exotically titillating like post-Heideggerian Object Oriented Ontology, instead? Assigning fangirlish thoughts on Heidegger/ Sartre/ Camus to an “academic philosopher,” in a book set in 2006, is a lazily,  cornily, anachronistic Woody Allenism at best.

Upstate’s programmatic plotting (an oik’s idea of a don’s idea of a Cameron Crowe movie) is familiar enough to work, for some. If the halfhearted swerves toward sophistication (dick references in the text and in the book’s title, for the unobservant) were edited out and the cover art improved and Wood himself were persuaded to wear a Knausgaardesque rug, Upstate might do fairly well. It could probably fill the follow-up gap Jonathan Franzen left unfilled (or far too problematized) after the Winfreyite success of The Corrections. As putatively fancy Literary Fiction, on the other hand, Upstate simply won’t do. It doesn’t challenge, confound, redefine, re-frame, redeem, reinvigorate, blaspheme or bless. Only the resolutely middlebrow (e.g. the credulous Lutheran savages, mentioned below) would be entirely unembarrassed to be caught with this book in a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte queue.

But let us not be unsympathetic to the corner of the quandary the man has painted himself into as a novelist;  imagine making a splash, a generation ago,  as a critic, by anathematizing precisely the kind of experimentation that could have helped this dutifully adequate novel develop into something (anything) more interesting?

“In happier times, Alan and Cathy had loved to observe the differences between their daughters. How often, in the evening, when other conversation faltered, the two parents talked about “the girls,” with the kind of fanatical wonderment—monotonous but somehow never boring!—that revolutionaries must lavish on their plans for the future. Helen was exuberant, playful, disobedient, physical; Vanessa was shy, gentle, slow to anger, studious, very private. For a while, these differences seemed provisional, part of the scramble of growing up; everything was potential. But eventually, so Alan discovered, the child’s feet stop growing, her trousers don’t need to be let out anymore, her handwriting has the form it will have for the rest of her life, her bedsheets bear the occasional but unmistakable bloodstains of new adolescence—and, as if suddenly, while you were not properly attending to the matter (or so it seemed to him now), while you were too busy with your own foolish crises, your daughter became an adult, and those qualities that had seemed malleable were now hardened and fixed.”

That’s a sample of Upstate’s main stuff; 80% of the book consists of it. Lots of straightforward telling (special editions should come with a Reader’s Quiz in the back). Lots of cardboard exposition-dumping. One is somehow not really reading the book itself, which exists, we suspect, at a remove, in a platonic state, as one of Wood’s hypothetical accomplishments: no, one is reading Wood’s very lackluster description of the book he is keeping in his head. Describing it in the dullest prose he can muster. Upstate, by James Wood,  as a teaser for “Upstate: An Impressively Worthy Novel by Novelist/ Critic James Wood”.

Technical divagation:

…years ago, in the mid-’90s, I met a Londoner, a prospering refugee, in the US. I had just returned after 5 straight years in Europe and I was talking books with this Brit who was making terrifically good money by selling Britishness to credulous, genteel Lutheran savages of the Midwest (a canny business model, eh Mr Wood?). His clientele were largely ‘ousewives with bits of college under their belts. “Nigel” was their Creative Writing Instructor. He would charge, I remember, about 100 bucks for a read-through of one’s shitty, bodice-ripping manuscript, and some hefty per-hour fee for attending his weekly “workshop,” in which a circle of these housewives basked in the smartiness of his charming accent. What a scam, I thought (not entirely unlike third-tier Bushwick rappers making a splash in Berlin: why don’t I rap?).  The scam paid for a house on the lake, an old boat and an office/apartment in the fashionable Uptown. More power to him.

“Nigel” had published just one waffle-thick paperback of linked short-stories with an amateurish-looking cover.  I read through the copy he made me an egocentric gift of and noted how often his metaphors were paired with “as if,”… as if one needed to preface comparing a girl’s face, to the moon in June,  with a conscientious disclaimer: “This is just a metaphor, remember, but…”. After reading the fifteenth “as if,” in this lovable conman’s  negligible booklet, I learned to ease up on the “as ifs” in my own writing.

