Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dementee and LearnedFoot Discuss Poetry

Joined in progress...

LEARNEDFOOT: I still contend that the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is merely a story - a richly sensual and well-told story - of a poor pathetic man who is finally letting go of his illusions of life in a higher societal caste. Prufrock is looking through a window, peering into a society party that he once, but no longer, wished to attend for one last time as a final farewell to his aspiration. Kind of like how a quitting smoker has that one final ceremonial cigarette.

DEMENTEE: ME DISAGREE!!!!!!! PRUFROCK AN ALLEGORY FOR THE ISOLATION AND DISENCHANTMENT OF THE MIDDLE AND LOWER CLASSES!!!!!! THEY SEPARATED FROM "GOOD LIFE" BY A TRANSPARENT BUT IMPENETRABLE WALL!!!! THEY SEE THE OTHER SIDE EVERY DAY - IN STORES, SHOPS, PARKS, RESTAURANTS - BUT THEY FEEL POWERLESS TO ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE LIFE IN UPPER CRUST!!!!!!!

LF: Well, then how do you explain lines like this:

It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

It sure sounds to me like he's trying to screw up the courage to ask out the object of his affections one last time before he gives up forever. He then goes on and on rationalizing why he should not attempt to talk to her. I don't see how that translates to the unrequited aspirations of the middle class.

DEM: FOOT, YOU IGNORANT SLUT!!!!!! DON'T YOU SEE WHAT ELIOT SAYING?????!!!!! HE SAYING THAT THE LOWER CLASS' INABILITY TO MOVE UPWARD RESULT OF INTERNAL, NOT EXTERNAL BARRIERS!!!!!!!!!!! THEY NOT UPWARDLY MOBILE BECAUSE THEY ONLY SEE OBSTACLES, NOT OPPORTUNITIES!!!!!! IN POEM, PRUFROCK COULD GO UP TO DOOR, RING DOORBELL, AND TALK TO PRETTY LADY!!!! HE NOT DO THAT!!!! WHY???!!!!!

LF: Fear.

DEM: THAT RIGHT!!!!! HE HOLDING SELF BACK. AND INTERESTING TO NOTE: IF YOU READ CAREFULLY, HE NOT AFRAID OF FAILURE - HE AFRAID OF SUCCESS!!!!!!

LF: You make a very compelling argument, my friend. But I'm still unconvinced.

DEM: LOOK AT FINAL STANZA:

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown
.

SEE WHAT ELIOT SAYING HERE????!!!!!! HE SAYING "YOU CAN BE MESMERIZED BY THE SIREN SONG OF FANTASY AND DIE MISERABLE, OR YOU CAN RESIST THAT COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TEMPTATION AND DO SOMETHING FOR SELF"!!!!!!!!!!!

LF: Yes, but that could be a universal message, applicable in a variety of different situations, no? Why not come out and be more explicit about it? Why package it in the form of some lovable loser, and risk people missing the point?

DEM: BECAUSE ELIOT WANTED MESSAGE TO APPEAL TO THOSE WHO HAVE ABILITY TO THINK!!!!!!! HE KNEW THAT ANY OBSERVATION AS IMPORTANT AND DIFFICULT AS THIS WOULD BE LOST ON THOSE WHO JUST UNCRITICALLY TAKE WHAT THEY'RE FED BY SOMEONE ELSE!!!!! HE KNEW THAT CONVINCING A BUNCH OF UNTHINKING AUTOMATONS WOULD JUST RESULT IN BUNCH OF PEOPLE SPOUTING OFF HIS IDEA VERBATIM, BUT LITTLE OR NO ACTION!!!!!!!! OR WORSE - ELIOT KNEW THAT THOSE KIND OF PEOPLE WOULD JUST MAKE SELVES LOOK STUPID IN PUBLIC BECAUSE THEY CHOOSE AN INTERPRETATION AT ODDS WITH REALITY!!!!!! HE TOOK UPPER ROAD: AVOIDING PREYING ON IGNORANCE OF OTHERS!!!!! SO HE CRAFT HIS EXHORTATION IN SUCH A WAY THAT ONLY THOSE POSSESSED OF SOME INTELLIGENCE WOULD BE MOVED TO ACTION!!!!!! HE WANTED IT TO MEAN SOMETHING TO THE READER!!!!! AND THAT ONLY ACCOMPLISHED IF THE READER HAVE TO WORK TO REALIZE IT!!!!!

JOYCE GRODY FROM SAVAGE: I'll miss Scott McClellan as press secretary but I understand why he had to go. He cannot lie well, he gets too flustered. The administration needs a spokesman who actually appears to believe what he is ordered to say.

DEM: RAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWR!!!!! [Eats Joyce].

LF: I'm beginning to see your point.

DEM: *burp*

LF: Ah, well. I'm still not persuaded. We'll have to agree to disagree. After all, TS Eliot himself once remarked at a public reading of this poem that even he didn't know what it was about.

DEM: IF ONLY EVERYONE HAVE THAT KIND OF CANDOR!!!!!!!

LF: Indeed.

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