August 2, 2011

Free verse versus Larry David

I'm reading The Tribal Imagination: Civilization and the Savage Mind by veteran anthropologist Robin Fox. He started out as a structuralist in the tradition of Levi-Strauss, then absorbed a more Darwinian approach. His 1967 book Kinship and Marriage is in the structuralist mode: it sketches out every conceivable kinship arrangement, and then cites examples for as many as exist in the real world. People love making up complicated rules.

He's got a chapter on rhythm and rhyme in poetry. Rhythm appears to be older and more universal, while rhyme didn't enter mainstream Western poetry until medieval times, perhaps from Arabic and Irish influences. I did not know that.

An amateur poet himself, Fox has a digression in which he denounces free verse that I liked for the unexpected direction it went:
A generation arose after the rebellious sixties that decided the only way to deal with rules you don't like is to abandon the. Thus you are rule-free and hence happy. 
You are never rule-free. If you abandon one set of rules, then you must invent another with the same ratio of arbitrary content to noise, because the essences of rules is redundancy; they enable you to predict the world and live forward in time, which is what the neocortex is for in the first place. We do not respond like lower animals to immediate emotional demands; we mediate them with rules; our neocortex controls our limbic brain. And like rhyming, it is all about anticipation and predictability. 

In poetry and music, we like it when we can predict what comes next, but we also like it when it surprises us. It's all good. In general, human beings have liked poetry and music a lot. (Obviously, some poetry or music is better than others at combining interesting and powerful patterns of satisfaction and surprise: the fourth movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is better than, say, 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. But, people will sing even 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall for quite some time if they don't have anything else to do.)
... Rule creation is an "appetitive" activity for us. One might even say (metaphorically) that we have an instinct to make rules ... In some sense it does not matter what the rules are as long as we have some; which exact rules we have will be determined by adaptation and history and no little accident. ...

Think of the great defining drama, the Orestia, the Hamlet, of the post-sixties generation: it was Seinfeld. Seinfield  was to the post-sixties people what Siegfried was to the Third Reich. And it was about rules. Every episode dealt with the search for rules in a generation that had dispensed with them. What are the rules for dumping a girlfriend; for the copyright on children's namess; ... for double-dipping; for putting people on your speed-dial list; ... for "regifting" unwanted Christmas presents; for calling after ten at night ...

I made a similar point in an early Taki column: Larry David: Alice in Blunderland. Seinfeld wasn't a show about nothing, it was a show about rules.

67 comments:

Podsnap said...

because the essences of rules is redundancy; they enable you to predict the world and live forward in time, which is what the neocortex is for in the first place.

Also evaluation. Rules enable you to evaluate things. How do you know whether one piece of free verse is better than another ? Having rid yourself of one set of rules, you need other factors to point score. Political worthiness is one you might bring in.

Anonymous said...

Nordic poetic forms are insanely rigid, yet that makes them pretty awesome.

Anonymous said...

"An amateur poet himself"

Post some on the blog.

Anonymous said...

"Seinfeld wasn't a show about nothing, it was a show about rules."

About invisible rules made visible piecemeal by piecemeal, at once logical and out-of-the-leftfield.

Steve Sailer said...

When we were young and all the world was green,
We used to tell each other: “Life’s too short” --
To justify our sins. We didn’t mean
It literally of course. Now we are caught
In its stark literalness, and so we know
(We wheezing, balding ones way past our prime,
Whose memories melt away like last year’s snow)
The humorless reality of time:
Of time foreshortened, of the loss of friends,
Of old ambitions unfulfillable.
We curse the destiny that shapes our ends,
And ‘til recorded time’s last syllable
Confront, with shaking limbs and labored breath,
The loss of beauty, and the fear of death.

Reg Cæsar said...

Robert Frost said that free verse was like playing tennis without a net. Based on what I've seen of it, it's more like playing tennis without a pair of pants, or underpants, or jock. John Hollander called much of it "heavy verse"-- as opposed to light.

For great-- and useful-- fun, I'd recommend Hollander's Rhyme's Reason, in which he demonstrates each major form in that form. E.g.:
This most famous of forms is a fiddle
That we rub with a sexual riddle;
But the best of a
limerick-
Though in Dutch or in Cymric-
Are the little short lines in the middle.


