November 2004


Original article posted by Greg:

I recently heard an interesting fact of the english language. That is: you can insult anybody in any way and follow it up immediately with “bless his heart” and it makes it okay.

I tried it out. So far it’s holding up okay. If nothing else, it’s
made for some laughs.

Local elections are coming up here soon. There are at least 6 candidates here but only 3 of note. I call them “Mr. Bean,” “The Backpack Guy,” and “Wormy Guy.”

My vote was for Mr. Bean at first because he tries to look all triumphant and tough even though he’s… well… Mr. Bean. And I figure I can get behind that kind of outlook. But now I’m thinking of voting for Backpack Guy because of the way he stares off into the distance in all his ads. Wormy guy is just a loser, bless his heart.

Had a big Tanksgiving lunch with the missionaries today. I made fake cheezecake. It was all delicious. Then we sat around and chatted while trying not to get sick eating leftovers.

In the midst of all the banners and parties and public rallies and what not, I happened to notice a little box in 7-11 that was labeled “HalfLife 2.”

Isn’t it funny how certain kinds of things just stick out to you?

I think that everybody has things they just automatically want to share
with others. Especially friends and family, obviously. Like I see
certain video games, and I think, “hm. That is a game that I would like to share with my friend _____.”

I have lots of experiences like that here. Lots of things I’d like to share with you.

Of course, I’m so flippin’ scatterbrained I can’t think of any more at this point. But notes follow for certain lucky individuals.

Bless my heart.

-Elder Hamblin

Kayeleen: Can you find out who composed the song “hair, wild cherries, and honeycomb” for me? Also listen to it. It’s one thing I wanted to share with you.

Blaine: So, uh… not that I care… but how is that whole HalfLife 2
thing, anyway? Not that I get distracted by video games. Like the
fella playing diablo 2 right next to me. No, not him. Not the guy playing a level 35 sorceress who can teleport like mad. No. Oh babylon oh babylon we bid the farewell…

Orginal comments:


Nickname: squishous
Re: Giving thanks.
Do they still send these to you?

Dearest Elder Hamblin,

You will be happy to know that this is the best season of rain and snow that Cedar City has had in over 5 years. (it could be longer but I didn’t really want to research it, I just asked some old man and he said 5 years. Who am I to argue with my Elders?) Many have been rejoicing over the moisture and giving praise where praise is due. There has been rain and snow, flooding in the valley, just a good time had by all. In all the excitement I moved to St. George! (It seems off topic, but I hate snow. I think snow should be like a tolerable relative and come visit occasionally, but never stay the night).

Every time I read your posts I find myself laughing out loud. The only other author to have that effect is Terry Pratchet. I will find out if he has written anything new in the last little while and compose a list. I won’t give you the list, I will just compose it.

Keep writing, I don’t think you realize how many people visit sixmile just to read your letters. So, keep em coming.

-Russ

I found a good quote the other day, it is by Bertrand Russell:

“Most people would rather die than think; many do”


Nickname: chamblin
Re: Giving thanks.
Messsage sent.

Many thanks,
Greg’s Mom

Original article posted by Olorle:

I think my current major problem with people is a result of the country we live in. We live in a country that believes in the “American Dream”. We have set up an ideal where absolutely every person has the potential to be anything they want to be just because they want to be it. Now when this was first tossed about it was grand. As an ideal it is grand. But, come on, it’s still called a dream. How often do dreams just come to life without any effort? Which society was created without bloodshed? How many Utopias haven’t had there martyrs? Sure, you can be anything you want to be, but that isn’t a free ticket. If you want it, get off of your ass and put in some effort. No one said that it was easy to be anything, just that it is possible. A lot of things are possible. That doesn’t make them propable last I checked.

So lets give ourselves a case study to work off of. Everyone loves case studies. Let us take a class full of people who want to be Literature majors. This class can be divided into two very conflicting camps. The majority fall into Camp A. Camp A agrees with everything that the Profesor has to say. Everything they are assigned to read matters. Everything they want to say about the book can be found in the essays included in the critical edition of the book. Odd, that. Camp B is full of disenters. They don’t like things. In fact, they will flat out say things are bad and not worth looking at. They will rip apart your favorite book. They will point out things that came from application and synthesis of things from beyond that one class to create new ideas. To try and move beyond monotony of being told what a book is about as a way of discussing literature.

Camp A are literature students because they want to be. They will attend class. They will do homework. They will rarely add new information to a field of study.

Camp B spends time outside of class discussing the readings. They get emotionaly ill because of people not wanting to respond to there assesments with anything more than snippy comments and blow offs. They want to understand something about the craft and about what this writing is.

These two camps do not get along. Of course, Camp A will not lash out in any direct, explosive, or highly emotional fashion. That would be “unprofesional” or dare I say it “un-adult”. Emotion belongs in the books, not in your reactions against what someone says about it. Camp B on the other hand gets angry when they are not heard. They are upset when people dismiss ideas without at least throwing out one solid argument. Something in them dies when the best defense that can be presented against there argument is dismisal. Of everyone being right.

