Pounding Ezra: Poem Parodies are a Howl
EDITORIAL HUMOR, April 6, 2000
By David Trumbull
I had thought that, "Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote / The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote," might be a fit prologue to my column in this National Poetry Month. But distinctly literary education is in decline, making Chaucer chancy. When last I quoted a poem in Middle English I was dismayed to see that the newspaper editor--damn her eyes-- had "corrected" the spelling and, in the process, altered the meaning. Thus "Winter is icummin in, lhude sing Goddamn," was pummeled into "Winter is acommin' in, let us sing God damn."
Old-fashioned wordsmithing is out of fashion. Today we want our art to have an edge--be to "transgressive" While formerly it was thought that art might sometimes outrage conventional sensibilities, now, anything that outrages is "art." Offensiveness being more common than true artistic talent, this new definition has the advantage of greatly increasing the supply of "artists." Judging from some recent artistic offerings one might conclude that the sole criterion to be a "artist" is to have a reasonably functional body with its full complement of fluids, excretions, and naughty bits. It also helps to use the words that you can't say on television.
I now claim, as an artist, my sacred right and duty to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Talent though I have none, I do hold some most offensive views. O, ye black-clad college kids drinking espresso in Boston's coffee houses, attend while I slaughter the sacred cows. Hide the kids and ask the ladies to leave the room for I am about to utter the seven dirty words: "private property:, "capitalism," "traditional morality," "respect for authority," "a world created and ordered by God," "sanctity of life," and "all cultures are not equal."
Attend, as I celebrate in verse the conservative movement in the U.S.
I saw the best minds of my generation wasted, neglected unheeded unheard unseen,
Supply-side evangelists khaki-clad and blazers yellow power tied and politically incorrect,
Alternative college newspaper writers looking for the big job in New York or DC or silicon valley,
Who found instead diversity training and company AIDS awareness day, and big business socialism,
Counter-revolutionaries seeking a lost America de Tocqueville and Cincinnatus,
Or who strove with the gods of political correctness within the fascist walls of hire education daring to stand up for reason and for truth,
Who denied tenure denied the historical dialectic imperative and went to work for Richard Viguerre or Richard Regnery or Richard Nixon,
Relegated to Murdock tabloids and guest columnist house conservative what's the point counterpoint commentary,
Who let themselves be fucked in the ass by those paradigms of political practicality the Rockefeller Republicans,
Who longed for the cool golden waters while their intellects were seared by hot lead and the desert of media scorn,
Who followed the cowboy talking of taxcuts taxcuts taxcuts and were betrayed by lying lips and lying they bled from a thousand wounds amidst desert storms.
Who read The Freeman Human Events National Review American Spectator Boston Mercury and Washington Times but never believed anything until they saw it in the New York Times, or the Boston Globe,
Who dreamed of a contract with America, only to awaken still asleep to a nightmare of corporatism timidity the Department of Education and Clinton acquitted,
Apostles of the free market individual rights and responsibilities compassionate conservatives all ranting reform revolution denounced as reactionary, Alan Keyes and Steve Forbes abandoned George W did he inhale?
Gored, not vanquished, these too shall rise in the last day, with the painters and the writers who knew that without the way lies madness folly chaos and blood.
The beat poets of the 1950's howled revolution against a perceived conformist society. Fifty years later conservatives look at America and everywhere see conformity. A peculiarly American neo-puritanical fascistic corruption of liberalism controls much of academia. The liberal bias of much of the major media is well established. The political system seems so hostile that even when we win, as in 1994, the liberal bureaucracy slouches along, ever expanding its usurpation of individual rights.
Conformist times call for radical behavior. Read the classic poetry of dead white males, preferably in a dead language. Be subversive, write poetry that rhymes and has meter. Or, put yourself really out there--bugger Allen Ginsberg with a bad parody of his writing. It's OK--he knew from buggery.
David Trumbull is the Chairman of the Cambridge Republican City Committee