Which can make a difference in a long-form text.  Trust the reader to understand “Her face was the moon” or “His penis was a jackhammer”  or “His heart was a self-savaging piranha”  without invariably leaning on the annoyingly repetitive disclaimers “as though” or “as if” and so on. In Upstate, which is novella-length, I counted more than 60 “as ifs.” Novice!  So, instead of, say:

“There was a sound from far away, an irregular pounding, the bigfoot tread of a large diesel engine, and then the noise began to swell, and suddenly it burst out like water, as if a deep river were flowing past them, very near, a huge river overflowing a valley, threshing and beating.”

… try the subtly more-muscular:

“There was a sound from far away, an irregular pounding, the bigfoot tread of a large diesel engine, and then the noise began to swell, and suddenly it burst out,  a deep river flowing past them, very near, a huge river overflowing a valley, threshing and beating.”

(Actually, I’d cut, Lish-like, that extraneous “large,”  “deep” and “huge” and probably lose the last rhythm-crippling dependent clause, too).

In long-form texts, the subtly useful and the mildly problematic, both, accrete into cumulatively powerful  effects; some can become chronic conditions: are Wood’s decent enough eye for description, and his erudition,  enough to over-balance his lack of real wit (pasting in old jokes is not “wit”), his plodding exposition, his constitutional inability to delight or surprise…?

One reads Upstate with the tight smile of a frazzled teacher facing a C-student’s earnest  effort  (a pile of papers still to grade).  As if… Or, no. Better: Upstate reminds me of a just-released Bossa Nova album, c. 2018, with all the familiar chords, rhythms, lyrics and melodies… and slightly modern post-’90s production.  Why should anyone really care about such an artifact? The curse of the pathology of cultural over-production imposes on us so many, many things that are neither truly awful nor genuinely interesting.

Does everyone expect a gold star for mastering the adequate, these days? No gold star, James Wood. Take your rightful place in the tepid sea of the workmanlike purveyors of the gratingly adequate.

Next…?

 

*The book is set in 2006. Wood’s hubristically titled “How Fiction Works” came out in 2008; a subconsciously witty alibi for failing to produce a novel to match the latter book’s prescriptions?

.

2. WHERE TRUMPITES & CLINTONIANS MINGLE

 

There’s a humorous video, a few years old,  from the band Hot Chip. In the video, to make a long story short, a boy band, onstage before a crowd of enraptured teens, is wiped out by a peculiar character with supernatural powers, who looks like a chemo-patient-cum-guru (played by some White Guy), then resurrected by the same character, until an enormous floating head (played by some Black Guy) kills off the boy band and the audience with his death ray eyes. The video follows the narrative logic of contemporary comedy: random x camp = funny. Curiosity regarding the video’s director led me to a (random) discussion of the video in which a commenter did the best job, of embodying Liberal Racism, that I have seen in years, especially since her racist remark was clothed in the purple cape of progressive virtue-signalling. The woman (“I have two college degrees, two children and a house. I am overeducated and underemployed. Some day I’d like to do something important/interesting, besides raising my kids,” says her profile, which also mentions her fondness for Jane Austen’s work) commented:

“I have to admit, I find the video extremely creepy. I also noted a few things not yet mentioned. Most of the references you noted seem clear. But the preening looks and dancing of the boy band made them seem, to me, like stereotyped gay men. The black floating head, with its fat cheeks & XL lips, also seem like an offensive stereotype.”

Well, you can’t get more racist (in a cognitively dissonant way) than stating that a Black guy’s actual physical appearance (“XL lips”!) are an “offensive stereotype.” She ended her comment with:

Most likely, the video is simply the story of a hunky boy band that gets attacked by some sort of supernatural Gandhii/creeper, but then all are killed by Amos/Andy.

I give North American Racism another two hundred years. At least.

.