This is the difference between people who just expect things to work out and those who expect to fight to become what they want. One group has enough emotional investment that they will be damaged in these confrontations of ideals. This is why our school systems can allow for people to make it through without knowing how to read. They shouldn’t have to work for it, the “American Dream” states that they get to succeed because some portion of them wants to. Because society wants them to. Because their parents want them to. Because the school doesn’t want its graduation percentage to fall. In other places, students fear trying to get into college. It is a privelage, not something that is handed to you.

What is the difference here?

We’re killing opposition. We have made dream reality without any of that middle ground where people are hurt and people die and people fail because they simply didn’t have what it took to make their dream real. Well get this, life isn’t fair. Life is under no obligation to be fair. The universe is under no obligation to see that you succeed. Society owes you nothing. The only person under any obligation to help you is you. So you don’t like me? You don’t like what I have to say? Stand up for you beliefs. I’m not here to shove my beliefs down your throat, but I’m certainly not going to roll over and play dead just because you have decided to be wishy-washy about things. When it becomes a matter of principle, the rules have very little to do with being nice.

“This is too big to be hard-assed about! We have to compromise…”
“No. Not even in the face of armageddon. Never compromise.”
-Alan Moore, Watchmen

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Asmodeus
Re: On Dreams
Hell yeah brother preach on, not one thing you said offended me! Not one damn thing! I think I am in group B though. I also will not compromise myself for another person whether they hate me or not, I have lost a lot of friends because of it, but I tell you they were not good friends to begin with and the ones I kept are very trusted induviduals indeed!

So what is better having a bunch of friends i can not trust or few that I can trust? i say the few I can trust, _soma_ a ex friend now because she wants me to comprimise who I am, and that person is an asshole a lot of the times there are moments of sweetness in me but its hard to pull that out, and she has done so before but probably will not again.

i fight for my lot in life, i was born poor and I will probably die poor but that dont stop me from trying to accomplish what many of you fear.

Hittler wrote a book called “Mein Kamph” or my fight I also am fighting to get what i want out of life, screw college I say I can learn by myself just as well i can read because i struggled with it as a young boy I have been teased laughed at still most of the time but I am used to it, but who will be laughing last the day I run that person through in my war?

I do not find Hittler bad at all, in fact what he did to most would be wrong, but if you are a person that says damn mexicans they dont belong here than well calling Hittler a psycho is hypocritical like so many I know, because that is exactely how the germans saw the jews.

That is all I have to say i guess but once again I totally agree with whoever you are.


Nickname: Olorle
Re: On Dreams
You seem to be amazingly naive. First, learn some grammar and punctuation. Then, lay off of the exclamation points or they become utterly meaningless. Next, go read some philosophy. After that, come back, read what you just said and think really hard about what it says about you as a person. Sometimes change and compromise look a lot the same if your eyes are not fully open.


Nickname: Asmodeus
Re: On Dreams
Naive huh? I will allow that. Grammar is ever changing, no need to take my time on it, is that all you have is to try to insult my grammar? Mind you I have taken philosophy, ah yes the art of the ever changing questions.

Who am I as a person? I would ask you which philosopher would you like me to refer myself to? There are many types of philosophy telling me to read it and find myself, that is truely naive. I would ask you which person should I read about? Who’s ideals am I supposed to follow? I would say my own, and you would tell me that is naive, right?

Would you prefer me allowing you to define me? I am sorry I could not allow you to do that. If you would give me one word to describe who I am as a person and only one word I would say…. Evil!

As for this country, well it has thermal nuclear weapons so big they are not even allowed to tell you how big the blast can get. So in a sense I am willing to say to hell with that I am not going to mess with the people who have those weapons and just smile and nod when they threaten me with them.

You want to compare how naive each of us are? Tell me how long you would have to live if I took away the world in which you live in? See how long a city thrives when there is no power, sewage, or gas. I know better than you, I can honestly say you will not live for very long.

Tell me in the lands untouched by man, would grammar feed you? I would love to hear that answer.


Nickname: Olorle
Re: On Dreams
All that you can get your hands on and utilizing that knowledge, create an actually well informed world view rather than one based on a very limited world context. See? You make assumptions about me as a person without any actual knowledge about me. Very naive, child.

Also, if you truely define yourself as ‘evil’, then you are obviously a true moron. I’d elaborate, but it is hardly worth the time since you obviously are so stuck in your delusions of grandure that you wont actually read through a coherent statement of facts.

How long would I live were the world to change? As long as I had to. Once again, you are assuming much about me. I’m not entirely certain where you get the idea that grammar is my only piece of knowledge. And why would anyone who actually believes that the world may be half destroyed turn their back on any piece of knowledge that might need preservation?


