Thursday, March 13, 2003

Another HUGE Surprise

Jack
You're Jack! "I am the Pumpkin King!" and
yes you are. Although you have the fame and
fortune, you are not happy. You go and try to
find yourself but in cost of Christmas. In the
end everything is peachy keen and we still love
you.


Which Nightmare Before Christmas Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Wise Words

Awesome Man is right. Though you can take your wise words from all the traditional places, the less traditional supplies just as many. For example, you can go with....

"Pride goeth before destruction and before a fall a haughty sprit" Biblical..

OR

"Some modesty would suit you better, so why don't you give it a try" Extreme lyrics

Try these on for size;

"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most" - Ozzy Osbourne
"Without passion we would be truly dead" - Angelus
"Don't dream it. Be it" - Dr Frank N Furter
"I am a vulgar man, Majesty. My music is not" - Mozart a la Tom Hulce
"I am neutral. I am the little yellow bar on the pH scale of life" - my own dear little Byron
"Hate and love are one" - Julian Sands in scenery-chewing guise as the Phantom
"I know I'll do the right thing if the right thing is revealed" - Stain'd lyrics
"Touch me, and you'll know what happiness means" - Grizabella the Glamour Cat
"We are all two people" - Bruce Wayne
"Five exclamation marks. A sure sign of a man who wears his underpants on his head" - Terry Pratchett
Humiliated

This face, that earned a mother's fear and loathing
A mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing,
Pity comes too late, turn around and face your fate,
An eternity of this before your eyes


Let me put this in very simple words; some people look good in white, some people look good in pretty dresses. I look good in an evening dress suit and a hat that covers most of my face. It really is that simple. There is nothing more humiliating than trying to shop for something you only want to wear because you want something that will offset the outfit the guy taking you to a party is wearing. Much as I try, I just can't carry off the innocent crucifix-wearing bubbly little girl look. And for once in my life I'm struggling *not* to be too tall.

Today started badly and got steadily worse. I just closed my eyes for a few moments around 7am and woke up with my face on the keyboard at half past one, when I was meant to pick my Cuzzin up at 11am, go to a lecture at 12pm and meet Awesome Man at 1pm. THAT was bad. What was worse was that Byron then called me to go for a drink, which seemed very very pointless because I don't drink, and besides I'd been trying to call HER for an hour to come help me shop for this humiliating white dress I wanted. So that pissed me off. And then Sir Whinealot started bitching that he might lose his job because he hasn't done work he was supposed to, then got pissed off at me when I told him I didn't have any sympathy. Why the fuck should I have sympathy? If you don't work, you lose. It's that simple. I have essays coming out of my ears and no idea where I'm going to find the time to finish everything.

But the worst thing is that I don't even want to go to this party anymore. I don't want Angelus to take me out or to come home with me, I don't want to try and look pretty and act nice, I want to curl up in a little ball until everything goes away, and I don't even know why. OK I've had a bad day, everyone has bad days, mine are no worse. Things are generally going well at the moment and I have no reason to be unhappy, yet I am, I'm desperatly unhappy. I'm not even depressed, because if you're depressed things seem meaningless or you can't see the good things you have, I'm just really unhappy for no apparent reason.

What I'd really like to do tonight is curl up and do nothing, maybe listen to some music, but I can't because I've got too much work to do. It's just unfair.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

"Tennyson?? Why he's only a Rhymster!"

If anyone can tell me where that comes from I'd be proud of them. It would mean they read some rather decent Irish literature and more to the point remember bits of it. The reason for the quote, however is simple. I was reading Lucretia's 'blog (http://www.blurty.com/~shadowgrove) and saw that she was engaged on something I fondly remember from my Freshman year; a creative writing piece that is a rewritten something you've studied. It's NOT that primary school actually, it's quite fun and you can impress them with the reasoning behind it if you're crap at writing, which I am a little. Trouble did "Kubla Khan" rewritten as a prose report by one of the architects of the stately pleasure dome.. quite a fun read. I did "The Lady of Shallot" in prose, and I've decided to post it. Because I can. So here you are... and incidentally, I got a good mark for it!

