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Passions in Poetry

National Bad Boy

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Huan Yi
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Waukegan


0 posted 08-05-2007 05:09 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


I’m finishing a biography of H. L. Mencken
and it leads me to reflect and ask: has there
ever been a successful man of letters, poet,
journalist, etc. who, in hindsight at the facts of his life,
did not, in large part, turn out to be an ass?

Fortunately for me perhaps, Mark Strand is still
too much alive for anyone to touch him.


.
Balladeer
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1 posted 08-05-2007 06:46 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

It would depend on how you define ass, I would think.
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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2 posted 08-05-2007 07:26 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

and even my ass keeps redefining herself...

But does it really matter?

I believe it takes a certain amount of arrogance to put the pen to page to begin with--so to hell with the opinions regarding the personality--it takes a certain amount of arrogance to make a judgement for even the kindest of eulogies, anyhow.

Don't let it get you down, John. The appendage of post-mortem critics doesn't change what was writ, nor what moves you still. It is part of the human condition, sadly, to attack--and if they can't attack the most pristine works of art, they will go for the human jugular of social conscience.

Sorry, for the bitters, too.

*shrug*

That's another part of the human condition.



TomMark
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3 posted 08-05-2007 08:59 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"14 If a man craves attention because of his poems,
he shall be like a jackass in moonlight."
--Mark Strand

If a man doesn't...
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
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Waukegan


4 posted 08-06-2007 08:39 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Mike,

By his own diaries
the man was a racist and a bigot,
and the only defense offered
is that he was no worst that some in his own time,
and he was harder on poor Southern whites
than on blacks and Jews.

That pretty much puts him
in my defintition.

He was a man of
misanthropic animosities
and doesn’t deserve, at least,
my respect.


John

.
Brad
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5 posted 08-07-2007 02:17 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
He was a man of
misanthropic animosities


Indeed, and the fact that he could write makes him extremely interesting.

I've never really understood how you can call a misanthrope a racist and a bigot. Your own post points to the fact that he hated everybody -- just not always equally.

rwood
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6 posted 08-07-2007 06:46 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

When picked apart, all of our secret/public imperfections removed, much of what's left will always be ass in someone's eyes.
Huan Yi
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Waukegan


7 posted 08-07-2007 02:08 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

Brad,

He made exception for some High Germans
of which he considered himself one.  He considered
war good for strengthening and purging the species
of weaknesses.  He kept silent on what was happening
in Germany though he could see for himself what was
coming during a trip he made to it in 1938.  As to both
World War I and II he felt the United States had
backed the wrong side.

.
Brad
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8 posted 08-07-2007 08:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Perhaps, Vidal says it best:

quote:
   ... A babble of words that no one understands now fills the airwaves, and language loses all meaning as we sink slowly, mindlessly, into herstory rather than history because most rapists are men, aren't they?

    Mencken is a nice antidote. Politically, he is often right but seldom correct by today's stern standards. In a cheery way, he dislikes most minorities and if he ever had a good word to say about the majority of his countrymen, I have yet to come across it. Recently, when his letters were published, it was discovered that He Did Not Like the Jews, and that he had said unpleasant things about them not only as individuals but In General, plainly the sign of a Hitler-Holocaust enthusiast. So shocked was everyone that even the New York Review of Books' unofficial de-anti-Semitiser, Garry Wills (he salvaged Dickens, barely), has yet to come to his aid with An Explanation. But in Mencken's private correspondence, he also snarls at black Americans, Orientals, Britons, women, and WASPs, particularly the clay-eating Appalachians, whom he regarded as subhuman. But private irritability is of no consequence when compared to what really matters, public action.
    Far from being an anti-Semite, Mencken was one of the first journalists to denounce the persecution of the Jews in Germany at a time when the New York Times, say, was notoriously reticent. On November 27, 1938, Mencken writes (Baltimore Sun), "It is to be hoped that the poor Jews now being robbed and mauled in Germany will not take too seriously the plans of various politicians to rescue them." He then reviews the various schemes to "rescue" the Jews from the Nazis, who had not yet announced their own final solution.


I'm not going to defend Mencken further. He was all the things you say he was (but not, of course, a supporter of national socialism), but I am truly happy for this thread. It's a perfect opportunity to quote from Mencken as much as I like.

Mencken on democracy:

quote:
We live in a land of abounding quackeries, and if we do not learn how to laugh we succumb to the melancholy disease which afflicts the race of viewers-with-alarm... In no other country known to me is life as safe and agreeable, taking one day with another, as it is in These States. Even in a great Depression few if any starve, and even in a great war the number who suffer by it is vastly surpassed by the number who fatten on it and enjoy it. Thus my view of my country is predominantly tolerant and amiable. I do not believe in democracy, but I am perfectly willing to admit that it provides the only really amusing form of government ever endured by mankind.


Huan Yi
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Waukegan


9 posted 08-08-2007 09:58 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Brad,


“ Politically, he is often right but seldom correct by today's stern standards. In a cheery way, he dislikes most minorities and if he ever had a good word to say about the majority of his countrymen, I have yet to come across it. Recently, when his letters were published, it was discovered that He Did Not Like the Jews, and that he had said unpleasant things about them not only as individuals but In General, plainly the sign of a Hitler-Holocaust enthusiast. . .

I do not believe in democracy, but I am perfectly willing to admit that it provides the only really amusing form of government ever endured by mankind. ‘

Are you then  to suggest that however a deplorable example
as a human being ,so long as he’s good at the craft for which
he was/is well paid we should understand if not embrace him?