Nickname: ravenpaine
Re: On Dreams
For a guy with an unmitigated desperation for attention from a girl whom he barely knows you sure seem very self-assured about your ability to survive in horrible and only vaguely plausible worlds.

I would say that if you are truly a survivalist and a man of knowledge and gumption you would learn to live in any world and fight your battles on all fronts rather than dismissing the ideas of one world in favor of one where you allegedly would have an advantage.

A truly evil man is not one who causes havoc or chaos or even begins to banter about anarchy… Someone who supposes themselves the villain, the opposition, the antithesis of all that is good should first understand that all evil has to come from somewhere and has to go somewhere… destruction is the result of people arguing with each other over nearly any topic… Truly the most evil of men would be one who misled everyone into doing something that once they arrived at it, they would be forced to off themselves from the shame of knowing that they had done such an act willingly.

For starters.

If at all possible visit your local library and “rent” yourself the book “The Lucifer Principle” by Howard Bloom. It is a detailed treatise on the existance of evil and the useses that evil has in society.

Rodney TGAP
user of words like “shat” and “thrice”

Original article posted by ravenpaine:

Although a suspicious mind is bad, still it is wrong to cling to what you shouldn’t believe in, or to fail to ask about a truth you should seek. – Dogen

I begin this final installment with two quotes that seem contradictory but are actually, possibly even, in truth, complimentary.

Hell, I’ll through two more quotes in just to get us started, after all why say the things you could say when you can have great and dead people (sometimes more great, sometimes more dead) say it for you.

One should not differentiate good and bad on the basis of taste. – Dogen

And.

We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine. – H.L. Mencken

And one more that just occured to as exquisitely applicable.

If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know. – Louis Armstrong

Now, now we can get into a discussion about what is going on around here.

If some of you are wondering exactly what has prompted this kind of outrage I will tell you.

At least, I will tell you the short version. The long version requires hours as it covers some 12 years of my life.

The short version is limited only to the context of the American Literature class.

Several things have been said this past week that I must rail against and I don’t care what the excuses of the individual writers are the fact they said these things by mistake is possibly more damning then if they said them on purpose.

(content removed by request)

Why did I take the time to quote all of this? Particularly the last part with all of its gaps in logic and misspellings and general internetese? The answer is I want to make a point, a grand line drawn in the sand for having the courage to take a stand and fight, to challenge all takers in a no-holds barred match for the way things should be.

Socrates, as much as I believe he never existed outside of a character in Plato’s writing, chose suicide over apologizing (not really apologizing but bear with me) for trying to teach people to think for themselves. I will die likewise, I may be against martydom as a cheap cop-out but that doesn’t mean I won’t get one step away from it for my cause and live to fight and fight and fight until the mob kills me or no one exists who dares take a swing at my principles.

Modern society asks people to comprimise here and let slide there until morality and ethics are all speculative and the only applicable world view is a circular grey void. To all of which I cry bullshit! loudly and often.

Why even live in a world in which no action you take will ever matter? A world in which no pure truth can exist a world in which people walk knowingly into distaster after disaster hoping that this time won’t be as bad as the previous time.

My god people! Do you not realize that according to a great Chinese proverb “When making a chioce between two evils, one still chooses evil”?

Most, if not all, of the great scholars, teachers, artists, musicians, conquerers, monarchs, presidents, leaders, philosophers, and above all writers, were people who were so firm in their convictions and ideals that they made their ideals and convictions our ideals and convictions?

Bernard Shaw, in act III of his play Major Barbara wrote “Nothing is ever done in this world until men are prepared to kill one another if it is not done.” Shaw’s point was that the only thing that can drive a person do doing something important is the most violent and nearly uncontrollable passion. Certainly I may be putting a little more emphasis on his statement then he would, but I place no less empahsis then it deserves.

A world in which everyone comprimises and all ideas are just as acceptable as the next are the kinds of foolish nonsense that led to Japanese internment camps in the U.S. of A. in World War II. They are the sort of cheese-headed notions that allowed every supposedly justifiable murder the world has ever seen. Do you think that Joseph Stalin was fond of comprimising a little here and there? Sure he was, and he killed millions of his own people on the way to the great comprimise.

I understand freedom, honestly, Truthfully even. I may not be a Liberetarian but I get the point of view. People should be allowed to place their own boundaries and follow their own rules as long as said rules and boundaries do as the Wiccan faith suggest “Do no harm.”

There is a limiting factor to what boundaries a person can place on themselves. Henry Rollins said it best (and I paraphrase here) you can tell someone who defends an ideal because they stand in front of it instead of hiding behind it.

Literature is a high and important pricniple, it asks a question not only of quality but of importance and history. Literature cannot simply be eveything that is written down. It cannot be defined by whomever cares to do so. Literature, above nearly all other principles teach us how to fight and what to fight for.

