James Franco Is Bad at Poetry

Note:  This is a poem from the Inauguration, which I know was a few weeks back.  It just took me a long time to process this and I really didn’t want to read this whole poem again.

My brain is broken.  James Franco has broken my heart and brain.  I love poetry.  Therefore, I now hate James Franco.  He has called himself a poet, somehow joined many graduate programs in creative writing, and he is demeaning poetry consistently.  This is what happens when you give a spoiled child the means and praise he’s received.  He thinks he is a good poet.  He is so, so wrong.

As a person who writes poetry, I find him offensive. There are real poets, full-time poets out there who write incredibly beautiful, meaningful poetry that is art and not simply narcissistic rambling. In some ways, he may help bring people to poetry, but if he uses his notoriety to write sub-par, high school-level prose-poems, he isn’t doing the field any favors. People already scoff at poetry; he’s giving them more reason to do so. This is the poetic equivalent to painting a circle on a canvas and charging $100,000 for high art.

If James Franco represents poetry, then poetry is dead.

Randomly, even if verbally, pointing to things in a room doesn’t make your poem illustrative.  It just means you looked around a room.  Poetry is more than a listing of thoughts, or the action of hitting “Enter” on your keyboard.  Poetry is supposed to be art, and this does not qualify.  This is a the live-journal of James Franco pushed onto thin, tall pages.

Art is not an annotated bibliography and vice versa.  James Franco seems to think that he is smart, talented, and unique enough to justify his thoughts alone as art.  Just because you write it and you think you are great doesn’t mean you’ve made something good.  It barely means you’ve made anything at all.

From Kate: “This isn’t even pragmatic or pretty prose.  This is what would happen if poetry had an abortion.”

We must pay special attention to the poem’s end; not just because he gives himself an Oscar for a black-face portrayal of Obama’s “core goodness,” but also because he tells us that “[He’d] let the writer put in all the political crap.”  By saying this, it is as if Franco might actually be aware that he’s not a real writer.  Sure, he’s discussing a fake future movie that someone would write about Obama and then actually cast a white stoner…  But, he doesn’t seem to get that he is “writing” at the moment.  He took the time to google Asheville, but he didn’t take the time to google the president.  Here are some of the last lines about this movie: “I’d let the writer put in all the political crap, / And the specific things that he was up against, / All that stuff on CNN and the Huffington Post, / And I’d say the lines that were written, just like Obama / Reads his lines, but what would really put the role over / Would be the goodness at its core. / That’s what will be remembered. / Yes, his race, no one will forget. But the soul too. / I’d win the Academy Award if I just captured that.”

The vagueness of these lines enrages me.  Poetry is not vague.  He sounds like a person with no knowledge who has randomly decided to pontificate about President Obama.  “All that stuff on CNN and the Huffington Post…”  What stuff?  Which issue?  Are you speaking of his race, his policies, his debate performance, war, economics, anything?  Also, he says that he would “… say the lines that were written, / just like Obama…” almost as an afterthought, as if we, the readers, are supposed to assume that Franco is such a gifted actor, he could easily say lines “just like” the president.

Key Features of Narcissism and Overall Badness:

  • The poem features a striking lack of imagery.
  • The poem lacks rhythm, meter, and music.
  • The poem consists of the thoughts of an easily distracted, wannabe-educated, possibly high hipster with a grandiose self-image.
  • The poem seems to have to remind itself that its purpose is to honor the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
  • It’s basically an encyclopedia entry (think wikipedia in a book).  He just explains to us what is significant about Ashville.  He seems to think that every detail of his life and the things that he knows are interesting.  He is wrong.  “Asheville is the place where the Black Mountain College once stood / And helped birth Rauschenberg, Twombly and Johns, / Cage and Cunningham.”
  • He talks about Obama knowing him from the Spiderman movies: “He [Obama] knew me from Spider-Man.”  I’m sure Mr. President was trying to polite; it’s not like he’s your biggest fan.  Get over yourself.
  • Celebrity name dropping without reason.  We’re all excited for you that you got to meet President Obama, Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, and Claire Danes.
  • The poem ends with James Franco winning an Oscar.  That means that when James Franco thinks about other people, he quickly finds a way to think about himself.
  • The whole poem is about James Franco thinking about how James Franco is like or related to President Obama.  If I were to write a poem about a tree and I kept comparing that to my acting career, I would be a douche bag.  My point is that James Franco is ruining poetry and he’s a douche.

*********************************************************************************

Obama in Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina, is the birthplace of Thomas
Wolfe and the sometime residence of F. Scott Fitzgerald
When he visited Zelda at her institution;
He stayed at the Grove Park Inn, a grand stone edifice.