Italian-Americans are quite well-represented in high literary circles-- Gioia, Giamatti, Ferlinghetti, Ciardi, Pei, McBain/Hunter ( Lombino)-- so it's fitting that The Book of Forms is by Lewis Turco.

Speaking of Cymric, Turco suggests that the champion form-inventors are the Welsh. (His middle name is Putnam, for what it's worth.) Are the Welsh particularly rule-obsessed? Or do they, like the Italians, like to make 'em just to break 'em?

Anonymous said...

Phlabby Philip Larkin, that stuff.
Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said...

When we were young and all the world was green,
We used to tell each other: “Life’s too short” --
To justify our sins. We didn’t mean
It literally of course. Now we are caught
In its stark literalness, and so we know
(We wheezing, balding ones way past our prime,
Whose memories melt away like last year’s snow)
The humorless reality of time:
Of time foreshortened, of the loss of friends,
Of old ambitions unfulfillable.
We curse the destiny that shapes our ends,
And ‘til recorded time’s last syllable
Confront, with shaking limbs and labored breath,
The loss of beauty, and the fear of death.


Now set it to a beat, rap over it and send it to Interscope-Geffen-A&M records.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Robin had a sidekick named Lionel Tiger.

Very totemic of them, methinks.

dearieme said...

Is it the fox who knows one thing, or the hedgehog?

Carol said...

Funny, jazz had some pretty complicated rules up until the mid sixties, when it went off a cliff. Charlie Parker or early John Coltrane's maneuverings through Byzantine harmonies and phrasings seemed pretty high-g stuff, or its artistic equivalent.

But free jazz seemed to be the next logical step, after modal, and...now we have hiphop. Actually the internal rhymes and phrasing of rap can be pretty interesting too.

Anonymous said...

Seinfeld is a comedy of manners for people who have none.

Anonymous said...

I love poetry and wish I knew more about it. I also love it when a country song makes an unexpected rhyme that cracks me up.

VG said...

You are never rule-free. If you abandon one set of rules, then you must invent another with the same ratio of arbitrary content to noise, because the essences of rules is redundancy;
Does this apply to modern art and graphic design as well? A lot of graphic designers I used to work with swore by Rick Poynor's 'No More Rules'. I don't follow graphic design as much these days, so I'm not sure what came out of it. What do you think?

FredR said...

My classical greek teacher in college told me that they didn't rhyme because it was super-tacky in a language where it was so easy to rhyme (you have a lot of flexibility with word order, and word endings are fairly systematic). I guess the same is true for latin?

Anonymous said...

I thought Egil Skallgrimsson invented rhyming poetry in the West.

Anonymous said...

According to this site, early Irish poetry was metrical and alliterative, like most other early European poetry. Irish borrowed rhyming from Late Latin (http://books.google.com/books?id=f899xH_quaMC&pg=PA1003&lpg=PA1003&dq=early+irish+metrical+forms&source=bl&ots=p-SwchysYN&sig=LqFtJ1YxIeYBfj-Nzxw-IASy-Kk&hl=en&ei=u1w5TvWSIObr0QHkkvCyAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=early%20irish%20metrical%20forms&f=false)

Anonymous said...

To follow up on my earlier comment (sorry about the long URL) the problem with rhyming in early European languages is that the grammatical endings (showing gender and case) made rhyming too simplistic and repetitive to be attractive either to a writer or an audience. Hence the preference for complex rhythms and alliteration.

It was not until grammatical endings mostly dropped out of European languages that rhyming became either challenging or interesting.

At any rate, it appears that Irish poetry went through the same kind of development that Latin, German, Greek, etc. did.

If you look at the Dies Irae, an early rhyming poem, you can see how obnoxious the constant repetition of the same endings over and over can get. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dies_Irae)

VG said...

I've been watching that Karajan recording for years. Good you linked to it. Unbeatable!

Kylie said...

"Speaking of Cymric, Turco suggests that the champion form-inventors are the Welsh. (His middle name is Putnam, for what it's worth.) Are the Welsh particularly rule-obsessed? Or do they, like the Italians, like to make 'em just to break 'em?"

I knew someone would have to mention the Welsh in a thread about music an poetry.

@ Gilbert P.

