Film, Philosophy, Pop Culture, review, Satire, Uncategorized

A Lacanian Review of “Baywatch”

The Interplay between The Rock’s primal over-compensating Nietsczean character and the latent homosexual archtype played by Effron brings to mind the process by which Hegelian material dialectics brings form to the amorphous potential of power dynamics in a totalitarian state system; that the Rock, an apt pseudonym for such an immovable superego figure, continually subjects Effron to progressively more perverse forms of sexual torture mirrors the crippling, stultifyingly, repetative but nonetheless erotically charged Real of “bay watching” i.e. the omnipotent Object of the Sea and the subjective figures drowing in its unexplored depths, and the father-signifier Life-Guard striving to pull subjectivity from the great blue churning Other of Stalinist derrived material hermenutics.

That the milleu of the picture is the ever-sunny, ever objectivity denuding beach-scape of Southern California, land of silicon bosoms and rictus grin visages sculpted from the raw pulp of human flesh at $30,000 a pop, throws the psych-sexual dialectic of the film into stark contrastm, especially when considered alongside the the obsessive cinematographic fondling and half-joking fetisization of Alexandra Daddario’s magnificent natural breasts. One cannot help but recall Lacan’s claim in his XXth Seminar:

“The subject is nothing other than what slides in a chain of signifiers, whether he knows which signifier he is the effect of or not. That effect- the subject – is the intermediary effect between what characterizes a signifier and another signifier, namely, the fact that each of them, each of them is an element. – “

I give the film as a whole 2 1/2 Stars.

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poetry

No Value in Pride

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It was by harried crow and call

I was compelled to wake

I ambled towards the chicken stall

Down by the muddy lake

The chickens had come down with pox

I fell down on the straw

My stomach weighted down with rocks

Dying birds cough and caw

I have no money for the cure

No savings set aside

No stocks or bonds set to mature

There’s no value in pride

These birds my life in feathered form

My livelihood is ill

My hands go numb, palms wet and warm

I’ve lost my hope and will

I stack a pile of slats and thatch

Unlock all the cages

Poultry scatter, I strike a match

Burn my wealth and wages

The roost comes down around my head

My life consigned to flame

I lay me down and I am dead

I’ve just myself to blame

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Christmas, Satire

Happy Holidays, and Fuck You!

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I am one of those people who like to annoy others who annoy me. I just am. I have a bad attitude on occasion and I like to share that gift with the world. There are many different sorts of people who catch my ire: hipsters, vegetarians, Republicans, Libertarians, People who like the Original Star Trek Series over The Next Generation (seriously, there is the short pier, go take a long walk off of it). But there is one group of people I like to annoy more than any other group: Christians! Christians, those special people who are members of the world’s biggest cult but act as though they are in on some sort of great secret. “Psss…come over here! Some pseudo-real Palestinian was tortured and killed 2000 years ago, fulfilling vague and esoteric Jewish prophecy, and giving me a free pass to the afterlife! Want to go bother retail workers about it?” So in that spirit I am going to write a little screed and insult the faith of 2 billion people just in time for their high holiday!

My wife, who is a retail worker, has run into many of those special sort of sociopaths I like to call “Merry Christmas Nazis”. You know the type, those idiots who come up to you and try to get you to giving them a seasonal greeting just so they can then lecture you on how you have insulted their faith by giving the wrong greetings? You know, those fools who act as though a war crime has been committed against them because a Target bagger said “Happy Holidays” instead of “CHRIST IS LORD AND IS THE REASON FOR THE ENTIRE HOLIDAY SEASON I FEEL HIS BLOOD WASHING OVER ME!” They seem to think that if they are not constantly confronted with the overarching power of their religion over the culture that this is a sign of some sort of Atheistic/Maoist/Kenyan conspiracy to eradicate all Christians from public life forever. Forget the fact that there are DOZENS, DOZENS of different religions and cults and sects that celebrate winter holidays this time of year, forget the fact that Christianity basically just piggy-backed the Roman holiday Saturnalia AKA an excuse for having an orgy in the winter. Forget all that and think of it this way: some poor, underpaid, overworked retail drone who has not gotten to see any of her family so far this holiday season just went out of her way bagging your $4500 of useless Chinese slave labor made carp JUST to give you a nice holiday greeting, and your response is to sneer at them and claim you are the victim of a hate crime? Well, to all those people who do not shut their damn mouths and accept the Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings that are sent their way I have just one thing to say: Fuck you, and go get run over by a truck in front of your 4 year old. Ok, that was too things. Merry Mass of the Risen Christ!

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essay

The New Vocabularic Life of the English Poet

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In English one can find hundreds of languages distilled, word by word, into something accessible for the poet. French has something to offer, as does Spanish, and certainly German. You will come across a Russian Samizdat or an Arabic bazaar, and many other words have been so assimilated into our common repertoire as to have lost all any timbre of foreignness to English ears. The challenge of the English poet has often been to take in this huddled lexicographic masses, yearning to breathe free, and to make them as much a part of our heritage as they are in their native tongues. This has come about through translation, inspired readings from the classics of other nations, and from sure curiosity and wonder at the variety that came, exiled, from Babel.

