Poetry, poetics, with occasional forays into other arts and politics
Do you ever wonder what became of 3-Finger Jackie—so-named because of her tendency to shove at least three fingers up your arse while performing drunken intercourse in a sawdust pile at the mill on the edge of town? Would you like confirmation that childish, spoiled Angela, with her $1200 different wardrobe for each day of the school year, is still an annoying little mutant who enjoys playing in the snow? Do you ever long to discuss the existential yearning and sociopolitical dilemmas inherent in the lyrics of, duh-uh, Guns 'N' Roses? Are you concerned about Chinese Democracy?—the long-awaited comeback album by that ‘genius’ Axl Rose, not the Asian socioeconomic system, silly rabbit! Do you think you might be the father of Allison's latest baby? Would you like to father her next baby while her husband gets drunk on dart night? Are you interested in keeping tally of Terri-Lou's abortions, and are you dying to know whether or not she still swallows? Do you fancy smoking hash with Clem and Zeke on Friday night, while Grandpa Jed spins yarns about lynchin' and castratin' ‘nigga-boys’ back in '58? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, then Facebook.com is the place for you! Yes, Facebook, the website tailor-made for expat Newfoundlanders so goofy, ignorant and racist that they can't chug beer with Torontonians; and redneck, socially conservative Albertans who are having trouble communicating with Jesus since Harper dipped slightly in the polls. If you've been wondering what became of the ignorant bastards with whom you attended comprehensive and university—those air-headed, low-cultured ninnies, beer-belching crotch-scratchers, and social status-seeking losers-who-thought-they-were-winners—then you now know where they've probably been lurking, and have a pretty good idea of what they've been getting up to.I had been wondering for some time, Where have all the idiots gone? Where are all those clods, slobs and snobs that I attended high school and uni with? How come I never run into any of them at forums or on Blogger and MySpace sites? How come none of them ever ‘look’ me up? After all, I'm pretty easy to find, with my email address dropped here and there around the net. Then it occurred to me: most of these silly fuckers have forgotten how to read, and are certainly too lazy to write; so if they were googling for me, they would probably enter “Bob”, “Buddy wif da long hair”, or “Hey, skipper”; and there's only one logical place they could all have dug in for the long winter: the much-talked-about Facebook site, where if you can spell your own name half-right and learn how to upload a ‘photo’ from some lame digital camera, then you can find out who's shagging whom, who's screwed their way into the company boardroom, and where the weed party is on Friday night. So last night I finally built up enough nerve to lower myself to their level, and signed up (as R.W. Watkins, of course—none of them would be bright enough to connect me with a name like that). By Christ, were my suspicions ever on the mark! There they were: oodles of them, like illiterate lice, all over the goddamned place. Old classmates; old girlfriends; old enemies—there was even my old English teacher-turned-politician, for fuck's sake! Yes, it was an eerily fascinating experience—like walking in on a porno set or KKK meeting, and spotting a half-dozen past lovers and best friends from bygone days. This, to paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson's take on Las Vegas, is what Hitler and the Nazis would have been doing these days if Germany had won the war. Needless to say, I didn't stick around long enough to create a profile, but rather—like The Rolling Stones at Altamont—sneaked in just long enough to take a look around at the chaos and devolution, and then got the hell out. Speaking of the whereabouts of idiots, have you seen dear, dear Carmine Starnino again yet? For, you see, it was the question of 'Where Have All the Poets Gone?', the essay he dragged out of the silent and hypocritical John Barton, that caused my outburst a few posts back at your cherished blog. For more details (or a reminder), go to http://zachariahwells.blogspot.com/2007/06/where-have-all-editors-gone.html, and look for my comment.As for Sarah Polley and her sudden concern with the censorial nature of the tidbits hidden in one of Adolf Harper's infamous omnibus bills, I must admit that there's a certain side of me that gleefully perceives a particular poetic justice in such legislation successfully making its way through the senate. Where are Polley and her fellow state-funded nincompoops when other illiberal bills are winding their way through parliament??? If the government were to introduce a bill banning or curtailing anything from masturbation to chewing gum, Polley and her ilk would be as silent as tombstones; the prospect of appearing on magazine covers and U.S. tabloid shows would be simply too enticing to interrupt their usual train of egoistic thought. It's only when a bill like this comes along—one that interferes with their beholden-to-no-one, easy-street way of state-paid existence, that they come alive and speak out.Umbrella, huh...?
It seems the shorter my posts, the longer your rants, my dear Watkins!What if I had just written "hot damn"!But it's a fiendishly eloquent piece of vitriol, and for that it it definitely is praiseworthy. Facebook, what a scary place! Wouldn't set electronic foot or feelers over there. Personally, I hated highschool; was too depressed by it to know who the likes of three-finger Jackie was there, if there was one... Zach is right on in that post. But he's well-enough connected that he can brag about never sending to literary reviews. Good for him. For me, as I've said before, sending out guarantees one reader for my poems (if only moi) -- and if a positive connection is made, that's a thrill beyond likely any proportion it deserves. Haven't run across Carmine yet... his Starry orbit does not cross mine too often!Umbrella is a decent internet review. Much of what I've read there is boring (somewhere else I've said 90% of poetry of any kind is shit), but I read a couple of good things that made me think I would respond to a call for submissions on a certain theme. The woman who edits it actually gave me very perceptive feedback on a poem that I revised, resubmitted and was taken. Constructive response like that restores ones' faith in the process. (Really, it was good criticism...)Nevertheless, an exclamation like "Hot damn!" probably should be reserved for , like, The Paris Review. Chalk that up to the empty plate/crumbs/birthday cake illusion referred to earlier.P.S. Wasn't Sarah P. just scrumptious, though, in "My Life Without Me"?
Uhm...Is it okay if I just say "Congratulations"?
In this context, that's concise to the point of bluntness, and could, indeed, be construed as impolite. It seems to me that you are showing us up with your well-placed conventionality.But... thanks, Greg. ;)
RW, have you ever thought of doing your own blog? You're welcome to use this one as a sounding board to generate material -- I welcome your input, it's bracing and because of that refreshing -- but what you wrote above has the makings of a very engaging post, especially for a community of readers more clued in to your arcane pop culture references than say, yours truly.
I think there's an obvious 'sociology of Facebook' that can be gleaned from just one or two visits to the site. There are well-intentioned exceptions, certainly, but most of the people lurking there are the high-school and university popularity-contest-winners of 25 years ago--the former students who have not made the impact in the real world like they made (or thought they made) in comprehensive and uni, and now desire to reclaim their former glory by hanging their smirking portraits in a place where all their former classmates can see them and be envious of their sexy spouses and adorable offspring. In this sense, Facebook can be looked upon as an extension of the more frivolous side of secondary and post-secondary academic culture (or lack thereof). I'm sure a lot more could be ascertained from extended visits utilising a fully-functioning profile, but that would take a lot of stomach.
I'm surprised most of them aren't... high school students. I opened up a Myspace musician's page but then lost interest when I discovered the graphics were tacky and you could no longer upload complete MP3s anymore --but rather shitty GarageBand.com-quality soundclips. Most of the clientele, I discovered, was very young, and when I found some of them clamouring in a breathless kind of way to become my "friend", I soon lost interest. Facebook, Myspace, etc. though are a motherlode for sociologists, who now have a ready-made tool to study fads, networking patterns, influence-peddling and the like.
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