"All The Trappings Of Womanhood"
A personal rewriting of Alfred Lord Tennyson's
"The Lady Of Shallot" including a critical afterword

PART ONE

Look down across this land of old, place of fire lit tales and feasts and festival. Look down the silver strip of river that winds serpentine and lazy, dividing barley from rye, cleaving the English countryside, a benign liquid blade. Look upon all this, and you will but see the haze that surrounds a greater glory, forever hidden from mortal view.
Beyond the fields that undulate softly in the midsummer breeze lies the wold, stretching shoulders toward the cyan sky, draped in fine, billowing life, yellow, gold, green and all the shades between that turn with the wheel of the year.
Walk upon the wide, well-worn track that runs dustily through the field, and you will see her; Camelot. Her towers soaring with aspirations. Camelot with her many windows gazing upon those who pass by her blank-faced majesty. Down from Camelot, however, is another regal seat. Its Queen has no subject, her tower no herald, but her beauty surely must deserve this and a hundred more majestic honours. For down among the cloak of lilies raising proud heads to the sun, there lies the island of Shallot.
And those that walk the path to Camelot sometimes know of she who bides there, but none have seen her walk by noon or moonlight, and those who know suspect her Fey. In Camelot, the feasts go on with never a thought for the island in the lilies.
The river knows the path to the island well, and ripples there continuously, whispering among the willows and aspens that crowd close on the island. Grey walls, grey towers, grey slants of light that cast a grey air of glooming, except where the sun has touched enough for a few brave flowers to raise their heads. In this leafy shade there is no brightness, the sunlight which can penetrate is not the golden dew that bathes Camelot, but a weak wash of diluted, jaundiced colour. The flowers cannot show their true beauty, and the stone of which the towers were fashioned seeps and broods in the insipid half-day.
This is her bower and her chamber, her temple and her hall. No feasts here ring their peals of laughter or waft their scents out on the river, and no music ever plays to which attendant friends may sway and step, for she who sits within these walls suffers forever the agony of her solitude. In her towered keep, overlooking the flower-graveyard and the struggling gnarls of trees, she sits. The willow trees keep the windows from view, save her from the touch of the full sun which should otherwise further sadden her. Tortured by the nothingness, here in her keep sits the Lady of Shallot.
Outside the walls of stone and living branches that veil the Lady from the world, the life of Camelot and the surrounding countryside go on as always before. Ferrying cargo and men down river the barges come sliding languidly in the sun. the horses on the bank which pull them snort in the heat, torpid and shining, hooves plough into the ground as when the time comes the farmers will plough the surrounding fields of barley. The Lady sees them, but she pays no greetings, as she does not to the light pleasure-boats, the shallops that flit along the water, their sails gently rippling as the water and the barley in the breezes. She does not offer them a wave of her dainty hand, they pass unnoticed as ships in the night. For she sees the night all around her, and the cheer of the day which bathes those upon the river does not brush her cheek with its silken glove. The gaiety and contrasting hard work do not cause her to offer a smile from her casement, none see and none can think to greet her of their own, for their know their signal shall receive no reply. Imprisoned in her tower, she does not stand at her window, she is a mystery in the land, a myth of her own making, unknown and more unknowable.
At dawn and dusk, beneath the morning star and the gilded beauty of the twilight, she sings to herself in her tower. In the fields beyond the reapers work, their scythes cleaving first the singing air, then the barley ripe in their full field, and down to them her song echoes and dances. As they work, the music takes them, Faery cantatas that whisper through the field, across the river and through the sighing willow trees. It is her floating presence, all any shall ever know of the Lady is her voice that rings with notes as sweet as the morning Song thrush, as warm as the Nightingales. The song drifts on the earliest shafts of sunlight and on the moon's serene beams down to Camelot where it mingles with the pipes and the steps of dancing, the chatter of guests and the hushed talk of knights and their King. Her sacred voice stirs within the reapers an awe and fear. They talk of her as Fey, the Faery who serenades them in their work, little knowing that the sweet drifting carols emanate from a human throat. And within her tower still as she sings her heart on glorious dawn and dusty sunset, hidden from the eyes of those who hear her drifting song, sits the Queen of none but herself, the Lady of Shalott.

