Archive - Jun 2005

June 30th

Ode To A Lack Of Odes

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Memo to Everyone: BE BETTER EVERYONE.

I have to extend today's column beyond the mandate of the Be-A-Better-Nerd series, but nerds better not think they're off the hook, because y'all are significantly more prone to this kind of thing than the general community, so pay extra attention when I beg you all, from the bottom of my black, black heart:

STOP WRITING POETRY.

Now obviously, I'm not calling for the elimination of the art form entirely. There's plenty of perfectly valid, literary poetic expression out there. It's just that none of it is coming from you.

None of it is coming from celebrities, either. That's a nice hard and fast rule. If you're famous for something that is NOT POETRY, you don't get to write poetry. We will, of course, stretch the definition of "famous" far enough that it includes Jewel.

Here's another nice, hard and fast rule. If your poetry is ABOUT a celebrity, you don't get to write poetry either. Dirty limericks are excluded for all these rules, so those of you composing your five-line pornographic ode to Williams, Venus are safe for now.

Content is important, but context even more so. If your poem is intended to be placed in the vicinity of a picture or statuette of an angel, PUT THE FUCKING PEN DOWN. The same goes for sunsets. And photographs of guys climbing mountains. But especially angels. The only thing that can make a picture of an angel worse is if there's a goddamned poem underneath it.

If your poem is intended to be posted on a LiveJournal or blog, unplug your keyboard. Take a walk. Remember that the Internet is forever, the Internet is global, and your poem sucks. These three things inevitably combine to bite you on the ass months or years down the line. There's always the chance that your four-stanza "Dark Turtle Rising" could become the next "All Your Base". Neither of us wants that.

If you somehow manage to simultaneously violate three or more of these rules, then you are Rosie O'Donnell. And even though I feel a bit bad about it, because most of Rosie's most vocal detractors in recent memory are complete assholes, I have to hate Rosie now. This was posted to Rosie's blog*. In the interests of space, I will be separating line breaks with slashes, but otherwise, here is "oprah hermes" verbatim.

oprah was turned away / at hermes in paris / gayle said it was really really bad / she used really twice / she saw it - she was there // ?Oprah describes it as / one of the most humiliating / moments of her life.?

OK, I have to take a break here and inquire as to the legitimacy of a poem with an ACTUAL QUOTE TIME(tm) moment in it. Is it in fact fair to put artsy line-breaks in your friend's quote, and if so, is it still a quote? I mean, I know it's still retarded, but what would Strunk and White say about it grammatically? Back to the poem.

and who would know better than gayle // i cannot wait to hear/all the details - / one of the most humiliating moments of her life? / oprah / poor overweight / sexually abused / troubled black female child / from a broken home - / that oprah / sufferred ONE of the most HUMILIATING momemts of HER / life / at hermes in paris // hmmmmm // after watching tom on o / and then everywhere else / in the free world / i think i may / need to up my meds // shout out to brooke / stand tall girl / u saved a lot of women / by telling ur truth // my tommy needs to breathe / ?heart humor and humility / will lighten up your heavy load? / said joni mitchell

THIS is why we need to stop poetry now. It's like a chainsaw. WHen a lumberjack uses a chainsaw on a tree, that's fine. When a mental patient uses a chainsaw on a puppy, that's NOT FINE. And when Rosie O'Donnell uses "u" and "ur" in a poetic "shout out" to BROOKE MOTHERFUCKING SHIELDS ON THE MOTHERFUCKING INTERNET, there is a problem, and that problem needs to be dealt with, and Rosie doesn't get to use the chainsaw anymore. And neither do you.

*Here's another rule. If you're rich and famous, DON'T BLOG. You have plenty of outlets for your "unique" "perspective" on "things", you don't need to sully the Internet with them, too.