razorsharp's picture
razorsharp from Ohio is reading Atlas Shrugged January 29, 2012 - 11:24am

Concerning Shakespeare, I would go with Romeo & Juliet because, like others have pointed out, the cultural significance. I think Hamlet is a strange choice, especially for 'literary reasons,' because critics have always been so divided about it. The protagonist is a whiny bitch, it's chock full of plot holes, and the soliloquies are more insightful than any of the events that occur. I would go with MacBeth before Hamlet.

I would also go with The Comedy of Errors over The Tempest. It's absolutely hilarious and many modern comedies are indebted to it whether they realize it or not. Sure, there are plenty of comedies of errors that predate it, but this one's Shakespeare.

Also, I just realized no one has mentioned Frankenstein yet.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 29, 2012 - 11:29am

@liana - I completely agree with you on The Tempest.  Good call.  I also agree on your view on "I know the jist so I don't have to read it" mentality.  I think the importance of a book comes from the little details that you just can't get from Cliff's Notes. 

@postpomo - On European men.  I don't see much of a way around that. 

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 29, 2012 - 11:36am

@Averydoll - I know it's the foundation of the Western Canon. If we continue to reinforce those voices over the countless others that have joined our collective, global narrative, we will continue to live according to values imposed by the bible (Genesis), the Hellenes (Plato & Aristotle) and so forth. It might be valuable to read them to refute them, but I'm beginning to think that avoiding them altogether and building one's readership on other authors will create a better narrative to live by.

As I've mentioned in this thread and elsewhere, I really enjoy a diversity of stories (different media, different languages - in translation alas, different genders, different eras), and I think as a global community in the 21st century (or 58th depending on your calendar), we're doing ourselves  a disservice to continue navel-gazing at such a narrow tradition of literature.

Anyway, that's what reading Thomas King has left me with...

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 29, 2012 - 11:41am

So, and I am not 100% sure I'm following you so stay with me, you suggest we (or future generations) should no longer read the books that have formerly been known as classics in favor of modern books that are more diverse? 

I'm not going to comment on that, because I'm not sure that is what you mean. 

PopeyeDoyle's picture
PopeyeDoyle from Rio Grande Valley, TX is reading Chronology of Water January 29, 2012 - 11:54am

@pomo - I'm confused as to what you're saying here, as well.  It seems weird to me that you're opposed to the "values" of the Bible when you've said before you haven't even read it.  What exactly are you suggesting?  I hope you aren't suggesting that we replace the canon with inferior works solely to further whatever political motive you might have.  I think I'm missing something.

The Canon to me is not so much about promoting values as it is about coming up with a narrative history of our literature.  We shouldn't abandon our history just because it's represented by European men.  That seems a very bizarre notion to me.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch January 29, 2012 - 12:01pm

I support having diverse voices in the "canon" - whatever that means. But I don't want to erase 2000 years of thought. I just can't comfortably say we should replace all of that with voices from "the margins" which may or may not be rich voices, and who may or may not be writing primarily in opposition to the "canon." Then wouldn't you want to know "the canon" anyway? And we'd make reading only about power struggles and political issues, wouldn't we? If only white men were able to write and be heard for a long time, I'm afraid I'll still want to know from literature what a time period was like, what people thought at the time, etc.

I love Toni Morrison and I don't know why I didn't mention Beloved before, as a book that should be considered part of the canon by now. May be the best novel on slavery. But for example I would like to say Rudolfo Anaya as a Chicano writer should be included for diversity's sake, but he's not at the very top, to me, as a writer, though I do like Bless Me Ultima and Tortuga (and they're more accessible to younger readers) I like Leslie Marmon Silko a lot, as a Native American voice. I think she is a great writer, but may not be to everyone's taste. But would I want to read only voices of diversity? What would be the purpose of only having that as the canon? Political correctness?

Starting with the 19th century we have plenty of women in the "canon" but would we want to read only women? When I said I recommend "reading some modernists" I didn't mean only Joyce or Faulkner were available to get a taste of modernist fiction - Virginia Woolf is great for that too. But would I find a Chicano writer to show me what modernism is, or was? I can't change history and add diverse voices for different periods. I can try to read more international works and I'd be in favor of promoting "World Literature" instead of only teaching English works, though you do need to make sure you read a good translation.

