Crit

Examination, analysis, appreciation.

The Tar-Baby Problem

2011.08.08
By

ONCE UPON A TIME, BEFORE minorities realized they were being patronized by pop-cultural stereotypes, there was a literary MacGuffin known as a “tar-baby.” This item featured highly in the Joel Chandler Harris story “Br’er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby,” where one of the funny animals makes a baby out of tar to trick his enemy into arguing with it, striking it, and finally being englobed by it. A fine family tale enjoyed by generations.

Here’s where history trumps metaphor. And why I need your help.
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ASTUTE READERS OF THE METAPHORAGER may have noted the default use of the masculine gender (e.g. he, him, his, man, etc.). This is due neither to a slight against the better-looking sex nor a political statement, but the love of such phrases as “MAN ON MOON” or “essential love of mankind” or “There are...

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Re: 2012

2011.08.04
By

Fig. 1.

I DO NOT TALK POLITICS as a rule, and for a variety of reasons, but I am currently ashamed of my government falling prey to fear and extortion. We’re better than this. So I acted. I logged the following at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and will call the White House Comment Line at 202.456.1111 between 0900-1700 EDT Monday through Thursday. (I’ll wait.)

If you too are disgusted, act. It’s better than stewing.

Dear Sir,

I have never written to you before, but the recent action regarding the debt ceiling has me more upset with “the American experiment” than I have ever been. Speaking as a disabled American currently negotiating the hell of red tape separating me from my Social Security payments, and with all due respect, sir: I had faith in you, I voted for you, and I respect and like you a lot on a personal level, but if you don’t raise taxes on the wealthiest 400 American families I will be staying home Election Day. (Words partly copied from my friend David Feldman, a noted stand-up comic and fellow former idealist.) If you do redeem this horrible mistake, however, you may happily count on my vote.

(And on a personal note, speaking as a formerly unpopular student who nonetheless survived third grade, one does not appease the bullies by giving them your lunch money. You must bloody their nose. I wish to God we didn’t live in such a world, and pray and work every day toward that goal, but it’s the only thing that made Joey Mulvaney quit picking on me.)

Thank you for your time, and with great respect,

Neal Ross Attinson

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First Graf: Goldfinger

2011.08.02
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IF YOU HAVE NEVER READ the original James Bond stories by Ian Fleming, you don’t know James Bond.

You also don’t know sweeping prose that zips along like a rocket; lush description with a reporter’s eye for detail; fourth-wall breaking double-entendres; high-concept doomsday plans only one man can stop; and some of the best philosophical bon mots in the business. I like Fleming’s Bond for all these reasons, but mostly I like Fleming because he is a writer who inspires me to write — he makes it look easy, unlike some of my other literary heroes.
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The Color Of Metaphor

2011.07.26
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WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT (in addition to these words) is, according to thecolorof.com‘s rendering engine (still in beta!), the color of “metaphor.” (The color of “metaphorager” is, alas, invisible to normal eyes.) The website evidently layers keyworded images into a fuzzy pixel foam, but that description doesn’t do justice to the finished product (which can be purchased as a print).
Some are surprisingly “truthy,” while others — like these two — seem cut from similar weave. (Or is it a comment on the weaver, or on the woven web?) We at The Metaphorager welcome this latest effort to concretize abstractions, and tip the Metaphorager Propeller-Beanie to Anthony A. for hipping us to it.)

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Ol’ Thinkypants’ Question For The Producers

2011.07.25
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“WHEN DID ART BEGIN TO be about purging one’s personal demons instead of making people smile, wonder or otherwise get over themselves?”

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Pithyism #55

2011.07.21
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IF ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS, then all wars are civil wars.

(Based on last night’s post DS9-discussion whether an intra-Bajoran conflict was inherently worse than, say, the Cardassian occupation.) (By Ann.)

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Why “Carmageddon” Didn’t Happen

2011.07.19
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THEY SHOULD HAVE CALLED IT “Carpocalypse.” %$#@!ing publicists.

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STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT now and read this article by Patton Oswalt about how instant access to everything has brought about the Death of the Fannish Underground. Oswalt speaks to and for those whose fannish identity was built up layer by carefully wrought layer, recalling when one person could consume an entire year’s...

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Pithyism #888

2011.07.06
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INTELLIGENT DISCUSSIONS ABOUT ART’S ROLE in shaping cultures and individuals have to recognize the difference between censorship (an external restraint based on fear and loathing) and self-control (an internal restraint arising from the artist’s desire to communicate).

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Synoptipitch: Firefly

2011.07.03
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“It’s like if Star Wars were about Han Solo, but without aliens and blasters and hyperdrives, with the Jedi a 14-year-old induced-psychotic girl and sprinkled heavily with Old West individual-vs-the-Man subtext. Oh, and written by geeks. That’s Firefly.”

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Despite The Profanity, He Makes A Good Point

2011.06.30
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IT’S SO TEMPTING TO SAY “I wish I’d written this” when you find something which crystallizes inchoate feelings into verbal fistpump and hellyeah.

I fully recognize the irony in blogging about a piece which calls blogs into question. But reading http://www.internetisshit.org helped me understand some of the misgivings I have over the increasing trend to live our lives on line.

(Granted, I may read more of the sources he or she’s critiquing than you do. And I may be the only person who dislikes using the grocer’s debit-card terminal because it distracts from face-to-face conversations. But the point remains: THE INTERNET IS NOT, nor should be confused for, REAL LIFE.)

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Recent Tales

Not Like It Used To Was

Mom in the drug store Called out to her son: “Brooklyn!” Am I getting old?

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Prosatio Silban and the Starving Survivor

A BUOPOTH IS A STRANGE beast: some say it is half-composed of men’s dreams, others prefer not to speculate. But of the little that...

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Prosatio Silban and the Visitor From The Sands

PROSATIO SILBAN WAS NOT KNOWN for nothing as “The Cook For Any Price.” He had long ago foresworn the Sacreanthood and serving people’s souls...

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The Poet

HE COULDN’T TELL WHETHER HE loved beauty or women more until the day he called his mom and said “Guess what? I’m marrying a...

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Storyteller’s Knot

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.

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