 

3. ABOUT THOSE (UNFASHIONABLE BUT SO WHAT) BEATLES: adapted from YouTube comments

 

Paul had more musical talent than John but less conceptual genius. Paul had great moments but lots of his output is middlebrow kitsch. “Imagine,” “Instant Karma,” “Revolution,” “Number Nine Dream,” “Strawberry Fields,” “I Am The Walrus,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” et al, are greater Art than the whimsical or sentimental “Hey Jude,” “Let it Be,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Penny Lane,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Golden Slumbers,” et al, though “Yesterday” and “Blackbird” are greater examples of song craft than “My Life” or “Help”. Paul’s results when he expresses himself in other fields don’t really stand out… he lacks that bold spark and the courage to ignore prevailing tastes; he tries too hard to please and he can’t tell his embarrassing ideas from the strong ones… “Ram” and “Band on the Run” are deeply satisfying collections of examples of the best song craft of their respective eras but lots and lots of silly efforts (including “Silly Love Songs,” the failed attempt to preempt criticism) followed. “Magical Mystery Tour,” the film, embodies Paul’s weaknesses as an Artist and as a creator who dabbles in other fields. Paul is more the Populist and John rather more the Artist: we know this.  But do we know why? Lennon’s “Number Nine Dream,” for example, manages to be as sentimental as anything Paul wrote, but it also managed to be (and remain) rather avant garde sounding. Being able to combine such diametrically opposed attributes is the mark of a real Artist. Paul never quite pulled that off. But no one could beat Paul for sheer clever fun (John’s work was not often “fun”), as with “Uncle Albert”. Two very different creators with very different strengths.

The connection people are missing, weirdly, is between John and… (wait for it)… Kanye West. Think about it. Not saying they’re equal artists (Lennon had more of a musical education, and an Art School education on top of it). But there are moments when the sheer effort at being as Truthful as Possible (whether or not one is also, coincidentally, factually incorrect)… in a world that considers Truth embarrassing, dangerous or sacrilegious… renders the Truth-teller sort of blazingly inarticulate. The ideas are fighting to come out in such an explosive way, through such a thick and hostile barrier, that they come out shattered, like shrapnel. But you can sense a Sincere Soul, in there, struggling mightily to cut through the Lies & Bullshit… in the cases of both men.

And, of course, John was hindered by Yoko as Kanye is hindered by…

 

.

4. THE CO-OPITALIST MANIFESTO (from the Novel KOOTCHIE TOWERS)

 

1. Communism can only exist in relation (and reaction) to Patriarchal Capitalism; true Communists must come from Capitalist households, where they are formed in Oedipal Opposition to the default Unfairness/ Destructiveness of Patriarchal Relations (as centered on the Patriarchal Relative, aka Chieftain).

2. Patriarchal Relations are rooted in the prehistoric tradition of Violence as a Necessary (ie Natural) Means and Survival as Product delivered by Chieftain. Patriarchal Relations are a prehistoric tradition, extended beyond its Natural Era and poorly disguised with transparent and semi-transparent masks of Modernity; beneath the masks the system remains blatantly Polygamous, Filicidal, Ecocidal, Rapey, Incestuous, Mystical and Warmongering… in the absence of the balance that being once situated within the Foodchain provided, wherein Violence was Natural (ie Necessary). Patriarchal Relations situated external to the Foodchain no longer feature a Natural Violence nor delivers Survival as its ultimate Product, but, rather, it delivers Destruction (which will not be defined as a value-free process but, specifically, as the Destruction-of-What-is-Good. The Destruction-of-What-is-Bad shall be defined as Cure).

3. Without Patriarchal Capitalism to oppose, there is no Fun (aka Internal Motivation) to drive the populations constituent of a Communist State. Communism would no longer shine as an option among Noble Vocations but would loom, rather, as Existential Punishment (ie, Punishment decoupled from Transgression; Punishment as Default).

