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Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #1 

This little exercise could have gone in the "Hue and Cry" thread regarding ... well ... let us just euphemistically allude to ... "that little bit of unpleasantness in the Gaza Strip." As the A.Z.E. and U.S. governments (and their captive corporate media) keep telling us inconsequential American citizens: Nothing to see here folks. ... Just move along, now, folks. ... Just ignore those explosions and those awful screams, now, folks. ...

 

I thought it better to start a new thread, though, because in the course of our discussions, Bob Shelby submitted a poem for our consideration, and I wanted to highlight that offering as a jumping-off point for more discussion on language and literature specifically. I didn't want Bob's input to go unnoticed and unappreciated; especailly not as just more passing observations made in response to a partisan polemic -- mine -- against racism, religion, and -- even worse -- any nationalistic combination of the two lethal poisons. Anyway ...

 

I like your poem, ¡§A Green Identity,¡¨ Bob; espcially its final line:

 

"I would not know again my woes."

 

Following one of your suggestions, I read it through ¡V twice ¡V simply following the imagery and sound without attempting any sort of on-the-fly analysis and non-existential (i.e., ¡§consciousness of abstracting¡¨) editing that I habitually do when reading expository prose. I have no problem with a fifteen-line sonnet format as opposed to the traditional fourteen lines. If an extra line completes or enhances the poem¡¦s effect, then very well and good. If you will permit me, though, I do have a few observations as a (struggling and deservedly obscure) poet myself.

 

First, in simply following the sense of the poem, as I understood it, I don¡¦t think you need a question mark after the penultimate line. Given that the final line expresses a desire not to ever endure the same sad experiences again, I would think that the sentence ending before it could get by with a period ¡V making the statement a polite request and not a question. In either event, whether as beginning a question or as an indicative request, the thirteenth line might profit from a comma after ¡§carefully,¡¨ thus marking the remainder of the sentence as a clearly recognizable verbal phrase telling the gardener precisely how carefully to dig.  Or not ...

 

Second, since the opening two-lines state that the dandelion does not prevaricate ¡V or ¡§dis-assemble,¡¨ as Deputy Dubya Bush likes to babble ¡V I read that the little yellow flower bravely and unapologetically hides nothing, and so I would think that ¡§shows itself¡¨ makes a little more sense here than ¡§shows no self.¡¨ (If you had a Buddhist dandelion in mind, however, forget what I just said about "no self.") I know. Picky, picky, picky ...

 

Third, I read along with no accent or rhyme-scheme troubles until I got to the end of the sixth line, where I tripped up expecting eight syllables and only heard seven. So, mentally, I inserted "as" between "soil" and "well." Then, after the expected a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d lines, I couldn't pick up any further rhyming pattern (although the syllablic accents remained as anticipated) until the last two lines. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the poem and studied it carefully for what I could learn from it.

 

Whether or not I learned anything, I did take a stab at a fifteen-line sonnet myself, somewhat on your established "Dandelion" theme, although I tried to regularize the stanza rhyme-scheme to a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g-g. I called it, "A Yellow Bravery."

 

In addition, I thought a bit more about disputatious (or controversial) dialectics as opposed to "logic" (more about which distinction in another posting) which led me to conceive another poem this morning called "Diurnal Dialectic." For your reference, I posted both efforts at: 

 

http://themisfortuneteller.blogspot.com/2009/01/yellow-bravery.html 

 

and

 

http://themisfortuneteller.blogspot.com/2009/01/diurnal-dialectic.html

 

Now, Carol wants me to continue playing electrician in her under-remodelling kitchen. Chinese New Year looms and I've just got to get this DIY job done so I can get back to sculpting gargoyles and conversing with Stan about pragmatist philosophy and stuff like that.

 

Later to one and all ...

Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #2 
As I noted above, I wanted to snip Bob's "A Green Identity" poem from the "Hue and Cry" thread and move it here because I wanted to focus on language, philosophy, and literature issues that transcend any particular Dialectic, either disputatious or simply dithering. Bob's poem invites the reader to "identify" (i.e., consider oneself as identical) with the Dandelion which looks like a flower to some but like a weed to others. "Identification," of course, means one thing in Psychology (i.e., the study of human behavior) and something else as a matter of "logic" and/or philosophy. Poetry arrogates to itself, without apology, the license to ambiguously conflate both feeling and thinking, for emotional effect and/or intellectual stimulation, whether in service to a rhetorical purpose or just for the fun -- or hell -- of it. But since in that other thread, Bob took cordial exception to my usage of the term "Dialectic," I wanted to expand here upon my understanding of what Arthur Schopenhauer properly called "The Art of Controversy." For as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said in agreement: "Controversy equalizes wise men and fools alike -- and the fools know it." 

Again, I've adopted Schopenhauer's term "Dialectic" as interchangeable with "The Art of Controversy," in preference to the traditional/scholastic misnomer "Logic," because I have long studied the fascinating (or debilitating) subject and think I have good reasons for making distinctions where doing so can aid in clearing up so-called and self-styled  "arguments" that in reality mostly constitute "verbal disputes," or implicit and unacknowledged disagreements about the meanings of words -- to the extent that some of the words employed in pseudo-argumentation actually have a meaning. As often as not, they don't. Deliberate meaninglessness, though, does have a definite propaganda effectiveness. As George Orwell had the bureaucrat propagandist Symes say to Winston Smith in 1984: "You don't grasp the beauty of the destruction of words." Official propagandists for the U.S.A. and the A.Z.E. most definitely do grasp this "beauty." I call it "ugliness." I like my words undestroyed.

As Bob well knows -- and I wish more people did -- Alfred Korzybski based his analytic system of General Semantics (in 1933) on the basis of three principles: Non-Identity, Non-All-ness, and Self-Reflexiveness. He did this specifically and advisedly to counter and move beyond the age-old Aristotelean tradition of arguing (ostensibly "thinking") in thrall to three formal and arbitrary syllogistic rules: namely, Identity, Non-Contradiction, and Excluded Middle. As engineer Stan knows better than most, real "logic" only became useful -- for digital (or binary) computation -- when the mathematician George Boole radically dropped the Middle (or Third -- and ambiguous -- term) from reasoning altogether and in so doing reduced the entire symbol system to a universe of only two: namely, 1 (one) and 0 (zero). Nevertheless, disputatious dialecticians have refused to give up their so-called "Logic" because the so-called "Excluded Middle" -- which never accepted its nominal exclusion in the first place -- subtlely subverts every attempt of syllogistic argumentation to force or compel agreement on any subject whatsoever. Hence, Dialectics -- no matter if called "Logic" or any other misnomer -- never converges on accepted truth -- what C. S. Peirce called "The Real" -- but instead merely provides a tradition-encrusted cover -- or plausible-sounding alibi -- for endlessly cycling back and forth without resolution. Not for no reason do the rabid Christian evangelical Taliban types  advise "Teach the Controversy" as a way of undermining the teaching of scientific evolution in the public schools. Many self-interested apologists for Apartheid Zionisism have also adopted the same "divide and conquer" dialectical strategy. I like to call it by my own names: Manufactured Mendacity and Managed Mystification. The fools do know their dialectical business. But I know what I need to know about the fools and their rhetorical methods.

I'll say more about these significant distinctions as I continue posting in this thread. I can fully appreciate poetic "identification" while at the same time remembering the need for Korzybskian "non-identity" (or what the Buddhists like to call in other contexts: "awareness of no-self"). But now I have to go and play electrician again in my lovely wife's nearly remodelled kitchen. My lovely wife has suggested that I do so -- which means I know a marching order when I hear one. Sometimes consciously identifying stated "wishes" and "commands" makes a lot of marital sense.

Bob
Reply with quote  #3 
Wish I still had a sweetie to order me about, Mike. I'm losing my legs from too much computer sitting.

Your poems are a neat, double riposte, though I'm not clear how the goosing in the park connects or if I am the statue. Goodness, I'm slow enough, these days, to be taken for one. "A Yellow Courage" leaves room for another run at dandelions, for the reader was supposed to see a ghostly yellow identity through the green one, titled. The last line of my poem, thus triggered, suggests the cowardice of one not willing to bear once more the pains for the sake of those joyous and transcendent moments which gave meaning to his life. The brave artist or poet yearns not to quit the trampoline of life but to bounce ever higher. The double color effect is what makes the sonnet "poetic". A metaphor is compounded, as it were, reflexively, setting another layer on to the cake.

