Saturday, October 25, 2008


Carnival of the Elitist Bastards, VI


Don't sing me, Poet, of the topless towers of Ilium.
I, Odysseus, stood by while unwashed Agamemnon
and his drunken brigand Greeks toppled the last
of the rude mud bricks that made up Troy.

Tall tales are fit for songs like yours,
and to send the children off to bed,
but I was there and the reality's
enough to make the singing cloy.

You fare no better in these latter days I see,
as the story of this physic lays out plain:
PalMD's lament o'er the wantonness
of those who would pay court unto a fake disease.

Be not downcast, Poet.
Your trade is worthy still.
Like arrows, songs can pierce the heart
but have the good sense not to kill.

There's truth in poetry and other heady spirits,
as Dana can attest.
And Brian eyes the other side in metaphors
that's poesy's language at its best.

It's fantasy, of course, that says I ever stood
upon Death's Kingdom's shore.
But PodBlack Cat's tale's no less fantastic
than feeding shades upon ram's gore.

In my age politics was a straightforward trade.
Swords would thrust and spears would fly
but ne'er did we wield what Cujo359 describes:
brazen marching phalanxes of lies.

We were, admittedly, brutes and thieves and worse.
But even as we plundered and waded through the gore
unlike the sort Hoofnagle tells of
the best of us knew, and cared about, the weakness of the poor.

Circe was a witch, and though her spells were executed
mostly on her back, she could make men appear as swine.
As CousinAvi says, there's some still plying Circe's trade
but fail to even give the value Circe paid in kind.

Of course, Circe's spell was not so hard,
as Z and Hanson make plain to see,
for men ... and women too ... conspire in the trick
by taking pride in their own and others' stupidity.

The sirens were not real, but most men hear their song.
They croon "believe," despite reality's opposing call.
Stephen Law recounts how one of the sadder sort
becomes besotted and stays beneath the sirens' thrall.

But worse yet are those, who after they are enticed,
take up the spellbinders' tune,
and, as Pieret uncovers, abuse their positions of trust,
to put the young onto paths that have no end but ruin.

We strove, in former days, to achieve as one of the elites,
oft for wealth and fame, it's true, but, too, in matters of the mind.
Yet now as Ames relates, in these impoverished times,
to intellectuals, the maddened mob cries "shame."

Even when we wielded naught but wooden plows
and bronze swords from behind hide shields, we could know
that ignorance and greed had consequences that cost us dear.
Bitter Hinterlands puts forth proof that the price is greater now.

That's why I always tried to do my best in everything,
even trickery, like that time at Troy.
So NP offers life lessons on professionalism
even those not scribes, like her, ought to employ.

And if we are to do all that we seek to do
we need rely on others of like ken.
As Annie knows, when sickness grows
all hands and hearts and minds had best attend.

I, above most men, a decade getting home,
can forgive the tardy and set back to shore.
Z, last month, stood at the quay as the bastards
stood off before the wind ... no more.

The last word I give to a better rhymer:

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Press Gang

A company of men under an officer detailed to force men into military or naval service.

The following articles, interviews and the like are by people who may not have aspired to the (exalted) title of Elitist Bastard but who have expressed, on these occasions, sentiments that make them worthy of the company.

Teacherninja rounds up a passel of ... um ... volunteers on her his its this elitist's own.

Matt Taibbi, from "Mad Dog Palin" in Rolling Stone, has this take-home line, on Palin's convention speech:

It was like watching Gidget address the Reichstag.

Ben Zalkind has this to say in "The Mediocritization of America: Why Go for Gold When You Can Have Brass?" in the Huffington Post:

I will always prefer eloquence to down-home charm. I will never accept lies just because they're easier to digest. The fact I've historically supported brilliant minds and high-achievers is no coincidence. I would prefer to elect the best America has to offer. I want to be proud of my president. I guess that makes me an elitist.

Mitch Albom at the Detroit Free Press, in "Average Joe can't fix America's pipes:"

There is a reason we call "the average guy" average. Because he's in the middle. Average. When you aim for the White House, to lead the free world, to hold the fate of the Earth in your hands, you shouldn't aspire to average.

Jeffrey Hart, a former Nixon speechwriter and senior editor for National Review, interviewed in The Dartmouth Review, explains why he is supporting Barack Obama and passes on a few words about Sarah Palin:

I think she is a good woman. She is extremely ignorant. She appeals to the more extreme part of the Republican base, on all the social issues. It hasn't come up that she is a religious crackpot; she believes in the end of days and what they call the Rapture, in which the just are wished up to heaven and the rest are left with Armageddon.

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, in "The American anti-intellectual threat" in the Pakistan Daily Times, points to this:

The problem is an aggressive fundamentalism that denies modern science, and an aggressive anti-intellectualism that views experts and scientists as the enemy. It is those views that could end up getting us all killed. After all, that kind of extremism can even lead to war, based on perverted views that a particular war is God's will rather than a failure of politics and co-operation.
That's all for this month. The next Carnival of the Elitist Bastards will be on November 29th, hosted by Paul Sunstone at Café Philos. Get busy bastarding.


Well done and true, o Captain my Captain!

Aye, ye can all be proud, me swarthy crew. Fantastic, the lot o' you. I be the proudest Admiral in all the world.
Thanks. It was an honor.
This is a terrific carnival! In your honor, I used my shiny red hay hooks to type.

Thanks for including my 11th inning post. ;)
My compliments to the host bastard for a fine example of classical elitism and to the authors for their penetrating punditry. Truly you are all that Sarah Palin and her ilk (those that she hasn't shot anyway)loathe and what higher tribute could there be than the commendation of detestation?
I have trouble with the "elitist" thing, because most self-styled elitists are dumber than a box of rocks. Remember, something like 80 percent of Americans believe themselves to be above average. And the Right can blather on about the importance of excellence no less than you're doing. Allan Bloom was an elitist bastard, for instance. And the elitist bastards who are slobbering over Obama as a beacon of hope are just as "ignorant" as the McCain worshippers who call Obama a socialist.

The only point I can see in using the term "elitist bastard" is to reclaim it, the way that we queers reclaimed "queer." But you can never get too invested in reclamation, or in words.
The only point I can see in using the term "elitist bastard" is to reclaim it ...

Well, that is is sort of the idea.
Truly well writ, O Captain! The shade of Ovid surely has inspired your words.
Thanks for your hard work on this! Your esteemed leadership in elitist bastardry is much appreciated.
I will not approve on it. I think nice post. Specially the title attracted me to be familiar with the sound story.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

. . . . .


How to Support Science Education