Archive for November, 2010

The Purpose of a Blog

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I SUCK AT KEEPING UP WITH BLOGS! It’s not that I have no interest, it’s that I’ve got a certain standard of quality I like to meet before my thoughts are published and it’s difficult for me to keep up with several thoughts I’m supposed to jot down a few times a week.  How do I answer the questions? How do I respond to the text itself? How do I trail off and make a compeltely different rant?

I’ve always been criminally awful with keeping up with journals back from the days of books (anybody else remember that sorta thing?) or other blogs I’ve had to keep.  This blog isn’t any different, really.  I appreciate the fact I can freely air out how much I love a book or wish ill upon the author, publisher, and binder for unleashing a particular trashy novel into the world, but the truth is that I’d prefer to do so in one big, consolidated train of consciousness instead of reflecting on parts of a book at a time.  It’s more in tune with the way I work.

I don’t agree with studying a novel piece by piece until I’ve read it over once.  For me to stop reading to jot down thougts to me is like asking a band at a concert to stop playing so you can copy down the setlist so far.  How much did the authors intend people to read into with these books? Did they tailor their works for group study, private reflection, or personal enjoyment? The way I see it, most of the books we’ve read this semester fit into the latter two categories, with only the essays and criticisms we’ve briefly touched on falling into the group study idea.

I know I can’t shape the class around my individual needs, but I can’t pretend to be comfortable having a bunch of micro essays each week instead of one big moneyshot per book or month.  Maybe it’s just me? It probably is.  I’ve always held the opinion that blogs are websites people can go on to feel self-important and bitch about petty things.  I’ve always hated that idea, yet here I am right now doing just that.  Technology can be a wonderful tool if utilized correctly, but I feel that blogs are not in the best interest of humanity and/or academics.

The essay is an art form that the blog has desecrated, and I feel like I’m just dragging the knife across its throat by being a blogger.  I could deal with Twitter, since short musings can be insightful as essays, but asking for a gelded form of an intellectually challenging and well-structured document seems counter-intuitive to education.  Students should write more, this is true, BUT they should write more to enunciate and elaborate on their ideas in the context of a whole novel, as opposed to writing “I’m stuck at this part now, but it helps me understand yesterday’s reading more even if I still can’t make sense of it.” Music has devolved from grand mulit-part symphonies that would carry on for hours to the iTunes and radio friendly single.  Nobody has the attention span for an EP anymore, nevermind a suite.  Is it safe to say that this is the same fate that awaits literature and it’s critics? Everyone posts their works in progress, or their interpretations of works in progress, without having a deeper understanding and realization of what they’re creating?

Word up with Obama

Monday, November 29th, 2010

If you’d asked Americans ten years ago if they’d like to see a black President, I think one-third would be in favor, another third would be indifferent, and the last third would probably make some “intelligent” comment like “It’s the White House for a reason.” Now how has any of this changed in a decade? Well, we have a black President but that’s about it.  Ironic, considering the buzzword Obama touted throughout his campaign was “change”.  In the world of computer graphics, there’s a term called a “pallatte-swap”.  In effect, this means that a character model’s colours are changed but they serve the same function as the inital model or sprite.

Politicians are a faulty lot as is.  Anyone expecting major change from one puppet to another is a fool.  Obama is a change from Bush’s pin-the-tail-on-the-jackass approach at governing the nation, but he’s inherited a mess.  His decision making has mostly been quiet, leading the most of his criticism.  Bush’s silence was disturbing because anytime he opened his mouth he seemed to blurt some moronic idea that you could tell he took half a term to form the words to say, instead of asking himself “is this a good idea?” Obama’s is less eerie because less has changed.  As a nation, America seems to have been left to it’s own devices with the president acting as the Queen of England would: a figurehead to a nation that just needs someone to look to.

Obama’s memoirs paint a portrait of a man who is in touch with his racial identity as well as observant of the identities of those around him.  As a writer, and perhaps as a human being even, he seems fairly grounded in reality.  However, as a politician he seems to be a streamlined pallatte-swap of William Taft.  That’s not to say that Obama is fat and lazy, but has he brought change besides the footnotes in the history book? Thus far no.  Bush proved that you shouldn’t try to fix what isn’t broken, but two years into his term and we’re still wondering how Obama will fix the wreck that Bush caused.

Sounding off on “Fury”

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Well, what’s to say about The Sound and the Fury? Where it came alive for me? I get Faulkner’s stream of conscious angle.  I’d think if anyone did, it would be me after all.  That’s not to toot my own own, but Faulkner’s style is perhaps even more disjointed than my own.  If Thompson is my influence, Faulkner’s my grindstone.  That’s a real word, right? “Grindstone”? I’m not doing some Oscar Wilde thomyorkefoolery and making up words to suit my purposes?

Right, so when does the book come alive? I daresay that my worldview has not made the book come alive for me, but rather I acknowledge the fact I’ve always co-existed with this book.  Drab as people may have seen the opening pages, or as confused as the time shifts may have been for others, I never felt too lost by this book.  You can’t shit a bullshitter, after all.  I admittedly haven’t dug some of the readings we’d done after Heart of Darkness, but The Sound and the Fury actually is halfway decent.  Perhaps that’s why this blog entry is so concise and lacking my usual wit?

Truth is every character is played as a human being worth of empathy rather than some half-assed metaphor or other enigma.  Their plights are all very real things that I and people I know have experienced to some degree.  I couldn’t tear this book apart if I tried.

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