No language is so foreign to our own, and poses so great a challenge to art, as our own mother tongue. We have lost much more than we have gained, over the years, and we find ourselves impoverished when it comes to new way of expressing the old ideas that make up the stuff of poetics. We always look for the newest imports to carous with, but of the old friends, decrepit and left lonely lost in the pages of the OED? Old communities of ideas that were once vibrant and sensational in their own way are now lost or mere curiosities without use to the modern wordsmith. We owe it to our audience, and to ourselves, to try and resurrect some of these old terms and to breath new life into our language by recourse to what once was. It is poets who keep a language alive and vibrant for our generation and those to come and it is equally our task to make sure the work of past wordy mixture and genius and is not lost in the long shadow cast by neologisms and exotic new terms fresh from the docks.

As poet myself, and as the son of a poet, I grew up in a world where words held real value and were playthings for growing minds. As with anything one can grow tired of the familiar and the well-worn and begin to crave what is not readily accessible or easy to use. Words are the toys of the intellect and the more we collect the more, and more deeply, we can express our own thoughts and desires. No painter is content with using Prussian blue over and over again; he wishes to create with different hues and colors unfamiliar. We grow weary when we must go back to the same well over and over again and sometimes it is enlightening and rewarding to go a bit further for our mental nourishment.

So many times we look to the clouds and see planes flying there. To what do we compare them but to birds? Maybe that 747 is in fact more like a steel nepheliad, a nymph of the sky, a creature of elegance and beauty that dances between the clouds? This word does not limit our minds, as does its avian counterpart; for how many times can we sour like cranes or geese before we grow tired of imagining ourselves as fowl? Travel then to a sky painted on a grecian urn and look down from above with the eyes of fair nymphs, creatures that inspired lust and excitement in the mortal minds of the past. But do not be ashamed at not thinking of this word first of all. Such deficits of imagination instead pudify, indeed a more elegant way of describing disgust at our own alphabetical limitations. Already English is seeming less staid and more intriguing to us!

We praise eloquence when we encounter it, rightfully so because it is rare enough, but we too often associate this word with the practical use of language to inform and to enrich other minds. What of he who is equally skillful with words be whose aim is more nefarious?

Fallaciloquence is a word that is godsend when we wish to praise the pursuit of the un-praiseworthy practiced skillfully and beautifully. We have know a co-worker or a friend who seems uniquely gifted at worming his or her way out of a task or responsibility with gorgeous ease. We can now accurately name their skill and categorize their genius appropriately. Their Fallaciloquence will never again go unheralded. Our pride may begin to swell now that we have been introduced to such interesting ways of communicating, but wouldn’t it be far more colorful instead for our pride to gumfiate? It has the same meaning but has the taste on the tongue of an old vintage, a word that perhaps our great great great grandfather may have used to chastise the hubris of his boastful brother at the pub. We can transport ourselves to different times with just a few syllables and rearranged letters.

Poetry, like so many of the arts, has been dazzled by the spell of post-modern thought, the tearing apart of old forms and the rejection of traditional ideas of beauty. I say “tear away!” Reject all you will, but remember that what was beautiful was for a reason and can be again if only we revolutionize our way of constructing old forms. ABAB BCBC may seem like a chain linked to a boring and limiting past, but even this meter can be revitalized with some new choice words

 

Roses are red

And Violets are blue

Take me to bed

And I’ll love you

 

A bad poem, too cute and familiar by half, and a poor invitation to a night of carnal pleasure. But what if we play about with the words a bit? Can we find something fresh in this stale composition? Let’s try. What are roses but red? Are they titian, perhaps? And what of blue? So much blue; moods, skies, eyes. It is tiring. But perchance blue is beryl? There is a novel word! Not often we see a “y” used at such a place. So where does that leave us with the poem?

 

Roses are titian

Violets are beryl

Our love can be Grecian

And not quite so sterile

 

Is it a good poem now, with these new words? I think so. It is charming at least and suggest a ribald night ahead where boundaries may be pushed and new physical possibilities explored. You may hate it, but you certainly cannot say it is any more boring than the tired alternative. Even if it is despised by its recipient you can be sure that there will at least be some questions as to the words used, and this can lead to some rather fertile conversation! Words are too often used to introduce topics of discussion, to usher us to better and more interesting things. Words should, themselves, be an incitement to ventilation. What could be a more interesting topic at your next drinking party then the word chanticleer? Now there is a truly delectable cock tale!

