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February 20, 2021

The gods of the here and the now [KT]

Ready for some poetry?

AS I PASS through my incarnations
in every age and race,

I make my proper prostrations
to the Gods of the Market Place.

You might remember that Bill Whittle re-worked that poem for modern ears. But I think that Kipling's version has added modern meaning just lately, particularly with the massive influence of the princes of social media. I like to keep both versions in mind. Whittle's video is below the fold. His re-write starts:

AS I PASS through my reincarnations
in every age, I vow

to make my proper prostrations
to the Gods of the Here and the Now.

Radical Intersectionalist Poet Titania McGrath provides some instruction on how to make proper prostrations to the gods of trans culture. Or not:

Oh, well. Might as well try to get into the spirit of things. From the Newspaper of Record -- Man asks that you respect his preferred adjectives:

"Here are the adjectives I identify with," Becker put on social media. "'Cool, witty, handsome, innovative, fun.' Please use one of these adjectives when describing me."

"It distresses me when people use adjectives I don't identify as," Becker later explained. "Like 'creepy,' 'weird,' or 'off-putting.' That's basically denying my existence and trying to genocide me." Many would call that statement 'nutty,' but that is not from Becker's list of approved adjectives.

I would not have remembered Bill Whittle's video if Bird Dog at Maggie's Farm had not linked a short post on Kipling's poem, The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

The "copybook headings" featured in the title refer to the short maxims once regularly copied by schoolchildren in America and Great Britain, not only for penmanship practice, but also for the wisdom they confer in short, snappy soundbites.

These maxims are often considered quaint, old-fashioned, and "utterly out of touch." Kipling implies their truths are unattractive to those enamored with society's latest fads:

With the Hopes that our World is built on
they were utterly out of touch,

They denied that the Moon was Stilton;
they denied she was even Dutch;

They denied that Wishes were Horses;
they denied that a Pig had Wings;

So we worshipped the Gods of the Market
Who promised these beautiful things.

I'm not sure I think of Kipling's poem as entirely "humorous". But the author of the post on the poem is correct about one thing: kids today do not have much opportunity to have wisdom drilled into their young minds. Not when a request to "show your work" in math is racist and Bill and Melinda Gates are backing an anti-racist math program.

Got any ideas on how to help kids get around these impediments to learning wisdom?

Here is Bill Whittle's version of the poem. Kipling's "Gods of the Copybook Headings" became Whittle's "Gods of Wisdom and Virtue".

The gods of the market seem to be straying outside of, um, marketing. But they are ever so "here and now":

Some people are pretty good at predicting the next god of the here and the now.

What or who do you think the next one will be?

Poetry from The Horde

A poem by Muldoon, from last week's comments.

Excellent. Can you identify a god of the here and the now therein?

Poetry set to music

Rudyard Kipling's Recessional:

Kipling wrote 'Recessional' on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Although Kipling is often viewed as a flag-waver for imperialism, his views were more complex than such a view suggests, and this political poem goes against the celebratory mood of the Jubilee, reminding readers that the British Empire is trivial and transient in the face of the permanence of God:

For heathen heart that puts her trust

In reeking tube and iron shard,

All valiant dust that builds on dust,

And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,

For frantic boast and foolish word--

Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Slightly more encouraging music

From our lead poem today, concerning the gods of the marketplace:

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings,
I notice, outlast them all.

The gods of the marketplace may be crazy. But don't give up.

Hope you have a good weekend. This is the Thread before the Gardening Thread.

Serving your mid-day open thread needs

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:15 AM

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