Monday, October 14, 2013

To the Reefer.

VOGUE copyright Conde Nast
© 2013
© 2013 KM Fikes
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from KM Fikes is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KM Fikes & with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  No excerpt or link may be used for monetary compensation.

To the Reefer, ROWcoco, and melon madness...

...upon this - Columbus 'Day'...

Merriam Web's take?
                     row   noun. \rau\
                                        a noisy disturbance or quarrel 

"Quarrel, I will back thee."         
Romeo and Juliet - Act I, Scene 1  

UK Conservative Conference 2013

"...;THAT is the question..."
TWO questions, my good peops (with apologies to the melancholic Dane).

ONE:  What the @#$% is racism?    
TWO:  What and who defines the Queen's tongue?
back to
"What do you think?  Are hip-hop artists like Akala of Hip-Hop Shakespeare racist and misguided?  Or is this another case of the arts being caught in a political crossfire?"

'ONE' slack-jawed question as an inexplicable distortion of 'racism'.  As erred utterances go?  Wholly lacking in originality.  Normative adjacent.  And yet?  This discombobulation still manages to astound in its stupefying conflation of racism's benefactors or primary agents with those defying racism's structural oppression thru insistence upon their/our agency.

With THAT?  Straight to't.  One is unfamiliar with a quantifiable weight of yon nebula past our endangered eco 'system'.  Nevadaless, Lindsay Johns credits that eva nebulous 'bling' culture as the downfall of a certain segment of civilization.  O'ersimplified and thus beneath Mr. Johns, the youth volunteer - himself - his proposed antidotes?  Speech.  And clothing.  He, like UK owned Fox network analysts, looks askance at the infamous 'hoodie'.  Hamlet, hood none yet brooding about his haunted castle in codpiece and ruff - like hooded Trayvon Martin - still met his tragic end.

Mr. Johns is generous enuf to tip the quill in his cap towards WEB DuBois as one of the exceptions to the curriculum in which he feels "dead white men" should remain predominant.  Howeva, suspiciously, one needst not revert to the early twentieth century to locate exemplary Other-ed Ethnic figures.  The recently-departed Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart titled the very work for a line in a John Keats poem.  Chinua Achebe might - then - meet Mr. Johns' approval.  (Do feel at liberty to insert Columbus 'Day' quip here...The last sentence is thine, yo - concluding this paragraph with the democracy one shall wish for an astute curriculum of critical global citizenship.)

Mr. Johns insists that the reason 'the canon' has survived for millennia is because it is "good".  True dat.  Except for those who trace editions where the First Folio allegedly migrates from Bad.  Bad Quarto, that is.  Nevadaless, the global breadth of brilliant, even ingenious, work supersedes that which has been canonized.  What Mr. Johns fails to mention are the mechanics of the inherent assumptions of privileged culture.  "Good", i. e., quality or worthy prose can be far less influential than societal inclinations to concede to said work - consequently deemed superior due to the creator's sanctioned identity as da voice o' structural correctitude. 

A H2Omeloncholy critique if eva there be.  Thy dear author curiously finds herself aligned intimately with Mr. Johns' stance on purebred Bard.  Although adolescents, his mentees should avoid - at ev'ry cost - the sophomoric expectations/delusions from Dominant Cult's estimations.  These future leaders - as do we all - deserve a sophisticated presentation to divulge/indulge the quintessence of the scribe's intent. Therein lies the debate; it is the tone of Lindsay Johns to which one stands in direct albeit empathetic opposition.  

"These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears."
Hamlet - Act III, Scene 4 
Hip hop doth not demean Brah Bard.  Arguably, it qualifies as the progeny of Elizabethan verse.  Mr. Johns' apparent inability and/or refusal to acknowledge this intrinsic link is wretchedly detrimental to the same generation that one believes he sincerely assists. 

