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Re: He's an English Boy

> If you're serious about poetry, and if you have a PhD in it (or I suspect
> English Lit.)

Actually it is 20th Century American Military History.  Literature is just my

> Suffice it to say that our culture changed
> drastically in the `60's, and primarily due to Rock music.

I disagree with you here.  If you want a detailed explanation I can send it to
you privately.

> Well, I must grant you that such a theory gives you unlimited grounds to go
> where you will...but it also makes it a thin, insubstantial argument.
> Without any basis in reality, it means little.

Oh, but it is the way it works, at least in my mixed up, muddled up little
world.  That's why it is a theory.  It has yet to be proven untrue, but also
has yet to be proven conclusivly true.

> You'd have to prove to me that this wasn't the case before Clemens, who BTW
> is one of MY favorite authors. Thinking about it, I seem to recall Dickens'
> work has the characters talking the way normal people did when it was
> written...just off the top of my head.

I must commend you on your choice for a favorite author.  Sad to say, but not
everyone agrees.  I happen to think that he is most likely the greatest
American novelist.  I could try to show you that Twain is the first to have
"real" speech, privately if you wish.

> Ah, there you're way off track. I could bring my other "areas of expertise"
> into the discussion but A) It's long enough as is, B) they have no bearing
> on Art/poetry, other than perhaps having inspired some, or are completely
> different forms of Art.

I was making the very same point.

> The line *I* quoted is one of Townshend's more important observations: When
> people are shown the truth, they tend to reject it and cling to convention.
> Townshend, by making people aware of this, points the way to more freedom
> of thought and action, for as our awareness grows so should we. Does
> Dickinson enlighten? Townshend does...

That is precisly what I get from the song.  Dickinson is essentially saying
that faith is a human creation that nice to have, but when it comes to the real
world, you need to use more practical things to help you.  On a slightly deeper
level, I also think is saying that you need to know at which point to give up
on praying and do something about the situation yourself.  I think this is
similar to what Townshend was saying.  I could be wrong, but I could also be

> And, having read the poem, I find that
> while it's a bit clever...I don't see it as genius. Tolkein wrote better
> stuff than that.

I hate to say it, but I believe you missed the point.  I say this because you
would probably have a much bigger reaction if you got the whole thing.  I'm not
insulting you, it IS a very difficult poem to fully understand (I needed a
professor to explain it to me), but once you get it, you can fully appreciate
it.  More on this in a moment.


> I don't deny that #1670 is good (great, whatever) use of language. I do
> think it's a bit lame to dismiss the whole thing at the end with the single
> line "And then I woke up", but hey
 Well, that part is in there for a very important reason.  It exists to tell us
that whole poem is a dream; therofore, it is a glimpse into her subconscious.

I'm pretty sure that you, as well, missed the point of the poem.  I must warn
you again that it is deeper than anything Townshend wrote, of which I am
aware.    And I will be more than happy to explain it to you privately if your
brain is dying for the answer.

> I'd have to say this next bit is deeper IMHO:
> "It may be warm/But the snow is going to fall/Enough to cover us all..."

I don't think that it is deeper, but I do think it is deep.

> What has the list or Townshend done to
> make you angry?
Nothing, I just enjoy arguing against all possible odds.  I know it's a
terrible trait, but what the hell, I need to have fun somehow, don't I?

> So now you're admitting that not everything she wrote exhibited this
> genius? Fair enough.
Yes, and there is simple explanation for it too.  She had no quality control.
When she died, every single one of her poems was published, without her
consent.  Townshend, and everyone else, has the luxury of not publishing what
they think isn't all that good.  This was a luxury Dickinson didn't have.
Hence the reason not all of her poems have the same level of quality.

> Perhaps in those six years you took time off from your specialty for a
> philosophy class or two, in which you might have heard of the fallacy of
> the argument from authority.  You're falling prey to it here.  BTW, since
> you brought it up, the degree gains weight in INVERSE proportion to the
> number of years spent obtaining it.
  I haven't taken philosophy since I was a sophomore in college.  I must also
say that the only reason I got a Ph. D. is because I wanted to teach history to
college students, I have no illusions that this makes me smarter than anyone
else.  Please don't assume such things.

> I say anyone who flaunts misspellings proudly
> as a privilege conferred by having a piece of paper on his wall is missing
> the point of what a PhD represents
Hey, it won James Joyce a Nobel Prize.  He was laughing about that spelling
thing all the way to the bank.

> For your next assignment, your Doctorhood, try to set your e-mailer to NOT
> reprint your entire stinking post complete with embedded HTML tags.
Sorry, like I said, I'm no smarter than anyone else.  And don't call me doctor.

I look forward to helping you find the meaning of poem #1670.