Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Uncle Remus

I started this blog for narcissistic, ego-related reasons, and to lick wounds from my encounter with certain chromosomaly incomplete types at the SSO.
Somehow I got to making religious and even political remarks that always seem wrong the moment I post them. It's like sparring with the tar baby, each remark seems to generate further thought until I am saddled with a fractally generated forest of my own inability to come to a conclusion and I am stuck up a viscous creek without a punch line.
So let's try this one.
I love, respect and accept everybody. It sometimes pains me that the religioue want to separate themselves from those of us who are willing to spend our lives here on earth where we were put in the first place. My heart remains open to them all.
It sometimes pains me that politics deliberatly creates conflict that strains the basic goodness that I believe is at the core of the human heart.
Said core resides in the left ventrical, if I remember my Gray's
It is springtime, time to attend the garden and look forward with wonder to what may grow this year, and can you smoke it.
Wasn't it Socrates who said "There will be growth in the spring"?
I know it was somebody like that.
Anyway I feel caught up in things I had not anticipated.
Like having my poetry compared to Eddie Poe's.
I realise I asked for it by posting my raven 'toon, and deep down inside I knew that mine could never compare, and then again, I'd already posted some of Emily D's.
I've been getting this strange premonition lately that Emily wants to tell me something.
I can't imagine how she could be able to do so, being a bodily deprived sort, but there are more things on earth than are dreamed of in your own peculier plans for the future.
I suppose her grave might be fortuitously located at a wi-fi hot spot or something.
I await with bated breath, not unlike the cat who ate the cheese.

I have got to get a submission in the mail today. It's a short orchestral piece for a competition for a reading by the Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute.
Looking at the flyer just now, I see that it's for more than a reading. It's a whole week of intense work with the orchestra.
I, who am unable to take anything seriously for more than a few minutes, wonder about that.
Perhaps I will list my SSO experience as part of my "short bio", that ought to keep me from winning.
Winning is so final! The end of hope!

Last year, I submitted a concerto, even though the rules clearly stipulate "NO CONCERTOS"
Earlier years I counted heavily on incompetence.
Every time I write the word "incompetence" I have to fight down a desire to deliberatly misspell it, just to try to be funny, even though I don't think it would be funny.
So, where we now?
I've shown you the cars I still own, soon you will see the cars I built, the ones before the Amphibian.
My whistle seems to be in decreshendo. I am running out of steam.
Just remember, anything you don't understand....is supposed to be a joke.

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Blogger butch said...

First off, Dougie, kudos to you for your heartfelt love of humanity, and your dislike of those aspects of human nature that are hurtful. I love your UNCLE REMUS reference. It certainly brings back those halcyon moments in the 50's when Disney reissued SONG OF THE SOUTH.

Uncle Remus is a fictional character, the title character and fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris, published in book form from 1881. A journalist in post-Reconstruction Atlanta, Georgia, Harris produced seven Uncle Remus books.

Uncle Remus is a collection of animal stories, songs, and oral folklore, collected from Southern United States blacks. Many of the stories are didactic, much like those of Aesop's fables and the stories of Jean de La Fontaine. Uncle Remus is a kindly old slave who serves as a storytelling device, passing on the folktales to white children gathered around him.

The stories are told in Harris' version of a Deep South slave dialect. The genre of stories is the trickster tale. The term "uncle" was a patronizing, familiar and often racist title reserved by whites for elderly black men in the South, which is considered, by some, pejorative and offensive. At the time of Harris' publication, his work was praised for its ability to capture plantation negro dialect.[citation needed]

Brer Rabbit ("Brother Rabbit") is the main character of the stories, a likable trickster prone to getting into trouble who is often opposed by Brer Fox and Brer Bear. In one tale, Brer Fox and Brer Bear construct a lump of tar and put clothing on it. When Brer Rabbit comes along he addresses the "tar baby" amiably, but receives no response. Brer Rabbit becomes offended by what he perceives as Tar Baby's lack of manners, kicks it, and becomes stuck. Now that Brer Rabbit is stuck, Fox ponders how to dispose of him. The helpless, but cunning, Brer Rabbit pleads, "Please don't throw me in the briar patch," prompting Fox to do exactly that. As rabbits are at home in thickets, the resourceful Brer Rabbit escapes. Using the phrases "please don't throw me in the briar patch" and "tar baby" to refer to the idea of "a problem that gets worse the more one struggles against it" became part of the wider culture of the United States in the mid-20th century.

