Archive for the Literature Category

…on The New Curriculum

Posted in Brain Droppings, Literature, These damn young 'uns with tags , , , , , , on January 6, 2012 by journeymantojo

My sister made an interesting comment today in her status update.

“My son is reading John Saul “The Devil’s Labyrinth”for his American Lit class. What happened to reading Mark Twain and Nathaniel Hawthorne?”

To which I had to respond, “I’ll tell you what happened to Twain and Hawthorne. They’re fuckin’ boring.”

The talk went back and forth for a few points. In summation “They’re classics and inspired writers” “I didn’t say they aren’t great writers. Just boring”

You see, Victor Hugo is supposed to be this epic writer of epic epicness. But has anybody tried to read The Miserable or The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Coma type writing they are.This coming from a guy who reads Dante and Homer for fun.

But I didn’t stumble onto those guys until after school. When I was out.

So I applaud the school for finally getting into letting students pick their own lit choices. And for finally catching on to new styles of old genres. Now, I will admit….if it wasn’t for the school making me read Of Mice and Men, I would have never discovered how AWESOME Steinbeck was as a writer. I also probably wouldn’t have figured out just how scary living during the Depression was either. But that’s not the point. My point is I love Steinbeck and I can thank my ninth grade English class for that.

But whenever we did poetry I was bored out of my skull. We read E.E. Cummings (And now I’m required to spell her name in lower case because “she’s an ARTISTE!” Bullshit!) and Robert Frost and Longfellow and…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wha-? Sorry. I mean, these guys have to be boring if they make me pass out just from listing their names. These were the most painful reading experiences of my life. Poems about trees and rivers and wallpaper and yadda-yadda-yadda. Yeah! Dozefest! It wasn’t until I was out of school that I discovered the Beat Poets (Ginsberg, Case, Cassaday, Solomon, etc.) and epic poetry by the likes of Milton, Dante, Byron. These guys made poetry accessible and good. Epic imagery from the classics and shit I was going through in the Beats. I suddenly wanted to start writing poetry.

And nowhere were the guys like Lovecraft, Dick, Gibson….hell, we never even had any Tolkien. Come on! The guy wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy! He invented fantasy! It’s TOLKIEN people!

I guess my point is….hell, I’m just glad he’s reading. It seems to be such a rare thing for young ‘uns to want to read. I get super excited when I find anyone under the age of 25 who even reads the damn instruction manual for a video game. It’s tragic. I think schools need to start letting people pick their own required reading. Now we know that nobody will want to pick up any of the Deerstalker books. But maybe they’ll get into a book, find the author was inspired by one of the older (and deader) guys and read his stuff. Or at least acknowledge the older (and deader) guys. I mean, I still can’t read Cummings without dropping into an irreversible coma. But she inspired a few of the guys that inspired me. So I admit her okayness (She will never qualify as cool to me.)

But hell, at least he’s reading.