"Phlabby Philip Larkin, that stuff.
Gilbert P."


Agreed. (But it could have been worse.) And speaking of the Welsh, here's something that may be more to your liking:

Adlestrop

Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop -- only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Luke Lea said...

Thanks, Steve. That piece in Taki was a tremendously insightful piece of literary criticism. There's nobody else in America who could (or would) have written it.

Your remarks about 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation Ashkenazi/Yiddish Americans and their "ordeal of civility" I found especially interesting. Have you read "The Rise of David Levinsky" by Abraham Cahan?

The next question, I suppose, is whether our new Ashkenazi American elites will adobt the aloof manners of their Anglo-Saxon predecessors? I met Robert Silvers once back in the 60's and he was positively Anglican!

slumber_j said...

Look, some people are very good at writing free verse, and most people are really bad at it. There's not much middle ground, and the crappy stuff predominates. None of which means free verse is bad.

Call it "sprung rhythm" as he did, but don't tell me GM Hopkins' stuff isn't very close to free verse. It certainly doesn't suck. Nor does Walt Whitman, whether you like him or not. I happen not to like a lot of Leaves of Grass, but in general it really very obviously doesn't suck, and it's very close to free verse.

A lot of TS Eliot is great. Again, you don't have to like it to be able to recognize that it's great. I don't like Wagner, for example...

Wallace Stevens wrote a lot (mostly?) in blank verse, and his compositions in free verse aren't of notably lower quality.

I could go on. Anyway, I think a lot of anti-free-verse sentiment is rooted in the same kind of willful obtuseness people exhibit when confronted with all sorts of unfamiliar art. That, and the preponderance of crappy free verse.

Anonymous said...

What the anthropologist and Steve say about how "Seinfeld" is about rules reminds me of what Nietzsche said: as old values decay, new values emerge to replace them.

-Risto

John Milton said...

"Rime [is] no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter."

Anonymous said...

Think of the great defining drama, the Orestia, the Hamlet, of the post-sixties generation: it was Seinfeld. Seinfield was to the post-sixties people what Siegfried was to the Third Reich. And it was about rules. Every episode dealt with the search for rules in a generation that had dispensed with them.

This generation was one that had one set of rules rammed down their throats by parents and schools, then found they no longer applied, and spent the rest of their lives searching for rules that actually make some sort of sense.

Anonymous said...

I like what Daniel Dennett said about poetry:



it's actually the restriction of rhyming that inspires creativity and leads us to the unexpected. maybe you would automatically want to describe something one way, but the imposition of rhyming motivates you to find something else that still makes sense but is less obvious.

helene edwards said...

sorry OT, but I just saw a Breivik lookalike in the McDonald's in Mill Valley, CA. Uncanny. He seemed very unselfconcious, but his father gave me a sharp look when I began to stare.

Naevius said...

FWIW, the Romans originally had an native Italic mode of versification that's known as Saturnian verse. It's a lot like Old English poetry, the rhythm being based on accented syllables, with various unaccented syllables allowed. This traditional was overwhelmed by the importation of Greek literary culture in the late third and early second centuries BC, and was pretty much dead by the end of the latter. Later Romans considered it crude.

Greek versification is suited for a language with pitch accent and involves the regular succession of heavy and light syllables. We can vaguely sense the difference, but not in any systematic way (for instance, the word "Agincourt" has three heavy-ish syllables, whereas "anywhere" has light ones).

slumber_j said...

"Phlabby Philip Larkin, that stuff."

Yes. C.f. Larkin's "The Old Fools" for the same thing but really good:

http://plagiarist.com/poetry/4879/

Tom said...

Seinfield was to the post-sixties people what Siegfried was to the Third Reich. And it was about rules. Every episode dealt with the search for rules in a generation that had dispensed with them.

Seinfeld would make a lot more sense to people if the Talmudic existence of pre-Emancipation Jews were better known. You must read Israel Shahak's "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight Of Three Thousand Years".

Seinfeld was chronicling the post-Talmudic lives of Jews who were still trying to re-create their shtetl lives in the modern world. Morality for them is defined by staying within inches of the permissable limits of behavior. Debating those exact limits is their primary source of entertainment and stimulation.

Udolpho.com said...

