Rue Git-le-Coeur

In an age that is considered by some to be the death of printed material, the idea of cut-ups becomes a little interesting. If I want to cut up an article in the New York Times, I would have to print it first, and seeing as I currently have the flu and my printer is across the room, I am going to have to come up with a new, technology friendly way to do a cut up.

Answer: Copy and paste to Word, add columns and read straight across instead of down.

Without further adieu:

“White House Tribunals can resume, Says Guantánamo”

President, at least for the time being, Obama reversed his administrations plan to hold order, halting new civilian trials for Khalid, military charges against Mohammed, the chief detainee at Guantánamo, planner of the Sept 11th, Bay, Cuba, on Monday, attacks and other accused, permitting an assumption of terrorists.”

Now, I am curious to see how much more interesting this gets if I add more columns and thus mix it up a little more.

“Guantánamo, chief planner of President Obama, someday and to the Sept. 11th, reversed his two charging some attacks and other order Terrorists accused halting new in civilian terrorists.”

It makes a little less sense, but “Guantánamo, chief planner of President Obama” is pretty funny.

Four columns!

“Admitting George W, the chief failure Bush, planner of president sept 11th Obama his pledge and has attacks and reversed his to close the continued other prison under Mr. accused old order camp.”

And there you have it folks, the New York Times has confirmed that 9/11 was an inside job.

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Bob Cough-man

“Remember your national emergency signal, when you see three large mushroom clouds and two small ones, it is not a drill. Turn off your TV and get under it.” (87)

I was watching Apocalypse Now last night for different lit class that I know some of you are in, when something outside my window made quite a lot of noise. It was probably just a car backfiring or some neighbor who found a rogue firework in their garage and decided to set it off before the rain hit– but I found myself totally unconcerned with the noise out my window for a good three minutes or so. Then it hit me that, unlike Martin Sheen, I was not in Vietnam during wartime and noises that sound like explosions out my window should probably, at the very least, spark my curiosity.  But, because I was so engrossed in the movie on my computer screen, the real world had ceased to be real or affect me at all and I think that Bob Kaufman quote up there really laments this very phenomenon, among other things.

Kaufman is pointing at America’s numbness and de-sensitivity in this quote in the statement: “when you see three large mushroom clouds… Turn off your TV…”  He is saying that in the event of nuclear attack, Americans would be so hooked to their televisions and so numb to reality that it would not really occur to them that a bomb had dropped until they saw the mushroom cloud- and even then they have to be reminded that it is not a drill. Americans would have to be reminded that what they are seeing is not on a screen, but real; the world outside their window really does affect them.

I think the most cynical aspect of this quote is the end, “Turn off your TV and get under it.” It is very easy to hide behind a television. People don’t actually have to go out into the world- the world can come to them in pixels on a screen. But, you can’t really hide behind your television in the event of a nuclear blast and getting under it would just make you look ridiculous before you died. But really, there is nothing you could at that point to prevent your death- so in a sense any national security plan for when a bomb is dropped is just as futile as climbing under your television.

I really liked this quote. It speaks the fact that maybe we’re all doomed, but if we would just turn off the screens we would at least have a little dignity in our death.




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Final project idea

For the first time since late Wednesday evening, my house has internet access. Spending nearly a week off the grid has left me a little disconnected and, I cannot lie, the blog post about my final project very much slipped my mind. Better late than never, right?

Since week one we have been discussing collages and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how much I love cutting things up and pasting them together “the right way”. So, for the final I was thinking of doing a collection of collages based around certain poems, excerpts, or cut ups of what we have read this quarter as well as other various works. In my mind this looks something like, a collage on one side and the text adjacent- so in a sense a picture book for poetry.

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Revolutionary Letter 47.2

TO BE FREE we’ve got to be free of any idea of freedom.
Today Egypt fights for democracy; and an American
complains about the price of gas.


To be honest, I was not a huge fan of Diane di Prima. When I begun reading, I couldn’t help but be reminded of all those people I can’t take seriously with the conspiracy theories and their diatribes about our Fascist government. When she writes about what foods we should have stocked up so we can be prepared for the day when civilization falls, I lose interest.

And then, I read the news.

As the sun rises on the seventh day of mass protests, riots, and revolution in Cairo, I am contemplating what to write about Revolutionary Letters. Suddenly, it all seems rather clear.

What I dislike about this collection of poetry is being echoed across the world in the voices of the people of Egypt. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has been reporting from Cairo all week and he wrote a rather interesting blog entry about two women who stood up to a group of pro-Mubarak ‘thugs’. When he asked them why they were there and putting their lives on the line, one of them had this to say: ““We need democracy in Egypt,” Amal told me, looking quite composed. “We just want what you have.””

And there it was. They want what we have. This amazing ability to speak, to have an opinion, to vote, to walk down the street at night without fear of government curfews or terrorist organizations obstructing us.

Now, I am aware that our government is far from perfect. I’m not about to get all patriotic on you guys and sing to the heavens that America has the answers. It’s just really hard for me to take seriously the paranoia I find in most modern American Revolutionaries when there are so many places in this world where Fascism, Genocide, and the complete obstruction of basic human rights is a day to day reality. The fact that I [a young woman] can, right now (nearing midnight), walk two blocks to Safeway, buy some Ben and Jerry’s, sit on the curb to eat it, then walk home without a rational fear- Why, I’d say that’s pretty revolutionary in itself.



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I’ve heard it said that jazz musicians know the “proper way” to play their instrument (in a classical, traditional sense), and they use that knowledge to bend the rules so that their music better represents the emotion or voice they are trying to express. In this way, jazz is not simply playing any note whenever the mood strikes, but a deliberate and coherent rebellion against what is considered ‘the norm’.  In much the same way, Beat poets knew what was expected of a writer in the “square” world of literature, but changed the game to better suite their unique voices. Kerouac wrote spontaneously and freely, but he wrote coherently and with purpose. What keeps Beat writing from reading much like Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake is the same concept that keeps jazz bands from sounding like a tuning orchestra; the knowledge, experience, and know-how to use spontaneity as a tool.

Kerouac lays this out very clearly in Essentials of Spontaneous Prose. He does not simply begin to write with no clear goal or topic in mind. He beings his essentials with the notion of meditating on an image, either real or imaginary. He goes on to say: “begin not from preconceived idea of what to say about image but from jewel center of interest in subject of image at moment of writing…” (485). Here, Kerouac reveals one of the best ways in which he keeps his writing coherent yet spontaneous: his words are not premeditated, but they are not random. He begins with an image and then finds the words to describe it in the same way that a jazz musician might start with an emotion and then find the notes to express it. Kerouac is “following free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thought” (484) and thus keeping the stream-of-consciousness feel to his poetry, but he is writing on topics that are associated and meaningful and thereby keeping his coherency. Like a Jazz musician conjuring up old chords with a new bop groove to create a sound that defined the moment, Kerouac used his bop-prosody to create new poetry to define his moment.


“We’d stay up 24 hours drinking cup after cup of black coffee, playing record after record of Wardell Gray, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Willie Jackson, Lennie Tristano and all the rest, talking madly about that holy new feeling out there in the the streets…” (559)

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