That is why all this bile and hatred spewed in your direction. I don’t care what you think is a great book. I don’t care who you think is a great writer or even what stupid piece of garbage supermarket romance you think is the bestest book ever, what I care about is that you, as Literature students, be able to fight for the thing that you have spent years studying.

Why the hell are you even here if not to learn what it is that moves you so, what it is that reaches into you and touches your soul or emboldens your spirit? Aren’t you the least bit curios as to the how and why of all these texts? Don’t you begin each book, or letter, or magazine, or whatever it is that you read with a sense of mystery and wonder and excitement and joy?

If you own a book in your home that you have not ruined a page of by crying into it then you are in the wrong goddamn field of study. And how can you, in good conscience, in a proper state of mind say that anything can be literature? Look beyond your petty tastes and sensibilities and ask yourself what is it that does these things to you? That, that is what we are here to study. That is what we are here to learn and to live.

No one would want to be told that their child is not only replacable but completely unimportant in the general scheme of things and in the same way I don’t want the passion of my life spat upon and left up to statements such as “Is graffiti on a bathroom wall literature? Absolutely, and some of the best I’ve ever read!”

I don’t wander around gutting puppies for my own amusement and niether should you make such shitty, ill-concieved statements about things that you obviously don’t understand.

So, take a stand, fight for what you believe, don’t comprimise in all things, and realize that, as the Barenaked Ladies have told us, surrender may mean that neither side as won, but that also means that nothing is resolved and unresolved conficlt, as history has so painfully shown us, becomes the next thousand years of hatred and death.

Finally I leave you with this last quote and an incredibly important bit to remember whenever faced with situations such as these.

Two monks were once travelling down a muddy dirty when it began to rain heavily Coming around a bend they saw a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash unable to cross the river.
“Come here, girl,” said the first monk. He lifted her above his head and carried her to the other side.
The second monk did not say anything until later that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then, no longer able to contain himself he blurted, “Why did you do that? We monks do not go near females, it is dangerous!”
The first monk turned to him and said, “I left the girl there. Why are you still carrying her?”

Rodney TGAP
Bonne nuit, bonne nuit to you all

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Asmodeus
Re: Times Like These… 3: Awkward Silence
I wonder what the removed content is? You must have taken this class with Kellers, or -soma- if you wish, sounds like her handy I want to bitch about it but I have no power to do anything about it type work.

As for graffitti on the walls of bathrooms, some of my greatest and most interesting thoughts come about when I am taking a crap, Hey between you and me, you ever been tempted to call the number that says for good time call?

Me personaly as soon as anyone tried to tell me how I am supposed to talk and behave there is hell to pay! Whether they are more “educated’ than I am or not. Not even -soma-‘s wet heated vagina is strong enough to tell me how i am supposed to behave.

So you are wicca the verse if i remember there is another “so mote it be” or pretty much let it be, I studied that way of life for a while, but I turned to the darkside of that type of energy work I do a lot of Aleister Crowley stuff now.

Here is another darker one for you by Crowley it goes like this “Do what thou Wilt, shall be the whole of the law” Myself I have a lot of different meanings towards it to me it can mean a number of things. Sort of like taking the bible to me “thou shalt not kill” means dont kill anything at all but to most it means dont kill people I am sure.

I have to tell you that with a lot of you i really do not agree with most what you say, I watch certain people and what they talk about on here, so far I agree with a good portion of your stuff and some other guy I dont know on here and a little bit of -soma- I agree with her view on religion and that is pretty much it with her, she has this whole feminist ideal going and I am nowhere near agreeing with that, last i checked i have a rather large penis its not the largest in the world but I am proud of my penis just the same, feminism takes a lot of ideas i do not agree with some I do but most i do not, the first male that says he is a feminist is straight up a homosexual, there is nothing wrong with being gay however being gay and telling me how to treat women does not go well with me.

I like your Ryans views, I know you have to kiss his ass and all but I sure the hell do not he makes me laugh, i tried to get my friends to check out his site none of them took to it asked me who the hell he was. my favorite is his thing on marriage, that made me kind of laugh, so in a sense to his views if I chose to marry Kellers whether or not she loves me back than by my freedom we are married cause i said so and no government intervention can stop that.

Religion is a touchy subject for a lot of people, I know I have been nearly shot because of my beliefe system but I am willing to die for it and no I dont want to be martyrd, in most cases i will let you be but when anger takes my soul vengance is all i crave and yes it is killing me however we all know there is a price and i am willing to pay the tole.

anyways that is all i have for now i hope you come up with cooler stuff for me to read, if you are up in the northern part of utah we should get together I know a few people you would like to meet, you might like them, I am the only one with the knack for violence most of my friends are the keen balance that is why they are there to keep me from doing something really crazy.


Nickname: ravenpaine
Re: Times Like These… 3: Awkward Silence
I’m going to make this one nice and simple: Learn to read.

Rodney TGAP
by which I mean things

Original article posted by ravenpaine:

Just a quick reminder -Read Part 1-

Or not.