4. Without the Fun of being Oedipal Opposition to Patriarchal Capitalism to power it, Communism’s raison d’etre collapses to its meanest Philosophical Alibi: “Fairness”. But what can be Fair about a system promising the same rewards for all, distributed Equally, irrespective of Talent or Effort? The Great must be free to gather naturally to the High; the Meager must be free to gather naturally to the Mean. The Basic Requirements of Life can be granted as the Floor while the Possible Ceiling is allowed to remain High: this is Fair to the extent that both Beggar and Billionaire become obsolete while the Millionaire remains a Possible, with Possible defined as the Direction in which Society’s Movement is generally organized along the Natural Distribution of Accomplishment. To Each as He/She/Herm Earns, from Each as He/She/Herm Owes.

5. To the extent that Communism already exists, in actual practise rather than as an Oedipal Daydream of Opposition to the default Unfairness of Patriarchal Capitalism among Patriarchal Capitalism’s hostages, Communism is a Parasitic Utopia, depending, for its existence, on a dominant Host (Patriarchal Capitalism).

5a An example of a Parasitic Utopia writ small would be Bohemia, which is not a state or even a commune but a mode of reacting to, and feeding off of, the dominant Host of Patriarchal Capitalism. Bohemia is the stripping of Duty (in the framework of Patriarchal Capitalism) from Privilege in order to distill Privilege into its purest form, which is Decadence framed not as Regulated Reward for Duty but Privilege framed as Reality (which is not possible without the Supervening Reality of the dominant Host; to this extent, Bohemia is Convincing Fantasy enacted with such dedication that it is barely distinguishable from a Real Reality until a Revelatory Crisis… eg, the loss of a private income or the intervention of a constabulary… foregrounds its Contradictions).

5b The Parasitic Utopia that exists as the mirror-opposite of Bohemia is Communism, which is Duty as Duty-and-the -Reward-for-Duty both, ie, in which Privilege is Duty wearing a mask: an Existential Punishment.

6. The Cure for Patriarchal Capitalism cannot be either aforementioned Parasitic Utopia, in that neither can exist without Patriarchal Capitalism as the dominant host. The Cure for Patriarchal Capitalism can only be Cooperative Capitalism, aka, CO-OPITALISM, ie, Capitalism with the prehistoric figure of the Patriarch removed and restored exclusively to the safe confines of its proper (pre) historical Era.

 

 

5. THE BEST LYRICS of a POSTMODERNIST BREAK-UP SONG of THE 2010s**

DEATH SPIRAL
[Verse 1]
Hold up, I was reborn the second before the
Plane became shards of glass
And ash when it crashed on arrival I woke up
Feeling like I’m sipping on some René Descartes
And you’re Big Gulping the Bible
Your wings are broken so we fly in a spiral
All I have is my love of love
But now you wanna blow us up
You’re so rock ‘n’ roll suicidal

[Pre-Chorus]
Tailspin, nose down
Now it’s a race to the bottom
Tailspin, nose down
Now it’s a race to the bottom

[Chorus]
You spin me around
In a wild death spiral
We’re hitting the ground
In a fiery pile
Whose fault I couldn’t fly
For the dials, only by the eye
Now the ring is on fire
Now it’s final
Death spiral

[Verse 2]
What can we say? It’s too late
We can’t rewind to when we were both open and amazed
Like a wide-eyed child’s smile
But it’s the end, we’re enemies, not friends
I don’t know your state of mind, mine’s good, bye

[Pre-Chorus]
Tailspin, nose down
Now it’s a race to the bottom
Tailspin, nose down
Now it’s a race to the bottom

[Chorus]
You spin me around
In a wild death spiral
We’re hitting the ground
In a fiery pile
Whose fault I couldn’t fly
For the dials, only by the eye
Now the ring is on fire
Now it’s final
Death spiral

[Chorus]
Our love is in a spiral
Death
Our love is a
Death
My love is a
Death
Our love is in a spiral
Death spiral
Our love is a
Death
My love is a
Death
Our love is in a spiral
Death spiral
Spiral
Death spiral
Spiral

[Bridge]
This isn’t ’bout the time you chased me down the street
Face a rictus of misery and pain
You grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let me leave
Taxi! Taxi! Taxi!
Or how I never learned to let you breathe
Condescended relentlessly
These threads need disentangling
So we have thread left to weave

