Thursday, June 08, 2006

cultural or moral dilema?

Ellen writes,

But, I was reading Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by
Chuck Klosterman, and I ran across this question:

"Let us assume there are two boxes on a table. In one
box, there is a relatively normal turtle; in the
other, Adolph Hitler's skull. You have to select one
of these items for your home. If you select the
turtle, you can't give it away and you have to keep it
alive for two years; if either of these parameters are
not met, you will be fined $999 by the state. If you
select Hitler's skull, you are required to display it
in a semi-prominent location in your living room for
the same amount of time, although you will be paid a
stipend of $120 per month for doing so. Display of
the skull must be apolitical. Which option do you
select?" (126)

So, kids, which one do you choose? I do want you to
answer me this one. Let's pretend that we aren't
students and that $120 a month wouldn't matter all
that much to us--or is something we could live
without. Would you rather have the turtle or the
skull . . . and WHY??

and I respond:
see link: response to the question posed... there is some controversy about this new type of violent video game, and particularly this Super Columbine Massacre...the question of even making such a thing, just the thought of such a game is disturbing. How can a game of this title, or how could a hitler head displayed, ever be neutral/apolitical, or even educational? That is the question here; can Super Columbine Massacre, in which the players take on the personas of the killer kids, be educational and teach players about the negative consequences of violence, about life as a teen, about how not to handle their problems at school and whatever? Does the game give players an outlet to redirect their angst and anxiety? The creator of the game says he does not at all condone violence, but that he was one of those kids in high school who was pushed around too, and he can then on some level identify with Dylan and Eric. Is that scarry and disturbing? Or is it better to actually say things like that out loud; should we not talk more to kids who can identify with the killers and help them to not be killers too? Or should we just give them more video games to play? Because of course the other question is whether or not the creator has exploited the event for the purpose of making and marketing a new game and making some money (good job on his part; controversy always sells more product...), though the game is free to who knows about all of that. I haven't tried the game, but the interview with the creator is intriguing... see what you think.

I think it is valid to note also that if you ignore the skull, keep it in the closet, eventually you will forget about it... having hitler, or columbine, on display, potentially reminds (and continually educates) us about what happened, what can happen, etc. But where does the line fall between educating for the good and encouraging something else? Or, is there a difference here b/c Hitler/Holocaust happened so much longer ago than there a settle-in-to-history issue at hand too? A need for some distance-time. But then, who decides that?

Personally, I have given in totally to the oppressive capitalist forces around me and so I would display the skull and pocket the money. Or I would just go get a real job at Walmart... I don't know, however, if I'll take up video games anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


recite yellow

down ice steps to move complete frozen aside from what flows underneath what moves over the top of blue ice falling from edges of rock every which way sensing you as i awoke alone remembering your fingertips imagine you writing the score for this as if it were a movie into the future of one question after another i repeat these words in front of the icy stairs how does one get back up or maintain extra padding over skin just in case winter which yes flows through gel ink into pens compete with the new technologies whisper i was saying morning after every other wherever you may or may not be deliciously singing through the film scene by scene

vanish or curtains layer into the cold on sand beaches only partly in ice water i’m asking what’s been said recently the woman who refrains from my lavender where are the shining moments blanket or blue flower material with a zipper saying now the intricate directions of lace as satin trim on the collars of thermal under or if you prefer to shop at second hand stores be sure to have relatives help and remember to layer

every other wherever you may or may not be deliciously singing through the film scene by scene vanish or curtains

have all come and gone at one time yellow covered texts assent to sleeping all hours ignorant of noise and sliding ugly neighbors before dawn recite yellow mix with red trim, while wearing your best or at least a handed over sweater plaid, i dare say, peeks out of the closet my coat i declare blue with black like a bruise worn year after year what warmth have you of all places in january oh wind whispering wild what wake you at this hour?

Friday, June 02, 2006


Also, if you haven't checked lately, please see the cats' report on the da vinci Code, if you haven't seen the movie, this review might help you decide to go or not:


poetry stuff today

as in literally today, june 2 i think it is...funny if i get that wrong and the blogger heading gets it right... whatever, it's summer...

here's something interesting, find of the day:

a long piece by r. du p. no comment at the moment, working on flipping virtual pages, a rare computer-time activity...but notice the photo of r.d.p. at the bottom esp. since i've loved her for some time and never saw her in person... like when you have favorite radio voices...i loved ray suarez when he did that talk of the nation years back...

in any case, her new book: Blue Studios: Poetry and Its Cultural Work is coming soon from Alabama Press

Silliman's blog for the pic of the cover, you can also go to the Alabama site

I've also learned that Alabama will reprint The Pink Guitar...yeah!

Otherwise, to continue randomly in the swing of contemporary poetics which is rarely actually random in the sense that one might think of random as, well, random, when it is actually, random that is, ultimately organized and tends (or things that are considered random tend) to fall into patterns and predictable 'structures' or whatnot. To continue then, following my line of thought at the moment which is this actual moment of warm-sun pre-summer, post-margarita evening, having been reading Harryette Mullen's Sleeping with the Dictionary, I'll include something below:

from "All She Wrote" this is how I feel most days...

"The untied parcel service never delivered. I regret to say I'm unable to reply to your unespressed desires. I didn't get the book you sent. By the way, my computer was stolen. Now I'm unable to process words. I suffer from aphasia."

But whether she articulates or simply has the dictionary do it for her, through this book we are hit with one powerful yet simple yet subtle yet strong line of language after another. Language should be sensual, or we should have a sensual relationship with language and vocabulary and the sounds and feel of words. Go to the dictionary, Mullen tells us, just pick up the damn dusty book and have a read, or a sleep.

from "Sleeping with the Dictionary":

...the book is a stimulating sedative, awakening my tired imagination to the hypnagogic trance of language.

...all are exercises in the conscious regimen of dreamers, who toss words on their tongues while turning illumiunated pages. To go through all these motions and procedures, groping in the dark for an alluring word, is the poet's nocturnal mission. Aroused by myriad possibilities, we try out the most perverse positions in the practice of our nightly act, the penetration of the denotative body of the work.

ok, so it may be a bit heavy on the overused poetic language...but the whole piece is dense with "this dictum that can be decoded, like the secret acrostic of a lover's name." I guess you have to work through the moving and rhythmic syllables and sounds of the poems surrounding this particular piece and then maybe it is less dreamers and penetration and more, well, motivating you to turn back the covers and crawl in with some one special of a book of ("meandering" and "migratory") words.

I think some of my students actually opened some dictionaries they may or not have used in a while... thanks, Harryette.