PART TWO


Within the walls of the tower, as she sings to herself and unknowingly to the reapers below, the Lady's hands are never still as she works at her loom. There she weaves such splendour that it seems a creation of majick, fashioned of thread made from the concentrated light of the sun and moon, golden as life and silver as dreams, and interspersed with vivid flashes of colour seemingly from the wings of the paradise bird. Such beauty can be only equalled by that of the Lady herself, who weaves so steadily since the day she heard the wind say to her that a curse should fall upon her head should she turn her face to look from her window to the towers of Camelot. The vesper soon fled, and left her without knowledge of what horror should befall her should she turn and gaze to the seat of such gaiety that she craved. Her loom was her comfort, and the mirror she placed behind it to see the progress of her work allowed her the fleeting glimpses of life which were all her curse allowed her. Day and night she sits and weaves, sings and weaves, sighs, cries, and through it all she does nothing but make majick on her loom.
Only through her looking-glass can she see anything of the passage of the world. Through the snow and sun, through fresh rains and falling vermilion leaves, she watches in her glass as she weaves. Mere shadows of the glory of Camelot appear to her, tower and wall reflected but untouchable. Unattainable the smallest sign of recognition from the churls passing by, and no market girl has ever called to her to purchase her wares. all pass by the island, where the scent of river and trees and the lilies waft to them, and should the pass at the right time, the song of the Lady echoes also. Still she weaves, and sees the shadows pass her by as all life must do.
The Lady of Shalott is the broken woman too afraid to show her face, and thus she has not what she craves more than she does one glimpse of the turrets of Camelot. The damsels who pass by her prison speak in bright tones of their sweethearts as they go, this one handsome, another honourable, the abbot passing by on a horse as venerable as himself goes on his way to join in blessing the union of man and wife. Sometimes her heart begins to stir within her as she sees through the cyanosed surface of her mirror the figure of a shepherd-boy, his blonde curls falling to his sinuous young shoulders which carry on them a lamb, orphaned and clinging to him as its guardian. A lamb is she, but none will seek her through the briars, for none hear the secret timid cries of her lonely heart. Their colours gleaming she sees pale images of the knights of Camelot, loyal to the king and men of steely courage, but all their valour cannot warm the Lady, for she has not courage in her to turn and greet them. The curse on her eyes is an overbearing mother to her, burying her face to its withered and dry bosom she finds no comfort, merely a warning which keeps her from the love of a knight, or of a page in the flush of manhood to be trained in the honourable ways of the knights. Afraid of what may befall her she keeps her virtue secret to her, pressed to her breast where it will fade with time and with every beat of a heart so alone that it weeps in the brightest song, mournful and chaste. For the love of a courageous man she longs, but knowing all the while as the knights ride by that she can never know such a thing.
Only her tapestry gives her any cheer, and that is a poor weak thing to her, for though the glory of new love or the solemnity of a funeral procession may pass outside, she cannot feel the joy or bitter sadness which pervades they who pass. In her tower which shields her from the vagaries and vicissitudes of all human life, the Lady of Shalott grows weary of the shadow-realm she inhabits.

PART THREE

Of all the knights who ride to Camelot there is one who in the shimmer of his accoutrement and person in the sunlight excels above all others. So highly polished is his bridle and the decoration of his steed, so brightly does his magnificent sword gleam, so splendid is the play of the breeze and blazing light on his coal-black curls, that he turns the head of every woman who should chance to see him. Emblazoned with jewels and with the marks of his profession, the shield and bugle, he sang in a melodious tenor in turn with the gurgling river, stirring the heart of nature, and hearing his voice in her tower, the Lady of Shalott froze at her loom.
The voice of love itself had breathed into her ears and her blood sang with it, the song of Sir Lancelot reached her swift and sudden as sunrise, and though she saw him only in her wicked glass, she observed that he shone brighter than any she had ever seen there, and that his voice was surely given to him by an angel.
Unable to resist, she tore the chains from herself, she gathered her courage into three steps to the window, and there she gazed up the meteoric vision of bold Sir Lancelot, riding to his King, and beyond all this, beyond dancing lilies and beyond the floating song, she gazed down to the towers of Camelot.
As soon as this fateful act was done the gleam shone not upon the fields and the knight as the sky was rent with sudden thunder, nature darkened, warped about her, and in her room the mirror was destroyed by a fissure that ran along its width. As she wailed against it, a violent wind tore through, a bean sidh that opened its maw and screeched, and disappearing as suddenly as it had come it began to circle the tower, dragging behind it the majick tapestry that had been years of bitter comfort to the Lady of Shallot.
In a heap of cobwebbed petticoats and disintegrating brocade, the Lady crumpled to her knees before the window, and she wept until her eye were raw as wounds, for she knew that with her desperation for the love of a loyal knight, she had brought the curse upon herself.
And so as the storm raged about her and the moon, hanging like the bleached face of the blackest witch in the sky, gazed down upon the actions of the lost Lady. Glassy as her destroyed mirror, and just as broken in her spirit, she looked once more to Camelot, and finding a boat tethered among the willows she climbed into in, having emblazoned her cursed name on the prow. The current took her and the sky wept its own bitter tears on her fragile form as she was borne to Camelot, chanting her last song, a holy carol which chilled those it touched. Her heart within her beat so unsteadily and with the rhythm of staccato drops of rain on the roof of a bedchamber that it filled her with such dread, and not knowing what curse should take her now, she perished upon the river from the weight of fear which crushed her soul to dust within her.
Dead of her own device, for there had been no curse, merely the prank of a mischievous water-sprite, disapproving of the Lady's more vivid interest in weaving than in marriage at that time, who had whispered poison in her ear so many years before, the Lady of Shalott came down to rest in Camelot, and in a hushed crowd, the lord and dames, knights and pages and King Arthur himself came to see what manner of strangeness had befallen them. They saw the frail figure of the lady, her hair whipped to ribbons by the wind and rain and her soaked white garb clinging to her limp body. One among them stepped forth, the bravest knight of Camelot, and he brushed the ragged hair from her face, seeing that her eyes were closed and she seemed to be merely a Lady in repose, rather than one recently deceased.
In death, that which she never grasped in life came to the Lady of Shalott, as Sir Lancelot uttered one small, fervent prayer in her name, and kissed her chilly lips. His heart swelled with a terrible love, and in a prayer he dare not speak, he wished to meet with her when his own death came to him. For it was always meant to be so with Sir Lancelot, and with his fated posthumous bride, the Lady Of Shalott.