Mike, I think you're right about penultimate-line question mark. I take it under further consideration. And, yes, you're supposed to get the "selflessness" of the little fleur that goes along with not posturing or falsifying, and if that's Buddha-like, I think it's right.

BTW, I continue to enjoy admiringly your erudition and tenacity in exercising clear reason.

By now you have my email with the PDF hopefully elevating our focus on NE "war".
Here it is, for the others:


 
Attached Files
pdf O_Moon,_Thou_Silvery_Vocative.pdf (24.18 KB, 7 views)

Bob
Reply with quote  #4 
P. S.:

As I think your post indicates, "Aristotelean" logic was always more presentational than fundamental to conceptual reasoning. Recall, he himself pointed out that syllogistic reasoning described how folks actually tended to express thought when trying to be clear, not how thought actually proceeds through information processing to conclusions. That, as poets learn, is a bit like battling Hydra in the wilderness with a tennis racquet. I don't doubt it can be like that for engineers, as well.

I had another point to make which I now forget, but I do want to send you, Kate, Don and Stan a 71-page PDF of a mostly prose book finished this weekend after another week of proofreading & gnat-picking. I'll send it email and go to bed. It's 2:02 A.M.

Cheers.
Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #5 
Just as a parenthetical aside, Bob -- while I fulminate about how to best follow up your last observations -- I noticed that David Corn (of Mother Jones Magazine) had posted some critical remarks (at his CQ Politics blog) about Deputy Dubya Bush's butchering of our native English during one of his now-ubiquitous "exit interviews" with the sympathetic, sycophantic likes of Fox News' Brit Hume. Towards the end of his comments, Mr. Corn changed pace a bit and noted that, in his opinion, the late Heath Ledger's performance as "the Joker" in The Dark Knight (the latest installment of the Batman film franchise) made for one of the best screen bad guys of all time. Mr. Corn invited readers to respond with their own comments and choice movie villans, and many did. For my part, I contributed ... 

Quote:

I like to say that Deputy Dubya Bush disappoints us even when we expect nothing of him. So even as the doorknob prepares to smack him on the ass as he exits the Oval Office for the last time, Dick Cheney's ditzy dauphin couldn't resist mangling the grammar of our language yet again -- and probably not even for the last, official time. Saying of 30,000 people (surely a plural number) that they "was" pulled off (rooftops?) during Hurricane Katrina goes at least some way towards illustrating the utter humiliation so many of us literate Americans have experienced over the past eight years every time this second grade drop out from Uncle Jim-Bob's Hillbilly Homeschool opens his mouth to fart his fatuous, fantastic fabrications.

... And I completely agree with those who found Robert Mitchum -- in Night of the Hunter -- the scariest screen bad guy ever. I liked Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, but comic book fanboy fascists do not frighten adults -- as a competent actor should -- more with their restrained, barely-repressed evil than through gaudy, in-your-face outlandishness. At least, so said director Nick Meyer to his star actor Ricardo Montalban as the bad guy who stole the show in Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan.



Back to our regular conversation about poetry, general semantics, dialectics, and so forth shortly ...

Michael Murry
Reply with quote  #6 

Someone on another blog mentioned a little lyric from Stephen Sondheim's (1973) song, "Send in the Clowns," which instigated something in me to pay my own hyperbolic homage to U.S./A.Z.E. hypocrisy with "Send in the Frowns" at:

http://themisfortuneteller.blogspot.com/2009/01/send-in-frowns.html

There. That ought to teach all those dead Iraqis, Afghans, and Palestinians a lesson they'll never forget for the rest of their lives that they don't have anymore. Soon now, the inbred and isolated U.S./A.Z.E. pariah partners will make dispossessed and determined desperadoes -- or "terrorists" -- of all (which means practically the civilized world now) who resist and reject Imperial Apartheid Zionist-Christianism.

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