This section will involve three major topics, Nonfiction as literature, the difference between truth and fact, and whiney-snivelly-childish-college students who cannot get out of the name calling stage. (And, incase you have not realized that ‘irony’ is more misused then tax revenue, the thing I just said about name calling? That would be referred to as ‘hypocrisy.’ Just so you are on the proper page.)

First, Non-fiction, is it fact? a SixMileVillage expose in one sentence.

No, you total frelling moron.

Rita Berman, a writer and teacher of non-fiction (over 400 features), states in the 2001 Writer’s Handbook “the article remains nonfiction because the content is based on fact and is not created or made up, but you have more freedom in the actual wrtiing of it. That calls for embellishing and enhancing, narrating instaed of reporting.”

Which gives me some very useful peices of information to lob at you cheese-brained fools out there.

(content removed by request)

Yes, nonfiction can be considered literature, in the case of creative nonfiction because what begins as a set of facts is ’embellished and enhanced” to better tell the story, therefore the essay or feature or article or whatever you call your nonfiction text is not a statement of fact, very few creative nonfiction writers will tell you that it is.

(content removed by request)

The answer to this question is quite simple. No. Being based on fact does not mean that a text cannot be literature, but it does mean that it cannot be taken as pure, simple, unadultared fact. Because it is not!

Which brings us to our second topic: the difference between truth and fact.

Now, if we were foolish and attempted to use a dictionary to define our terms we would immediately run into the following problem:

Truth
1. Conformity to fact or actuality.

Fact
2c. Something believed to be true or real.

Dammit! Some crazy expert of the dictionary craft used fact as part of the definition of truth and truth as part of the definition of fact! Fortunately we know that these words cannot mean the same thing or even each other, otherwise we wouldn’t need both words. We therefore assume that the nuances of the full text of their definition must have something to do with their actual (true? factual? real?) meaning.

But I dont’ quote from the dictionary unless I’m being vindictive so we will simply have to work with the portions of definition that we have already been given.

Truth amuses me as a definition because of the first word in the defintion, conformity. Truth is apparently an agreed upon quantity. Unless you too submit to that which is true then their can be no truth. I’m rather certain Plato would disagree, but hey who is Plato to argue with dictionary experts.

Fact is even better, the middle section of the definition relies upon the infinately debatable principal of belief. Belief? For something to be a fact it has to be believed? Where the hell did the dictionary people come up with this? I’m reminded of what Fry said in an episode of Futurama “Everybody knows that aligators live in the sewers, it’s a widely believed fact.” When I first heard this line I just kept on a laughing, a widely believed fact how preposterous. Little did I suspect that he was actually alluding to the defintion of fact.

So, I say, in a properly surly British fashion, Piss off! to the dictionary people and their definitions and instead I will define my own terms right here right now, so that everybody knows what it is that I’m talking about. So don’t bother trying to point out how wrong I am by telling me what you defintion of these words are, I’ve already gone through the necessary steps of removing the part of me that gives a damn that you cannot handle the simple process of defining your terms.

Truth: Comes in two varieties, lower case truth is an intangible quantity that is personally defined by each person who approaches it. It is subjective and ever changing as perspective and personality take from it what they will and what they can. Capital Truth is the unatainable pure essence of an ideal. It is what is absolutely for certain if an omnipotent, omniscient being were about answering questions because IT had created everything and therfore had the last word on everything as well. It is generally understood that Truth is not something any of us are going to get to, but that does not mean that we should stop trying, hell stiving is as imporant succeeding. The other form, truth, can be found wherever you may want it to be, as long as you can defend it, the moment you cannot defend it it becomes a lie.

Simply put I prefer the addage: History is written by the observor, propaganda is written by the winner.

Fact: Facts are things that happened. They may happen in a vacuum they may happen in the middle of a large crowd they may occur anywhere and anywhen but they are things that occur. Facts must be observable though some means, no matter what that means may be. Facts are things that happen, they are things that ARE as a student of Zen would tell you. Though many different opinions can exist about a fact, the real point is that their is an agreement that something happened or exists otherwise what would people be disagreeing about?

So there, if you would like to look up further infomration on the subject I can suggest a trio of books that will assist in your learning.

Bok, Sissela. Lying: Moral Choice in public and Private Life. New York: Vintage Books, 1999.

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. Truth: A History and Guide for the Perplexed. New York: St Martins, 1997.

Walters, Stan B. The Truth about Lying: How to Spot a LIe and Protect Yourself from Deception. Naperville: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2000.

Finally I will take a moment to mention that thing about the name calling and the childishness out of people who are in a 300 level class at a University.

(content removed by request)

I do firmly believe that in this supposed “adult world,” which you are obviously a member of and those of us who continue to fight for what we believe to be an important and crucial concept are not, people will continue to make damning comprimises that lower the quality of life for all people and take the entirety of human history one step closer to the ultimate mediocrity that it craves so much.

