What to Do ‘Til the Essay Gets Done
(Soundtrack: Excuse 17–Such Friends Are Dangerous)
I’m supposed to be writing an essay on Archibald Lampman right now. I’m sure I’ll get to it, but for now I thought I would toss a few links at you good people…
1.David Allison’s Cakes & Money 2.0 is up and running! Right now he’s looking for positive reviews of Courtney Love’s America’s Sweetheart, and of course he has posted one of his own! Personally, I loved the album! And David, you might want to check out “Courtney Love:
While In My Gut the Creature Writhes and Snarls and Tells Me What I Need”, a great review by Tim Byrnes, in which the author asks the poignant musical question: “Do (many) rock critics hate women?” I think the answer is pretty obvious…
2. Marc Singer discusses Jonnathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude, Rick Moody’s (& Ang Lee’s) The Ice Storm and the bronze age Fantastic Four. The post contains the immortal line: “Well done, Roy Thomas. Well done.” Look for it. This guy never disappoints!
3. If you haven’t already read Jim Henley’s Gaudy night: Superhero stories and our own at Brainwash, I suggest that you do so! And don’t neglect the comments–particularly Kip Manley’s important question:
With great power comes great ethical questions, yes: but must capes and masks and noms de guerre necessarily come along, too? It seems they must, to play by these rules. So why? And what do we lose by acquiescing? And what would we lose by breaking them?
To his credit, Kip doesn’t deny that there might be good answers to these questions. Although he does use the term “superhero apologists”, and I object to that. Quoth Dennis Hopper & Christopher Walken in Search and Destroy: “Don’t apologize. You don’t have to do that.” Anyway, my candidate for a viable explanation is that the superpowers (+ the costumes) serve as an “existential spotlight”… If these protagonists really are latter-day Puritan Saints and/or Antinomians, then it only makes sense that they would have to draw attention to themselves and their spiritual struggle. Calvinists are strange creatures: yes, they’re obsessed with individual morality and a relationship to God unmediated by social factors–and yet, for all intents and purposes, the “conversion” doesn’t happen until the “conversion narrative” is written and performed!
4.Alright, time to get back to Lampman!
He’s known as “Canada’s Greatest Nature Poet”–but luckily he’s more than that. You don’t have to like what you write about in academia, but it sure helps…
O differing human heart,
Why is it that I tremble when thine eyes,
Thy human eyes and beautiful human speech,
Draw me, and stir within my soul
That subtle and ineradicable longing
For tender comradeship?
Is it because I cannot all at once,
Through the half-lights and phantom-haunted mists
That separate and enshroud us life from life,
Discern the nearness and the strangeness of thy paths,
Nor plumb thy depths.
I am like one that comes alone at night
To a strange stream, and by an unknown ford
Stands, and for a moment yearns and shrinks,
Being ignorant of the water, though so quiet it is,
So softly murmurous,
So silvered by the familiar moon.
Good afternoon friends!