Colleges be like….
Always a favorite of mine.
Reading a Chinua Achebe essay (I can’t remember the name, will edit later) in which he encourages earnestness has had me thinking for a few weeks. This and the incessant mistaking of satirical Internet articles for factual ones by others and occasionally myself has pushed me to removing irony from my vocabulary and practice for a spell.
The societal norm in 2013 is to critique a flaw or tendency we observe through irony- to create shocking fictions & present them as truths in order to bring light to equally shocking truths that actually do exist.
I must quickly differentiate truth & accuracy: accuracy aims strictly toward fact- My dresser is made of birch. That is incontestable. Irony, though inaccurate, aims for truth. (You may want to read Louise Gluck’s essay Against Sincerity if you are more curious about this distinction, but anyway.) If done well, the observer a) might at first mistake such irony for fact and b) consider their involvement or opinion on that which is being critiqued.
I am completely for b, but what is the point of a? Craft? To show how cunning we are?
I’ve tired of it. I’m quite over being clever, and being ironic feels that way. It all feels so ingenuine. I want to be forthright, honest and, yes, earnest. I want to be able to articulate what I think and feel plainly. I admire craft of course, but I no longer see the point in directing my energies toward this one. I feel bad for the person who thinks the Onion is factual, that was all of us at one point. What does a Daily Current article accomplish that a New York Times one doesn’t? Why are we able to laugh at Kenan Thompson as Al Sharpton but not Al Sharpton? I don’t want to live in a world where absolutely no one is saying what they actually mean. I think we have gotten so good at irony that we aren’t even really sure what it is we mean. To close, in the words of Childish Gambino:
"That’s not ironic b—— I love Rugrats."
"Xmas" is not a secular attempt to obliterate Christ from Christmas. The "X" is simply an abbreviation of the word Christ. i.e. The first letter of the Greek translation, chi, is X.
Where’d you find that Bukowski type at?
Guys in their heads whenever I go out with sweet, coy Bella.
(I seem so coarse in comparison.)
KC smiles as this poem is compared to Kim Addonizio. Not the most intellectually exploratory, but certainly the most fun.
Her voice. What is it?
I wait for a simile.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
Her voice, like rice cereal.
I’ve a hole in my jeans, right at the back of my thigh and I can feel the slightest bit of skin poking through it. I’ve worn these jeans for too many years, washed them too many times- they used to be black as sky and now they are ashen. I want someone to hold me, but I’d like their hands to be able to reach all around my ribs, for their fingers to touch on either side of me. I would like someone to hold me in new black jeans. I want to see the old ones on the floor, discarded.
She wants me, I know it.
She’d never tell.
Snap, crackle, pop. I’d have her.
my brain just works in long stretches without breaths or pauses. This week I have taken to writing in this form and I like it quite a lot, although it is more suited to fiction. Yes, Aimee Bender has infiltrated my brain, yes I am reading Flammable Skirt over and over until I can get my hands on my copy of Willful Creatures which I lent to a friend a few years ago. I really should stop lending books to friends cause you have to be so aggressive in order to get them back but I never will. That’s part of the fun of it. Anyway I wrote a poem I very much liked this week and will post it.