The animal stories are not racist and had considerable popular appeal, but by the Civil Rights era of the 1960s the dialect and the "old Uncle" stereotype of the narrator, long considered demeaning by many blacks, as well as Harris' racist and patronizing attitudes toward blacks and his defense of slavery in his foreword, made the book indefensible. Without much controversy the stories became less popular.[citation needed]

Harris himself said, in the introduction to Uncle Remus, that he hoped his book would be considered:

…a sympathetic supplement to Mrs. Stowe's [author of Uncle Tom's Cabin] wonderful defense of slavery as it existed in the South. Mrs. Stowe, let me hasten to say, attacked the possibilities of slavery with all the eloquence of genius; but the same genius painted the portrait of the Southern slave-owner, and defended him.

In Harris' day, among most southern whites, this would have been a moderate or even enlightened position to take. However, in other parts of American society in the 1880s and certainly in the modern United States, such views would be considered contemptibly racist.[citation needed]

Mark Twain read the Uncle Remus stories to his children, who were awed to meet Harris himself. In his Autobiography Twain describes him thus:

He was the bashfulest grown person I have ever met. When there were people about he stayed silent, and seemed to suffer until they were gone. But he was lovely, nevertheless; for the sweetness and benignity of the immortal Remus looked out from his eyes, and the graces and sincerities of his character shone in his face.

Twain wrote that "It may be that Jim Wolf was as bashful as Harris. It hardly seems possible...." Jim Wolf being a person from the first humorous story Twain ever told—the story recorded in "Jim Wolf and the Cats".

Yes, it is Spring; time of renewal, or growth, of budding and blossoming, of air so pungent it kicks up allergies, of colors so vivid they challenge the brain to fully interprete them. When Melva and I got to the tulip fields at La Conner sometimes, the brightness of those colors, those thousands of acres of primary colors, is beyond measure. You snap a pic of them, and it pales when you look at it later. You nearly have to squint to keep the overwhelming beauty from knocking you to your knees, from bringing you to tears of joy. I heard on the radio yesterday that the Jews had added hemp to the list of no-nos not to be indulged in during Passover, and that the good news was the time limit was up yesterday, so the faithful could toke up whenever they wished. I brings to mind those immortal words from Cheech and Chong in UP IN SMOKE.
Cheech: Taking a huge toke on a number that is bigger than a summer sausage,
"This is good shit, man."
Chong: "Yup"
Cheech: "What kind of shit is this, man?"
Chong: "Dog."
Cheech: "What!!? Are you saying that we are smoking dog shit, man?"
Chong: "Yeah, man. My dog ate my stash, and I had to follow him around to reclaim it."
Cheech: After another long toke,
"Well, you know man, it ain't too bad."

As to your poetry, Sir Savant, I like it. It certainly does stack up against Eddie Poe, Emma Dickinson, Walter Whitman, Wordsworth, Blakely --all those cats, man. You are still a bit rough and green around the edges, but you are writing more now, and your natural inclinations for wordsmithing are starting to emerge. You know me, man, I dig poetry, and I wax poetic every time I can; even in the middle of one my movie review narratives. Maybe, RE Emily Dickinson and her message vibrating to some receptor of yours, maybe you should sit up at midnight one of these nights, and sit on the floor, and surround yourself with candles, and play some kind of esoteric music, maybe Ravi Shanker or something New Age, and hum and say OOOMMMMM, and read some of her poetry out loud, and play some Palmer originals. Hell, perhaps then she will pierce the gloom, and step over, and scare the piss out of you, and give you that message you so dearly are looking for and waiting for with bated breath.

aged 55)) was an American poet. Though virtually unknown in her lifetime, Dickinson has come to be regarded, along with Walt Whitman, as one of the two quintessential American poets of the 19th century.