On the phone once, Cormac McCarthy lamented
The two added wings and the spa, and marveled
At the original structure, They pulled the stones
From the mountains and brought them down on mules.

Soon after his fortieth birthday, Fitzgerald attempted suicide
Here, but couldn’t shoot his own head, drunk, I guess.
Later, after he was actually dead, from alcohol,
Zelda perished in a fire at her institution, one of nine.

*

Asheville is the place where the Black Mountain College once stood
And helped birth Rauschenberg, Twombly and Johns,
Cage and Cunningham; now I think it’s a Young Men’s Christian Association.
On the wall of the Grove Park, they have pictures of the famous guests;

I’m not up there, but Obama is. I was asked to write something
For the inauguration of his second term, but what could I write?
I was in Asheville, studying writing, but not the political sort;
I write confessions and characters, and that sort of thing.

I wrote my friend Frank about what I could do, but he was unresponsive.
I went to class and then the little burrito place where they know me,
And finally at night I got Frank’s email on my phone and pulled over
On the side of Warren Wilson Road, past the school barn with the WWC —

That I couldn’t see in the dark — right before the school entrance;
A little spot where there’s a path that leads to a lake called Snake Lake.
First I called my class at UCLA, and told them to watch Apocalypse Now,
And that it used Heart of Darkness as a model, and that we’d watch

Eleanor Coppola’s Hearts of Darkness, the making-of, the following week.
Then I read Frank’s note. He said he was sleeping twenty hours a day,
With no symptoms except that he desired sleep
And just a little more sleep. He’s in his seventies.

Then he said that my poem was a difficult task.
How to write about a man written about endlessly;
A man whom everyone has some sort of experience of;
How to write so that it’s not just for the converted.

*

I met Obama once, in D.C., the Correspondents’ Dinner.
I was the guest of Vanity Fair, guided through D.C. by the wife
Of Christopher Hitchens, when he was alive. We went to Hitch’s place,
He had books from floor to ceiling, and said he had read

To Borges, when he was blind, Old Icelandic Eddas—
Then we waited in a private room with the likes of Tom Cruise,
And Katie Holmes, and Claire Danes. When Obama entered
The crowd converged. Finally, I got to shake his hand,

He knew me from Spider-Man. I asked him for advice,
I was scheduled to give the commencement speech at UCLA
And there were some undergraduate knockers against me;
He had been denied the usual honorary degree by Arizona State

Because he hadn’t accomplished enough, so I wondered
How he dealt with detractors. He smiled his smile and said,
“Humor.” Well he’s damn right, and I wonder how much
That stand-up comedian is laughing in the face

Of this big country. Because he is one man and we are many,
And a great servant of the people—he’s a president, not a king—
And doesn’t need to face what King Charles once faced.
(Frank suggested I examine Marvell’s semi-inauguration poem for Cromwell:)

That thence the Royal actor borne
The tragic scaffold might adorn:
     While round the armèd bands
     Did clap their bloody hands.

That most famous stanza, and then:

But bow’d his comely head
Down, as upon a bed.

And he was beheaded, good-bye Charles.

*

If I were to act in the film about Obama,
All I would need to get down, aside from the outer stuff—
And I know that’s important—is his essential kindness,
I’d let the writer put in all the political crap,

And the specific things that he was up against,
All that stuff on CNN and the Huffington Post,
And I’d say the lines that were written, just like Obama
Reads his lines, but what would really put the role over

Would be the goodness at its core.
That’s what will be remembered.
Yes, his race, no one will forget. But the soul too.
I’d win the Academy Award if I just captured that.

5 Signs You’re Not Really a “Bad Ass”

Don is a bad ass.  He’s a Vietnam Veteran who snowmobiles, is not capable of drinking so much he could be drunk, has beaten up multiple jerks, loves him some jager, never does yard work without bleeding and never seems to notice that he’s bleeding, and he’s also a pretty ballin’ cook.  Boom.  Bad ass.

Kate is bad ass because she will cut you with her words, take you down analytically, drink another bottle of the cheap red, laugh at your stupidity, charm you into wanting to date her, and then she’ll cut you down again.  Oh, and she’s in a PhD program at 22.

Patty is a bad ass because she could kick your ass, drink you under the table, hem anything, clean anything, fix a lot of things, she has 7.32 jobs, and she’ll do it all wearing a pencil skirt and heels.

You probably are not a bad ass.  Bad asses are awesome.  They chop down trees, build houses, fix cars, beat up dudes who are assholes, don’t flinch when they bleed, and aren’t afraid of getting a little dirty to get it done (regardless of the it).