As the creator, or rather excavator, of the phantom verse, Elizabonics™, the relationship 'twixt Elizabethan English and 'Merican Ebonics proves more interdependent than one might have imagined upon daring to e'en explore Elizabonics as more than one's own absurdist whim.  Elizabonics dost not present the proposition of either/or with which Mr. Johns seems at war.  As one's exhaustively footnoted work illustrates, the commonalities in verse are no compromise to any acumen.  Elizabonics™ is intended as a challenge to our notions of dramatic dialogue as high or low art.  Might it be both or neither?  The hypothetical verse answers for itself.  Quite contrarily, Elizabonics is a complex celebration of collective intellectual prowess thru a comprehensive as creative exercise in comparative literature.  In the vein of John Stewart or Stephen Colbert, one's own adjunct offering or commentary is no inclusive alternative to initial source.  Elizabonics is less a Shakespearean rendering or interpretation than expansion of the possibilities of verse drama.  How does such an approach detract scholastic advance?  Standing tall in the converse is A Most High Cotton Epic Poem in Three Groovements...or Otherwise Called A Most High Cotton Trilogy: An ElizabonicHypothesis.

What and who defines the Queen's tongue?

Akala - TED Talk 



i'/o'er/et cetera

Below, the additional syntax/pronunciation is classified as unStandard English or Elizabonics or what Mr. Johns deems unacceptable "ghetto" jargon in a lauded leadership program.


Lindsay Johns - graduate student of 'classic' languages - cannot intend this inherent hypocrisy when calling for a direct read of da Bard's text.  Again, one supports Shakespeare unabridged.  It is the tenor of Mr. Johns' 'call' that alerts the ol' H2Omelon patch like Linus van Pelt come Halloween.  Dost not 'axed' honor Elizabethan grammar - as descended from Chaucer - e'en mo' than the ostensibly correct 'asked'?  Which tongue - then - art keepin'...keep'st...keepin' it real, yo?

ALERT: gentlesoulfolk?  One's inkwell is filled from across the pond - thaz 'Merica.  One confesses an appalling ignorance of UK slang which one hopes to rectify as a hyper audible tourist in O.B.'s 'hood - Original Bard.  Such is necessary to verify Elizabonics in English speaking 'settings' beyond 'Merica.  Meantime, my good peops?  One digs - hard - the curious contradiction RE: frames of 'authentic' articulation cred.  Prioritizing 'accent', a US Shakespeare company can lavish praise upon a UK thespian who nigh surpasses mediocrity.  Parallel, the UK hip hop scene might be enamored of an above-average MC from 'Merica.  Equal opp offense.  And that exact offense?  Many know - on some level - when they suffer fools.  There is less awareness, though, of how bias can blind-side discernment, leaving one to inadvertently venerate the prosaic.  Ironically, the latter can be more egregious in suspending progress or innovation.  Here, one warns of impeding the exceptional medium that is the continuum of Verse.  

Excusing all hip hop as 'bling' culture is eerily uninformed but so much mo'?  Such is treble bass troubling.  Mr. Johns is to be commended - in no small measure - for his work with 'at risk' teens, and in particular his insistence to raise the bar of expectation thru Shakespeare's verse - straight up.  What concerns one, howeva, is Mr. Johns' capacity to authentically connect with the students about whose success he is so passionate.  Verse.  Verse.  Shakespeare was a verse dramatist.  In iambic pentameter.  And rhyme. the modern verse dramatist?  Where else in performed Word is the extended narrative?  In 4/4 time signature.  And rhyme.