Dickinson lived an introverted and hermetic life. Although she wrote, at the last count, 1,789 poems, only a handful of them were published during her lifetime — all anonymously and some perhaps without her knowledge.

Contents [hide]
1 Biography
1.1 Family Background
2 Poetry and Influence
2.1 Music
3 Sexuality
4 References
5 External links

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, and lived almost all of her life in her family's houses in Amherst, which has been preserved as the Emily Dickinson Museum. In 1840, Emily was educated at the nearby Amherst Academy, a former boys' school which had opened to female students just two years earlier. She studied English and classical literature, learning Latin and reading the Aeneid over several years, and was taught in other subjects including religion, history, mathematics, geology, and biology.

In 1847, at 17, Dickinson began attending Mary Lyon's Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (which would later become Mount Holyoke College) in South Hadley. Austin Dickenson, her brother, was sent to bring her home after less than a year at the Seminary, and she did not return to the school. Some speculate that she was homesick, however there is also speculation that she refused to sign an oath stating she would devote her life to Jesus Christ, and realizing she no longer wanted to attend there, went home and never returned.

After that, she left home only for short trips to visit relatives in Boston, Cambridge, and Connecticut. For decades, popular wisdom portrayed Dickinson as an agoraphobic recluse. New scholarship suggests that while she was not necessarily an overly sociable person, she certainly valued her friends.

Dickinson's brother Austin married Susan Gilbert in 1856; Susan and Emily had known each other earlier. Emily asked Susan to critique her poems, at which she began working harder than ever.

Dickinson later died on May 15, 1886. The cause of death was listed as Bright's disease (nephritis). After her death, her family found 40 hand-bound volumes containing more than 1,700 of her poems.

Family Background
Dickinson's father, Edward Dickinson (1803–1879), was politically prominent, serving on the Massachusetts General Court from 1838 to 1842, the Massachusetts Senate from 1842 to 1843, and the U.S. House of Representatives (to which he was elected as a Whig candidate in 1852). Her mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson (1804–1882), a quiet woman, was chronically ill.

William Austin Dickinson (1829–1895), usually known by his middle name, was her older brother. He later married Dickinson's most intimate friend, Susan Gilbert, in 1856, and made his home next door to the house in which Emily lived most of her life. Their younger sister, Lavinia Norcross Dickinson (1833–1899), often known as "Vinnie", encouraged the posthumous editing and publishing of her sister's poetry.

Emily Dickinson's posthumous popularity at the turn of the century may have inspired one of her aunts, Kate Dickinson Sweetser, to become a writer.

Poetry and Influence

Emily Dickinson, sometime around 1850- The supposedly second and only other known photo of her. Curators at the Emily Dickinson Museum deny its authenticity.Her poetry is often recognizable at a glance. Her facility with ballad and hymn meter, her extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in her manuscripts, and her idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery combine to create a unique lyric style.

Although over half of her poems were written during the years of the American Civil War, it bears no overt influence in her poetry. Dickinson toyed briefly with the idea of having her life in her poems published, even asking Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a literary critic, for advice. Higginson immediately realized the poet's talent, but when he tried to "improve" Dickinson's poems, adapting them to the more florid, romantic style popular at the time, Dickinson quickly lost interest in the project.

By her death (1886), only ten of Dickinson's poems (see: Franklin Edition of the Poems, 1998, App. 1) had been published. Seven of those ten were published in the Springfield Republican. Three posthumous collections in the 1890s established her as a powerful eccentric, but it wasn't until the twentieth century that she was appreciated as a poet.