AFTERWORD

In my task of adapting Tennyson's "The Lady Of Shalott" from verse to prose, I feel I was able to touch on issues which Tennyson did not. Perhaps this was because he simply could not find a place for them in keeping with the poem, or because he felt that they were inappropriate subject matter. For example; in the original poem, Tennyson describes the beauty of Sir Lancelot at great length, taking the entirety of stanzas nine to thirteen to comment on his general stunning appearance and his standing as a knight of Camelot. In contrast, I have attempted to narrate in greater depth the beauty, honour and above all the emotions of the Lady of Shalott herself.
The implication of such an exercise, making the Lady more of a subject in herself than her actions and their consequences as Tennyson did, is one of a modernisation in gender perspective. Tennyson wrote in the Victorian Era, and indeed became Poet Laureate to Queen Victoria in 1850. Though in this time the Suffragette movement for the liberation of women was incipient in Britain, there was still the widely held belief that men were the ones who were courageous and went to fight and work, whilst it was the women who stayed and looked after children. Thus despite the fact that the poem is entitled "The Lady Of Shalott" Sir Lancelot is a far more prominent figure, as if because the Lady is imprisoned in her tower she is somehow far less important to Tennyson. I sought to challenge this; withdrawn she may be but the Lady is the central figure of the poem, it is her story, and thus I attempted to draw more on her experiences in her tower, her thoughts and her emotions.
In part two I drew on the image of the tower and the curse she suffers as a mother figure to the Lady, protecting her from the world but yet also suffocating her, and so incorporated the modern notion of the stifled woman who is again becoming a character in modern life. In Tennyson's time she was everywhere, frail and helpless without her "Loyal knight" and with little other purpose other than to breed. In my own adaptation, the Lady of Shalott has been given her curse because she attempted to challenge such an interpretation of women. She did not wish to marry, merely to weave at her loom, to enjoy her own company, and so the feminine principle of the time, which I have embodied in a water-sprite much like the Naiads of Greek legend, punishes her for not obeying the Victorian female ideal.
It is true that the historical setting of the poem is not the Victorian age but the time of King Arthur, but women then were much a parallel, as I found during my research into the women of the time and specifically those of Camelot; Gwenhwyfar, Viviane and those lesser protagonists. In my interpretation, it is oppression by the ideals of her day that causes the eventual death of the Lady, the ultimate price to pay for not conforming to womanly ideals. In the creation of her "Magic web" there are overtones that the Lady could have been familiar with some of the black arts, also causing her to detract from the ideals of the peaceful feminine housewife which Tennyson extolled, but it is not clear whether the loom-work is truly magic, or merely so beautiful that it appears magical. I have chosen the second of these interpretations in my rewriting, but merely for the avoidance of an excessive supernatural element, as I had already inserted the water-sprite. The explanation of true magic is not implausible or undesirable, and has merely been omitted for aesthetic principles; I did not with to make the tale too much into the realms of fantasy. It should be remembered at all times that though she exists only within the frame of the poem, the Lady of Shalott is merely a woman, making her a witch should have given her properties that exalted her above others, and I did not wish to isolate her from womanhood in any way but in the physical act of her imprisonment.
A consequence of the adaptation from verse to prose is often thought to be that prose is meant to be written by women, should they desire to write at all, and poetry kept for men. Poetry contains the lofty ideals, prose the mundane, examples can be found in the fact that William Shakespeare would write high characters such as Kings to speak in poetic form and lower characters, Stefano of "The Tempest" for example, spoke in prose. I do not feel that it "lowers" a piece to write it in prose; quite the contrary, I feel that in prose one can go into far more detail, it can be far more descriptive since you do not have to stay within the bounds of a poetic form. Tennyson was limited in his poem to packing as much description as he could muster into each line, but he had to tell the story also, and so much of the detail must necessarily have been omitted. I hope that in my rewriting I have filled his descriptions to a more rounded and immersive picture of the situation, with the thread of the tale woven into it instead of having to exist concurrently as it did in the original poem.
My reasons for choosing "The Lady Of Shalott" to adapt are as follows; I was already very familiar with the text having studied it previously though in far less than degree level detail. I have always admired the writing of Tennyson for its florid language and easy rhythm, and having been told that my own writing when engaged in a task other than a formal essay is indeed florid also. Thus I attempted to rewrite the poem, as I believed it suited my own personal writing style.
Another of my reasons is that I feel the Lady received unfair treatment in the original poem, being relegated to a background figure, her feelings are only drawn on directly once in the entire poem, when in line 71 she says "I am half sick of shadows" - this is also one of the rare examples of reported speech in the poem, the only other being the song of Sir Lancelot in line 106, and again Sir Lancelot's comment on the Lady's death in lines 169 - 171. I wanted to expand on the reasons behind the curse of the Lady, and the experiences and emotions she has in the course of her imprisonment in the tower, to give her a voice and a person other than merely that of the mystery locked in the tower.
I believe that in my rewriting I have been successful in the aims outlined above, but it has led to the interesting conclusion that I have produced a feminist rewriting of the poem, and I violently disagree with modern feminist theory. I am an egalitarian, and there was a time when feminism and egalitarianism meant the same, but now there seems to be a trend towards female superiority. I hope therefore that in my rewriting I have been "feminist" in the true sense, advocating recognition and equality for the woman in the tower. I encountered few difficulties, and those I did encounter were easily and quickly overcome, for example I found some of the vocabulary used by Tennyson difficult to understand, but the footnotes provided to the poem explained clearly, leading me to a greater understanding of the poem. It was also difficult to limit myself in the amount of descriptive prose I could write, as I wished to examine the setting in great detail, but after several drafts I believe I have avoided such excessive scene-setting. In general, I enjoyed my rewriting, and though I cannot hope for it to be of the quality of our former Poet Laureate, I feel it is overall an enjoyable piece.

