What American History Has Taught Me, pt. 2

I’m going to try to end on a good note here.

Maybe my lens on life is a little scrunched up. I have a very pessimistic view on things, and I think I’ve finally accepted it. It’s okay, too. I don’t mind anymore. I’m the person that loves to squeeze the shit out of a lemon, but at least I enjoy the lemonade afterwards. When it gets down to it though, I do care about stuff. So if you’ve read part one of this sub-par blog post, you would know that all I really did was bitch and complain about the Spanish settlers. Now, I’m going to (attempt) to cover the things that really hit me in the feels.

  1. Jonathan Edwards. You had to have known that this is someone I would follow up on one last time. This guy put me through feelings I never thought I had. No, I don’t mean sexually. I read all of Edwards with a smile on my face, and there wasn’t a damn thing anyone could have done about it. I mean, honestly. This guy was born in the wrong time. With all the new sketch religions coming out now, this guy deserves his own special place in the HOF. I read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in high school, but I had never thought there would be someone willing to do things only you can do behind closed doors. I’ve talked quite enough about Jonathan Edwards for one semester.
  2. Anne Bradstreet. Now, I’m not one that really pays a whole lot of attention to feminism. I’ll be real honest with you. I think that if there ever were to be something I should vote on to pass a right to make women as equal to men as possible, you could sign me up. But as a male in college with 346653 things to do and a daily basis and some semblance of a social life to live, it really is the last thing on my mind. Anne Bradstreet made me change my mind, a little. The works that I read (“The Author to Her Book,” “The Flesh and the Spirit”) made me realize that there really are some bad bitches out there in the 17th century. I would have taken Anne out for a drink, pay for everything, given her a ride home, had a real close heart-to-heart, and drive away into the abyss without asking for her to show me around her place. Because that’s what she would have wanted. “I am obnoxious to each carping tongue /Who says my hand a needle better fits. /A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong; /For such despite they cast on female wits, /If what I do prove well, it won’t advance– /They’ll say it was stolen, or else it was by chance” (OpenAmLit). Men, she owned you.
  3. Edgar Allan Poe. Now, the only reason why I skipped through all the writers during the enlightenment period was mainly because I hated it. Like, hate hate. Yes, that was the period that defined the United States for being independent, and free. But, dammit was it boooring. You go from those schmucks, to this. A creepy Edgar Allan Poe, hiding bodies, hanging cats, making orangutans kill innocent people. You can’t make it up.

That’s really about it. I can only write about things I like for so long…

What American History Has Taught Me, Pt. 1

I wanted to separate this into two parts; the things that were cool, and the things that sucked. Since I’m 90 percent pessimistic 100 percent of the time,  I think it would be fun to start off by all the dumb, tacky shit we once thought about American history that was debunked by college.

  1. Columbus was in fact an idiot. I did indeed know that he was trying to get to India and landed here. It’s a pretty honest mistake to make, considering he thought the world was flat and was really pulling the voyage out of his ass. After finding out that he was indeed a racist and a pig, he also has quite a way with words, as described in his Third Voyage to America: ” But as I have already described, I have now seen so much irregularity, that I have come to another conclusion respecting the Earth, namely, that it is not round as they describe, but of the form of a pear, which is very round except where the stalk grows, at which part it is most prominent; or like a round ball upon part of which is a prominence like a woman’s nipple, this protrusion being the highest and nearest the sky, situated under the equinoctial line, and at the eastern extremity of this sea…  but this western half of the world I maintain is like half of a very round pear, having a raised projection for the stalk, as I have already described, or like a woman’s nipple on a round ball” (OpenAmLit). Usually when I write and use a reference like this, I try to use it maybe just once, but whatever.
  2. Staying on track, Don Antonio De Otermin was also kind of a douche (this will be reiterated in the native’s perspective in part 2). I’m still unsure as to why there was any human being out there that could be so cruel. it really surprises the hell out of me. De Otermin and his band of idiots came into native lands, Christianized them, and proceeded to wonder why the indigenous tribes not only killed their religious hierarchies, but wanted wage war against them. “He came back from thee after a short time, saying that his people asked that all classes of Indians who were in our power be given up to them, both those in the service of the Spaniards and those of the Mexican nation of that suburb of Analco. He demanded also that his wife and children be given up to him, and likewise that all the Apache men and women whom the Spaniards had captured in war be turned over to them, inasmuch as some Apaches who were among them were asking for them… Seeing his determination, and what they demanded of us, and especially the fact that it was untrue that there were any Apaches among them, because they were at war with all of them, and that these parleys were intended solely to obtain his wife and children and to gain time for the arrival of the other rebellious nations to join them and besiege us, and that during this time they were robbing and sacking what was in the said hermitage and the houses of the Mexicans, I told him (having given him all the preceding admonitions as a Christian and a Catholic) to return to his people and say to them that unless they immediately desisted from sacking the houses and dispersed, I would send to drive them away from there. Whereupon he went back, and his people received him with peals of bells and trumpets, giving loud shouts in sign of war” (OpenAmLit). That literally sums up the entirety of the Spanish/native contact. The natives ask for a bit of freedom and their loved ones, the Spaniards say that will never happen, and they go to war. Luckily, the natives won this one out, but I can’t imagine how many times ignorant deals like this went down.
  3. The entirety of Cabeza De Vaca made me chuckle. It’s one of those stories that you can’t make up. Boats being lost, famine and disease taking out like the majority of the crew while the rest were killed by natives… and to go from that to settling with them, and to then pissing them off again. The last thing he has to say is “Even to the last, I could not convince the Indians that we were of the Christians…” (OpenAmLit).

