The Worst Filing System Known To Humans

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Reload the Canons!

This series of articles is an attempt to play through The Canon of videogames: your Metroids, your Marios, your Zeldas, your Pokemons, that kind of thing.

Except I'm not playing the original games. Instead, I'm playing only remakes, remixes, and weird fan projects. This is the canon of games as seen through the eyes of fans, and I'm going to treat fan games as what they are: legitimate works of art in their own right that deserve our analysis and respect.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fall 2011 Paper Roundup Clambake And Panic Attack Extravaganza 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, as the end of my semester staggers on, I'm going to be posting the fragments and drafts of my essays up for viewing. Today I've got another fragment of my Paradise Lost rewrite project. This one is less heavily dependent upon an understanding of Blank Verse and more heavily indebted to Terry Pratchett. You'll see why. I don't know if this one will make it into the final draft. We'll see. I also have a short preview of my final Modern Poetry essay, which is on the absolutely fucking brilliant poet Saul Williams. It's just the introduction for now, but I'll be dropping more of it up during the next two days.


The Angels Conspire to Allow Adam And Eve to Retain Paradise
--for Terry Pratchett
The Son sighs. Foresight, He reflects, can only take one so far, it seems. Of course, He should have realized that Uriel would blame himself for letting Satan into the Garden, and He should have realized that Michael, when faced with the helplessness of the two fallen mortals, would react with pity.
But honestly, this is just ridiculous, and He has to put His foot down somewhere.
On the subject of feet: Uriel is shuffling his sheepishly as his God stares accusingly at him. Michael struggles to look wide eyed and innocent. He fails utterly.
“You’re sure, fair Uriel that the two did sneak
By mystic means from out your solar gaze,
Regaining thus fair Eden’s bow’rs once more?”
 “Erm.” Uriel responds.
“We really have no idea how they got in there,” Michael interjects. “They’re like those… ah, you know…”
“Yes, Bats!” Michael nods. “No matter how you try to seal the place off, they can always find a way in. They can compress their bodies, you know.”
The Son knows quite a bit about bats. He had created them from the subatomic level up. He does not appreciate being lectured about the relative physical capabilities of bats, but He decides to let it slide.
“Fair Michael and good Uriel, thou know
That this is now the second time this month
The fallen pair have flaunted with their acts
My guard and edict passed in judgment down
To bar them from the earthly Paradise.
Which now you might recall, if once forgot,
I told thee to prevent this sort of thing!
Where is the sword of flame I granted thee
To keep the strayed goats out from pastures fair?”
“Dunno,” Michael mumbles, glancing at the spires of Hea’en o’erhead, and thereby avoiding his God’s irate expression. “I must’ve dropped it somewhere.” Uriel snickers.
“No laughing matter this, fair Uriel!”
The Son proclaims with thund’ring fury, “Now
The human family sows a bounteous grove
Of trees the kin to that great Tree forbidd’n:
The Tree of Life! Its seed spread o’er the land
Of Caanan and of…
[We have omitted the following three page description of Biblical lands for the sake of conserved space and sanity—Ed’s.]
And at this rate the human race will never
Know the punishment of death! What’s more,
The children now erect new monuments
To their now blessed though foul-fated bond!
With those words, the Son conjures a vision. The luster of the two angels grows noticeably paler as they see the relief sculpture carved by the two Sons of Adam. It showed two smiling boys standing with two smiling angels, with a benevolent God watching over the whole scene. It is crude, the work of pre-teen amateurs first discovering the possibilities of artistry, but the subject is made unmistakable by the inscription below:
“Cain and Abel, Best of Friends”
“Oh,” Uriel says quietly.
“Oops,” Michael adds.


Modern Mythweavers:
Saul Williams and a New Path for Poetry

As Saul Williams emerges into the spotlight of contemporary poetry and music commentary, one of the more common claims one hears is that he and his fellow slam poets are charting a new path for poetry that will revitalize the medium. This is perhaps half the truth. It is certainly true that Williams—along with other contemporary poets such as Ross Gay and Baba Brinkman—is drawing from popular music in his poetry in a way that appeals to younger generations. And it is certainly true as well that this new crop of poets utilizes performance in a way that enhances and completes the works. The performance of poetry is, to these authors, as important as the composing of poetry upon the page. However, the traditions utilized by Williams and his contemporaries can be traced back through the millennia to far older oral traditions—a fact openly acknowledged in their works. Although Williams's work in particular proposes a new poetic idiom derived from contemporary culture, it depends ultimately upon the whole history of the poetic art.

Williams offers three innovations to modern poetry, all drawn from older traditions but presented here in a radical new combination. First, his pieces are in a state of perpetual revision; there is no ur-text locked into place through publishing. Second, his pieces are a mashup, utilizing multiple layers of allusion and meaning but drawing upon low, pop sources as well as vaunted literary and religious sources. And third, his pieces draw power and meaning from multimedia performance that enhances the words through sound and movement. None of these ideas are new, of course. Some emerge from oral traditions of early human history. Others come largely out of the development of modern poetry. All, however, share an origin in a musical rather than a traditionally poetic medium: rap and hip hop. In drawing upon his hip hop roots and linking them to more academically established poetic traditions, Williams utilizes the tools of both contemporary music and older modes of poetic construction to create works simultaneously accessible and difficult; works which can only be described as modern myths epics.

Some of that should look familiar. It is, after all, not that different from some of what I argued in Modern Music, Modernist Poetry. In some ways, this could be seen as an expansion on those ideas. The jury is out on whether or not I can really pull it off.

If none of this caught your fancy, though, you could always read FILM CRIT HULK's explanation of why Edgar Wright, the mastermind behind such things as Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Hot Fuzz, and other such delightful insanity. I'll probably keep this format up for the next few posts as well: my stuff, then someone whose work is far more competent than my own, in case my stuff bored you to tears.

Let me know what you think.

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