I just don't see the purpose of erasing all of the "canon" as we know it. Start from scratch with philosophy too and reinvent the wheel?

 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 29, 2012 - 12:05pm

It all goes back to Greeks and Hebrews. And for a long time men did most of the writing.

I guess we could always read Upanishads or Confucious or something. Nothing wrong with that.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 29, 2012 - 12:09pm

Start from scratch with philosophy too and reinvent the wheel?

The truth is, the ancient philosophers were wrong most of the time. We now have the means to perceive reality in ways they could not. Fire is not an element. It is educational to discover how people once reconciled their sense and reason, but the wheel in question is already a museum piece. 

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 29, 2012 - 12:24pm

I don't think we should be throwing out any particular tradition, whether it's the Greeks or whoever.

But stories are what form our basis for our understanding of life, the universe and everything. Whether they're fictional, mythologial, based in science (isn't the big bang a nice story?).

The canon (as far as I've been thinking of it in this thread) for Western literature is founded on the Greeks, the Bible, through English literature and on to North America. There's a mix of others for sure. However, these traditions build on one another. If they take Plato and the Bible as starting points, then it reinforces a particular world view - the one we've inherited. It comes with the weight of a lot of assumptions, conventions, familiar archetypes, genres and media (we don't go much for shadow puppets, for example).

All that to say that de-emphasizing the importance of our canon for a more diverse influx of narratives, stories, world views and so on.

@Popeye - I've read most of the Bible over the course of 30 years (grew up catholic, went to sunday school, have heard my share of readings). I'm referring to Genesis in particular, where God holds supreme power, brings things into being by naming them, and punishes disobedience. We've inherited a lot of that in Western Culture. There are other traditions that have very different creation stories, which influence a different way of thinking about the universe and our place in it. It's not so much that i think we should ignore the bible, as much as we should give it about as much weight as the Koran, or the Upanishads, or maybe stories from oral traditions, or whatever.

There's no doubt my thoughts on this are confused. I think I'm debating the value of a canon at all.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 29, 2012 - 12:28pm

@JY Hopkins

The truth is, the ancient philosophers were wrong most of the time. We now have the means to perceive reality in ways they could not. Fire is not an element.

I have a different take on that (and thanks to my high school chemistry teacher). It's not so much that they were wrong, as that we have a different way of thinking about the world. We base much of ours in observable phenomena that can be quantified and criticised through a peer-review process.

Fire is an element (in symbolic terms). Hydrogen is an element also (in chemical terms).

If we're to take anything away from relativity, it's that these two ways of looking at things aren't mutually exclusive. They just need to be put in context to be understood.

Sometime in the future, someone will discover yet a different way of looking at things, and think of our system as wrong.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch January 29, 2012 - 12:28pm

Well I mean the whole trajectory of philosophy, not just "ancient philosophers." All of the history of philosophy was a continous dialogue with previous philosophers, from one to the next to the next, so are we going to disregard the dialogue of the centuries and the steps that were taken to reach the understanding we have today, and invent new concepts too? We need the concepts of ethics and morality (which have shifted over time so they're not "just Bible stuff" to even start talking about diversity. How can you explain human rights without already existent philosophical concepts? I didn't say, let's all think we live in a cave and look at shadows on the wall, I'm saying it's hard to start from scratch and reinvent what it means to be human without knowing how human thought has changed shape over the centuries.

If we have "new ways to think" today, we owe it to all those who spent their lives thinking of that wheel in so many way. I'd say today's philosophy has not appeared in a vacuum and if you only read the newest philosophies you wouldn't even understand their references. Derrida's students were upset with him teaching Plato or Heidegger, and they kept asking him to teach "the cool stuff, deconstruction" - but he said you have to know the past before you move away from it.

And it's not true that all the ancients were so wrong all the time. Read Lysistrata (a play by Aristophanes). It's a feminist play that could be very nicely aplied to today's politics, with some differences of course.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 29, 2012 - 12:33pm

@Liana - true wrt to philosophy - particularly current philosophers responding to those before in a long lineage of dialogue and argument.

I try to look at things from first principles, and I have to question why we start with Socrates? Why not Pythagoras? Or Parmenides?

In part it's what's been written down, recorded and come down to us. Which in part restricts us to written work, which is a particular medium, and a particular way of thinking.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 29, 2012 - 12:34pm

But stories are what form our basis for our understanding of life, the universe and everything.