Larry David's own show about rules, Curb, quickly became uninteresting after the first two seasons. Part of the problem is that the show began to rest more heavily on the mediocre cast (Larry himself can manage only two expressions, smug and thwarted). Having seen the Seinfeld arc, it's obvious what the show really needed was better actors.

Anonymous said...

'No More Rules' is a rule in and of itself. The rule is to break existing rules(as long as it's not 'racist', 'xenophobic', and 'homophobic').

Anonymous said...

Seinfeld is clever, even brilliant, but after its' over, it's over. It doesn't linger in the mind. Same with Simpsons.

Anonymous said...

The idea of 'free verse' as a manifesto against traditional poetry is stupid. But free verse as an addition to the poetic form is welcome.

I'm for anything and everything as long it is not promoted(and maybe even enforced)as the only correct thing. Neo-classicism wasn't the problem in Nazi Germany. The problem was officialdom's promotion of neoclassicism as 'correct' and its banning of many forms of modern art.

Similarly, the problem wasn't so much serialism in music but the tyrannical academic schools which discouraged and suppressed other schools of music in the second half of the 20th century. I like the works of Pierre Boulez but despise his cultural stance in the 60s. I don't mind his experimentsin music but resent his attempt to enfore his thing on everyone else in the world of 'serious music'.

If Nazis banned modern art, Islamists would ban representational art. We need more freedom, more expressions, not more dictatorial schools of thought.

Like most mutations, most experiments in culture necessarily prove to be useless or harmful. But one comes along on occasion that changes the entire game. it is absorbed into the language of expression.
But then, not everything that gives us pleasure is good for us. Refined sugar, cocaine, hip hop, all bad for body and soul.

Anonymous said...

"I love poetry and wish I knew more about it. I also love it when a country song makes an unexpected rhyme that cracks me up."

My girlfriend left me and drove off with my truck
Looks like I'm just a good ole boy
down on my luck
So I sit here and weep and then
say WHAT THE FUCK!!

Anonymous said...

I like the sound of rhyme, but there's something unfair about it, and this really shows up in translations.
Take 'roses are red, violets are blue...'. It would have little appeal outside English.

I wonder if rhymes and similarities-in-sound affect the way we see reality, arbitrary though it may be.
Because of the word 'fuck', anything that ends with -uck becomes kinda suspicious. If duck were called 'doogle', there would be no such slang as 'fuck a duck', so we wouldn't associate duck with fuck. But then, google might have adopted the doogle as its mascot: google doogle.

And then you have the ending -igger, and its associations. Trigger, bigger, and several others.

And the ending -onkey or unky. Monkey, donkey, lunky, and few others.

Anonymous said...

"I love poetry and wish I knew more about it."

If we wanna popularize poety, we should set all the old ones to music.

How about The Wasteland as a country song?

Anonymous said...

You know what might be a cool idea? Turn every book into a rock album. Treat each chapter as a song and write lyrics to sum it up. I'll bet Allan Bloom would have sold even more of 'Closing of the American Mind' as a rock album. Sailer should do this with Half-Blood Prince. He can get Jack Hunter to play guitar.

Anonymous said...

"In general, human beings have liked poetry and music a lot."

Ever since people got music, they've been liking poetry much less. People like rap, and it has lots of rhyming, but is it poetry?
People like poeticality but not necessarily poetry, at least when they have music to sing and dance with.
People prefer poeticality subsumed into the music than on its own. I don't think too many people cared to read Dylan's stand alone poems. But they liked his songs.

Anonymous said...

"Nordic poetic forms are insanely rigid, yet that makes them pretty awesome."

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum,
Me Giant
And you yum yum.

Lolzlzlz said...

G. K. Chesterton opinion:

"Free verse? you may as well call sleeping in a ditch 'free architecture.'"

"The problem of Free Verse, like the problem of the African Race in the American Republic, seems to be rather more problematical after its has been freed than it was before it was freed."

"Free verse is like free love; it is a contradiction in terms."

Anonymous said...

"Robert Frost said that free verse was like playing tennis without a net. Based on what I've seen of it, it's more like playing tennis without a pair of pants, or underpants, or jock. John Hollander called much of it 'heavy verse'-- as opposed to light."

Maybe the worst free verse. But worst rhyming poems suck too.

