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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

HEY APPLE: Where are the f-ing poets!?

Like I should complain that anything mildly poetic is making it onto TV, commercialized or whatever. So what if Apple mines that late '80s cinematic touchstone Dead Poets Society to sell iPads? Nothing -- and nobody -- is sacred anyway.

So help me out. Watch it once or twice and see if you notice the same thing I did (took me twice). The ad is titled 'Your Verse*':


We've got Robin Williams as John Keating talking about poetry1 and its place in the world, poetry's cuteness or lack of, the passionate nature of humanity, and then quoting Whitman about the purpose of it all. Yes, indeed: The Purpose of Life Itself! (... is to sell iPads.)

And the grand mélange of images, the windmills and the falls, the weather and the kabuki actor, the mosh pit and the marching band.2

But damn! Where's a poet or writer anywhere in the thing? Where's the poet sitting in Starbucks typing away ... on their iPad? Or the writer at a bookstore, giving a reading ... from their iPad? Where's the reader sitting in a bay window on a snowy day ... iPad in hand? Hello, CGI! WHERE'S JOHN KEATING TALKING TO A CLASS FULL OF BOYS WITH iPADS?3

No where, that's where. It's a commercial using some pretty words, selling out poetry, using poetry in the worst way, leaving out this
... Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
The powerful play indeed. Add your verse. Just make it a true one, as Ray did, not a sell-out one. Ray Carver was born among the 'plodding and sordid crowds,' yet asked the questions and had the passion and did not have an iPad and wrote anyway:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
Yea, so I totally talked myself out of liking the Apple poetry ad. And managed to bring it all back to Raymond Carver and you read a real poem. Win to Cathy.

1. What Keating says: We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

2. Although major props for featuring Ohio State TBDBITL.

3. Given, the whole 'whoops we ripped out the intro because it was so stupid' part would be rendered immaterial.

I need a

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