Now our love is spiraling finally down
Now our helix is widening, coming unbound

[Chorus]
You spin me around
In a wild death spiral
We’re hitting the ground
In a fiery pile
Whose fault I couldn’t fly
For the dials, only by the eye
Now the ring is on fire
Now it’s final
Death spiral

[Outro]
Our love is in a spiral
Death
Your love is a
Death
My love is a
Death
Our love is in a spiral
Death spiral
Your love is a
Death
My love is a
Death
Our love is in a spiral
Death spiral
Your love is a
Death
My love is a
Death
Our love is in a spiral
Death spiral
Spiral
Death spiral
Spiral

-Dave Longstreth

 

** Best Love Song Lyrics of the past 50 years: Ultravox’ MY SEX and Psychedelic Furs’ SISTER EUROPE… and Andy Partridge: DICTIONARY (when you’re feeling crispy)

 

6. THE MOST INTERESTING LETTER I EVER GOT (from one of the most brilliant people I ever knew): an excerpt

 

REGARDING THE EVENTS of 1977

 

Hi S,

although I should be writing a final paper for Observation and Recording
(observation of a child in educational setting, recording objective (har)
description of said child’s every move) I am instead writing to you.

Here’s what I remember.

I don’t remember meeting you but I am pretty sure I met you through Eunice
H___ who, I think, met Keith W___ first. I remember hanging out in the
hallway at Girls’ High where the large plaster cast of the winged victory
stood. You and Keith were around or maybe it was India and Jasmine (Jade?).
I do not remember Jasmine (Jade?) except that she was beautiful and sort of
tiny and yours for the time being. As I recall. India was Keith’s. There
was conversation at some point about Keith and India’s ill-advised birth
control practices. I don’t know who spoke about that. I don’t know what
production you and Keith may or may not have been involved with – perhaps one
of the terrible terrible plays that were presented. With Mr. Mealy or
whatever his name was, directing. It was a way to meet boys, although I
would not ever have said that. It was a way to not go home and listen to
“Love Hurts” on the radio or whatever the hell. Were it not for Eunice,
though, I wouldn’t have met you guys.

I saw Eunice a year or so after I moved to NYC, so around 1986. She was sort
of snide to me. I got the impression that she was in some sort of mental bad
shape, she seemed very intent on impressing me with her connections to
artists and scene and so on. I never saw her again. I remember her teeth
and how her eyes became when she smiled. She had a crush on my cousin Ben
when she was at NYU and he also was. He was tall. She had been my good
friend, though.

I remember a day in December when it was warm, and I was going into school
through the Broad street door, maybe straight to choir practice, maybe it was
that early. I think that there was a tree there, and probably black iron
gates that could close off the stairway after hours. Maybe not. I still
dream about that school very often. I was wearing no coat, just an old old
cream colored cashmere sweater that had been my mothers. A cardigan, with
thin shell buttons. Probably with a brown and black and orange and lavender
plaid shirt – it wasn’t bad, it just sounds it now. You were there, maybe
with Keith. You seemed sort of happy. You had just done something,
intentionally or not, with some blemish somewhere on your face (I do not
remember). I do remember looking at a little welling dome of blood (it is so
red, it is opaque and luminous at the same time). Probably I remember this
because it broke some spell of fearful adulation which had bound me to you
briefly. Or I might remember it because I am an inveterate picker and have
been from a very early age.

I was 16 or 15 when I knew you. You gave me the hawk or eagle from the
funeral home. I kept it until 1982 when I left it in the office of the
printmaking department of the Philadelphia College of Art while I went to
Rome for a semester. I came back and they had put a green wriggling rubber
lizard in the bird’s beak. The bird still looked rancorous and had its
wonderful acrid smell. 20 years later the bird is in the current office of
the printmaking dept. in what is now the University of the Arts. And no one
knows where it came from, really.