Take something like:

The poor fella didn't even have a dime
So he had no choice but to turn to
crime
Cops got him and now he's serving
time.

It rhymes but it sucks too.

I don't think a work has to be in traditional verse form to be poetic. Faulkner wrote mostly in prose but some of his passages are poetic, with rich imagery, texture, and expressiveness. And Capote's The Grass Harp reads like poetry from beginning to end. I'd say it's as much free poetry as prose. It doesn't rhyme but does much more than tell a story or describe events. It uses words to create colors and shades of emotions in the reader.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grass_Harp

Anonymous said...

Capote's Christmas Memory is poetic too, and I recall our teacher sobbing and blowing her nose as she read the final paragraph, but we were on the floor in stitches over "it's fruitcake weather, it's fruitcake weather."

Anonymous said...

fruitcake weather

bleach said...

"My classical greek teacher in college told me that they didn't rhyme because it was super-tacky in a language where it was so easy to rhyme (you have a lot of flexibility with word order, and word endings are fairly systematic). I guess the same is true for latin?"

That makes sense, Latin phrases can be written with almost any word order you want--and there are so many words with the same endings

Milton wrote in the intro to Paradise Lost that he felt rhyming was tacky even in strict SVO English, and wrote in a style that was consciously trying to get back to classical epics

Thursday said...

"The essence of verse is regularity, and its ornament is variety. To write verse is to dispose syllables and sounds harmonically by some known and settled rule -- a rule however lax enough to substitute similitude for identity, to admit change without breach of order, and to relieve the ear without disappointing it."

Johnson: Dryden (Lives of the Poets)

Big Bill said...

Reminds me of John Cage. One has no idea what to expect. The very silence that one experiences before the curtain goes up might actually be the "performance" itself. There are no rules, no expectations, no context.

The other thing that came to mind was the connection between Fox's idea that we have to have rules, Robert Putnam and his social capital research, Hernando DeSoto and his research into land ownership, and the current destruction of land ownership rules in the USA in the mortgage crisis, with the MERS registration system, the fraudulent property transfers and forged assignments, et al.

When the rules and expectations are in flux, when you don't know if you will be raped or mugged on your doorstep, when a bank can foreclose on your house with a handful of forged documents and win (!) then trust drops even for your own people (a la Putnam) and people stop taking risks and trusting one another.

Like all the hip dudes and chicks that flood New York City every year. They love the lack of rules, the living on the edge, the daily dangers that can come from anywhere, any direction, even from a schlubby nondescript putz like Son of Sam.

… until she wants to get married and to squirt out a couple sprogs, at which time she develops a sudden hankering for Westchester County and points north or some sleepy 'burb in Jersey. Baby-making seems to demand rules and a proper deference to expectations.

Conatus said...

In Steve’s Taki article, 'Alice in Blunderland,' you say, "Conversely, after generations of increasingly successful critiques of starchy Anglo-American manners(more than a few of which were launched by Jewish comedians), David misses the old days when everybody knew the rules. So, he has to make up an imaginary America where everybody cares once again about propriety. According to Larry David's way of thinking, we've ended up with a culture so lacking in concern for good manners that, well, it's just not funny anymore."
So if Jewish comedians have successfully helped mock Wasp culture to the ground, by placing the hypocrisies of the Anglo civilization on display for all to see, laugh at and no longer take seriously, do they now wish to reassert a world of manners modeled after Seinfeld?
In 2004 Eric Kaufmann wrote a book, The Rise and Fall of Anglo -America, published by Harvard University, laboriously chronicling the Fall aspect of Wasp culture. It was hardly reviewed or noticed at all, I assume because of too much 'fall' and very little 'rise.' Perhaps our new elite does not want the idea of the Wasp cultural fall to rise to the level of common knowledge? Anyway there is very little 'rise' aspect left about wasp culture but especially the manners and rules are gone, gone, gone.
Could Larry David and Seinfeld be unconsciously, (Freud the fraud, would have something to say about this), yearning for new rules and manners to insulate our new elite against just such destructive comedic forays as you mention in the Taki article?

Kylie said...

"Seinfeld wasn't a show about nothing, it was a show about rules."

I had no idea.

I always thought it was a show about narcissists bending, breaking, modifying, creating and ignoring rules to suit themselves.

