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Thread: The End of the Canon

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    The End of the Canon

    I believe in literature and the arts. I know some people argue that literature doesn't (and shouldn't) seek to improve civilization, morality, etc, but I believe it does. In general, I find literary people (by which I mean people who've read a lot of serious/great literature) more humane, empathetic and broad-minded than the average person. Literature can and does change people for the better. And I always felt that no matter what happens, no matter which President or Prime Minister is elected, no matter how fashions change, etc, we will always have the canon to guide, civilize and humanize us.

    I no longer believe that. On the contrary, I'm seriously worried. Radio 4, for example, a highbrow station in Britain, can barely mention a white writer without linking him to racism or slavery or colonialism in some way. In fact, it's all they seem interested in. The way we are going in the UK (and I suspect this is true of the US, Canada, France, and many other places) I foresee a time when bookstores will be discouraged or even banned from selling many of the classics. And I'm not talking about controversial writers like Kipling. I mean people like Jane Austen, Dickens, the Brontes, etc.

    The canon is now a major target for the BLM movement, and no one is defending it. God knows where this will end. I wouldn't be surprised to hear someone claim that Kanye West is better than T S Eliot, or that Maya Angelou's awful poetry is better than Shakespeare. And no one will dare to disagree. Will we have a law that at least half the books in a bookstore must be by non-white authors? The canon is mostly the work of dead white people, and the left can't bear this, so the only answer is to destroy the canon and make a new one. If anyone objects they scream racism and that's that.

  2. #2
    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    I'm drunk, but I will respond to this anyway.

    I'm concerned about both extremes. First of all, I am concerned about white supremacy more than anything. And I am not even remotely politically correct. I've had the misfortune, of being approached by white supremacists for recruitment back in the day, because of the way I look, and the **** they said scared the **** out of me! I put a few of them on the ground, because I was scared out of my wits! I couldn't get away from them fast enough!

    To a lesser extent, I am also concerned about politically correct idiots who want to censor everything.

    I also put some black nationalists on the ground, because they don't like seeing a pretty black woman with a white man, and I got scared, and my fists did the talking.

    I grew up on the South Side of a very segregated city, where everybody is just so hypocritical and liberal and full of it. Well, I couldn't accuse the white supremacists of hypocrisy, but these people were actual members of white supremacist groups, and they voted for the same political party as the black nationalists & white liberals who want to censor everything.

    I am a very "straight" acting white man that could care less what somebody's gender is, as long as there's mutual consent. I just like holes.

    The only thing I hate more than these politically correct types who want to censor everything, is the Ku Klux Kockroaches.

    I am completely against all of this politically correct censorship. I am also completely against all of this born again Christian censorship. But I am also extremely concerned about white supremacists foaming at the mouth.

    I am drunk. But I would just like to say that I hate everybody. And I believe in freedom of speech as long as people are not pushing white supremacy.

    I am not trying to get into a political discussion. But, it's extremely important to defend literature from these politically correct types, while at the same time not becoming a pawn of white supremacy.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
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    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    Also, a lot of the stuff in the canon is garbage. Shakespeare's sonnets suck. I vandalized his sonnets in one of my books. I'm a better Poet than Shakespeare. Is it wrong to say that? And I'm an ex-dockworker who has only a BA from City College, so if I can write better poetry than Shakespeare, than anybody can! There was an accident on the docks, where I wasn't wearing a hard hat, plus some other concussions, and... I can't even remember people's names! And I can write better poetry than Shakespeare! Shakespeare's poetry sucks! And so does much of the canon! However, I do worship Shakespeare's plays. But some people say that Shakespeare plagiarized his plays from some Italian. It seems possible, because as I read Shakespeare's plays the writing style reminds me so much of romance languages, and I speak several romance languages, and it just seems that his plays might be plagiarized from Italian, which is a beautiful language, and this might explain why Shakespeare's plays are beautiful. Please note that there is virtually no similarity between Shakespeare's sonnets, and Shakespeare's plays. It is like they are written from a different person. But I am just a stupid ex-dockworker with a city college degree. What do I know? But I did read much of Norton's canon, and much of it was mediocre.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Dear Wickes

    As I understand it, the term “literary canon” refers to a body of books considered to be the most important and influential of a particular time period. Thus, for example, the central figures of the British renaissance canon remain; Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlow, William Shakespeare, Ben Johnson and John Donne; who were all major influences on 17th century poetry. It begs the question “Will Harry Potter be in there for the 21st century?” Who knows!!

