Shocker: Some Things Are Learned For Their Own Sake; Not For Application

Lightning Bottle
NoMoreFakeNews.com
Jon Rappoport
June 21, 2017

At college a few lifetimes ago, one of my earliest experiences was reading Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium. Here is the famous last stanza:

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

At the time, in those college years, it was well understood that you learned some things for their own sake. You didn’t even have to agree with the sentiment expressed. You could appreciate the expression.

Certain expressions were aesthetic and spiritual and alive in their own way. Argument on that score was unnecessary.

What about the opening lines of Dylan Thomas’ Fern Hill? If they don’t take you off your chair, read them out loud a few times:

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

No one asked the student how he was going to use those words of a poem when he was working, years later, for a bank. No one asked him how he was going make the words count when he was fronting for a suit filed by a corporation. No one said he had to postpone appreciating poetry because injustices still existed in the world.

Education can expose students to glorious things they will never apply.

Yet, those things can transform their lives.

As civilization declines, an impression is imparted that there are only crises. Every event is some kind of crisis.

If that were true, what would be left over? What inner life would be possible?

What joy could be experienced for its own sake?

All of this leads me back to a theme I’ve covered from many different angles over the years. Reality, ordinary reality is not the end-all and be-all.

Art, for example, proves that.

The thrill of actual poetry proves that.

Why do I bother saying all this? Because part of what it means to have a civilization is part of what it means to be an individual: there is a profound appreciation of human creations. When that goes by the boards, when education ignores that because “more important issues” must be presented and framed and slanted, for purposes of sheer indoctrination, life-force drains away.

Elevated language taken to poetic heights is not a mere distraction.

Many years ago, when I was working at a community college, I started an informal poetry project. I brought together a small group of foreign students and taped them reading poems in their own languages (Portuguese, ancient Persian, English, etc.). I wanted them to hear the sounds of those poems, apart from their meaning. I wanted them to hear the music(s).

Now we’re talking about real diversity, not the fake imposed version. Now we’re talking about great energies that have been injected into, and fortified in, many languages by individual poets from all times and places.

Now we’re talking about the heights those cultures reached, not the depths to which they sank.

Now we’re talking about an authentic level of understanding reaching across bridges and gaps.

There is something very right about that.

Burned flowers of the field
My noon is over, growing old
Everything I have is finally sold
Sewed designs for men with money
Thinking it was duty
To watch them lead the world to war
From my little field of beauty

I wrote that poem when I was 23. It was published in 1966, in The Massachusetts Review. At the time, I was focused on the break-up of The American Dream. Soon after, I had my moment of insight, when it became clear to me that individuals and their minds and imaginations and choices could exceed the negative reach of any civilization and, at the same time, fertilize that civilization. Reality (things as they are) is not the answer; it is the lowest common denominator, which waits for people to sign declarations of surrender.

Preposterous surrender.

Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com

JFK on Poetry, Power, and the Artist’s Role in Society: His Eulogy for Robert Frost, One of the Greatest Speeches of All Time

“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

Source: BrainPickings.com
Maria Popova

In January of 1961, as John F. Kennedy’s inauguration approached, his would-be Secretary of the Interior suggested that the poet Robert Frost participate in the ceremony as the first inaugural poet. Eighty-six-year-old Frost telegrammed Kennedy with his signature elegance of wit: “If you can bear at your age the honor of being made president of the United States, I ought to be able at my age to bear the honor of taking some part in your inauguration.” He proceeded to deliver a beautiful ode to the dream of including the arts in government, which touched Kennedy deeply.

Frost died exactly two years later, in January of 1963. That fall, Amherst College invited the President to speak at an event honoring the beloved poet. On October 26, Kennedy took the podium at Amherst and delivered a spectacular speech mirroring back to Frost that deep dedication to the arts and celebrating the role of the artist in society. Perhaps more than any other public address, it affirmed JFK as that rare species of politician who is equally a poet and prophet of the human spirit.

The speech was eventually included in the altogether superb Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time (public library) — a compendium of breathtaking adieus to cultural icons like Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King, Jr., Emily Dickinson, Keith Haring, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Schulz, and Virginia Woolf, delivered by those who knew them best.

This original recording of the speech, while short in length, is endlessly ennobling in substance. Highlights below — please enjoy:

Strength takes many forms, and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant. The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation’s greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.

[…]

Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.

The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state… In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role…

If sometimes our great artist have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, makes him aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential. I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth… In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society — in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having “nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.”

