But his words seem to us cryptic, and their meaning has hardly survived. What he appears to say is this: ‘The Muses, who love country life, have granted to Virgil delicacy and graceful charm.’ It is possible that this is a piece of semi-technical literary criticism, intending to ascribe to Virgil’s rural poetry those qualities which are the opposite of heroic or pretentious.
1226. Rhymeless (anti-authoritarian : compare Whitman). On the fear of the atom Bomb, the castratory nature of which is popularly perceived only as fear of “sterilization” after-effects. Compare the classic womb-return fantasy, with the incestuous element boldly prominent, in “The Wish” by the Earl of Rochester (d. 1680) :
Oh, that I now cou’d by some Chymick Art
To Sperm convert my Vitals and my Heart,
That in one thrust I might my Soul translate,
And in the Womb my self regenerate :
There steep’d in Lust, nine months I wou’d remain,
Then boldly fuck my Passage out again.
1230. Joke, about married men on a hunting trip, none of whom could get to sleep until the guide gave each of them a hairbrush to hold.
After a few minutes each actor finds that the comic mask is stuck. S/he cannot remove it no matter how hard s/he tries. S/he is fixed permanently with the smiling face of the comic mask, and the internal despair of the trapped mask-maker.
The principle here is that you can recreate the appropriate muscular tension and, in finding the shape of the body or facial muscles and related breathing states, emotion becomes apparent. You are internally passive and externally active, focusing only on the doing of the task.
Especially among Euro-Americans, there is a tendency to reduce a complex physical-verbal-musical phenomenon to the merely verbal. Thus, the Shout is often discussed as a kind of folk song. And the same reduction has been worked on rap, where the dance components of the form are almost always ignored in favor of the verbal.41
THE DECLINE OF THE DANCE INSTRUCTION SONG
At the end of the 1960s, popular music was developing at a remarkable rate. Yet, dance per se was not the focus of forms such as psychedelic music, heavy metal, and art rock. Increasingly, songs about dances became not merely wannabe dances, but conceptual dance instruction songs – songs about dances that did not exist.
But when I continued to insist that I was innocent, he suddenly leaped up and, pointing to the can of sardines, asked:
“And what does that mean?”
“Nothing,” I replied, nonplussed.
“We shall see. Remove this provocateur!” he shouted.
With that the interrogation was concluded.
1 - Michael Grant, Roman Literature. Pelican Books (Harmondsworth), 1958.
2 - G. Legman, ed., The Limerick: 1700 Examples, with Notes, Variants and Index. Bell Publishing Company (NYC), 1969.
3 - Dymphna Callery, Through The Body: A Practical Guide to Physical Theatre. Nick Hern Books (London), 2001.
4 - Sally Banes and John F. Szwed, From "Messin' Around" to "Funky Western Civilization": The Rise and Fall of Dance Instruction Songs, from Thomas F. Defrantz, ed., Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance. University of Wisconsin Press (Madison), 2002.
5 - Stanislaw Lem (tr. Michael Kandel), The Star Diaries. Harcourt (NYC), 1985.