Dickinson's poetry was collected after her death by Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, with Todd initially collecting and organizing the material and Higginson editing. They edited the poems extensively in order to regularize the manuscripts' punctuation and capitalization to late nineteenth-century standards, occasionally rewording poems to reduce Dickinson's obliquity. A volume of Dickinson's Poems was published in Boston in 1890, and became quite popular; by the end of 1892 eleven editions had sold. Poems: Second Series was published in 1891 and ran to five editions by 1893; a third series was published in 1896. Two volumes of Dickinson's letters, heavily edited and selected by Todd (who falsified dates on some of them), were published in 1894.

This wave of posthumous publications gave Dickinson's poetry its first real public exposure, and it found an immediate audience. Backed by Higginson and William Dean Howells with favorable notices and reviews, the poetry was popular from 1890 to 1892. Later in the decade, critical opinion became negative. Thomas Bailey Aldrich published an influential negative review anonymously in the January 1892 Atlantic Monthly:

It is plain that Miss Dickinson possessed an extremely unconventional and grotesque fancy. She was deeply tinged by the mysticism of Blake, and strongly influenced by the mannerism of Emerson....But the incoherence and formlessness of her — versicles are fatal....[A]n eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out-of-the-way New England village (or anywhere else) cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of gravitation and grammar. (in Buckingham 281-282)
In the early 20th century, Dickinson's niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, published a series of further collections, including many previously unpublished poems, with similarly normalized punctuation and capitalization; The Single Hound emerged in 1914, The Life and Letters of Emily Dickinson and The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1924, Further Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1929. Other volumes edited by Todd and Bianchi emerged through the 1930s, releasing gradually more previously unpublished poems. With the rise of modernist poetry, Dickinson's failure to conform to nineteenth-century ideas of poetic form was no longer surprising nor distasteful to new generations of readers. A new wave of feminism created greater cultural sympathy for her as a female poet. Her stock had clearly risen, but Dickinson was not generally thought a great poet among the first generation of modernists, as is clear from R.P. Blackmur's critical essay of 1937:

She was neither a professional poet nor an amateur; she was a private poet who wrote as indefatigably as some women cook or knit. Her gift for words and the cultural predicament of her time drove her to poetry instead of antimacassars....She came, as Mr. Tate says, at the right time for one kind of poetry: the poetry of sophisticated, eccentric vision. That is what makes her good — in a few poems and many passages representatively great. But...the bulk of her verse is not representative but mere fragmentary indicative notation. The pity of it is that the document her whole work makes shows nothing so much as that she had the themes, the insight, the observation, and the capacity for honesty, which had she only known how — or only known why — would have made the major instead of the minor fraction of her verse genuine poetry. But her dying society had no tradition by which to teach her the one lesson she did not know by instinct. (195)
The texts of these early editions would hardly be recognized by later readers, as their extensive editing had altered the texts found in Dickinson's manuscripts substantially. A new and complete edition of Dickinson's poetry by Thomas H. Johnson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, was published in three volumes in 1955. This edition formed the basis of all later Dickinson scholarship, and provided the Dickinson known to readers thereafter: the poems were untitled, only numbered in an approximate chronological sequence, were strewn with dashes and irregularly capitalized, and were often extremely elliptical in their language. They were printed for the first time much more nearly as Dickinson had left them, in versions approximating the text in her manuscripts. A later variorum edition provided many alternate wordings from which Johnson, in a more limited editorial intervention, had been forced to choose for the sake of readability.