Reg Cæsar said...

I also love it when a country song makes an unexpected rhyme that cracks me up.

Actually, any true rhyme in country-- or rock or rap-- is quite unexpected.

Arthur Schwartz once said he and his lyricist Howard Dietz would mock a fellow songwriter so:

Lord, please save us
from Benny Davis


Listeners of country, rock and rap-- like there's a difference!-- wouldn't begin to get the joke. Not when they're used to hearing "beetles/eagles" and the like.

Don't make an assonance of yourself. --Leo Robin

Thursday said...

Does freedom or constraint help with creativity?
http://www.bakadesuyo.com/does-creativity-require-freedom-or-constraint

Thursday said...

A truly great creative writer doesn't really look at something like rhyme or meter as a restriction. Rather he starts to look at it as a resource to be exploited.

Thursday said...

Rhyme may be most useful in languages, like Italian or French, where it is easier to rhyme than in English, but harder than in a language like Latin. Hence something like Dante's terza rima.

Anonymous said...

But then, not everything that gives us pleasure is good for us. Refined sugar, cocaine, hip hop, all bad for body and soul.

Hip hop gives me no pleasure.

Anonymous said...

This is the way democracy goes.

You have a consensus about the rules. It's stifling. Gradually the consensus falls apart. Then you have no rules. Enter chaos.

Anonymous said...

Kylie,

'Adlestrop.'

Yes.

Anonymous said...

"So, he has to make up an imaginary America where everybody cares once again about propriety."

From a nation of wasp laws to Jewish lawyers.

Anonymous said...

PC is certainly the new rule book.
Larry David is with it and against it. He is a liberal Jew, but he's also a subversive Jew and unsuited to any dogma.
It seems modern liberal Jews want two rulebooks: one for the masses of goyim and one for the Jews, and they are to remain separate, like Newtonian physics for 'our' reality and quantum mechanics for the subatomic world. Jews think masses of goyim are better off--and safer to Jews--if they believe in simple rules such as 'racism is bad, white racism is especially bad, Jews are wonderful, all should weep over Holocaust, etc'--, but Jews in their own world(behind closed doors)like to talk more freely and live by a different set of rules. Jews are Shush about discussion of racial differences in the mainstream--mostly goyim--, but they discuss it among themselves. Similarly, Soviet masses had to live with simple truths--official propaganda--while the Soviet elites did discuss problems and crises in the nation among themselves.

PC is useful, indeed even invaluable, to people like David and Allen because it keeps the goyim--especially whites--in a state of sheepdom(or less danger to Jews). But they also resent PC because it stifles their freedom of expression and exploration as comedians, wits, and subversives in the public sphere; it's not enough for them to tell jokes in private; they wanna succeed big time. So, they look for ways to be both subversive and safe at the same time.

Also, there is the Jewish guru-ego thing, which exists to an extent even among Jewish comedians, who tend toward intelectualism; they are not merely clowns but philosophers of sorts. Allen wasn't simply trying to make us laugh in Sleeper and Stardust Memories but trying to say something.

On the one hand, Jews resented the rules of goy majority and goy elite. So, they sought to subvert goy rules. But Jews also wanted power and influence, and that meant they had to replace one set of rules with another. Indeed, a world without rules could be even more dangerous to Jews than a world with goy rules. Goy rules could be harsh but maintained some degree of order. It is when order broke down that mobs could run wild and attack Jews. Even the Nazis were most brutal in Eastern Europe during war where there was least order, what with soldiers and village collaborators rounding up Jews and killing them en masse. And there was the Crown Heights riot. No rules means chaos, which means mob rule. Since Jews are outnumbered, mob rule isn't fun for them.

Another thing is the Jewish personality. It could be Jews created the most powerful of all gods because they have a very hubris-istic mentality. Thuough Jews submitted humbly before this God, He was a projection of the boundless Jewish ego to know and control everything. Once Jews began to disbelieve in God, all that remained was their huge ego that sought to figure everything out. So, Freud claimed to know the real rule of human psychology. Marx claimed to know the real rule or law of history and justice. Rand claimed to know what really moved history--the great individual and freedom. And there's Chomsky who claims to know everything too.
So, Jews have a God complex. Each would-be-great-Jew seek to smash false idols or rules but to establish his or her own rule as the one and only true rule.