    Where all the current *****ing (female canine) seems to start is in what is regarded as a lack of cultural diversity in the canon. This has crept with almost serpentine stealth into the contemporary literary scene both here in the UK and elsewhere.

    And not just in literature. You are no doubt familiar with the TV series “Are You Being Served.” Not that long ago; and yet, can you imagine now Mrs Slocome referring to the double entendre of “Washing her pussy?” My own daughter reprimands me if I refer to someone being “50 / 50.” I’m told to say “mixed race.” And yet in Jamaica, where I lived for many years, the darkness in the hue of a person’s skin was invariably designated as either; “musty, fusty or dusty.”

    Personally, I have never used the canon, but have read widely English, French and Russian classics. Did not regret a minute.

    My advice would be to ignore the canon. Let the Woke brigade, BLM, tear down statute activists, hug a tree, take the knee, save Egyptian donkeys, don’t eat meat, BMI parameters, clear your colon, organic fanatics all run their course.

    We may be fighting a rear-guard action, but some of the dinosaurs are not yet extinct on Lit Net.
    Last edited by MANICHAEAN; 02-27-2022 at 08:52 AM.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Hi, people,

    I would say that privileging diversity is the new order of the day. Sometimes people exagerate: I myself was called a racist the other day, because I wrote that there were Japanese traces in Ishiguro's oeuvre. And, of course I meant that as a quality.

    Hopefully there will be a conciliation between the old canon and the new and necessary demand for inclusiveness.
    "I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some of my experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read. "
    Gerald Murnane, Tamarisk Row

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    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    Just as some white voices are censored, some black voices are censored as well. A more militant black author with a working-class background, who doesn't share either the prevailing liberal or conservative ideologies in this country, and who has the nerve to think for himself, is less likely to be published in the canon. The liberals will look for their own acceptable black authors, and the conservatives will look for their own acceptable black authors, and many black authors will be censored. Of course, many white authors are censored as well, if their work doesn't fit into the two dominant ideologies. I'm not trying to get into a discussion of politics, I am merely pointing out that perhaps even if minority voices are included in the canon, it may not necessarily be the best ones.
    Last edited by WolfLarsen; 02-28-2022 at 11:02 PM.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
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    This is ridiculous.

    Voltaire, a person which influence was and is enormous, attacked Dante and Shakespeare. Sometimes on doubtious moral grounds and you are worried because people combating racism and mysogny attack this or that author?

    Always the same garbage of argument. What if someone says Maya's poems are better than Shakespeare sonnet. Voltaire elected some random french playwritters and claimed they were better than Shakespeare. Classical works are always in the brink of being forget, they are always attacked, after all, a work is only classical if they face the changes of age and still hold on. It is nothing new, so the only thing you fear is that Women or different cultures other than North Hemisphere Anglo-german-french-hispanic-roman is fighting for space.

    Maya Angelou does not need to be better than Shakespeare. After all, there is maybe 2 or 3 better than him, either gender, color or ethiny (that do not stop us from reading all of them). Maya Angelou needs only to be good enough to be read.

    We live in a racist society, you reproduce a racist discourse. Outdated racist discourse. Shakespeare does not need your defense. He needs your criticism.