Later readers would draw attention to the remaining problems in reading even Johnson's relatively unaltered typeset texts of Dickinson, claiming that Dickinson's treatment of her manuscripts suggested that their physical and graphic properties were important to the reading of her poems. Possibly meaningful distinctions could be drawn, they argued, among different lengths and angles of dash in the poems, and different arrangements of text on the page. Several volumes have attempted to render Dickinson's handwritten dashes using many typographic symbols of varying length and angle; even R.W. Franklin's 1998 variorum edition of the poems, which aimed to supplant Johnson's edition as the scholarly standard text, used typeset dashes of varying length to approximate the manuscripts' dashes more closely. Some scholars claimed that the poems should be studied by reading the manuscripts themselves.

Because of her frequent use of common metre, many of Dickinson's poems can easily be set to tunes (for example "I heard a fly buzz when I died- / The Stillness in the Room / Was like the Stillness in the Air / Between the Heaves of Storm"). Dickinson’s poetry has been used as texts for art songs by composers such as Aaron Copland, and Nick Peros.

Because of this, one can also sing many of her poems to the tunes of "Amazing Grace", "The Yellow Rose of Texas", or the "Gilligan's Island" theme song. While this novelty is entertaining in itself, it also demonstrates the connection between poetry and song embodied for centuries in the ballad.

Sexual Orientation of:
William Shakespeare
Leonardo da Vinci
Emily Dickinson
Michael Jackson
Jesus Christ
Alexander the Great
Julius Caesar
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Adolf Hitler
Robert Baden-Powell

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The sexuality of Emily Dickinson is a topic of dispute; it has been argued that she may have been bisexual or lesbian.

Dickinson's possible romantic and sexual adventures are matters of great controversy among her biographers and critics. There is little evidence on which to base a conclusion about the objects of her affection, though Dickinson's understanding of passion can be inferred through some of her poems and letters.

Attention has focused especially on a group of letters addressed only to "Master", known as the Master letters, in which Dickinson appears to be writing to a male lover; neither the addressee of these letters, nor whether they were sent, has been established. Some biographers have been convinced Dickinson might have been romantically involved with the newspaper publisher Samuel Bowles, a friend of her father's, Judge Otis Lord, or a minister named Charles Wadsworth. A relatively recent theory has emerged that proposes William S. Clark, a prominent figure in Amherst at the time, as the identity of her "Master".

Some biographers have theorized Dickinson may have had romantic attachments to women in her younger years, a hypothesis which has grown in popularity. After a claimed romance with Emily Fowler, circa 1850, some conjecture that Susan Gilbert 1851, her closest friend and sister-in-law, was another possible love. The evidence for all these theories is circumstantial at best. Many scholars that claim the evidence for the latter theory about her relationship with women is scant and highly ambiguous.

Peggy Macintosh, from Wellesley College's Center for Research on Women, and Ellen Louise Hart, from University of California at Santa Cruz: Cowell College, in their introduction of Emily Dickinson in The Heath Anthology of American Literature (Fifth Edition) note that "It is important to understand the role in Dickinson studies played by homophobia.... We do not know to what extent Dickinson expressed her sexual desires physically...."

Whether Dickinson had romantic feelings for women or not, it is important to remember that her poetry was heavily edited by several people before being released into the public posthumously. According to Macintosh and Hart, there is evidence that Mabel Loomis Todd (the editor) was Austin Dickinson's mistress, and together they "mutilated Dickinson’s manuscripts, erasing [Susan's] name and scissoring out references to her." There were lines of poems that were completely scratched out. Todd was involved in the editing of all three initial volumes of Emily's published works. This alteration of documents throws possible romantic aspects into ambiguity.

Other aspects, though, such as their lifelong friendship (late teens to Emily's death), are not ambiguous. It is well-known that no one received more writing from Emily than Susan Gilbert. There were hundreds of letters found, which Gilbert reciprocated. Dickinson's few friendships were all very close, and her friendship with Gilbert was no exception. Some of the letters were very passionate, furthering this ambiguity. While many of Dickinson's letters and poems are highly charged, passionate, and erotic, few biographers or critics believe that Dickinson physically consummated a relationship with anyone.

