Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Goin' Down

David, after having a few drinks to boost his courage, decided it was finally time to kill himself. She said no to him, so he'd say no to the world. He walked over to the river slowly,not thinking much. He walked over to the guard rails and with a loud gloosh jumped in. He dunked under the water, and let it carry him for half a minute, until he realized he didn't write a suicide note. Shit.
David pushed off of the river bottom, and got a breath of air. He couldn't swim, so he couldn't reach the shore, and the water was too deep and fast to walk to the shore. Damnit, David did not want to die without an explanation. He flailed about in the water, trying to teach himself how to swim in his final moments.
It was a bad idea wearing shoes this is idiotic why did I want to kill myself HELP. David panicked, and thrashed his arms and legs hoping that would give him some purchase on the surface; he started sinking again. I'm dying because I took it too hard. She probably already had a date why didn't my papa teach me how to swim this water is too dirty to drink, and yet everyone in the city gulps it down HELP.
David gave up; he accepted his fate, closed his eyes, and spread out his arms and legs, inviting death.

The sun came up; light filtered in through the trees, and onto the river. David was floating on the surface, still spread out. His smile looked cold and fixed, but he was breathing. He opened his eyes, and looked to his left; he could reach the shore if he splashed a bit, but he kept floating. I never really liked that town. I wonder if I can reach New Orleans like this; I hear it's nice there. David smiled warmly, and spit some water in the air.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An experiment in the avant garde: burned^

The sky is grayand
cloudless above me
It's hot
------too hot to
feel anything bu
-t grimy
------- and dingy ands
Im hotbut
of the
BU(*)T allifeel

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Hemingway: The rain fell. Nick sighted the deer.

Faulkner: Pa don't understand why I watch the rain; "It's just another burden boy, look at something else." But he don't see everything. He don't see the way water comes together, like a family. He don't see how it all trails to one thing. He don't see everything.

Kosinski: I had to be very careful watching my comet in this weather; a peat flame would burn slowly, but I had to keep swinging the can or else the water would drown the flame. The rain made the ground slippery and hard to walk on, and the hill made it even worse. I had to be careful to not slip and have my comet burn out.

Thompson: The rain made the ground hard to walk on, and the ether didn't help any; even a drunk isn't as irresponsible as a man kneck deep in an ether binge. I slipped and slid down this trail, and looked at my lawyer. "YOu fat smoin' FfffffffCK!"

Hamann: Rivulets made their unsteady way down the hill. They pooled into a creek. It's interesting how things all have a habit of coming together, of organizing themselves into bigger and more complex creations. Complexity theory at work.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Death Of The Thinking Class; Keeping the flames of Cynicism, Sarcasm, Irony, and Contempt Burning

[Since I just finished up a play, I figured I'd post an essay I've been writing.]

Since the early 1950s, contempt has been creeping into literature. It started off as a few dissatisfied writers, writing about how Modernism failed, everything beforehand has failed, so why even bother making something new? It’s just going to fail. This nihilistic hatred for the past is known as Postmodernism, and is slowly putting a chokehold on our world’s supply of thinkers.
Postmodernism is particularly hard to define; unlike modernism, it doesn’t have an identity. It’s not trying to make something new, it’s not trying to stop a world war, and it’s not looking at the beauty and greatness of humanity. Postmodernism rejects everything Modernism wrought; new ideals, another look at morality, new ideas, and preventing another world war through art. Postmodernism is the cultural backlash after World War II. Modernism failed, new ideas failed, deep thought failed, so what does that leave? Postmodernists feel it leaves shallowness, reuse of old ideas, the thought that “nothing can be new”, and a new gap between the writer and his work. Literary critics have said the following about postmodernism;
“The Theory of Rejecting Theories.” Tony Cliff
“A generation raised on channel-surfing has lost the capacity for linear thinking and analytical reasoning.” Chuck Colson
“Postmodernist fiction is defined by its temporal disorder, its disregard of linear narrative, its mingling of fictional forms and its experiments with language.” Barry Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro
“It’s the combination of narcissism and nihilism that really defines postmodernism,” Al Gore
Al Gore seems to ring the most truth so this essay will be focusing on his definition of postmodernism. But what does it mean? It means nothing exists, all of the old texts are rubbish, and nothing has meaning except for my writings. ME ME ME! Chuck Palahniuk once said, “The only reason why we ask other people about how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our weekend.” (Palahniuk, 87) Postmodernism is a form of navel-gazing in that respect, because it takes those ideals to an extreme. It doesn’t try to go deep, it doesn’t try to give you new insights; it wants you to know that it went water skiing last weekend. There is a reason the majority of postmodern books are written in the first person; it’s easier to relate a story in the first person.
The real problem with Postmodernism is how it’s affecting English departments in universities. Everything that was previously taught has been deemed wrong because it’s canon, and therefore useless. According to Philip Ayres,
'The situation could have been averted, coverage of the field could have been maintained, but for the fact postmodernists came to dominate the liberal arts in the early 1980’s, insisting there are no such things as canon for English or French literature, or of serious music, or any of the plastic arts. The truth is no one ever heard the word canon until this set of critics started evoking it as a phantom enemy, and if it ever was a popular concept it was thought as fluid, not static. In any case the result is those who are paid to know don’t know.'
(Ayres, 2)
A teacher who doesn’t know what he’s teaching leads to students who don’t know what they’re reading, which leads to frustration, which leads to an antipathy toward reading. And why bother reading when the movie is already out? Thinking processes have turned our nation’s youth into substandard readers with no talent or skill for writing. After all, if you’re having trouble writing, you can add in a plot twist! Oh, Tyler is Jack! Bruce Willis was dead the whole time! The house has a monster! There’s no need to work in a reason why, because it’s all postmodern!
Postmodernism is also in love with Marxism, believing there’s no one person better than others. Tom Wolfe said it best when he said