Need I point out that you used the wrong ‘too’ at the end of your statement? Or that even if you had used the correct to you would be ending with an indicitave statement with no object? “To do so,” would have been more appropriate but I suppose in the ‘adult world’ you don’t pay attention to that sort of thing.

I ask you, if you thought for a moment what effect this statement would have? Did you?

Did you really?

I doubt it, I doubt that you gave any practical thought to the effect your words would have, half-assed as they were.

Me, I think of the effects that my words will cause, but I find that somethings are worth fighting for and believing in and doing something about.

This is not a debate about what should or should not be considered literature. It certainly should be, that was supposedly how it started after all, but that has not been what this argument has been about since Rowsdower’s first post.

No.

This is about standards and MATTERS OF PRINCIPLE, which I have a track record for being harmed over. But as Rorschach said in Alan Moore’s The Watchmen “Never comprimise, not even in this.”

But that is all the time we have for the moment campers. Tune in to the conclusion of this trilogy for my major arguement on people who refuse to stand for something in Times Like These… 3: Awkward Silence.

Rodney TGAP
Braintrust for Humanity

Original article posted by ravenpaine:

I would like to take a moment to say that I blame Rowsdower. Of all the terrible things that are currently happening he is the father of most of them. Now, it is true that the message was delivered to him by a prophet, one Professor Jill Talbot, who asked a rather innocent question about a group of slave narratives. She asked if they were literature.

I said no.

Rowsdower said no.

The rest of the class said yes.

This caused Rowsdowr to go home and put together a little blurb on the class discussion group about what literature is.

This made the gods angry.

And they did strike at us with statements such as this…

(Removed by request)

I’ll start with what is wrong with this passage. Outside of my usual rage at anyone quoting a dictionary as a way of proving their point, which is unnecessary not only because it is cheap but also because it assumes that everyone agrees to use the exact defintion applied to a word that is defined in its broadest sense by people who work for dictionary companies. The use of a dictionary is not intended to tell you the sacred, undeniable meaning of a word, that is normally why they give you more than one definition per word. Literature, for example has six seperate definitions. (removed by request)

This leads me to believe that the only reason she used “the dictionary” for her definition is so that she could put her words into the mouth of an entity that has credibility as a cheap way of gaining credibility herself.

The thing that angers me next is her statement that anything that is written is literature including things that end with the word “literature.” Which I suppose she must be referring to all things that are written down and then have the word “literature” attached to them. I could for example talk about VCR Programming “literature” and I would be accurate, not because VCR Programming manuals are literature, but because I have specifically alluded to only the section of VCR Programming that is referred to as “literature.”

A handy trick, but all to transparent.

(removed by request)

Which tells us everything we need to know about this person to completely invalidate her opinion. I may be known for a certain amount of snap judgement and brutal hatred towards the worm that dare be called by peers but even if this statement was made as a joke it is the sholarly equivalent of a dick joke and thereby invalidates whatever thought and synthesis that may have been in this statement.

Bottom line? If you are going to get involved in a serious academic debate about a topic you should a) Know how to deliver a proper thought, b) leave out the potty humour – it only makes you look stupid, and c) for God’s sake if you are going to quote the dictionary at least quote it in context – don’t just make up shit that proves your point.

All of the above invoked a reply from me. Listed here in its entirety because it is mine and I can stand by it.

The question here is not specifically, “What is
literature, as a definition,” but in some ways the
question is “What should literature be?”

What Rowsdower is trying to get across is that not
everything can be considered literature by us, as
literature students. If we do go off that tragic limb
we are succumbing to the same horrors that
Communications majors do when they realize that they
spent years studying how people communicate.

If everything is literature then literature loses all
of its value. The debate about what is ‘good’
literature versus that which is ‘bad’ literature
becomes an arbitrarty tirade. Camps of people who
cannot seperate quality from like-ability will be all
over the place.

If you are serious about studying Literature then you
should be willing to take a moment and set limits to
your definitions of it.

As much as anything that is written down can be
studied, which is something you do with literature,
literature itself is somewhat different from a TEXT. I
don’t go in for dictionary definitions when making
argument because they are both limiting and, more
importantly, they show that someone has already done
your argument for you. However, I will take a moment
to list the definition of a text to see if that will
assist us in set literature apart to some degree.

And what a large definition it is, I’ll just list the
important bits.

Text:
1a. The original words of something written or
printed, as opposed to a paraphrase, translation,
revision, or condensation.
2. The body of a printed work as distinct from
headings, illustrative matter, or front and back
matter in a book.
4. Something, such as a literary work, regarded as an
object of critical analysis.
6. A passage from a writtern work used as the starting
point of a discussion.

That is roughly half of the definition of text
according to the American Heritage dictionary, chosen
for its symoblic American quality.