Blackmur, R.P. "Emily Dickinson: Notes on Prejudice and Fact (1937)."

I love the part that implies that Emily may have been bisexual or lesbian. You surely can pick them, sir.

Good luck on the Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute. I remember after giving up my professionl career as an actor to become a teacher, I wondered about my "lack of success", and that fact that people say we do not succeed unless we get out of our own way, that psychologically we often prevent ourselves from succeeding; for just those reasons you imply. Then we would have to dream a new dream, make a new plan, and start over. And who the hell wants to do that, right?

Hope to see more Palmer automobiles on the site, more pics, more quips.

Big Hug: Glenn

6:56 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Emily Dickinson, the "Belle of Amherst". It is significant that she never really published much, and yet wrote hundreds of poems a year, was constantly writing.

One source I read put her death day at 15 May 1886, at age 56. She rests at West Cemetery of Amherst, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. When she contacts you, as per your New Age seance, she was buried in a white dress, with violets sewed into the collar.

This is one of my favorite of her many poems.

Wild Nights

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
Were I with Thee,
Wild Nights should be
Our Luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port --
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the Sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in Thee!

Amherst is located like in central and slightly western portion of Massachusetts. It was one of the first towns in America; bustling after the American Revolution. It is located in the Conneticut River Valley. While Emily lived there in 1880, it sported a population of 4,298 souls. Today there are 34,874 people living there. It is a big college town.

Julie Harris, a great American actress did a one woman show about Emily, and then they filmed it for PBS.


Director:Charles S. Dubin

Writer:William Luce

Genre:Biography / Drama
User Comments:Terribly moving. more

(Complete credited cast)

Julie Harris ... Emily Dickinson


Runtime:USA:90 min
Sound Mix:Mono

Terribly moving., 21 June 2001

Author: W. Jones

Thank God for Great Performances on PBS. They have brought us another gem in the form of Miss Julie Harris. She not only brings Emily Dickenson to life, she invites us in to live it with her. The joy and pain and all that, and it's REAL and moving and absolutely wonderful. Seek out this hard to find video, you will treasure it forever.

You are the only dude, or dudette, I know who still digs, and pines after the divine Miss D. I appreciate your interest in Poe and Emily. It reconnected me to my sense of history and literature and classic Americana poetry.

Without references to our "heart", I swear, there would be no poems of Love, or any way to truly express those emotions that drag us about like ragdolls when given their rein. As pure creatures, no matter how vile we become at times, that heart beating in our chest, can be tucked at, can burst with pride or sadness or beauty; and it seems hardwired to the tear ducts. A grand creation this thing called homo sapien.

Most of those years that I hung around you, the word incompetence did not apply to my image of you. You might not create perfection as you dabbled in architecture, music, automobile assembly,blue prints, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical tasks --but you dove into all of them with equal fervor; and somehow emerged out the end of the turmoil of the task more of less unscathed, and things come to some level of successful conclusion. Watching you as a mechanic was a form of poetry. Those big hands of yours working in a flurry with chrome tools, covered in grease, shoulder and arm muscles rippling as you lifted transmissions and engine blocks. It was like watching a finish carpenter, and woodworker, or a farmer walking through his wheatfield just before he cranks up the combine. You were good at it, better than good, and so you did it. But did you love it? Did it love you?


11:09 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

I never do research or fact check, hoping that my mistakes will meke me seem funnier.

11:22 AM  
Blogger butch said...

No sweat that you do not look a lot of stuff up. It creates a more immediate flow of ideas, probably. Hopefully you do not mind my tendency to flood your readers of this blog with some interesting data that I bump into. It makes me focused and reinforces my need to know and to share.

Humor is essential to survive in this crazy world. Like the character said in WEST SIDE STORY,
"You want to survive in this crazy world? Play it cool, real cool." Which is what you do daily as you crack wise and philosophize here on FEEL FREE TO LAUGH.


1:35 PM  

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