'The names vary but the subtext is always the same: Marxism may be dead, and the proletariat has proved to be hopeless. They’re all at sea with their third wives. But we can find new proletariats whose ideological benefactors we can be- women, non-whites, put-upon white ethnics, homosexuals, transsexuals, the polymorphously perverse, pornographers, prostitues (sex workers), hardwood trees- which we can use to express our indignation toward the powers that be and our aloofness to their bourgeois stooges… (Wolfe)'

Another problem with postmodernism is its subset, deconstructionism. Originally created by Jacques Derrida, deconstruction is a form of creating a wedge between the writer and his work. A deconstructionist uses clever words, a caustic tongue, and fuzzy logic, to prove something means exactly the opposite of what it seems. Chip Morningstar said it perfectly when he wrote, “the basic enterprise of contemporary literary criticism is actually quite simple. It is based on the observation that with a sufficient amount of clever handwaving and artful verbiage, you can interpret any piece of writing as a statement about anything at all.” (Morningstar) Let’s say I want to deconstruct the sentence “I love my cat,” to mean I hate society. The essay would say something along the lines of:

“I love my cat.” In saying this, the writer is making a distinction between his cat and the world around him. by making such a distinction, the writer is effectively alienating the idea of ‘society’ from the statement, suggesting a form of contempt by means of negligence. You may notice the writer also refrains from mentioning anything beyond said love for the cat, specifically about his personal circumstances. This suggests the reader is ashamed of his place in the world, and casts blame at the world itself. By this simple train of thought, the writer hates the world, and specifically the society that brought him there.

Of course, unlike a regular deconstructionist essay, I refrained from using the dense language of a literary critic. That would look more like this:

““Reality is fundamentally a legal fiction,” says Lacan; however, according to Scuglia[2] , it is not so much that reality that is fundamentally a legal fiction, but rather the fatal flaw, and eventually the absurdity, of reality. However, the primary theme of Dietrich’s[3] analysis of posttextual narrative is the bridge between society and sexual identity. And abundance of appropriations concerning neosemantic desituationism may be found. “ (

If you read into the essay, you’ll notice it means absolutely. It’s a series of buzzwords and names, with no actual content placed inside. In fact, that’s a randomly generated essay; what content that was placed into it is there by the token of serendipity, not any actual thought. This is what can be passed off in college circuits though. It will be pored over by a bunch of eggheads detached from the world, except for their ability to spout vitriolic nonsense. These people are so detached from actual meaning in content, they are shocked when they read a book like As I Lay Dying or Catch-22. They are used to manufacturing their own subtext, without even a thought to the author. Donald Norman was right when he said, “Academics get paid for being clever, not for being right.”
Postmodernism advocates a lack of canon literature, (Ayres) writing in plot twists that don’t work into your story, and manufacturing meaning for the works of others. Each of these undermine literature in their own way. If no one ever reads the liker of Faulkner, Milton, Pope, or Dryden, they will never know the great works, and likely the people they teach will never know, effectively destroying any past knowledge. If we can just add a plot twist whenever stuck writing, we’ll make convoluted stories that will never make sense, destroying any chance at future knowledge. If we just paste our own ideals onto an essay or story, the artist will lose his voice and be unable to speak his mind, undermining everything he works for. All of these put together lead up to the destruction of our culture, with the death of the mind.
I’d like to finish up my essay with a quote from Edward Friedlander, MD;
“There was a time when people enjoyed discovering how much we all have in common, and how most of us wanted the same things despite the superficial differences. There was even a time when we thought the best way to overcome misunderstanding, prejudice, and hate was by means of reason, common sense, clear-thinking, and good will.
“We called this being scientific. We called this being rational. We called this being enlightened. We called this being liberal.
“We called this being modern.”

Works Cited

Ayres, Philip. “Cheerless Culture Killers.” Editorial. Quadrant June 2006: 1-5.
Bulhak, Andrew C., and Josh Larios. “The Absurdity of Society.” Communications From Elsewhere. 15 Feb. 2007
“Deconstruction.” Wikipedia. 15 Feb. 2007
Friedlander, Edward R. “Why I Am Not a Postmodernist.” Pathguy. Jan. 2005. 15 Feb. 2007
Gore, Al. “Al Gore’s Fifth Column.” Observer. Aug. 2000. 15 Feb. 2007
Morningstar, Chip. “How To Deconstruct Almost Anything: My Postmodern Adventure.” Fudco. 18 Feb. 2007. 15 Feb. 2007;
Palahniuk, Chuck. Invisible Monsters. 2nd ed. Portland: WW Norton, 2003.
“Postmodernism.” Wikipedia. 15 Feb. 2007
Wolfe, Tom. “Tom Wolfe on Rococo Marxism.” Editorial. Harper’s Jan. 2005: 1-100.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Hero And The Traitor Parts 8 & 9- Act 3 scene 2 and 3

Scene 2
The café. RYAN and NIGEL are at the same table, talking as they were before.

