6 mar. 2006

Scofflaw asks what the 835th flarf poem might contribute. Presumably nothing. Maybe someone should have told Haydn to stop writing symphonies. Stop with the fugues already, Johann Sebastian! After all, what's "yet another" symphony or fugue going to add? Don't we have enough already? Yet it is easy to see how fallacious this argument is: there's no way of knowing what the next poem will be like. Maybe the 836th will be brilliant, followed by 100 more that don't contribute anything, then 10 that do. And so on. I'm wondering what the 100,000th "fishing trip with father" or "trying on grandmother's shoes" poem contributes to "serious examination of the human condition." Don't we already know about the "human condition" by now? Will a few more poems tell us the little we don't know? Like 100,027? Then we can all stop writing poems. The godamned human condition will be completely explored. That's just a tired phrase used by people with nothing substantive to say, to defend boring art. You know it's dull, because that's the only thing you can say about it: it explores the human condition.

It's kind of ironic that "835" would seem like a large number of poems in a particular style, when for twenty or thirty years a lot of poets in Iowa and Nebraska and Oregon and California have been writing hundreds of thousands of the same kind of flat, autobiographical lyric explorations of the human condition. When is it going to be enough? Wouldn't you need 10,000 flarf poems just to make a dent? Surely the argument from quantity is not a winning one for the enemies of flarf, unless the idea is that all flarf poems are just the same poem. But that's no more true of flarf than of anything else. Why didn't Petrarch stop after one or two sonnets? Aren't they all the same, really? Even if they were -- don't we want a lot of them anyway?

6 comentarios:

Scoplaw dijo...


Hey man, don't get bent out of shape. I don't happen to like Flarf, you don't happen to like. . .whatever you want to label those poems you don't like.

I've yet to see anyone explain why flarf is remotely interesting. Actual parodies - yes, they're sometimes great. Random aggregation of internet lines about a theme? Seems like the only thing it's got going for it is the surprise caused by juxtaposition of unlikely elements, a la flacid surrealism. And that ship sailed long ago.

Care to point me to a "brilliant" piece of flarf? Something on the level of one of Haydn's symphonies?

Jonathan dijo...

It's not that you don't like flarf, it's that you make inane arguments about it. That's what I object to. You haven't even delved deeply enough into it to see it's not "random aggregations of internet lines." Why should your opinion even matter? You don't even know how to spell "flaccid." Don't bring your lame arguments to Bemsha Swing.

Scoplaw dijo...


I've read flarf, I just don't happen to see what the big deal is. I realize that normally people just keep their mouths shut and let these things die their little deaths. But we're in the blogging world now, so I expect that will change.

If you want to refute what I'm saying, that's just fine. If you want to ignore my opinion, that's fine as well.

But it strikes me that you can't have it both ways. If you want to name me on your blog and take exception to my comments, you shouldn't be surprised if I respond. That said, I'm not here to grill you.


PS - I admit that I'm not a very good speller, but as long as you're on about inane arguments, that's what's known as a "argumentum ad hominem." My spelling has nothing to do with my critique.

Jonathan dijo...

I don't see why disdaining your opinion and refuting it need to be in conflict. I refute because I disdain.

And that's not even an ad hominem argument. That would be an irrelevant attack on someone's character. Like: "Scoplaw has many unpaid parking tickets, therefore his opinion on poetry is not worth listening to." If I make a spelling error in a blog comment, which I've done I'm sure in the past, I accept the fact that those who read the comment might not trust the cogency of my comment. That might be fallacious too, but it's not really ad hominem.

Scoplaw dijo...

From Wikipedia (in case anyone would care to read further):

A (fallacious) ad hominem argument has the basic form:

1. A makes claim B;
2. there is something objectionable about A,
3. therefore claim B is false.

You wrote:
"Why should your opinion even matter? You don't even know how to spell "flaccid." Don't bring your lame arguments to Bemsha Swing."

Implying that because I don't even know how to spell "flaccid," then my opinion should not matter re: flarf.

Still waiting for that brilliant piece of flarf.

Radish King dijo...

Actually someone should have told Haydn to stop writing symphonies after about #77. But leave Papa Bach alone. After all, it's almost his b.day.