****************

Notice me sucking up at the end? That's not a suck up, it's a thinly veiled "I'm better than bloody Tennyson any day"
And Now For Something Completely Different

You want to step into My world?
It's a sociopsychotic state of bliss,
You've been delayed in the Real world
How many times have you hit and missed?


# Your CAT scan shows disfiguration, I wanna laugh myself to death. With a misfired synapse with a bent configuration - I'll hold the line while you gasp for breath. You wanna talk to me - so talk to me..# sorry, have bandanna on to keep hair from eyes, it's affected my brain...

Well, I managed not to get to any of my lectures today. About 7am I was struck by one of my thankfully rare but always unpleasant migraines and consequently laid in bed trying not to throw up for a long time whilst trying to ignore the noises and smells of someone fitting our new front door. The Animal House no longer looks like a total flophouse from the outside at least - huzzah! However I do now have to go and explain to Sally and Lee why I wasn't in class, and I just *know* it's going to promt a lecture. But I'm back on form now and scooting in for a quick 'blog before turning back to the essay that gave me the migraine in the first place. Oh, and I had to call my solicitor. They want to send me for psychological examination.

Maybe I should just get my kilt out right the hell now and stop pretending I'm not disturbed....

Erfalaswen is also apparently a Kitchsy Kid. Now forgive this, but I never thought Kitsch was a *good* thing. No offense to anyone who got that result but I was rather under the impression that it involved fluffy pencil tops and the like, which I was never into. However, I *do* like not being a Normal. Even if it does mean that it takes a couple of ill thought out comments to lead me on a 1,500 word rant. So I think I'm going to take a shower and get back to work. Maybe later I'll post something worth reading.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


Find out which Buffy villian you are most like!
By


Well, that was a big suprise.
Blog Of The Day #2 : More Bloody Tests


Clocks! God, could you get enough clocks? Twenty
minutes, twenty as the winning number at
roulette... Watch it another time and analyze
it for me, will you?