Anyway, using this definition of text we can see why
many things can be defined as a text, many fewer can
be literature. For example, a Math text book is not a
work of literature, despite the fact that it is
creative (you try coming up with all those example
problems), it is a writtern work that comprises a body
(such as medical literature – which is miss defined
anyway), and it printed material of any kind (which is
so sad as to be barely worthy of being a portion of a
definition).

While I am still opposed to allowing slave narratives
to be literature I certainly think that my point
should be heeded. You have to set limitations of
things to give them meaning. Certain definitions are
so broad as to make everything completely arbitrary.

And one last note on why slave narratives should not
be literature is that if we are to take these
narratives as truth, as statements of fact, then we
cannot have them as literature, literature is studied
and criticized and interpreted. Statements of fact
become invalid when this process is applied to them.
So we can have it only one of two ways, either these
narratives are factual or they are stories.

And I believe in Neil Gaiman’s statement in regards to
the play “A Midsummer Nights Dream”, “This is
magnificent — and true! It never happened; yet is
still true.”

To which I recieved, as I often recieve, a reply that missed several of my key points, put words in my mouth and then took an extra special moment to simply make shit up and put it down in writing. Ya know, that way it would become literature like everything else that has ever been written.

(removed by request)

I’ll section this out for convienence and leave the non-fiction commentary for part two of this three part Ruthless Banter. So, that leaves me beginning with the most confusing portion, the portion where I make a claim that slave narratives are statements of fact. I do not say that they are, I say that “if we are to take these narratives as truth, as statements of fact, then we cannot have them as literature.” Which I stand by, IF we take them as statements of fact then they cannot be literature. Obviously no one wants to take them as statements of fact, which is fine, this does not invalidate the truth that may be gained from them, but it does prevent them from being taken at face value as actual, factual events that occured and can say be presented as condemning evidence in court.

But it is the second thing that confuses me the most, and perhaps is what will allow the first statement to exist. At what point in the American Literature class did we utilize academics to analyze or synthesise information about these texts? I seem to recall that we spent a while listing what they said and how much we all loved them (I exlude myself from both of these statements, mind you). However, at no point did we actually intepret them as literature. So I suppose if you define “interpreting” a text as telling someone who also read it what it said, then sure everything can be literature really fast.

If you didn’t detect the hidden, fuck you in that statement then I’m sorry. Next time I’ll make it more clear and less confusing by simply saying the things that I mean rather than hiding them carefully in a way that only a learned reader can detect.

‘Cause I’m a real nice guy like that.

Rodney TGAP
the Bastard

Tune in for part two of this saga.

Orginal comments:


Nickname: -soma-
Re: Times Like These…
As literature majors, we are dealing with a certain definition of literature. To argue that “all writing is literature” is an argument with absolutely no value that doesn’t belong in a literature class. What are we majoring in then? In everything that was ever written down? What’s the point? As an English major I take my profession seriously; I feel that it is valuable and when people want to argue that “well, we all define what literature is to us…any definition is correct.. there are no standards…everything goes” well, that makes my major look like a big joke. Like all we English majors do is read stuff and then talk about it. Whoo hoo… now there’s a challenging major. In literature courses, we should be dealing with academic literature. And there should be standards. That doesn’t mean that those standards don’t change, but they don’t change just because you say they should- just because everyone needs to define what literature is to him/her. As English majors, we persuade people to agree with our opinions, we don’t just say “well, literature is subjective, therefore whatever I say is right”. And if you are resorting to that answer, than you obviously have no evidence to support your opinion that such and such is literature. Try doing that in an achedemic paper. Anyway, everyone needs to quite belittling my major. It’s pissing me off.
And we should be asking Why is this literature? rather than Why isn’t this literature?

Original article posted by Greg:

Two items of news, one personal and one missionary related. One is that I’m now riding on a bike with two bent wheels. This makes for fun braking experiences. It also reminds me of a video game where the main character is on a motorcycle when the front wheel pops off as he’s in the midst of wheelie-heaven, causing him to crash pretty hardcore. I’m probably going to give in today and see about fixing or replacing them. Three is that I met two missionaries who have played the game “Full Throttle.” Amazing. Two is the status of the Taiwanese Visa.

In order to enter Taiwan as a missionary, the government requires 2 years of previous missionary experience. Up till last week they said that having taken seminary or institute was good enough. But now there’s some fella in the Visa department who says it doesn’t count.

So… we’ll see how that works out. Still have a couple weeks before the next “move call”. So maybe it can be sorted out before then. But if not, we’re going to be getting shorter and shorter on missionaries hereabouts.

Prayers are encouraged.

I’ve had a couple people ask me what I want for Christmas. I realize the number of people who will actually give me something is pretty small, and then there’s the added inconvenience of not wanting to lug anything around Taiwan for another year and a half. Then there’s the rather steep cost of bike wheels. So I direct your attention to the button on the left side of the screen marked “donate.”