I am sure there was something more I could’ve said about knowing you in
Philadephia. I don’t recall whether it was you or Keith who was really so
keen on the Beatles. I thought it was you. I think this every time I sing
Not a Second Time to my kid. It’s a funny song coming from me. Ridiculous
even.

That’s about what there is. Once Heather H__ borrowed a suede thrift
store jacket of mine to go on a date with Ben H__. I never got the jacket
back. I always wondered if the date had led to anything.

Now that really, really is almost all there is. After Bill L__ had been in
college a couple of months, back in 1977, in the fall, he called me to say he
had slit his arms, like inner elbow as it were. He was depressed and he’d
cut open his arms. I didn’t know what to say. I am sure I was the terrible
opposite of comforting. That is the last I heard from (or of) him. I think
the cuts he’d made prevented him from playing rugby or whatever it was that
he played.

OK, time to write this paper now. I am going to use Heine’s Lorelei as an
organizing trope (about the kid I observed, or boys or men in general, who
are wrecks because they are trying to attain/regain connection with some
female ideal in an effort to repair the trauma sustained through a premature
separation from the mother).

Yeah, so that is that.

Looking for God, I remain,
Rachel

 

.

7. ALL THINGS IN….

(I hate it when a perfectly good and inoffensive comment gets stuck in moderation; sometimes it’s an honest mistake, sometimes it’s graceless fuckery)

 

Runaway Handicap

  1. StAugsays:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

June 23, 2018 at 11:08 am

“So, in the parlance of sexual selection theory, a large and colourful peacock’s tail is a ‘reliable indicator’ of particular good genes…”

Which implies a certain amount of fancy cognition on the part of the partner-choosing animal. Maybe the larger tail doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that larger tails are “attractive” (for random reasons); it’s not as though Nature has to make sense. Do larger breasts in human females confer any rational advantage (breast size doesn’t correlate with potential milk-output)? I think the concept of “sexual attraction” is too often treated as a function of useful evolutionary decision-making, in the Animal Kingdom, or as an irreducibly-personal quirk of aesthetics, among humans, when it deserves, in fact, to be studied more extensively without a just-so bias (as does the vague concept of “instinct,” which must have an epigenetic basis). Or not: such study could end up being the Death of Poetry!

 

UPDATE: Luvly: this one (above) came in ( have so many carefully-crafted comments shoved in limbo, every year, that I’ve become paranoid, I suppose!):

Hi StAug – Thanks for the interesting comment. The poem simply grew out of my amusement at the two notions in evolutionary theory. I then tried to apply them to myself.

****

…only, in THIS following case, it’s my fault: I used a word, in my gnomic quip, that will probably never make it through the PC Filter:

moderation

.

.

8. THE SCHADENFREUDE GAZETTE GALLERY

 

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

12 Comments

  1. “There was a sound from far away, an irregular pounding, the bigfoot tread of a large diesel engine, and then the noise began to swell, and suddenly it burst out, a deep river flowing past them, very near, a huge river overflowing a valley, threshing and beating.”

    The bigfoot tread of a diesel, far away, oncoming, swelled near to bursting before the clank of its staccato pounding died in the flow of the huge, threshing tide of the river pouring past them into a dark valley.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. comment not meant to be sinister – just seems like you two were showing that you could out-Woody (ha ha) Woody – which, obvsly, you boyz can!
    (Psychedelic Furs did it sufficiently well, and simply, when they sang “Into you like a train” – fewer words)

    or is your “sinister” question in reference to my SA AS border comment? (which, also not meant to be sinister) (not even about your SASSY ASS)

    Like

    1. Aha but you see, Mimi, the point was that Jim H re-arranged the words of a quote from Woody himself… creating a sort of anagrammatized sentence… to reveal the heaving, pounding, throbbing, surging metaphor within the original metaphor! Woody’s crypto-priapic book is called “Upstate,” after all…

      Like

  3. ja I saw what Jim H did there –
    “A little less conversation, a little more action, please”

    “Upstate” LOL – did not immediately catch that

    cheers!
    : )
    m

    Like

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR [letters are vetted for cogency and style]

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s