HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » rrneck » Journal
Page: 1


Profile Information

Member since: Sat Nov 29, 2008, 02:55 PM
Number of posts: 17,671

Journal Archives

I'm not much into poetry but here's a couple

by Robert Francis

His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,

His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended. He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.


D. H. Lawrence
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.

In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
i o And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

Liberals are all about cultural change.

Some change is slow, some change is rapid. Generally speaking, the more liberal you are, the more cultural change you want. There is a reason the word "revolution" appears so often in left leaning discourse.

It's my understanding that revolutionary movements have a fairly predictable life cycle. As success is achieved through change, there is always a group of revolutionaries who are more radical than the rest. Thus, there is a certain amount of tension between those revolutionaries that have achieved a measure of their revolutionary goals and those who feel that more change is in order. So now, the actual "winners" in the revolution become "conservatives" and thus enemies of the "true revolutionaries". Depending on the power dynamics there could be purges by the the radicals against the conservatives within the revolution, or the radicals could just become a contentious fringe.

So why doesn't this process of change through ideological purification continue until a utopia arrives? I think one way is that the more "radical" the radicals become the more they focus on ideology and doctrine than on how it will actually work in the real world. It becomes a litmus test to judge others instead of a plan for change. Whether the most radical of the radicals are actually able to enforce this adherence to their understanding of doctrine depends on how much real world power they have.

So now, consider the history of HoF here at DU. There was contention, a power struggle, an attempted coup, ideological splintering, demands that rivals be purged, and constant drum beating demands that others adhere to an ideological ideal.

You don't need a god to have a religion. And you don't need a holy book to have a sacred text. It all depends on the passion and objectives of the true believers. Is this a bad thing? Not really. There's nothing wrong with devotion to an ideal. Philosophers and shamans have devoted their lives to such things for millenia, and since politics is the religion of the enlightenment, that impulse continues right along with it.

Okay, I went back and looked at this thing.

The title of the piece is called Casting Off My Womb, which employs a play on words using a term for knitting meaning to tie off the piece so that it doesn't unravel. The title of the piece combined with the medium used to perform it (the artist and yarn) and the phrase "vagina knitting" sets up a play on words related to the role of women in society that views them as disposable goods or little more than baby factories, traditional attitudes regarding menstruation as repugnant, the female womb as the source of life, and the societal contradictions associated with the vagina and by extension women in general.

The confrontational nature of the piece is achieved by the shock value of the nude exposure of the artist and the storage of the yarn in her vagina prior to the production of the work. As the yarn is knitted into a long scarf like garment, it is suspended on coat hangers and stained with menstrual blood.

Metaphors relating to female sexuality, reproduction, abortion, the male gaze, and female control of their reproductive process work in conflict and resonate with the surrounding culture to create tension in the content of the piece. So the knitting phrase "casting (tying) off" resonates with "tying tubes" to prevent pregnancy and of course the concept of tying or binding is associated with bondage and repression. And the phrase "casting off" can also be applied to the concept of women as disposable due to infertility or aging. The "product" of the artist's vagina is suspended on coat hangers, an implement which has considerable symbolic associations with "back alley" abortions and the political and cultural repression of female control of their own reproductive process. Also, knitting is associated with the traditional knitting of baby booties by pregnant women, now suspended by coat hangers.

The result of the piece is the display of a bloody offering suspended by implements of repression of women by men. The method of execution is designed to both titillate and repulse the viewer through the nudity of the artist and the garment she creates. While the overall balance of metaphors and the tension they create in their relationship with each other is carefully crafted and the sublimation of the artist as the artwork itself validates the piece as a well crafted bit of performance art, it suffers a bit from a somewhat too obvious awareness of the market for which it is intended, evidenced by the tone of the commentary in the link provided and the somwwhat deravitive nature from the previous work of Carolee Schneeman. Also, while the overlapping metaphors work well, perhaps they work too well and become an exercise in riffing on hot button issues and metaphors without digging any deeper than their obvious connotations and contradictions. Overall, a successful piece but hardly groundbreaking.

That's my initial impression, but I'm tired now and I'm going to bed.

Go to Page: 1