But if you feel that cash in my direction is just not a satisfactory ‘spirit-of-giving-type-thing’ I supply the following:

Stuff to be bought and then placed into my room:

Anything written in the past year or so by the following authors: Terry Pratchett, Sue Grafton, Lemony Snickett, Neil Gaiman, Tim Powers

Any of the following DVDs: Lord of the Rings 3 (directors edition), The Lion in Winter, Kenneth Branaugh’s Hamlet, Law and Order: Criminal Intent 2nd season

Size 9.5 bowling shoes.

DVD/CD burner drive

People willing to run about doing my bidding

Home Theater Projector

Anything you want to give me, but wouldn’t want to have to lug around a tropical island for years.

The following may be sent to my current location:

A wallet

Money to place in wallet

motion sickness medicine. (really, they don’t have any here.)

‘Reading and Writing Chinese, revised edition”, by William Mcnaughton and Li Ying

Church socks

Letters from you or print-outs of things you’ve written.

Pictures of yourself doing things.

A digital camera, preferrably one that can take a little video as well.

2 memory cards/sticks for camera

The following care package is reccomended:

1 Ziploc bag of potato flakes
1 ziploc bag of muddy buddies
1 bottle of ibuprofen
2 canisters of ez cheez
1 ziploc bag of rold gold pretzels
1 bag of rice crispy treat
Nerds, Reeses, Butterfinger, Starburst in any amounts
2 boxes of mac and cheeze (also doesn’t exist here)

Wow. I’m greedy.

We’re going to try to have a little Thanksgiving dinner here. It will be interesting to see how it will work out. We managed to find turkey and cranberry sauce, so that’s a good start.

I apologize for my lack of wit and things that go with wit. We went on a hike today and I am very tired out. Efforts will be made.

Can’t beat a Corley,
-Elder Hamblin

Original article posted by ravenpaine:

Entry 79 – November 11

There was a time, let us call it 120 years ago(ish) when a person could have a problem and leave his home thinking terrible thoughts and feeling terrible things and disliking the universe in general. At this time the person would go walking down a street or along the path through the village and suddenly this person would be faced with mortality and they would emerge changed.

Which is all a complicated way of me saying that I want more problems that I can stab my way through.

When is it that death stopped being the solution to every problem? When is it that the wisdom of my man Yugosh Ville became so difficult to carry out. After all if Stalin did it then anyone should be able to do it. What did he have that I didn’t, aside from opportunity, no consciounce, and the fortune of being armed with an ice pick at just the right moment. I’ve been carrying around an ice pick for nearly two decades now. I want my fucking opportunity.

Or maybe I’m just a little off at the moment. I’m low on vitamins again. I’m also low on the essential nutrients of hope and success. Times like these I would like to be threatened by a problem that came for me right at my face, maybe even at my eyes. All these problems that wander around picking my pocket and doing the rabbit ears behind my back are just plain annoying. I could swat them but there seems to be no adventure in it.

I say things like that but then I’ve been in a slump for going on 8 years now. Obviously I need to change tactics. I think the thing that I have stopped fighting with in the past while that use to serve me well as a heavy metal object of braining and whacking and harming and survival is my sense of deranged manic humor.

There were times in the long ago, in the Before Times, in which I would beat the stuffing out of any problem by spouting nonsense phrases and sheer grit at it until it not only went away but went away weeping at the pee stains in its pants. There is a card in my wallet, purchased for $1.50 at a shop in a mall in Colorado nearly 11 years ago that says, “Sometimes the only sense you can make out of life is a sense of Humor.”

And dammit, that card was right. That was why I purchased it while eating my Pop-Tarts that served as my only source of nutrition at the time. And it felt good, both the purchasing and the Pop-Tart nutrition.

I’ve heard that there are these far off places, like in Europe, where people do not hate themselves. Places where no one is familiar with the term “self-loathing.” I would like to visit these places and Grok of their Mouth Music. I would sign up for their newsletter and I would actively kidnap citizens of other countries and force them into leaky oar-rowed ships and bring them to this marvelous land. And I would feel good while doing it.

If all things are supposed to be in moderation then where the hell have all the moderators gone. I haven’t seen anyone moderate things for as long as I’ve practiced self-hate as the only true religion.

Come on people, I”m fucked up around here and I’m not ethically allowed to whack people around for how bad I”m feeling.

Somebody has got to fix at least one of these problems because I have got entirely too many late night television shows to stare at bleary eyed and full of hate.

Let the revolution of torment begin! Pain for all people who deserve it and rejoicing and cash rewards for those of us that just want to create something beautiful and profound in the world.

I may not be in the best shape of my life, quite the opposite in fact, but that will not stop me from running headlong at the opposing forces cursing their names as they try to take me down.

Can I get an Amen?

Rodney TGAP
Bonne nuit, bonne nuit to you all.

Orginal comments:


Nickname: ravenpaine
Re: Vengeance…
Amen my brother, amen.

Read this again late night April 1, 2005.

I really like me somedays…

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