A Tribe Called Quest
The Roots
Wu-Tang Clan

Ay, a reading/listening list to defy Mr. Johns' predilection towards 'bling' as the primary descriptor for ev'ry school of hip hop.  One wouldst ne'er, neva dream of referencing all film as 'porn'.  Nor all 'porn' as exploiting or distorting the complex breadth of sexuality.  The Eastern Kurosawa (1910 - 1998) and Western-ish Almodóvar (incidentally no less riveting for being sub-titled) deserve much betta discourse. * 

One is partial to Stanley Wells' big up-ed edition of da canon a la Bard.  One is unaware of Mr. Johns' preference of translation albeit - being such a purist - he may prefer the rough n' tumble read of the Good Quarto o'er the First Folio.  One doubts that assertion as Mr. Wells and others have airbrushed Willy S. to make the work legible  Mr. Johns may miss a salient point.  The legitimacy of Elizabonics finds mo' support in the quartos or initial folio attempts than e'en the highly estimable Mr. Wells can provide.
Common's I Used To Love H.E.R. is a spoken word sonnet to a phat beat.  It is widely regarded as hip hop's anthem.  Perchance, as a canonical verse advocate, Mr. Johns might champion - if given the chance - Common's ambitious feat.  Common's lyric is an epic analogy of the history of hip hop thru the evolution of 'hood - thaz girlhood to womanhood.  Melville used whaling and oceanography for quite a successful allegory.  'Sooth yo, the deep blue (rhythm or water) is no less a relevant metaphor than a global phenomenical art form.  'Elements' all.  Common laments 'her' (Hip Hop's) superficial 'phase' or 'bling' turn.  Common, howe'er, is neither disgusted nor furious with 'bling's influence on his love interest as much as mourning the loss of the soul of Hip Hop.  Here, Common - rap artist - embraces the vulnerability of grieving Hip Hop as the breathing, thinking, feeling entity gone astray.  Common will not abandon her nor essentialize or judge her by the latest fad to which she falls prey.  He believes in Hip Hop - she is hallowed ground beneath the wind of 'bling culture'.  

One can only hope that Mr. Johns' confidence in his students follows suit.  

Should not the exploration - daresay evolution - of narrative expression be encouraged rather than demonized?  Vilifying the 'bling' aspect of hip hop as the entire artistic genre's - as much as cultural movement's - core content?  Woeful at the very least.  Its most eloquent lyricists - with Akala at the fore - critique 'bling' mo' vociferously on a a loop...with a hook...than Mr. Johns at a Conservative Conference podium.  The former's comprehension is that of a kinetic canon; the latter appears resigned to a canon in/of stagnation.  Further, the Shakespearean-astute Akala remains relentless in his critique of the very 'Empire' whose resulting literature Johns heralds yet sans any valid cultural dissection.  With imperialism as foe yet Bard as friend, Akala proves more shrewd, and daresay adroit, in navigating the complexity of a complicated canon.  For the sake of students, might Johns, too, adopt a critique far more nuanced?  One's quill feather is limp - perplexed by the present 'row' - perhaps because any row is actually non-existent.  One enters into evidence her own ElizabonicsWhat is best in hip hop is no condescending tool but companion to the 'experience' of language...or anything but stagnant in mode and meaning.  Shakespeare himself was no aristocrat nor royal and oft saved his profundity for the court jester of the cast - fully aware that the queen was sequestered in her box whilst the groundlings' rotten 'produce' was his most visceral critic.  Lindsay Johns is in such a prime position with the optimal audience not to denigrate the volatility of modern verse drama but rather, remove his own unfortunate pre-misconceptions.  Exposing himself further to the alleged heir of verse drama - that is conscious or 'woke' hip hop - wouldst serve well to honor 'classic' lit as capable of inclusive culture-confirming depth, breadth, and promise.

* Western-ish?     
[Europe may be the 'West' - in relation to Asia as the East - but Spanish filmmaker, Almodóvar (1949 -   ) may still be uniquely situated as 'Other' in relation to the Hollywood 'system' which still feels compelled to offer a Best FOREIGN Film category as the pinnacle of its professional accolades.] 

(upon this Columbus 'Day')
a clever as compassionate critique
on the implausibility of

Til our next 'post', feast upon produce in season...

© 2013 KM Fikes 
© 2013 
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from KM Fikes is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KM Fikes & with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  No excerpt or link may be used for monetary compensation.

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