A GUARDIAN UK article, written by Alison Flood and published over the weekend, quotes the Forward prize judge and TV presenter Jeremy Paxman as wishing aloud that “poetry ‘would raise its game a little bit, raise its sights’, and ‘aim to engage with ordinary people much more.’” Every so often you encounter this lament, often uttered by poets, that poetry has become irrelevant to the great mass of plain old folk.
WHILE THE POLITICAL theatre of a possible meeting of some vague nature between the Prime Minister of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations strutted the national stage, I thought of a few lines from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 59:
RARE IS the day that I do not find a piece of bad writing in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Post, or Globe and Mail. This statement, I am confident, could be applied with justice to any newspaper of your choosing. The badness is delivered in many varieties, and in fairness I must observe that some errors are a product of working conditions, deadlines and the under-resourcing of bureaus and so on. Most bad writing however has as its root a more troubling fact: its creators do not know what words mean.
LET US BEGIN by acknowledging the obvious, that the 2011 movie Crazy, Stupid, Love is light and pleasant, adult fare but hardly a work of depth or of high seriousness. Its architecture is thoroughly of a Shakespearean cast, in which a main plot is complemented by and interweaved with two sub-plots. A moment arrives when the characters and their dramatic trajectories, hitherto discrete, collide one with another to calamitous effect. Things fall to pieces, and from this seeming state of irreparable chaos order is reinstated. This narrative arc, from social order to disorder and back to order once again, with no lasting harm done, is the essence of Comedy.
Continue reading Crazy, Stupid, Love and the Comedy of Middle Aged Failure