Urban dictionary defines bad ass a number of ways, but my favorite snippets are:

Badass:

  1. Ultra-cool motherfucker.
  2. The badass is an uncommon man of supreme style. He does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants. You won’t find him on facebook, myspace, msn, et cetera because he is probably out being cool somewhere.
  3. Awesome to an extreme level, thereby leveraging unquestionable authority.
  4. “Sam Elliott’s mustache = badass.”
  5. Infinitely cool, über awesome, hardcore to the extreme.  “Say what you will about Bruce Lee or Chuck Noris, Tsutomu Yamaguchi is, hands down, the most badass example of a badass ever to walk the earth: Tsutomu Yamaguchi was the only known survivor of BOTH atomic blasts. He died at age 93 on January 6, 2010.”  There is NOTHING more bad ass than that.
There are a lot of people, mostly dudes, who claim to be bad ass, but most of them aren’t.  If you think you are a bad ass, read the following carefully.
5 Signs You’re Not Really a “Bad Ass”
  1. You are wearing a polo shirt, and it’s not a uniform.  First of all, bad asses don’t really wear uniforms.  Second of all, polos are for English guys, and frat boys.  If you’re English, we’ll allow a polo if you wore it while playing polo.  If you are a frat boy, shut up, you’re not a bad ass.
  2. The sight of blood makes you feel nauseated.  A true bad ass in not bothered in the slightest by blood.  A true bad ass usually doesn’t notice their own, but will come to the aid of others who bleed.
  3. You can’t fix or even identify what’s wrong with your car/fridge/sink/motorcycle/computer.  Bad asses fix shit.  If you cannot fix anything, you’re not bad ass.
  4. You can’t do mental math.  Math is bad ass.
  5. You don’t know how to throw a punch.  Punching is a big part of being a bad ass.  Fighting is important.
There are many other signs, so proceed claiming to be a bad ass carefully.

20 Things I Wish I Could Ask on a First Date

I wish I could ask a lot of questions on first dates, rather than finding this information out later and when it’s far too late.  There are simply too many guessing games when you begin dating, and being able to interrogate each other would really help.  Perhaps online dating is better in the sense that you know certain things ahead of time…  That said, here are the 20 questions I most wish I could ask on first dates and get truthful answers:
  1. Do you live with your parents?  If yes, why?   If this person is over 24, they better have a real damn good reason for living with mama and papa.
  2. How many people have you slept with?  Were you careful or careless?  You gotta avoid the dirty ones.  Plus, the bigger the number, the lower the standards.  Why so many?  Why so few?  This question teaches you so much.
  3. Do you have any STDs/STIs?  DEAL BREAKER
  4. Are you pro-gay rights? And, does anything about the LGBT community make you uncomfortable?   I could not be more pro-gay.  I need someone who is comfortable with and supportive of all things LGBT.
  5. How much time do you actually spend playing video games/watching sports/”Intervention”/”Entourage”/some other obsession?  Know thy enemy.  In this case, you just want to know what you are competing with for their time.  If they regularly stay up all night to watch this or play that, you should get to know now.
  6. Are you an asshole/douchebag/shithead/dick/jerkface?  DEAL BREAKER
  7. Are you afraid of the outdoors, the country, nature and all things rural?  I’m a country girl.  I like camping.  I like hiking in the woods.  I like trees and hills and lakes and rivers.  City slickers beware.
  8. What’s really more important: sex or love?  Compare priorities prior.
  9. Do you enjoy dancing foolishly, or do you feel foolish dancing?  I am not afraid of looking like a weirdo, are you?
  10. Do you fight fair?  Ladies and gentlemen shouldn’t be dating people who go crazy by saying and doing awful things to their partners when they fight.  It is not cool to call each other hurtful names, to throw low-blows, to hit (whether wall or person), to break things, to intimidate, and to lie.  Settle down.  Everyone bickers.
  11. Do you love, hate, mock, or feel ashamed about “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Harry Potter,” “MST3K,” “Angel,” and other amazing, nerdy things?  Again, I am a nerd.  Deal with it.
  12. Would you kill a spider for me?  How scared are you?
  13. Do you make enough money to pay for dinner half the time?  If not, you need a new job.  I’m not looking for a rich person, but I do want to be able to expect that you’ll pay for at least half of our dates.  I’ll pay the other half, obviously.
  14. How often do you read books – not magazines, papers, or blogs?  I read a little of all, but a lot of the book things.  Compatibility is important, y’all.
  15. How often do you brush your teeth and floss?  My chompers are important, and so is your breath.
  16. Is your mom a bitch?   I ask this because it scares me when people think this about their mamas; unless of course, their mom is just especially awful, then they have a point.
  17. Do you have any children?  DEAL BREAKER
  18. Who is god to you?  I gotta watch out for the crazies!
  19. What are the main differences between men and women?  Watch out for sexist answers!
  20. How big is it?  …  No, not that; I meant your ego.

