Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Poetry Front

I was in a small discussion on another forum over my use of the word "mythical" to describe Aaron Cometbus. I used the word in the sense of someone I'd long heard about-- had seen evidence of his existence in the form of his zines; had even an exchange of letters with him-- but had never actually met. He's analogous to Davy Crockett, who was a mythic figure while still alive, based on the crude zeen-like writings about him distributed throughout the hinterlands of America. (The most recent "Alamo" movie, with Billy Bob Thornton in the part, captures the notion well.)

For instance, stories emanating about U of Penn's campus here in Philadelphia have a mythical aspect to them-- though they may indeed be real. We hear stories of millions of dollars granted to the place by various federal government departments-- from Homeland Security to study the terrorist mindset; from the Defense Department; from the CIA. We hear tales of genetic engineering experiments gone awry.

Which brings me to a mythical letter the ULA has received purporting to be from U of Penn! It tells the story of a joint project between the genetic engineering folks and their MFA program. The project's intent: To create from a test-tube and a laboratory the perfect automatonic academic poet. Indeed, the wording in the letter seems to claim that such a person-- if you could call it a person-- already exists. They refer to "him"(?) as "SuperPoet."

Why would these scary people bother us with this information?

Apparently they read my post about Frank Walsh possibly being "The World's Greatest Poet." They note that ULA world headquarters is in the vicinity of U of Penn (as Penn sprawls across the entire city, everything is in the vicinity of it). We're uncomfortably close.

Their thinking: How could we have the World's Greatest Poet, living in Philadelphia, when they've just spent millions of dollars to articificially create such a being?

How will this situation be resolved? Is the SuperPoet for real?

I sense the idea of an upcoming Poetry Read-Off in the air.


Jimbo said...

I've been the subject of several govenment experiments my own self. I don't think that there was ultimately any real purpose or goal to them beyond simply satisfying the twisted natures of those responsible. The final result though might be given a meaning, evidence which might reveal the true perverted character of the dark sinister forces that rule our world.

M.D.G. said...

I don't know if I can take that seriouse. I will say there is some strange enginering being done @ Penn. When I used to be in Philly hangin out at the Crimson Moon this girl used to come in pretty regular that worked as an assistant in Penn's labs. She said in the labs they had successfully enginered two rats that were green. A male and a female. Supposedly the next step was to breed these two green rats to see if the babies would come out green. This was a couple of years ago so just imagine what they can do now.

Jeff Potter said...

I think they should do two studies of academia.

First, they should poll academics to see the current breakout of their attitudes to various traditional American-style values, such as volunteerism (academic department processes used to be nearly all volunteer) and the value of truth, integrity and education. Couch the questions to look like standard academic scenarios. See how it plays out. I bet "me first, power, then bucks" is the result. Does the public really know that this is what academia has become? Do they know why their child-students binge-drink just to tolerate being at these places?

Secondly, graph the bloat of management in academia. Do a graph of money vs. students vs. faculty over the decades. I bet you'll find a 4-fold bloat of administration and miscellaneous offices with student-body and faculty in decline. Check it out.

Seems like both polls would go as I suggest and both might make news if played right.