I personally believe that, at least for some people, their undertanding of life, the universe and everything form the basis of their stories.

Maybe that's just chicken vs egg but, in this case, the matter of which came first might be important.

I'm enjoying this discussion, but I'm off to work.

 

razorsharp's picture
razorsharp from Ohio is reading Atlas Shrugged January 29, 2012 - 12:42pm

@Hopkins: When studying philosophy, understanding the errors of early philosophers is one of the most important parts. It's also important to understand why people believed the things they did to understand history.

For instance, the "unmoved mover." For a long time, this concept was the most logical explanation for explaining how things came to be. No one knew about advanced physics or gravity, so given the available evidence it was a pretty tough argument to refute. It's easy to dismiss Aquinas if you're not familiar with this concept. Hell, most people today would have a hard time understanding the flaw in the unmoved mover argument without being told.

Furthermore, Aristotle is still relevant today and worth studying. Logic is his baby - the logic that these computers we're using runs on, the logic we're applying to this discussion, the logic that has led to pretty much every major scientific discovery. It's was modified slightly by George Boole, but for the most part it remains intact and relevant.

The history of knowledge may be a museum piece, but it's a museum worth visiting.

razorsharp's picture
razorsharp from Ohio is reading Atlas Shrugged January 29, 2012 - 12:46pm

Damn, it took me too long to write the previous post. Liana said pretty much the same thing only better :(

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 29, 2012 - 2:35pm

LOL - damn clever bunch, the lot of you.

The more I'm thinking about this (not so much the philosophy angle, as I'm woefully under-read, except as some of it pertains to literature, and even then it was 20 years ago), the more I'm beginning to wonder if this linear idea of history is part of the Western way of thinking (other tradition as well).
 

It isn't as important in the Hindu tradition. Their view of history is less like a river and more like an ocean, where the chicken-egg argument is moot. We have chickens, we have eggs. the rest is a story.

we have literature, we have philosophy, we have people, we have thoughts and cultures and picture shows. Our present is the starting point, and everything else informs it. (an idea I'm sure was better articulated by many).

 

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin January 29, 2012 - 10:12pm

We start with Socrates because of the Socratic Method, because he founded the western concept of the dialectic. Excluding their contributions to mathematics, the pre-Socratic philosophers didn't leave a lot of lasting contributions to philosophy.

I think that the idea of linear history as a fundamentally western concept is interesting, but I don't think that it has a lot of support in nonwestern recordings of history. Chen Shu and Ibn Asir would probably not agree.

-

But back to the main topic. I agree that "canon" is a word that should be locked up in the conversations of Star Trek geeks and never heard from outside of that discrediting venue. It depends too much on context, and doesn't really carry a lot of meaning on it's own. The idea of a canon has all the problems that you are pointing to and in an ideal world such things would probably not exist.

Here's a tangent. I was raised in the USVI, homeschooled, introverted, socially isolated. I saw the Shadow in the theater and became convinced that Alec Baldwin was this huge action star in America.This fervent belief was mentioned later, when I was making attempts to socialize as a teenager and nobody had seen the Shadow or really knew who the fuck Alec Baldwin was (honestly, before 30 rock he wasn't doing much, this was all before the Alec Baldwin revival, even now though when I say "Alec Baldwin, you know, from the Shadow!" no one knows what I mean).

Sometimes, when you ignore the real world existence of canon... it can disrupt your capacity to be relatable or to make the appropriate common references. I'm not saying that you should be afraid to innovate, but familiarity with the style conventions imposed by any sort of "canon" does have advantages, if only allowing you to defy them in a well measured manner, in a way that people "get." Understanding how limited any sort of canon is is important, but I think you would be.. missing out... to ignore how useful it can be.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 29, 2012 - 11:47pm

When studying philosophy, understanding the errors of early philosophers is one of the most important parts. It's also important to understand why people believed the things they did to understand history. -- razorsharp

I get that and didn't mean to suggest otherwise if I did so.

he (Derrida) said you have to know the past before you move away from it. -- Liana

If your main objective is to move away from the past, then it helps to know it. But if that's your main objective you're either being contrary for its own sake or you're already convinced of the falsehood (or at least the inadequacy) of previously accepted truths. Why else move away from it?