What Aspect of Run Lola Run are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


The elder tree, Ruis, suits you the best.
If this was your sign and not just a result
on a personality test, there would be a chance
that you were born on The Nameless Day -
December 23rd. This day falls outside of the 13
month Druidic calendar.


Which Celtic Moon Sign Fits Your Personality Best?
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Kitschy Kid, huh? Lucky you...


What Teen TV Stereotype Are You?
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I am mortally offended by being compared to Alexander "Idiot" Harris...


Breezy Beauty - You're a breath of low-mainentance
air, aren't you?


What Kind of Beauty Are You?
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Pffft.. anyone who's ever heard me complain about my hair knows this is bullshit.

Thomas, You've Been A Very Very Bad Boy.....

I'm a hapless Romantic,
Stu-ta-ta-ta-terring Po-poet,
Just call me a tragic comic
'cause I'm, In, In love with you


I've been parodied. I'm incredibly flattered, even if I am going to have to borrow the Bat of Self Deprecation from the Jellicle cat and use it on Awesome Man. Newsflash, pal - *I* want to sleep with you, or don't I count?

I did not come here today to talk about the parody of my last entry which did admittedly raise a chuckle. I came here today to make myself very very unpopular with Ma'mselle. Not on purpose you understand - though I'm terribly good at that - just because she isn't going to like what I'm about to say. So I offer this disclaimer;

The VVR appreciates that poetry is a personal choce, and that people's taste in poetry is their own business. We would also like to state that WE KNOW that liking someone's work doesn't mean you agree with their views. This post is not intended to tread on anyone's feelings, it is intended to express my own feelings on a matter that probably shouldn't be quite so close to my heart. It should require no recrimination, and if you don't like what I've said, please take as much time to consider your reply as I did to stop shaking with rage in order to write this

Now, if we can all just remember that I have just as much right to rant as anyone else, we present

Shelley's "Intellectual Incoherence" or : "Of Course You Don't Like It. You're A Fascist"

Back in the days when I was young and you were even younger, there was a man named Thomas Stearnes Eliot. He wrote some poems which many people think are very good. Acually, he wrote some poems which *I* think are very good. Included in many of his poems are thinly veiled mysogynistic and anti-Semetic views (see "Sweeney Erect" or indeed any of the Sweeney poems for evidence) which I happen to find offensive, but since he is just as welcome to his views as anyone, it's fine. he was a born again Christian with very conservative social, moral and religious views.
A lot longer ago, when I was Irish and you weren't even a twinkle in your father's eye, there was a young man named Percy Bysshe Shelley. he was a Pantheist from his earliest days. He too wrote lots of poetry which some people think is very good. Included in many of his poems are thinly veiled libertarian and philosophical views which Mr Eliot took offense to. He said some things that weren't very nice;

"I find his ideas repellent; and the difficulty of separating Shelley from his ideas is still greater than with WW. And the biographical interest which Shelley has always excited makes it difficult to read the poetry without remembering the man: And the man was humourless, pedantic, self-centred, and sometimes almost a blackguard"

"But some of Shelley's views I positively dislike, and that hampers my enjoyment of the poems in which they occur; and others seem to me so puerile that I cannot enjoy the poems in which they occur"

First let me put you straight on something; I like Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and I like The Hippopotamus. Apart from that I find Eliot needlessly complex and cynical and lacking any faith in humanity whatsoever. I dislike a great deal of Eliot's work because as poetry I simply do not find it appealing. Just because I find mysoginism and anti-Semitism offensive doesn't mean I can't forget about those refferences and try to enjoy it as poetry. I just find that I can't, it's nothing to do with the views he expresses. His style is unappealing and his subjects tiresome to me. You could easily say the same about Shelley if you so wish - I repeat, poetry is a matter of personal taste.
Here are a few of those views which Eliot found offensive, puerile and repellant;

* Man can achieve a higher state of being through accepting personal responsiblity for his actions.
* Organised religion hampers personal development by hampering freedom of thought and speech. The same goes for government.
* Vegetarianism and abstinence from alcohol can help us achieve a peaceful state in harmony with nature.
* Marriage as a form of property rights is wrong, and should be replaced with an equal partnership between people who love one another.
* Practicing free love can help us advance in our spiritual and moral growth

To clarify a couple of points; Shelley was not anti-Christian, he was against dogma and corrupt religious organisations. Shelley was not a Meat-Is-Murder grungy little banner waver, he believed in freedom of choice and the advancement of health - it may also help to bear in mind that he trained as a doctor for some time. Shelley did indeed legally marry both of his wives; this is not because he was inconsistent, but because he wasn't stupid - living with a woman you were not married to made things very very hard for women, he married Harriet and Mary because it made everyone's life easier. "Free love" does not mean promiscuity, there is good evidence that he never slept with anyone apart from Harriet Westbrook and Mary Wolstonecraft-Godwin. OK, some of his ideas were a little crack brained. Paper money being a forgery designed to fool the common working man being one, the rest are fairly sound, and lead to good moral and social development.

