i usually dont rant, but

yep, still sick. but was put in a better mood cause a story of mine (called “Bedroom Grammar”) was accepted at an online journal. i’ll link when it goes live.


i hate it when people say this: “He has also been immensely influential on many of today’s writers who may not even realize the source of that influence.”

how pretentious can you be to assume 1) you are the only one to know a writer’s work and 2) that the writer would not realize the influence. and furthermore, how could someone be influenced by someone he has never read?


here’s what else annoys me:

“[…] will be published […] with a continued emphasis on a global and historical view of innovative poetry & poetics: a US-centric conception of poetry has become, for many of us, increasingly ridiculous. Even a conception of “American poetry” (whatever that may mean) is instantly made more complex and rich by a consideration not only of Pound’s & Stein’s (as the two central figures in my view of American Modernist poetry) respective exiles on their own poetics, but how their self-conceptions as “citizens of the world” transformed the very basic assumptions of what it means to be an innovative American poet. Moving forward in time, many of the most important & beautiful American achievements of the last 50 odd years — from Spicer’s channeling of Lorca to Eshleman’s realization of Vallejo & Cesaire (among others) to Olson’s explorations of the Mayan to Rosmarie Waldrop’s rendering of Jabes to Rothenberg’s absolutely essential anthology projects — have likewise completely re-conceptualized and re-considered the most basic notions of national and innovative traditions.”

what exactly were the “very basic assumptions of what it means to be an innovative American poet”? how could you possibly locate Pound & Stein as the central figures of “American” modernism? of international modernism, perhaps, but you gotta put williams before Pound & Stein when talking of a specific american modernism. Citizens of the world? only if you consider the world the US and Europe. and what, we no longer question the orientalism of such US centric projects as Spicer’s Lorca, or Olson’s Mayan, or Rothenberg’s primitive? and Rothenberg’s anthology projects as “absolutely essential”? give me a break… his anthologies are “absolutely essentializing” of the Other. what is up with this unquestioned, unproblematic internationalism?


so im taking being sick as a chance to rant, forgive me. I saw Little Miss Sunshine today while wilting away in bed. and altho i enjoy watching white people ride around in cars as much as the next person, i really couldnt get into the movie. i cant stand watching movies where everyone just continually effs up. tho i LOVED the fact that one character kept mentioning that he was the pre-eminent Proust scholar in the world. i think whenever i do something that feels menial i will have to use that line 😉


speaking of movies where people continually eff up, has anyone seen Babel? if you havent and plan to, dont read on: SPOILERS!!!

i thought Babel was an unfortunate film. tho the acting, directing, and writing were actually quite great, it was the portrayal of culture i had a real problem with. in the film, there are interlocking stories of Arab, Mexican, and Japanese characters, all circulating around a white american family. the portrayal of the Arabs opens the film, and establishes them as backwards, stupid, inbreeding, dirty, and sexual. One of the first scenes is of a young Arab boy jacking off to the image of his sister, who lets him watch her undress. this kid goes on to shoot at a tourist bus driving by, accidently injuring an innocent, white tourist.

now, i enjoy watching white tourists get shot as much as the next person, but there’s more:

So the white tourists left their kids at home, in the care of their Mexican maid. but the maid has to go to Mexico for her son’s wedding, and since the white woman was shot, the parents dont return on time, so the maid takes the white kids with her to mexico. of course, the wedding party is one of sexual, drunken debauchery (of the ethnic kine) and there is even a strange moment where the woman makes out with some man, sexualizing her character as well. then, when she has her nephew drive her back to san diego, he has a run-in with the border patrol, and ends up abandoning the maid and the kids in the desert. it’s kind of funny how stupid everyone is in this movie, you only really feel sorry for the poor poor white people, who are hapless victims of idiotic ethnic peoples.

so the final thread is the Japanese part. this story is about a deaf japanese girl, whose mother killed herself. the girl, of course, is sexually repressed, and tries desperately (and sadly) to get laid (since we all know that any problems a japanese character has can be solved if they just got laid!) The connection to the Poor White People is that the gun the Arab boy used to shoot the white tourist was left in Morocco by the Japanese father of the girl, who was on a hunting trip (because we all know that affluent japanese men love to go hunting).

So the message is this: yes, blame the Arabs for terrorizing white tourists, but also blame the Japanese for supplying the weapons that were used to hurt the poor white tourist.

the DUMBEST part of the movie was at the end, when the screen read: “Dedicated to my Children” — jeez, talk about the most depressing film to dedicate to your kids.


anyways, enough ranting for one night! would love to hear your comments!!!


5 thoughts on “i usually dont rant, but

  1. The pomposity of any statement can generally be measured by the pomposity for which that statement rails (allegedly) against…
    I have not seen Babel but all this talk of sex makes me want to see it. As I was led to believe the film is a statement about moral breakdowns and modern struggles. Albeit I can’t say I was particularly thrilled by Inarritu’s other films… also seemingly filled with stupid people.
    As for Little Miss Sunshine, I must say I found it a pleasant surprise. The father figure was quite an annoyance but the film allowed for legitimate change in the characters.

  2. Ahmen brother, ahmen! If you want to see a good one though, go check out “The lives of others”… Hope you’re feeeling better.

  3. mephis! alright i’ll check that one out…

    well put ozy.

    the only modern struggle in Babel is the ability to actually sit through the whole movie.

    yeah i did find miss sunshine pleasant…esp the dancing at the end!

  4. Wow craig, it’s so entertaining when you rant . . . 🙂

    i agree with everything too, except maybe: “how could someone be influenced by someone he has never read?” I’m pretty sure there might be young poets, for example, who are influenced by Ashbery without having ever read much Ashbery, solely because so much other stuff sounds just like Ashbery. So the influence isn’t direct, it filters on down through the leaf-litter . . . I’m sure people read Billy Collins too without thinking of the Georgians.

    And come to think of it, there are people now I think whom I know more through their disciples, interpreters and imitators than through their own writing. Even such important figures as Stein.

    My bad. Jeez.

  5. hey nicholas,

    damn, that does make sense. the ashberry example is a good one, and i bet quite true for a lot of people. great point!

    but c’mon, how can you read Billy Collins and NOT think of those crazy poets from Georgia. Esp the Savannah School, and the A-T-L-iens 😉

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