    And the myth is literary people being more civilized (a ridiculous idea, literary is a trait linked with civilization by literary people, so a doubtous merit) is garbage. Churchill won a nobel and was an awful person.
    Last edited by JCamilo; 03-02-2022 at 08:37 AM.
    #foratemer

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    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    Many things you say are true, Mr. Camilo. But the thing is, when people of color obtain power, they oppress the people of color beneath them economically. Basically, rich whites in cahoots with upscale Blacks run the show here in the USA. They determine which minorities are "worthy" to be read, and which are not. Upscale people of color are more than happy to cooperate with rich whites. In other words, the working class black guy who works in a steel mill, and does not appeal to rich whites, is not going to be part of the canon, even though he writes great literature. I have known working class blacks who would never in a million years be approved by the official Blacks, who are appointed by rich whites, even though some of the most brilliant people I've ever known are Blacks that work in steel mills. Only those Blacks that appeal to rich whites are going to be part of the canon. And Blacks with power are in cahoots with rich whites, and Blacks with power will keep working class Blacks out of the canon, if the working class Blacks do not obey the power structure.
    In Brazil, things have not reached the proportion where some Blacks have completely sold out to rich whites, and sold out the rich heritage of working class black people to rich whites. Eu se que estou falando. porque eu conoczco Brazil muito bem, ainda voces nao tem negros de poder como aqui no EUA, negros em liga com brancos ricos.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
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    Sorry, but reverse racism arguments are just racism. I don´t know if people of color oppress the people of color beneath them when they get power, simple because people of color never had power. Obama is not "people of color", it is one individual with african descendency. You cannot equate the acts of one individual with the social sittuation of a large group. That would be claiming Women always had power because Queen Elisabeth I was powerful and we know that is not true.

    And this nonsense about the fight for representation of african americans to be determined only by rich white people and never by the inherent vallue and own fight of african americans is Racist to an extreme, since you pose yourself as some rebel defying norms. Do you think only your "fight" is worth and have vallue or are you bowing down to the rich people too?

    You dont know anything about Brazil. In fact, could a mod just close this thread before more reverse racism arguments pop out? Literary people have to preserve their "status" of being more civilized after all.
    #foratemer

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    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    I have fought white supremacists with my bare hands, Mr. Camilo. Have you?
    You don't know anything about the USA. There are Blacks in power here. They keep down other Blacks. They are not interested in the literary expressions of working-class Blacks.
    Here in the USA, there are black people in certain privileged areas driving around in cars that make a Mercedes-Benz look cheap. Of course, you don't have that phenomenon in Brazil. You say this is racist. But this is the reality. And I will tell you once again, that upper income Blacks do not care about the literary output of working-class Blacks. Upper income whites do not care about the literary output of working-class whites.
    It is class discrimination.
    Upper income Blacks here in the USA are in league with upper income whites.
    Since you don't have that many upper income Blacks in Brazil, you are unfamiliar with this phenomena.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
    My poetry, plays, novels, & other stuff on Amazon:
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  11. #11
    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    And your appeal to the mod was disgusting. I never want to debate you again. You do not debate in good faith.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
    My poetry, plays, novels, & other stuff on Amazon:
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    Racists fight racists. Racists even marry other ethinic groups. Racists even claim to have friends of another ethinic groups. Simple because Racism is not only a individual phenomen, but a social and historical one that manifests when a given group is stripped from their rights, representations and have their merits contested mostly on base on their ethiny.

    And that is exactly what you do. You constest their fight for representation unsing the argument that BLACKS in power (thus relating it to an specific ethiny) wont let they have it. You also say they cannot achive it (history shows their fight is chaning the cannon, the number of different ethinies representend in the cannon is higher, exactly because their fight has success). You basically dont discuss the merits of any of them: you label them as losers and damned to be always losers no matter what.

    You come with reversal racism arguments: they will not have power, because they actually oppress others. In a society far from balanced enough to have african ameircans rulling the country. Obama or no Obama.

    It is a blantant racist discourse, where african literature cannot and will not be vallued as part of the cannon because BLACKS are evil and dont let it be. It is a blatant manifestation of racism.

    And goes down, because you pose yourself as a rebel that writes against the stabilishment, but when an entire population is doing so, it is pointless. Only your individual fight is worthwhile?

    And Good Faith will not be wasted to mistify a racist discourse.
    Last edited by JCamilo; 03-03-2022 at 08:40 AM.
    #foratemer

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    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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  14. #14
    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    Bluppity blong whoooppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
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  15. #15
    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    Okay, I saw the Pablo Neruda poem. Thank you. Beautiful.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
    My poetry, plays, novels, & other stuff on Amazon:
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