And that last line really takes care of the rest of it for me. See, I liked the rest of American Literature. I think that it really broadened my scope on knowledge. But I hated this stuff. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to it. I hated how Christianity ruined the beginnings of our country. This stuff makes me sick. The Puritan age and the Jonathan Edwards reign is hilarious, but this is awful.

It makes you wonder why we hate the Muslims in today’s world, doesn’t it?

 

*mic drop*

Why I think Walt Whitman is of Another Breed

I’m all about being able to express yourself through writing. If you can show us how you really are by writing about it, I think that’s great. But as I sit here with a fever, trying to read Walt Whitman, I become more and more nauseous. I don’t know why, but I do.

Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is one of the strangest things I’ve ever read. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s super cool, well written, and all that stuff. Some parts of it strike me the wrong way. He starts off by saying, “I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself/And what I assume you shall assume/
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” (OpenAmLit). He really stresses that he celebrates himself, and that what everyone else assumes of him he assumes of himself, basically saying that he’s very open to anything and that people should pick up on the vibes he’s dishing out. He goes on to say some cool stuff, then goes to this: “The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love/The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or/loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,/Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful/news, the fitful events;/These come to me days and nights and go from me again/But they are not the Me myself.?Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,/Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle,/unitary,/Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on impalpable/certain rest,/Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,/Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering/at it” (OpenAmLit). Call me crazy, but that just got real intimate real quick. He goes from talking about being with nature to talking about what seems to be his penis. Maybe I’m too new-aged to be talking about this, but is it possible that the whole second half of that quote was about his penis?

Which brings up another point that I was pondering on writing about. Was Whitman born in the wrong time? It’s safe to assume that not only was he homosexual/bisexual, but that he was also a writer caught in the transition between transcendentalism and realism. You can see both of these very clearly in his works, and in particular, in “Song of Myself.” The title alone has hints of both of those. But regardless, do you think that his ideals were too early?

It’s surprising to me that in today’s America, with all these laws being passed for gay rights, that works like this aren’t popping up more. It also makes you wonder that if Whitman had wrote this poem today, if it would have the same value that it had 150 years ago.

 

The more I read Whitman, the deeper my thoughts get.

On Trying to like Edgar Allan Poe

I LOVED Poe in high school. I really did. I had more fun reading a week’s worth of Poe than I did learning about every other literary work throughout the course of my junior year. It was different, it was fun. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Stephen King, and I was in the middle of reading his book Cell when we got into Poe, and it just seemed so similar. It was dark, witty, interesting. It was the type of writing I compared my fiction works to. My fiction works, in talking about those, were terrible solely because I based them off of the writing styles of Poe and King. Not many people can make something dark and ridiculous something readable, and I clearly wasn’t one of them. As I veer off topic, there’s one thing I’ve come to understanding in the past couple months: It’s really hard to pick a side with Poe.

On one side, you have to sympathize with him. The poor guy couldn’t drink more than a couple beers before he blacked out. He was delirious and hammered, and frankly, would make for a good date. Cheap, easy, and super willing to get into someone else’s clothes (only after he takes his off, presumably). He went into a deep sort of depression after Virginia died, and he would only write enough to make a couple grand before he’d go back out and drink (This Site Seems To Know About Poe More Than I Do). That’s pretty rough, if you ask me.

On the other hand, he did marry his cousin. Now, a lot of my friends from Massachusetts and Connecticut make incest jokes because I live in such an isolated area (a five minute drive from Canada, to be exact), but I don’t think people of my lands would consider this. Maybe like a third cousin, but she’d have to be of age. NOT 13. I know it was a different time but that’s a huge what the f**k moment for me. Still, even right now I can’t get over it. It’s absolutely crazy to think about.

But then, you think about how his mother died and his father left when he was just a little kid. He joined the Army because he couldn’t afford a second year at the University of Virginia. EVEN after being in the Army, he failed to become a cadet in West Point and was like, “whatever. I’ll write poems.” And he did.

And this is where I have the hardest time deciding if I can’t deal with this guy or not. All life situations aside, he had a rough go from the start. But once he started writing, it was the type of literary works that nobody had ever seen before. Do I like the creativity? Yes. At first, anyways. But why on earth did he have to write about hiding bodies in his house and giving it away to the police after?  “I delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By the bye, gentlemen, this—this is a very well constructed house.” [In the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all.]—”I may say an excellentlywell constructed house. These walls—are you going, gentlemen?—these walls are solidly put together;” and here, through the mere phrenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom” (OpenAmLit). Every Poe poem, summed up like this. After the first three poems I knew what the end was going to be.

Can’t stand it.