RYAN- You see, Nolan couldn’t invent the circumstances of the execution from scratch, so he plagiarized scenes from another playwright, the English enemy William Shakespeare, reprising scenes from Macbeth and Julius Caesar. For days this secret performance played out; The condemned man came into town and prayed, argued, worked, reprehended, and spoke words of pathos- each choreographed by James Nolan to make Kilpatrick look his best before the fall. It’s all very interesting.

NIGEL- indeed it is, but how did you figure this out?
RYAN- Once I found Kilpatrick’s journal, I snapped out of my depression; after all, life can’t imitate fiction. I dug into some files I have from my Great-grandfather’s era, and found a letter of execution from around that time. It was odd in a few ways; first, Kilpatrick had signed it, which is very strange, considering his normal benevolence, and second, the name of the victim had been crossed out. I did some more fact checking, and found out that many witnesses testified the murderer looked like a famous playwright. James Nolan was known for his talent in writing, so the pieces fell together.

NIGEL- that’s quite a tenuous connection. But supposing it is true, what will you do with it? How will this fit into your book?

RYAN- There is a predicament in this case. While Kilpatrick was an honorable man, he is still considered a hero, and this new information would ruin his image. His life will be considered a study in treachery, and even his noble sacrifice will be cast in a horrible light.

NIGEL- So what shall you do?
RYAN- I don’t know. Nothing in his life became him like leaving it.
[em]End scene[/em]

Scene 3

Scene 3
An empty, dark stage, except for BORGES standing under a spotlight. BORGES is in the same position he was in the beginning of the play.

BORGES- In Nolan’s play, the passages taken from Shakespeare are the least dramatic ones; Ryan suspected that the author interpolated them so that someone, in the future, would be able to stumble upon the truth. Ryan realized that he, too, was part of Nolan’s plot… After long and stubborn deliberation, he decided to silence the discovery. He published a book dedicated to the hero’s glory; that too, perhaps has been foreseen.

Fade to black and Curtain Call.
The End

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Hero And The Traitor part 7- Act 3 Scene 1

Act 3
Scene 1

BORGES walks on stage. The stage is set with a guard rail on stage left, which is made to look like it overlooks a river. There is a mailbox in Center Stage. KILPATRICK is in the box. BORGES walks to the mailbox, pulls out a pen and paper and begins to write something, dictating what he’s writing. It then becomes apparent that he’s not BORGES, but JAVERT, from Les Miserables.

"In the first place: I beg Monsieur le Prefet to cast his eyes on this.
"Secondly: prisoners, on arriving after examination, take off their shoes and stand barefoot on the flagstones while they are being searched. Many of them cough on their return to prison. This entails hospital expenses.
"Thirdly: the mode of keeping track of a man with relays of police agents from distance to distance, is good, but, on important occasions, it is requisite that at least two agents should never lose sight of each other, so that, in case one agent should, for any cause, grow weak in his service, the other may supervise him and take his place.

NOLAN enters the box. He initiates a conversation with KILPATRICK that drowns out JAVERT.

NOLAN- Hello, Fergus.

KILPATRICK- Hello, James. I didn’t expect you to be the one that came for me.

NOLAN- I was the one who suggested this ghastly route; I believe I should be the one who suffers the guilt of it.

KILPATRICK- You’re doing a great thing, James. My name will be remembered as one of a hero, and this may finally cause our people to revolt. Thank you.

The two watch the rest of the scene unfold.

JAVERT-"Eighthly: it is annoying for visitors to La Force to be obliged to traverse the boys' court in order to reach the parlor of Sainte-Marie-l'Egyptienne.
"Ninthly: it is a fact that any day gendarmes can be overheard relating in the court-yard of the prefecture the interrogations put by the magistrates to prisoners. For a gendarme, who should be sworn to secrecy, to repeat what he has heard in the examination room is a grave disorder.
"Tenthly: Mme. Henry is an honest woman; her canteen is very neat; but it is bad to have a woman keep the wicket to the mouse-trap of the secret cells. This is unworthy of the Conciergerie of a great civilization."
"Inspector of the 1st class.
"The Post of the Place du Chatelet.
"June 7th, 1832, about one o'clock in the morning."

JAVERT puts the letter in the postbox, and walks over to the guard rail. He looks at the water. While he’s contemplating his life, NOLAN puts on a mask. JAVERT jumps over the guard rail, and into the water. There is a brief silence, then…
NOLAN- (Loudly) Fergus Kilpatrick, for your crimes against the crown and king, I sentence you to death.


KILPATRICK- shall be f-free…

KILPATRICK dies. NOLAN runs off stage.
End scene.