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  #1  
Unread 01-25-2019, 02:12 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is online now
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Default David Mason on poetic identity

https://www.thewoventalepress.net/20...-and-the-soul/
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Unread 01-26-2019, 07:39 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Thanks for this, Sam. Complex is complex.
I find this to be a good analysis of the psyche of american culture -- its current political climate and, by extension, its societal and artistic condition (knowing what little I know; less than most, I know. But I am reminded to speak up, even if from relative ignorance, by Frost who said, “[Have the] courage to go ahead with incomplete information… The object of life is to be, with caution, bold.”

Mason says, “Anybody and anything can explode at any time.” I dare say this statement has a heft to it that has not been present in any other place in time for the average person. Yes, there have been times when the complexities of the world have multiplied in similar fashion, but never has it been so evidently manifested in our everyday lifes, I think. I don’t know. I instinct.

I’m waiting for the moment in the evolution of things when as individuals we reserve ourselves to identifying with and understanding individual issues rather than the identifying with the messenger.

...And then there’s this: “The whole country, like the rest of the world, remains in the grip of ancient, intensely ugly animosities.”

...And I, too, cringe like Prufrock at the thought of leaving myself exposed to being identified wrongly.

I am waiting for the moment when all of us wake up and identify ourselves as tired.
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Unread 01-27-2019, 06:35 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Great essay. Thanks for sharing, Sam.
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Unread 01-27-2019, 06:42 AM
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Michael F Michael F is offline
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What Mark said. An erudite essay.

You might say of the self what Augustine said about time: you know what it is, until someone asks you to explain it.
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Unread 01-30-2019, 05:41 AM
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Claudia Gary Claudia Gary is offline
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What a beautiful essay! David Masonís insights are refreshing in this difficult time. Thanks for posting, Sam.
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Unread 01-30-2019, 07:25 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Yes, thanks for posting, Sam.

Cheers,
John
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Unread 01-30-2019, 09:04 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Perhaps a movement is being born: #I'm Tired
x
x
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Unread 01-30-2019, 09:55 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Coincidentally, my wife and I watched the 'I identify as tired' comedian's stand-up show on TV recently, after a friend recommended it to her. It is very powerful, as well as funny. Nice to see her get the Masonic seal of approval!
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Unread 01-30-2019, 02:12 PM
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Quincy Lehr Quincy Lehr is offline
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This is pretty weak. In the first instance, it never actually names its opponents, particularly on the apparently identitarian left, where the issue of "cultural appropriation" can result in a kind of cultural bantustan, but where Joel Chandler fucking Harris becomes the interlocutor (via Disney) of the black folk tradition and black musician after black musician had to watch white copycats take their creations to far higher chart placements, the idea has some real utility. More generally, if one is to tackle a political question, bellyaching about its political nature is at best disingenuous and at worst unforgivably naive.

Last edited by Quincy Lehr; 01-30-2019 at 02:20 PM.
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Unread 02-01-2019, 07:05 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hey Quincy,

The project and tone here don’t strike me as dealing in the adversarial, or as trying to set up the left, or anything else, as an opponent. Is the essay obliged to have an 'opponent'? Can't it be a thoughtful rumination on a topic, without having to nail its colours to a mast? Maybe the ‘weakness’ you see is that it refuses to be easily identifiable as occupying one side or another of the great ‘identity’ culture war that rumbles endlessly through millions of online think pieces. I think this is the essay's strength.

The only time the words Left or Right are used in the whole essay is in this passage. His characterisation of the Right here certainly fits with your example of the 'Uncle Remus' stories, whereas you seem to be implying that he is somehow blind to this negative aspect of identity appropriation or denial:

Quote:
On the Left we often have writers saying they own their experience and no one else has the right to imagine experiences like theirs. On the Right we find the experience of others denied by a whitewashing of history, a pretense that values we identify with civilization have never been compromised by racism or other primitive ideologies.
Certainly, a key point of the essay is to argue that in literature the freedom to inhabit other identities is a fundamental one, and this could be seen as in opposition to certain ideas on the left. But I don't think it does this in a way that attempts to make a straw man out of the views of the 'apparently identitarian left' and I don't see anywhere that the essay is 'bellyaching' about the issue of identity being politicised. I think it is taking what is often seen as a political question and attempting to broaden the scope of how we might look at it.

But you made me think some more about it, and for that I'm always grateful!

Non-adversarially yours.

Mark
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