Perhaps it would help if Eliot suggested some alternatives to free love for our fellow human, healthy eating practices, not regarding women as an extension of your property and not submitting to the yoke of an oppressive religious regime? Also, the last time I checked Eliot was a Modernist, "Death of the Author" and all that? Why, if text is an entity separate from its creator, take such evident pains to see the author behind the text? Rather New Historicist of you, Mr Eliot.
I should rather like to see some evidence for Shelley being "humourless, pedantic, self-centred, and sometimes almost a blackguard" and I'm sure some can be found. "Humourless" I find hard to justify, and also hard to dispute - his poetry was never the lighthearted work of Byron, it had serious purpose, and biographies do not mention either a lack or presence of any great measure of humour. If anything Shelley was rather a dull boy, not engaging in student pranks and studying hard, this does not make him humourless. "pedantic" - insisting on strict observance of rules and details, parading one's knowledge. "Hypocritical" - writing a poem almost entirely from scraps of other works purely to show that you have read them, and don't give me that "Language is a tired medium, we can only revise what's been before" rubbish, originality is always possible, and then accusing someone of "parading their knowledge" Possibly Shelley was pedantic, I don't know, it's the hypocrisy I take offense at.
"Self-centred" - Again, show me proof. Was Shelley thinking only of himself when he refused to allow Lord Byron to attempt to save his life when it would jeaopardise his own safety? Was he self-centred when he tried to help his clinically depressed wife? Can someone who trusts in the equality and intimate connection of all creatures ever think only of themself? Was Shelley selfish when he financially supported Godwin despite his own dire financial situation? Give me evidence, and I'll relent, Leibniz had a point.

"sometimes almost a blackguard" Hmm. Myths About Shelley For Beginners;

* He was immoral. Sorry, no, his moral views were markedly against those of society at large, but they were incontravertibly not immoral. Shelley wanted the right to choose, "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" - Optimus Prime also had a point.
* He was a promiscuous rakehell. Need I even mention that whole "no evidence that he ever slept with anyone but his two wives" business again? Just *try* and prove this one, I dare you.
* He was an enemy of God. Again, close but no cigar. Shelley did like to bait people by proclaming himself Atheist (which if you care to reffer to the archives he also techically was) but his views were actually that God is in all things. All things are to be respected but never cowered before, therefore God is to be respected but not cowered before.

This was not a tirade against Eliot, and should not have been read as one, but unjustified accusations and proclamations of that kind are not something I like to tolerate. If he'd said something similar about anyone else, trust me my reaction would have been just as vehement if not quite so well informed. The moral of the story; if you're going to express opinions lke this, you need to have evidence behind them, otherwise you shouldn't state them as facts.

Phew. If only my essays came this easily.

Monday, March 10, 2003

I Am A Psychosexual Hermaphrodite

I haven't been this scared in a long time
And I'm so unprepared, so here's your Valentine
Bouquet of clumsy words, a simple melody
This world's an ugly place,
But you're so beautiful to me


The lyrics competition is back! An easy one if you like the album, but I don't believe it was a single so maybe not so easy... By the way, if you were wondering about the title of this 'blog entry, it's because I spent a little while with my head stuck in the writings of Freud (respect the Ziggy) and found out he had some simply wonderful terminology for bisexuality, "psychosexual hermaphroditism" is just one of them, "bipolar invert" is my personat favorite though. Sigmund Freud; master of making shit up. But anyway, on to the business of my 'blog. Today, Damn You Must Be Bored To Read This Productions proudly presents;