David and Allen may seem more easy going, but they too seek the method or process--a kind of rule--that explains the how of comedy and the why of life.

Anonymous said...

David finds PC stifling but, in a sly way, also a useful material for comedy. After all, a comedian needs something to subvert. If old rules are gone, then new ones are needed to be subverted, and today it is PC. But David doesn't wholly reject or condemn PC. He knows of its usefulness(in controlling the goyim)but also its ridiculousness and hypocrisies which are great for comedy. (And the very fact that David is Jewish makes his comedy kosherly PC even when it's not PC. Same goes for Howard Stern. He can get away with lots of politically incorrect stuff because it's assumed that since he's Jewish, he can't really mean the 'hateful' things he says. It must be just an act. This too is a kind of rule in comedy. 'Who whom' matters in who's cracking the joke. Don Rickles and Mel Brooks also pioneered this schtick. The Inquisition number in History of the World could only have been done by a Jew. Producers was also okay because it was done by Jews.)

As with so many liberal comedians, the trick is to poke fun at PC while maintaining it as the necessary rulebook of our time. It's kinda like having the cake and eating it too, but this two-facednes is what makes liberals feel so glibly sophisticated and smugly superior. It's also there with Tarantino movies and this woman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa18UJVKr5s

It's cool and funny to be politically incorrect in a safely politically correct environment. If Jews or blacks are making the jokes and if liberals are laughing because they 'get the joke', then it's all part of the new SWPL rulebook.

Anonymous said...

Liberal Jewish rulebook: Impose PC on goyim as sacred law of the land but crack jokes about it to show that you yourself is too smart, witty, and brilliant for such lame dogma.
So, we fear the Jewish PC whip and think/act accordingly, but then we laugh along with Jews making fun of PC. No wonder our culture is so psycho.
It's like adults and children. Adults tell children, 'sugary foods are bad for you, but you can have just little candy and ice cream under MY supervision.' So, we can laugh at PC only in controlled environments. But once we leave that zone, we are to know that it's in full force again.
Similarly, there are places in Japan where you can go to be totally crazy--sexually and culturally--but once you return to normal society, you have to be a polite robot again.

Anonymous said...

"The idea of 'free verse' as a manifesto against traditional poetry is stupid. But free verse as an addition to the poetic form is welcome. ...

Similarly, the problem wasn't so much serialism in music but the tyrannical academic schools which discouraged and suppressed other schools of music in the second half of the 20th century."


Yes. I was going to post something very similar. Free verse and atonal music are interesting only against a predominant background of, respectively, traditional verse and tonal music.

Anonymous said...

"Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum,
Me Giant
And you yum yum."

yeah, that's not Nordic, but I'm sure you had SOME point. Clue us in!

Anonymous said...

As with so many liberal comedians, the trick is to poke fun at PC while maintaining it as the necessary rulebook of our time. It's kinda like having the cake and eating it too, but this two-facednes is what makes liberals feel so glibly sophisticated and smugly superior.

Thats good, very well put. You've cut right to the heart of it.

Essentially thats what Seth MacFarlane has done with Family Guy and American Dad.

Ill definitely be quoting you when pointing this out to fans of those shows.

Anonymous said...

Rhyming probably made it easier to remember oral stuff.

Felix M said...

slumber_j comments that "some people are very good at writing free verse" and instances GM Hopkins, Walt Whitman, TS Eliot, and Wallace Stevens.

Agree, but note that they're the proto or first generation. They know the rules which they're discarding.

Like Picasso, who could paint superbly in the classical tradition. And in contrast with most contemporary modern painters, who have no draftmanship.

Aaron Haspel said...

Free verse, insofar as it is verse, does not discard rules; instead it inverts them. Real free verse -- The Snow Man by Stevens or To A Dead Journalist by Williams are distinguished examples -- is characterized by a systematic avoidance of iambs, which are the normal pattern of English speech. Bad free verse inevitably contains large undigestable chunks of iambs, like lumps in the mashed potatoes.

Hopkins, incidentally, did not write free verse. He wrote ordinary English verse, though with more substitutions than usual, that was hobbled by his home-grown metrical theories and occasionally rescued by his excellent ear. Whitman generally wrote prose.

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