By the way he said that if all the Dust Bowl farmers
and Southern sharecroppers immediately died
or were killed off the rest of America would be better for it.


John
Brad
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10 posted 08-08-2007 10:52 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I am saying that we should read him.

What you decide to do after that is your own business.

quote:
If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.

--Mencken
Brad
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11 posted 08-08-2007 11:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, we'd be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half."

--Mencken

quote:
Kill all the lawyers

--Shakespeare

Are you up in arms over these as well?

TomMark
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12 posted 08-09-2007 01:45 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

John,

You are right. I shall say that Mencken is rotten meat because he had no heart for his human fellas.

A rotten meat...however rotten, will attract flies and butteredflies.

Also many people want to know him simply because we do not read out those interesting charactors from ordinary people. After all, he had his voice back then. and history only preserves these  extremists...for 15 minutes or 50 years.


Brad
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13 posted 08-09-2007 07:46 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Puritanism - The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.

Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


14 posted 08-09-2007 07:53 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
A man's women folk, whatever their outward show of respect for his merit and authority, always regard him secretly as an ass, and with something akin to pity. His most gaudy sayings and doings seldom deceive them; they see the actual man within, and know him for a shallow and pathetic fellow. In this fact, perhaps, lies one of the best proofs of feminine intelligence, or, as the common phase makes it, feminine intuition.


quote:
Misogynist - A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.

TomMark
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15 posted 08-09-2007 08:50 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

One can never expect to find ivory in a dog's mouth.

He was indeed talking nonsense. Twice civilized language could not tame the beast's tongue.
TomMark
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16 posted 08-09-2007 08:56 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Mencken is not a naked man. He were in a skin of wolf to cover his own scared soul.
TomMark
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17 posted 08-09-2007 08:56 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations."

H. L. Mencken, on Shakespeare

[This message has been edited by TomMark (08-10-2007 01:01 AM).]

hush
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18 posted 08-10-2007 12:30 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

I don't know, the quotes on women (particularly the first one) seem pretty spot on...

Just because someone is an ass, does that make the truth less so when it comes from his mouth? I think it's important to view the art both in context and out of context of the artist. This may be a bad example, but I think Courtney Love is a trainwreck of a disaster of a person... and her songwriting is too painfully obviously influenced by those around her- but that doesn't stop me from thinking "Live Through This" is one of the best albums I've ever heard.
Huan Yi
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Waukegan


19 posted 08-10-2007 02:12 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


.


“Marriage: the end of hope."

"Love:  the delusion that one woman is different from another. “

“Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn't they'd be married too.”


H. L. Mencken

.
TomMark
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20 posted 08-10-2007 05:03 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

0 Huan

“Marriage: the end of hope."

Does that  mean that marriage ends hope or marriage is the result of hope?
whoevver cut this verse out....hello, not every hope is marriage related.


"Love:  the delusion that one woman is different from another. “

Love from women including love from
1. Mother
2. grandmather
3  Aunts
4. Sisters
5. female friends
6. colleagues
7. wives
8. daughters
9 granddaughters

Mencken was old enough to tell the differences.

“Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn't they'd be married too.”

obviously "bachelors" of his kind are those men who had given everything including selfesteem, dignity and integrity  to women due to stupidity. Good women do not take those from men.  And they went  through all of this, still had no idea about women....

Brad
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21 posted 08-10-2007 07:15 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
No other entertainment gave him greater pleasure than reporting from the conventions; nor did anyone appreciate his efforts more than Mencken himself. One reporter, peering through Mencken's window late at night after one rally, recalled watching him at work alone in his hotel room, pounding out copy on a typewriter propped on a desk. He would type a few sentences, read them, slap his thigh, toss his head back, and roar with laughter. Then he would type some more lines, guffaw, and so on until the end of the article.

--Marion Elizabeth Rogers

quote:
In brief, she assumed that, being a man, I was vain to the point of imbecility, and this assumption was correct, as it always is.

--Mencken
Huan Yi
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Waukegan


22 posted 08-10-2007 09:00 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


And guess who played with dogs  . . .


Mencken led and fostered an attitude of contempt.
To praise him then, given he would almost
no doubt have extended that scorn to the worshiper  is a
form of pathetic intellectual masochism, ( and if
that were a quote from the great H. L. many would
bow their heads).

By the way, he felt that England and France, even more the United States,
should not concern themselves with Germany solving its backyard problems
with the Czechs and the Poles.

He in fact regretted his ancestors having moved from Germany.
  
.
Brad
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23 posted 08-10-2007 09:44 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Mencken led and fostered an attitude of contempt.
To praise him then, given he would almost
no doubt have extended that scorn to the worshiper  is a
form of pathetic intellectual masochism,


Indeed, and the scorn would have been well earned.

My best friend is a lawyer. One day, a casual day I am told, he wore a T-shirt with "Kill all the lawyers" to his firm. He was immediately excoriated by a female colleague for encouraging such attitudes.

Some people just never get it.

Why do you search for a messiah in the words of a journalist?
rwood
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24 posted 08-11-2007 05:36 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

"Some people just never get it."

True, but I feel he honed cynicism and sarcasm with an art that most people can only cartoon with any guts. I'm not saying I support or admire his every word. I'm saying he's a twist of lime in the vanilla Corona'd writing world.

quote:
There are people who read too much: the bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.


Personally, I'm guilty of being a bibliobibuli at times, but I'm not able to own up to that word while drunk on anything else. Blibliobliboolo bliblioblublub. Correction: Delivery is tough while sober, as well.
 
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