September 03, 2009

TMI and a Good Breast/Thigh Combo

Do poets who blog as poets taint their work for the reader? To paraphrase, is it a mistake to blog where you eat?

Poet Darren Morris worries that the answer is Yes.

"I went out for a steak dinner the other night. The waiter brought the slab just as I ordered it, and as he watched me prepare to take my first bite, he slid across the table a picture of the cow from which the steak had come, under which were printed all the fascinating details of the heifer’s last week on earth. How might it have affected my enjoyment of the meal, a thing no longer my own, to feel now that it was given unto me, even sacrificially, by another mammal with a name and a full personality? Did the beast’s last vacation to a Wyoming spa, its anger at and subsequent inclusion of personal threats by wolves, or its issues regarding the misnamed “pigskin” production industry psychologically influence my perception of its flavor? Perhaps. But to what degree?—I remain uncertain...."

Head on over to the Hayden's Ferry Review blog to check out his post--"The Taint of Celebrity: Thoughts on Poets who Blog." He's taking a bolder stance than you usually see in Contributor Spotlights. Always a good thing. And it's an issue I've thought about myself.

The editors were kind enough to invite me to post a response, which went up this morning. Here's a snippet from "Eternal Sunshine of the Cluttered Mind: A Poet-Blogger Responds":

"I enjoyed Darren Morris’s post on 'The Taint of Celebrity.' It raised some savvy points and appropriately skewered some bad habits among poet-bloggers, myself included. The parallel to viral marketing is uncomfortable but not unfair. I gravitate to C. Dale Young’s monthly Caption Contest for the same reasons that I’m amused by Burger King’s Subservient Chicken: it’s free, it’s fun, it’s fast, and the masterminds know the value of a good breast/thigh combo...."

Follow the link above to read the entire essay.


Steven D. Schroeder said...

Nice reply, much better thought out than the original post deserved.

Steve Rogers said...

I agree with the other Steve. But it's all good food for thought.

Lyle Daggett said...

After reading your post here, I went and read both of the full entries in the Hayden's Ferry Review website. I generally agree with what your said in your response there.

I actually enjoy knowing something about the context of a poem, including, possibly, things about the poet's life, the time and place in which the poet lives or lived, what is/was going on in history at that time, and so on. The context is there, whether or not a reader chooses to read it.

It occurs me that some restaurants do include information in the menu about where the food came from, whether the chickens were free-range, etc. Verging anyway on the kind of steak dinner scene Darren Morris describes. He asks how it might have affected his enjoyment of his meal, now being conscious that it came from "another mammal with a name and a full personality". Well, that was the case anyway, the only difference is that now he's reminded of it.

Thanks for posting this. I liked that it provoked me to think about these questions.