Monday, December 21, 2009

* Bart's Homeys

"All literature is about getting home" A. Bartlett Giamatti is reputed to have said, either as President of Yale, which he quit for a jock-job, or ,then, as Baseball Commissioner, which he died doing.

I supppose, if "home" means a "psychological state of ease (as opposed to dis-ease)", or "the void from which we emanated" he's right. Otherwise, Miller's Death of a Salesman and Whitman's "Oh Captain! My Captain!" are not about getting home. Well, maybe parts of them are and aren't simultaneously: a neat literary technique called paradox.

What about Emerson's Address to the Harvard Divinity Students or his American Scholar? Both are about rejecting the "home" of tradition and the past (Hebraic/Christian and the European influences) and creating a home anew. This isn't "getting" home, it is about "losing" home in order to find it: a premonitory Freudian theme.

And Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers, 200 pages of drug induced, masturbatory imagery? That's more about "getting off" than "getting home", unless "home" means relief from reality by self induced hedonistic ecstacy.

I don't know. It's a nice phrase Bart, and it fits your baseball cap swell, but it ain't accurate.

It's more precise to say "All literature is about losing home," and that would fit baseball too, Bart. And maybe that's what you really meant: "All literature is about NOT getting home."

Oh lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

PS: And oh, by the way: Your prediction about the "athletization of life" has come true and is about to be institutionalized in our schools by the Jock of all Jocks, Arne Duncan, U.S. Commissioner of Education, who has decided that all U.S. schools should compete in a "race to the top". This is very interesting from a man who in a recent speech televised on C-Span, was unable to distingusih between "infer" and "imply", a distinction I learned in 11th grade. See post "The 4T's: Ignoring Yale Presidents and Savaging American Childhood" October 31st, this blog.

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