Many poets get into the business to woe and to seduce, words being the ultimate aphrodisiac (get thee behind me, oysters!). To pay the perfect compliment to the object of one’s affection can be rewarding in so many ways. But there are only so many “luscious lips” and “fulsome breasts” that can rhapsodized over. But, if you were to inform your sweetheart of your appreciation of her callipygian posterior watch as her eyes widen and her breath quickens. There is praise that is not quite so cliched! And if your beloved is of the male persuasion? Fear not! Unique words of praise are not just of use in describing the fairer sex; his strong features may in fact be pulchritudinous. And why call him your lover when he could be your virile inamorato? There is no need for love and lust to fall back on boring modes of description. Even romance can be a time to exercise your vocabulary.

My advice is aimed at those of us who are poetically inclined but that does not mean that the lay person cannot get in on the word fun! We must throw out our Webster’s, or at least throw them back onto the shelf. Instead let’s bring out our Thesaurus and, even more valuable, or Etymological Dictionaries! Search the web for strange old terms, read obscure reference works, watch foreign films without the subtitles. Do anything and everything possible to expose yourself to words that would otherwise go undiscovered. Never play when  you could gambol. Sometimes we feel like a simpleton, but is it not better to be a foppotee? Always to quaeritate your own limitations. Never make the simple choice, be a sacricolist of language!

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Africa, Politics

Ebola Over There

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4500 people from West Africa die of Ebola (the number is probably much higher) no one in this nation gives a shit. 3 people get Ebola in the US…NOW IT IS THE TIME TO PANIC! Melanin content seems to be the line in the sand that divides a problem “over there” from a Crisis with a capital C “over here”. We read between the lines and see that what we are being told is not “you are about to die from Ebola” but “you are about to die because some sick dark people are coming over here with their exotic dark people disease”. Why else would we have some calling for the closing of the MEXICAN border (last I checked, not a part of West Africa)? Scary disease from abroad means close the borders and hide the (white) women and children! Never mind that more people die from boring old Influenza then will ever die from Ebola. Westerners are SUPPOSED to die from that disease, one we envision lives in a comfy little germ house with its stable germ nuclear family in its up and coming germ neighborhood. Ebola is “that” germ family moving into the gated community; “we’ll get sick and die from our OWN germs, thank you very much.” Something tells us that Ebola would not have voted for Ronald Reagan. Thanks, Obama.

Congress held one of its circle-jerks/televised hearings on the topic of Ebola today. They even brought a knowledgeable and suitably boring Doctor to testify and keep us from collectively wetting ourselves. Ebola is NOT as contagious as AIDS. It is NOT airborne. Ebola is NOT going to turn the US into a Mad Max Thunderdome dystopia where it is every (white) man and his AR-15 for himself (so sit down Louie Gohmert, and zip up your fly!). In fact, Dr. Boring lets us know, there are some very simple but non-sexy things we can do to combat this disease. First we must–

I KNOW, Congressmen scream, LETS BAN ALL FLIGHTS FROM AFRICA. The motion is carried. No more motherfucking African pathogens on our motherfucking planes. No lets send the National Guard to Africa and keep all the sickies from getting on board. No way THAT could be taken the wrong way by all the dying Africans and exhausted foreign aid workers. Keep that stuff on YOUR side of the tracks, thank you very much. Tons of money to keep Ebola away in the most telegenic way possible, but not a dime for more plastic tarps to cover the rotten bodies of the Liberian kindergarteners rotting in the streets of Monrovia. Put “Over There” on the turntable. Turn that phonograph up to 11! I like my xenophobia loud and clear.

Some of our more enlightened citizens suggest that maybe we should coordinate efforts through the UN and try and save West Africa for its own sake. You know, them being human beings and all. Nope. Joe The (well paid Fox News Contributor) Plumber says we should cover the whole region in Napalm and watch it burn. If the free-market couldn’t save those poor souls then nothing will. Strike the match. Red blooded American men ain’t gonna be dying of no Commie Foreigner disease. Let’s form a string quartet and practice while West Africa burns up from a fever of 104.3!

“Hoist the flag and let her fly/Yankee Doodle do or die.”

UPDATE

Apparently the President has appointed an Ebola Czar…I guess we just have to hope now that Ebola doesn’t discover the works of V.I. Lenin.

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poetry

The Dinner Party

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Nothing good ever comes from a garden

Only pale serpents and overripe fruit

God himself not much of a game warden

Jerk his on pego he’ll unsheath a toot

 

A cup of Port in the hand of Falstaff

A dragonfly drowns in my consomme

The chambermaid’s the wait-staff

The tablecloth, soaked with rum, en flambe

 

I reach for my grandfather’s revolver

The one engraved with the goldleafed griffin

Sous chef flashes her enormous cleaver

My resolve, and my bowels, start to loosen

 

Twas then that I jumped to a conclusion

With irresistible rich auburn hair

I kissed every false flag and illusion

For dessert ate a delightful eclair

 

After supper retired to the study
Smoked an assortment of quite useless plants

The Bishop! what an old fuddy-duddy

Under his vestments suspendered pants

 

Then we played an asinine parlour game

Something dull involving a pineapple

Earl of Lincoln one each round all the same

Or, wait, maybe it was a crab-apple?

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