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Sturgeon's House

Oh, so *That's* where that comes from


Collimatrix
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This is the thread for when you saw a thing, thought it was original, and then saw another thing and then realized that the first thing you saw was not original.

 

The second part of Allen Ginsberg's Howl contains the repeated exclamation "Moloch!"  As we are all very educated and cultured here, I'm sure that nobody needs to be told that Moloch was a god of the Canaanites to whom they offered children by way of fire (or at least that's what the people who wrote the Old Testament said about the Canaanites; the archeological evidence is more equivocal).  This was pretty evocative and Moloch showed up in a lot of later art; notable Paradise Lost, which is that one poem that says everything about Satan that people think is in the Bible but isn't.

 

While Moloch has shown up in plenty of times and places as a symbol for various things, I had thought that Ginsberg's use of Moloch as metonymy for the impersonal, mechanistic indifference of modern society was original.  It's not.

 

 

I had read a defense of the second half of Ginsberg's poem as an inspired metaphor, and had briefly considered him maybe halfway decent as a result.  Seeing that he basically stretched a few, brilliant seconds of Weimar-era film into several tiresome lines that offer no particular improvement over the original material has forced me to rereconsider.

 

It's all from Metropolis.  Even the singular exclamation of the deity's profane name comes from the film.  Only, in the film they do it once because they knew if they did it over and over again it would seem forced and weird.  Fritz Lang managed to create the same metaphor with one word in one and a half minutes as it took Ginsberg to do with I don't want to count how many words and twenty eight years later.

 

Allen Ginsberg may have been just a filthy hippie after all.

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I actually was forced to sit through a live Allen Ginsburg poetry reading twice in my life.  I always liked Kurt Vonnegut's observation regarding Allen Ginsburg:

 

(For Doward's sake, Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" contains the line “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the night.”)

 

"I like 'Howl' a lot. Who wouldn't? It just doesn't have much to do with me or what happened to my friends. For one thing, I believe that the best minds of my generation were probably musicians and physicists and mathematicians and biologists and archaeologists and chess masters and so on, and Ginsberg's closest friends, if I'm not mistaken, were undergraduates in the English department of Columbia University. No offense intended, but it would never occur to me to look for the best minds in any generation in an undergraduate English department anywhere. I would certainly try the physics department or the music department first -- and after that biochemistry. Everybody knows that the dumbest people in any American university are in the education department, and English after that."

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And just to reinforce Vonnegut's point about Ginsburg's friends, it's worth pointing out that one of them was a young man named Michael Weiner.  It has been reported that back around 1970 or so Weiner and Ginsburg had an incident of "naked skinny dipping."  Considering that Ginsburg was very openly out of the closet, it's not surprising that people have suggested that Weiner may also be a homosexual.  Which is odd considering that Michael Weiner is more publicly known as intensely homophobic shock radio personality Michael Savage.  I guess what they say about "he who protests too much..."

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Ah. That's where I heard Ginsberg's name. Yeah, I've heard the story about Michael Savage in his formative years with his political opponents making hay about him being a closeted homosexual or whatever. *Shrug*

 

I don't know. A different take could be that Wiener/Savage was a young writer trying to make his way in a new town and was taken advantage of by an older, more powerful individual. This sort of thing happens all of the time - see the Cosby rape allegations - and the victim is frequently shamed into silence. At any rate, if it did happen, it would explain Savage's hatred for homosexuals. 

 

Once upon a time when I was a cub reporter filling in briefly at the Seattle P-I during a labor dispute, one of my fellow scabs from a Hearst publication did all that he could to get me to have drinks in his hotel room. It's an odd experience being a straight man who is being hit on by a homosexual. I did learn that when another man compliments you on your combat boots and asks if you like Dan Savage's writing and then compliments your pickup truck as "butch" that they are tells.  :P

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Ah. That's where I heard Ginsberg's name. Yeah, I've heard the story about Michael Savage in his formative years with his political opponents making hay about him being a closeted homosexual or whatever. *Shrug*

 

I don't know. A different take could be that Wiener/Savage was a young writer trying to make his way in a new town and was taken advantage of by an older, more powerful individual. This sort of thing happens all of the time - see the Cosby rape allegations - and the victim is frequently shamed into silence. At any rate, if it did happen, it would explain Savage's hatred for homosexuals. 

 

Once upon a time when I was a cub reporter filling in briefly at the Seattle P-I during a labor dispute, one of my fellow scabs from a Hearst publication did all that he could to get me to have drinks in his hotel room. It's an odd experience being a straight man who is being hit on by a homosexual. I did learn that when another man compliments you on your combat boots and asks if you like Dan Savage's writing and then compliments your pickup truck as "butch" that they are tells.  :P

 

Lets not make excuses for Michael Savage.  He is a nasty piece of work.

 

Anyhow, it seems I have derailed Collimatrix thread on poetry (he seems to be on a poetry kick today, having posted some Dadaist silliness over in HAV).  Metropolis is a wonderful piece of film and of Weimar German culture.  Too bad the Nazis came along and ruined all that. 

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So we have beaten it into shooters heads for close to two decades now that the only proper way to fire a handgun is with a two handed grip. Oh so help you if you do something so fudd-like as to use a "tea cup" grip.

 

But when it comes to these AR rifles pistols, all of a sudden we're going to address the target like we're Aaron Burr gunning down Alexander Hamilton?

 

These are literally the stupidest things on the firearms market as they're legally marketed. They make the Taurus Judge and derringers chambered in 45-70 look sane. It is the craziest thing that I've seen in the past couple weeks and blows my mind...

 

Until I learned the other day that The Dukes of Hazzard television series that I grew up watching as a wee kid in the 1980s was directly lifted from a 1975 movie called Moonrunners starring Robert Mitchum's son and Waylon Jennings as the "Balladeer".

 

 

And that's my "So THAT'S where it comes from" moment.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Back in line with the OP, from Jozef Pilsudski's account of the 1920 war:
 

 

As a proud victor, it started to grow fat, to amass great delights, and demand from the war leaders, like a moloch, new and new sacrifices. So lines of trenches grew, one after another, forming entire labyrinths, where a new man upon arrival was like in an unknown city, where without a map, road signs, street names and constant inquiries one has to get lost. The trench demanded sacrifice of everyday human life. Soldiers made it their home, and great efforts of men were undertaken to make this unusual place into comfortable housing, good for work and rest. The new fetish of war required that everything a country at war had at its disposal be shackled to his chariot. Thus an engineer, not a mere infantryman, applied his technical knowledge there, and numerous factories provided huge amounts of construction material, which the trench absorbed. Like in a great city, wires ran in all directions, connecting headquarters and commanders, depots and warehouses, hospitals and stables. The trench grew fat, reinforced its power with every passing month, and ever so meticulously, ever so profoundly demolished and undid the force of the erstwhile winner of wars: movement and manoeuvre.

 

Fun how things show up.

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