Guilty Pleasures Are Good for You

Stop being ashamed of your guilty pleasures; they’re good for you.

Judge me all you want, but I friggin’ love “The Bachelorette,” “The Bachelor,” and “Bachelor Pad.”  It is amazing.  I love watching super-attractive people get upset because they think no one likes them; it’s comforting.  I also love watching people claim to fall in love with each other after two dates.  That is also awesome and it reminds me of high school.  I love that they get drunk, but claim to be classy.  I love that they all totally bone each other, but they pretend like they don’t and/or glorify the boning by going to places called “Fantasy Suites.”  Fake classiness for the win!

I’m sorry, but I just love this show.

 

  “The Jersey Shore” is a ridiculous show with ridiculous people, but lots of normal people who do normal things with their normal days really enjoy this show and just like watching it.  It’s a dumb show.  They are trashy and gross.  They love fighting, drinking, partying, smooshing, boning, yelling, debating, dancing, and so much more.  They are who they are, though.  They own it.  They don’t make excuses and they’re not worried about.  Cool, whatever.  Let them do their thing.

I do have to say, though, it makes me a little sad how rich they are, but that’s because I’m jealous.

 

I also love perezhilton.com.

Perez Hilton is funny and he’s trashy and he makes no excuses about it.  He also expects people to be decent, even when they’re super trashy, or cray-cray.  The blog/website is just funny and that’s all it wants to be for its readers.

The man draws on celebrity pictures in Microsoft Paint; it is wonderful and I can’t help but love it.  He mocks all freely.  He mocks all the awful ones, and the normal(ish) ones too.  The site knows what it is, and that’s all it wants to be.

Celebrities only deserve so much respect.  They might also deserve a little honesty every now and then.

All I’m saying is guilty pleasures are good for you.  I don’t deny myself “The Bachelorette,” or perezhilton.com.  I won’t deny myself weird frozen drinks, or PBR, or fancy wine.  I love peanut butter sandwiches.  I love listening to *NSYNC.  I think “The Holiday” is a great movie.

No matter what your pleasure, embrace it.  It’s okay to be a weirdo because everyone is a weirdo.  Do your thing.  And shut up about other people’s things.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda… gotten it right if you paid attention!

Of, preposition

1. (used to indicate distance or direction from, separation, deprivation, etc.): within a mile of the church; south of Omaha; to be robbed of one’s money.
2. (used to indicate derivation, origin, or source): a man of good family; the plays of Shakespeare; a piece of cake.
3. (used to indicate cause, motive, occasion, or reason): to die of hunger.

Have, auxiliary verb
1. (used with a past participle to form perfect tenses): She has gone. It would have been an enjoyable party if he hadn’t felt downcast.
Definitions courtesy of dictionary.com

These two words, “have” and “of” have different meanings. They are different parts of speech. This means they are used in different ways. And this explains why the following phrase drives me so crazy:

Could of / Should of / Would of

As in, “I could of gone to the store. I should of done my homework. I would of punched you in the face.” Also exhibited in the J. Geils Band song, “Must of Got Lost.” None of that makes any sense whatsoever.

Granted, there are multiple things wrong with the song title but let’s take a look at this: I could (origin) gone to the store. That doesn’t make sense. I could (cause) go to the store. Nope. I could (direction from) go to the store. Again, nope. But, if we use the right word (have), it makes sense: I could have gone, as in “in the past, there was a possibility of going.”

“Of” is not an auxiliary verb. It’s a preposition. A noun follows it. So “could of gone” MAKES NO SENSE.

Perhaps nitpicky, it drives me crazy that people don’t understand the difference between “Could have” and “Could of” (which makes no sense). When we talk fast we say “COULD’VE” not “could of.”

Could have / Should have / Would have

&

Could’ve / Should’ve / Would’ve

Consider this a public service announcement to GET IT RIGHT!

Apartment Searches are Hard on My Desire to Be Cynical

Okay, so another rough day of apartment hunting has left me with little energy to be critical, as I’ve been trying to be objectively critical all day. I feel like this cat; way too intense:

And so, in the spirit of this goofy photo of beret cat up there, I give you other people being cynical about ridiculous products on Amazon in a totally delightful way.

Eight Stupid Amazon Products with Impressively Sarcastic Reviews

 

I think my favorites are the first and last. But, dear reader, read, laugh, and enjoy.