Saturday, April 14, 2007

A language really spoken by men . . .

The Cumbria Tourism Board notes that this is the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (to refresh your memory, here is the text of the poem). Hmm, they wondered as they wandered over there . . . how to get people up here to see some daffodils . . . ?


(Hat-tip: NPR)

Will this hasten or delay the arrival of Spring? Will M. C. Nuts cause Wordsworth to spin in his grave even as he joins Lucy in rolling

round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees[?]

I'm not horrified by this, but I do think, though, that the Board's choosing to do this represents, at the very least, a mistrust of Wordsworth's poem to move a new audience these days. Do not our postmodern hearts with pleasure fill, too, upon looking upon hosts of golden daffodils? Is emotion also one of those Grand Narratives that Lyotard warned us about, a ride that needs pimping so that we are moved by its coolness and thus keep our distance from that nasty ol' emotion?

I'm asking half-seriously, just so you know. Perhaps pure, unalloyed, tranquility-recalled emotion is passé, too, unrecognizable, or perhaps something to be suspicious of, lest our cool, sophisticated critical faculties be seduced into shutting down just this one time. Perhaps this at least partly explains my suspicion and loathing of Thomas Kinkade.

Something (else) to ponder . . .

3 comments:

Candy Minx said...

Hey great post! I LOVE the name of your bog...I wish I had thought of it, very groovy!

(I am a big McCarthy fan)

Hey, I think there is a emotion that is real and primal and first hand. But I think you have an interesting idea...maybe its the idea of sentimentality, that might be a distractor from hard core simple emotions that we need in order to feel and be human?

Good thoughts, enjoyed droppong by your blog
Cheers
Candy
http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/

Ashley said...

As a former student, I have occasionally taken a peek at your blog, where typically I have little to respond to because the information is new and I'm merely trying to absorb it all. However,as I find myself near the end of my British Literature class I had a much stronger point of reference for Wordsworth before clicking on the play button. Woah! Your post says it all very well... but I certainly have mixed emotions on this one! Sure, one could argue that the M.C.Nuts version shows the relevancy of a 200 year old poem, but I struggle placing Wordsworth's work in the context of anything that reminds me of Barney, Teletubbies or Boohbah!

Ugh.
Ashley

John B. said...

Ashley,
Always good to hear from former students. Thanks for leaving a comment.
In thinking about your comment, I was especially drawn to the comparisons to the characters in children's TV programs. I don't know why that hadn't occurred to me before. But in further thinking about it, I have to say in the video's defense (though on the whole I find it a bit silly) that it DOES seek to capture Wordsworth's speaker's childlike delight in coming upon the daffodils. That mood is definitely the sort of territory that Teletubbies works in. Whether that same mood could have been better conveyed than via an outsized rapping squirrel is really more the issue for me.