Typed draft of the speech, edited in Kennedy’s own hand (Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Library)

But as notable as the speech itself — for reasons both poetical and political — are the parts Kennedy edited out in his own hand, including this heartbreaking-in-hindsight passage from the second page:

We take great comfort in our nuclear stockpiles, our gross national product, our scientific and technological achievement, our industrial might — and, up to a point, we are right to do so. But physical power by itself solves no problems and secures no victories. What counts is the way power is used — whether with swagger and contempt, or with prudence, discipline and magnanimity. What counts is the purpose for which power is used — whether for aggrandizement or for liberation. “It is excellent,” Shakespeare said, “to have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.”

Three weeks later, one of history’s ugliest and most arrogant misuses of brute power took place as JFK was assassinated, prompting Leonard Bernstein to pen his timelessly moving address on the only true antidote to violence. But the message at the heart of Kennedy’s speech continued to resonate even as his voice was silenced by brutality. Less than two years later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, creating the National Endowment for the Arts — the very dream that Frost had dreamt up at JFK’s inauguration.

Complement with two more titans of poetry on the role of the artist in culture: E.E. Cummings on the agony and salvation of the artist and James Baldwin on the artist’s responsibility to society.

The JFK speech appears as the opening track on composer Mohammed Fairouz’s spectacular album Follow Poet — titled after a line from W.H. Auden’s beautiful elegy for W.B. Yeats — and can be heard in Fairoz’s wholly fantastic On Being conversation with Krista Tippett:

Read more At: BrainPickings.com

If I Were You

DarkRoad2
If I Were You

If I were you I’d stay away from me
I would make berth to foreign lands
And journey thence to boundless seas

If I were you I’d be extremely careful
Since my soul’s barely now a fragment
While yours is completely whole

If I were you I would run away into tomorrow
Cashing in your life’s winnings
Before the tides of life morph us to sorrow

If I were you I’d keep the Sun near
To protect your very fragile heart
From my frigidly fierce frontier

If I were you I would purchase soul insurance
Because all I could provide is my essence
While you need more than my fragmented soul’s assurance

If I were you I’d run to Heaven from my Devil
For my life is the definition of the Road Less Traveled
And my DNA code is true Rebel

If I were you I’d learn to dance in darkness
For your heart is full of joy
But my mind is wholly heartless

If I were you I’d learn to play with fire
And build immunity to flames
For all my life’s misfires

If I were you I’d read tree leaves for hints
That heed of lurid lightning flashes
Before my thunder leaves footprints

If I were you I’d forget our passions swiftly
Before they again fuse us in ardor
And our doubts thence crush us quickly

If I were you I’d seek safety and not wonder
About what could have perhaps been
Before your soul is torn asunder

If I were you I’d heed this honest warning
Because at the end of all our choices
We would surely both be mourning

If I were you I’d run like hell straight back
For your soul deserves endless joyous wonders
But my heart merely provides a shack

If I were you I’d wake from your daring dream
For our lives would be a nightmare
The most tremulous extreme

If I were you I’d wish upon the stars
For us to stay away forever
Thence begin writing our memoirs

If I were you I would simply turn the page
Forget about everything we are
After you promptly disengage

If I were you I’d stay away from me
Because no matter what would happen
We would never both be free

By: Zy Marquiez
TheBreakaway

Another Amairakuhn Edgykayshun Rant…But Not From Me…

Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph Farrell
January 16, 2017

It’s time for my first rant of the new year on Amairikuhn edgykayshun, and it’s a doozie.

When Ms. K.B. sent me this article, I just had to laugh, and I knew I just had to pass it along to all the teachers that are part of the regular readership here, who are fed up with the constant centralization and federalization of Amairikuhn edgykayshun, and the constant tilt of the insanity meter into the red kooky zone of the dial. Apparently things are so bad in Amairikuhn edgykayshun, standardized testing, and the whole Rotten to the (Common) Core experience that even the corporate controlled media, in this case, the Washington Post, are sitting up and taking notice, and that’s, well, bad, or rather, just how bad things really are. Don’t believe me? Read for yourself, and remember, this is the Washington Post:

Poet: I can’t answer questions on Texas standardized tests about my own poems

Sara Holbrook, the poet in question, notes that the State of Texas chose one of what she herself calls one of her “most neurotic” poems, and goes on to observe what doubtless became a standard response of the students taking the test:

Let me begin by confessing that “A Real Case” is my most neurotic poem. I have a pile of them to be sure, but this one is the sour cherry on top. The written evidence of my anxieties, those evil gremlins that ride around on tricycles in my mind shooting my self-confidence with water pistols. How in the name of all that’s moldy did this poem wind up on a proficiency test?

