Nov 29 2016

The Front Page Poem

As the resident Gilmore Geek you can imagine my dismay at this scurrilous and unwarranted attack in the Atlantic.

The Stars Hollow Gazette is not the New York Times.
The Stars Hollow Gazette is not the Hartford Courant.

Of course not and even to be mentioned in comparison with those stenographic parrots of the Neoliberal establishment (actually the Courant is not so bad if you stick with the local beat reporting and sports and stay away from their wire service echo chamber) is the vilest of calumnies.

But what really stings is this-

If you suddenly take over the editorship of a small-town newspaper, it’s probably a good idea to consult with the readers who look forward to the paper’s traditional front-page poem before deciding that your first move as editor will be to get rid of the paper’s front-page poem.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Ozymandias!

In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone stands a gigantic Leg which far off throws the only shadow that the Desert knows:

“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone. “The King of Kings; this mighty City shows the wonders of my hand.”

The City’s gone.

Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose the site of this forgotten Babylon.

We wonder, and some Hunter may express wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace, he meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess what powerful but unrecorded race once dwelt in that annihilated place.

Idleness and mischief?

‘I’m sure those are not the right words,’ said poor Alice, and her eyes filled with tears again as she went on, ‘I must be Mabel after all, and I shall have to go and live in that poky little house, and have next to no toys to play with, and oh! ever so many lessons to learn!

No, I’ve made up my mind about it; if I’m Mabel, I’ll stay down here!

It’ll be no use their putting their heads down and saying “Come up again, dear!” I shall only look up and say “Who am I then? Tell me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I’ll come up: if not, I’ll stay down here till I’m somebody else”— but, oh dear!’ cried Alice, with a sudden burst of tears, ‘I do wish they would put their heads down! I am so very tired of being all alone here!’

I urge you to read it again. Is it simply the unexpected unfamiliarity that puts you off? When I was a DJ I frequently noticed that people would simply not dance to any song I wasn’t already sick of hearing.

As it happens the backstory is that Horace Smith was involved in a friendly competition to produce a Sonnet (abab cdcd efef gg) which, being Romantics and all they didn’t feel compelled to follow the strictest of rules composing because it was the ability to convey emotion and sense of presence that mattered rather than anything artificial and arbitrary.

Of course it was the same subject. Wouldn’t have been much of a competition without that now would it?

Though they both appeared initially under the same title, Smith’s was later republished as On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below under which tl;dr name it has languished in obscurity.

Deservedly so? I dunno.

Ozymandias by Glirastes

I met a traveller from an antique land who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert.

Near them on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies whose frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command tell that its sculptor well those passions read which yet survive stamped on these lifeless things, the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear-

`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away”.

11 January 1818, The Examiner

Now in fact I write about poetry, art, music, popular culture, sports, and food rather a lot considering this is a political site (“The struggle of class against class is a what struggle? A what struggle?”) because I’m easily distracted, but I’m also the Editor in Chief (yup, fairly responsible for the crap we publish) and the question is-

Would I hire Rory Gilmore?

In a heartbeat. She couldn’t possibly be any worse than Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd, Ross Douthat, or David Brooks and who knows, maybe I could teach her that the Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Leicester 3 – 1 in the 1949 Cup Final.

I demand satisfaction! Inkpots and Quills at 25 paces! I feel compelled to disclose I’m pretty wiz at arraz and while I usually post babies so I don’t ruin my average I can nine when I want.

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