More Stuff I Have Learned

* With careful abstinence, caffeine can be used as a recreational drug.
* A pan of cocoa can go from "still" to "all over the clean cooker top" in less time than it takes to turn round and grab a mug.
* Leather trousers are very hard to keep up with a belt that is far too big. Particularly if pacing the room having used caffeine as a recreational drug.
* Invoking Godwin will not extract you from ANY situation, just MOST of them
* Sometimes, it really IS best to vote Cthulu
* It is more fun to extract your own teeth with rusty pliers than to try and read Eliot whilst in a bad mood.
* You will only ever find one pair of totally perfect black casual trousers in your life.
* The Shostakovitch Festival Overture can really wind you up. Particularly if you've used caffeine as a recreational drug.
* Running out of a concert hall giggling crazily and chasing a friend around pillars does not earn you kudos in the music world.
* It's hard to run in six inch heels and leather trousers that are falling down because they're two sizes too big.
* You should never gel your hair just before stepping out into a windy night. You end up looking like Angel.
* When you really need a good neck nibbling, nobody's biting.
* Bald viola players are remarkably generous with cigarettes.
* "Run Lola Run" is one of the best films ever made.
* Just a couple of days off a schedule of non-stop work and drink makes you feel Immortal.
* Skinny women don't look as good in corsets as their larger counterparts.
* Even a top that's got six inches of room around the waist will bust at the zip if you turn awkwardly.
* Self-punishment comes under the bracket of punishment, and all punishment is pointless.
* I look equally good Goth as I do Hippy.
* I am not totally repulsive to the opposite sex, or indeed to my own. (Part of a large puzzlement; I spend 20 years thinking I'm totally repugnant, then suddenly I hit 21 and everyone wants to sleep with me. What's up with THAT?)
* Being able to remember the name and face of everyone you've ever slept with is a bonus, not a reason to brood.
* If you're in a hurry, go with leather trousers and a velvet shirt. Nothing can go wrong in that outfit.
* Bus timetables are devised to make you either very late or very early.
* An ankle length black duster covers a multitude of sins.
* You always want to listen to/read/watch something as soon as you lend it to someone. Even if you haven't used it for years prior to that.
* Being comfortable in your own skin makes you much more attractive.
* An hour spent in the company of good friends can alleviate almost any problem.
* Guilt is bad for the immune system.
* What's done is done and cannot be changed.
* Irony makes the world go around.
* Library staff are fully entitled to give you funny looks if you check out Paracelsus, Albertus Magnus and Erasmus Darwin in one go, and have that twitchy "Pale student of unhallowed arts" look about you.
* There are few things more embarrassing than sitting in a Romanticism class and realising you're wearing the same outfit as Percy Bysshe Shelley in the picture on the OHP. However, you're likely to be the only one who notices or cares.
* It can be amusing to work out which Circle of Hell you're destined for (Third pocket of Malebolge, 7th Circle for me. That's burning sand and rains of fire, in case you didn't know)
* Deformity is a matter of personal taste.
* A University Campus is a self-contained microcosm of society.
* Nothing in the world is really all that bad.
* The only way to conquer a fear is to confront it.
* Dante is not light bedtime reading.
* Lists like this are only amusing or interesting if you have something else you should be doing.

So what am I doing? Apart of course from working all night on my godawful Modernism essay (which is incidentally going to kick ass and get a darn good mark)? I'm sitting in my room singing the Leather Trousers Song. You don't know it?? Good grief what stone have you been under?

I've got no soul to hold me down
To make me brood or make me frown
I used to sulk, but now I'm free
'Cause there ain't no soul in me!


I think Spike was responsible for that one. Possibly on one of those afternoons that would culminate with him calling me a Paddy Bastard and slumping across a table singing "I am The Walrus" ahh.. good days.

Right. Work....
The Highest Art Form Is Procrastination

Well actually I think i's probably music but never mind. I HATE my Modernism essay, it's dull and driving me up the wall. Also my guestbook didn't work and Sir Whinealot knows sweet FA about the practial applications of whathe's always spouting on and on and on about. So I took some tests, because I'm bored.


You're a Romantic Hero. Your instinct is to
help those you care about, and usually that's a
good thing! Sometimes, though, you might find
yourself being a little posessive or
overprotective.


What Sort of Romantic Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

You are a Black Werewolf. Dark, Dangerous and Mysterious. Everyone fears your taste for blood.
You are a Black Werewolf. Dark, Dangerous and
Mysterious. Everyone fears your taste for
blood.


What Color Werewolf Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

src="http://www.alice.dryden.co.uk/muskehounds/badge_rochefort
.gif" width="220" height="130">
Which Muskehound are you?


That last one So figures. I'm on the wrong freakin' side!!!!! And isn't that a kind of cheese?

Anyway. I'm goig to go and have a hot bath and read Don Juan and see if it makes me feel any better.
Woo hoo, I got a Guestbook. Yay.

So use it, you people.