Dose of reality: test makers are for-profit organizations. My poems are a whole lot cheaper than Mary Oliver’s or Jane Kenyon’s, so there’s that. But how would your vulnerable, nervous, number two pencil-gripping seventh grade self have felt opening your test packet to analyze poetic lines such as this:

I’m just down with a sniffly case/of sudden-self-loathing-syndrome … an unexpected extra serving/ of just-for-now-self-hate.

Seriously? Hundreds of my poems in print and they choose THAT one? Self-loathing and self-hate? Kids need an extra serving of those emotions on testing day?

But wait, it gets – as you might suspect about any story about Amairikuhn edgykayshun – much worse.

Teachers are also trying to survive as they are tasked with teaching kids how to take these tests, which they do by digging through past tests, posted online. Forget joy of language and the fun of discovery in poetry, this is line-by-line dissection, painful and delivered without anesthetic. One teacher wrote to me last month, working after 10 p.m., trying to figure out the test maker’s interpretation of my poem “Midnight.” This poem isn’t quite as jarring as “A Real Case,” simply symptomatic of aforementioned neuroses: It’s about insomnia.

“Hello Mrs. Holbrook. My name is Sean, and I’m an 8th grade English teacher in Texas. I’m attempting to decipher the number of stanzas in your poem, ‘Midnight’. This isn’t clear from the formatting in our most recent benchmark. The assessment asks the following question:

“Dividing the poem into two stanzas allows the poet to―

  1. A) compare the speaker’s schedule with the train’s schedule.

B ) ask questions to keep the reader guessing about what will happen

  1. C) contrast the speaker’s feelings about weekends and Mondays
  2. D) incorporate reminders for the reader about where the action takes place.

The answer is C) to contrast the speaker’s feelings about weekends and Mondays.

How many stanzas are in this poem? Where are they located? I would appreciate your help. Thank you so much!”

Oh, goody. I’m a benchmark. Only guess what? The test prep materials neglected to insert the stanza break. I texted him an image of how the poem appeared in the original publication. Problem one solved. But guess what else? I just put that stanza break in there because when I read it aloud (I’m a performance poet), I pause there. Note: that is not an option among the answers because no one ever asked me why I did it.
(Emphasis added)

Say what? the “professional” quackademic and (always) anonymous test-making committee did not even bother to contact the poet herself to query her about her own intentions and meanings and why she composed her poem in a certain way, with certain stanza breaks, images, diction, and so on and simply imposed their own consensus “correct answer” on the test (and therefore, on the poet herself about her own work)? Why, I thought (and was actually taught back in the day when schools actually taught things like how to do proper academic research) that when one was doing things like, oh, say literary criticism and analysis of, oh, say a text by someone that was, oh, say, like you know, like still alive that it was, like (notice my attempt to be trendy and, like, with it and use accepted colloquial, like, diction, ya know?) a nice idea to, like, contact the authoroid (note my attempt to be, like, gender-neutral here because, like, terms like author and authoress are so, like sexist and, like, stuff) and find out what it (like, notice again how, like, politically correct I’m being, as I, like, virtue signal my raised like consciousness and stuff by adhering to an artificial, like, linguistic agenda like thing, ya know?) like intended?

Well, of course they did. That’s the name of the testing game: imposed anonymous consensus. The actual authoroids be damned/recommended for retraining at a continuing teacher education workshop.

Apparently, Ms. Holbrook has the same issues as I and many others do with these absurd guessing games called standardized tests, and she proposed her own question:

Meantime, here is my question:

  1. Does this guessing game mostly evidence:

A    the literacy mastery of the student?

B    the competency of the student’s teacher?

C    the absurdity of the questions?

D    the fact that the poet, although she has never put her head in an oven, definitely has issues.

Let’s go with D since I definitely have issues, including issues with these ridiculous test questions.

Well, I could think of a few standardized test questions of my own for the quackademics preparing such tests, but since we all know that they probably all have a degree abbreviation that probably includes “Ed.” somewhere in it, I won’t bother you with them.

Holbrook goes on to note the same complaints others have noted about the testing “business”, Todd Farley included(and if you don’t know Farley’s book, which my co-author Gary Lawrence and I reviewed briefly in our book Rotten to the (Common) Core, I urge you to read it, for its sheer hilarity about the testing business):

The same year that “Midnight” appeared on the STAAR test (2013), Texas paid Pearson some $500 million to administer the tests, reportedly without proper training to monitor the contract. Test scorers, who are routinely hired from ads on (where else?), Craiglist, also receive scant training, as reported by this seasoned test scorer. I’m not sure what the qualifications are for the people who make up the questions, but the ability to ride unicorns comes to mind.

Holbrook, with her unicorns comment, probably is unaware of Farley’s book, but it actually is much worse than riding unicorns, since Farley documents case after case of such scorers sitting around and debating the acceptable, and non-acceptable, adjectives for the flavors of pizza, ice cream, and whether the proper words for certain chemical reactions is “fizzles”, “fizzes”, “splatters,” and so on.

It’s that bad, folks, and that nutty. And that real.

But Holbrook points out something equally nutty, and when I read this, and her conclusions about all this nonsense, I had to give her three cheers (and the Washington Post two cheers just for the guts it took to report her story):

Now comes research that reveals that a simple demographic study of the wealth of the parents could have accurately predicted the outcomes, no desks or test packets needed.  Educator and author Peter Greene reports,

“Put another way, Tienken et. al. have demonstrated that we do not need to actually give the Common Core-linked Big Standardized Test in order to generate the “student achievement” data, because we can generate the same data by looking at demographic information all by itself.

Tienken and his team used just three pieces of demographic data—

1. percentage of families in the community with income over $200K

2. percentage of people in the community in poverty

3. percentage of people in community with bachelor’s degrees

Using that data alone, Tienken was able to predict school district test results accurately in most cases.”

And voila! we don’t even have to administer those costly tests, nor pay for them. We can just study the demographics and assign district test scores based on that! (And just wait folks, it won’t be long until some genius in Washington will actually think that’s a good idea, and that we should distribute grades accordingly). Since we’re talking “distribution” here, I suspect this will come from the kooky socialist snowflakes of the political left. However, chances are equally good that the hysterical lunatics of the political right will – I’m thinking of John McCain or Lindsay Graham here – will think it’s a good idea because it will save money.

Ms. Holbrook ends her sortie into the hallowed halls of Amairikuhn quackademia with this conclusion and prognosis:

The only way to stop this nonsense is for parents to stand up and say, no more. No more will I let my kid be judged by random questions scored by slackers from Craigslist while I pay increased taxes for results that could just as easily have been predicted by an algorithm. That’s not education, that’s idiotic.

Idiotic, hair-splitting questions pertaining to nothing, insufficient training, profit-driven motives on the part of the testing companies, and test results that simply reveal the income and education level of the parents – For this we need to pay hundreds of millions of dollars and waste 10-45 days of classroom time each year to administer them? More if you consider the amount of days spent in test prep?

To that conclusion, Ms. Holbrook, I can only add my own hearty “Hear Hear!”

The only question remains how would we ever sell such an idea to the corrupt wankers in the Demoratic and Republithug parties?

I know! Why not blame standardized testing and failing American education on that evil-Machiavellian-super-genius-that-is-behind-everything, Vladimir Putin, and the ongoing Russian interference with American testing scores and hacking the computers that grade them and infiltrating the testing companies’ “scorers” with sleeper cell speznaz units, a plot hatched by Sergei Lavrov in always-Byzantine-never-to-be-trusted-heart-of-evil-neo-Stalinist-Putinist-Russia!!?? Throw in a couple of memes about Chinese hackers, and with a few faked (and of course, Top Secret) investigations and appropriate pronouncements in the press, it’s a sure thing. A Russian standardized testing-hacking plot will be something that Demorats and Republithugs and corporate media could all agree on.

Like, ya know?

See you on the, like, flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
_________________________________________________________

About Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Immaculate Dream

This is a really old piece.  Was showing some old verses with a friends and they suggested sharing it.

Love
Immaculate Dream

Your heart, is my own Haven
Your heartbeat, an Angel’s applause
When God created you my dear
It was perfection with all its laws

Your smile, is my sunlight
Your lips, my sinful pleasure
When God created you my dear
It was for you to be my treasure

Your kisses, tender rose petals
Your whispers, pure noblesse
When God created you my dear
It was the definition of finesse

Your eyes, the purest rapture
Your touch, Heaven’s blessing
When God created you my dear
It was joy and love caressing

Your face, a gracious flower
Your breath, a soothing aroma
When God created you my dear
It was the sweetest of personas

Your voice, a harmonic rhapsody
Your gaze, my sweet surrender
When God created you my dear
It was to make the Heavens splendor

Your body, is my own Heaven
Your mind, where I reside
When God created you my dear
It was for you to be my guide

Your presence, Heaven’s grace
Your taste, an exquisite flavor
When God created you my dear
It was just for me to savor

Your Life, a wondrous story
Your Soul, endless perfection
When God created you my dear
It was the sweetest of affections

Your essence, where I belong
Your existence, reigns supreme
When God created you my dear
It was an endless blissful Dream

By: Zy Marquiez
The Breakaway