Besides which, it is possible to move away from something without being aware of it. (Assuming motion is possible.)

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 29, 2012 - 11:51pm

nkwilczy - I saw the Shadow! With the animated Nepalese or Cambodian or whatever knife. Bit the guy on the hand.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 30, 2012 - 12:00am

@everyone -- What questions can be answered by philosophy alone?

None as far as I can tell.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 30, 2012 - 1:58am

The role of philosophy as something meant to "answer questions" isn't exactly one that modern philosophers assign to it nowadays.

If you think of philosophy as a discipline meant to come up with satisfying answers to the problems of life, you're going to be frustrated, because in many cases philosophy comes to destabilize answers, not provide them.

Think of the modern philosophical method as just that: a method, a set of always-shifting questions that need to be asked about anything that seems obvious.

That's closer to the current role of philosophy than anything, I guess.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel January 30, 2012 - 4:32am

I believe anything you read and makes you think beyond what you normally would is all that is required of a great story/author. There are many books that I have read that I was torn about because they challenged me to think and really question my point of view and why I believed what I did.

Anti-Christ by Nietzsche is one that I have trouble accepting and love all at the same time. It made me really wonder what religion is actually doing and brought me to look at many religions from around the world and find out what I believe. Not just what I'm told.

Great Expectations by Dickens is another that I love because the ending was honest. It didn't try making it a happily ever after ending, but didn't try and crush me. It's just what happened and that in itself is commendable.

Brave New World by Huxley is great because it was so far before its time. What kind of world would I end up with if I tried to make a utopia? How would it be challenged?

Slaughter House 5 by Vonnegut was great because not everyone is a hero and often they don't even know what is going on as the world is crashing down upon them.

Poetry by Bukowski is simply great.

Tell-Tale Heart by Poe reminded me that I can never run away from myself.

Invisible Monster and Fight Club by Palahniuk showed me sometimes your protagonist just needs to shoot themselves in the face to get the message.

Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, while many hate it and others love it reminded me that love is not rationale, people may never get along in life, and even tragedy can be beautiful.

And for pure cheesiness, this site. I may never become a great writer or have the best idea, but I can associate myself with those that love what I love and hope that will be enough. At least it is for right now.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 6:11am

My own general idea of the canon is a book that, if we deleted it's existence - if it had never been written or the author never born - literature would not be the same today.  Which of course, probably someone else would have written it, but I'm not trying to change the timeline or anything - that's just how I thought of it. 

And to be weird about it, I'll give my example in music rather than writing: if there were no Elvis, we would never have had the Beatles. 

Like that, but with literature.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long January 30, 2012 - 9:54am

Avery, are you suggesting that Elvis was the reason the Beatles were driven to become musicians? Are you crediting Elvis with the creation of rock and roll?

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 10:01am

Well, I would not go so far as to say he invented rock and roll, no.  But the Beatles were very inspired by Elvis and his music, that isn't a secret or anything. 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long January 30, 2012 - 10:13am

 

Interesting view.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 30, 2012 - 10:18am

love this discussion - and my thinking is even more convoluted.

@AveryDoll - I'd canonize Louis Armstrong long before Elvis, but your point is still valid. I get it (but can't help being a contrarian).

@nkwilczy - Chinese views of history are different than Western - it's not as straight a line. They attribute eras to whoever was emperor at the time, as well as referring to them as dynasties. Not the same as a straight line.

Also, your point about the Shadow is a great example of the cultural importance of a canon. However, if you know the references without having read the books (or seen the films), then what does that tell you? I probably haven't read the majority of books people have listed here, but I'm familiar with them to varying degrees (or I read them so long ago I may as well not have read them). I can still pick up references people make, and when talking about an author or character point to the more familiar titles.

So, I guess the question this brings up (one more to throw on the pile) is what works are important to read, versus knowing about? I know about Elvis, but I sure don't listen to him. I know the skinny Elvis vs Fat Elvis but couldn't tell you which song was recorded before which, their context, or why I should care about him one way or the other. Is it important for me to listen to Elvis? I don't think so. Is it important to know about him? Definitely (not that I have a choice - he is everywhere).

The bible is fundamental to our literary tradition.  I've read most of it  in fits and pieces. I know enough to know some references, obviously not all, or very deeply. Is the Bible like Elvis? Do I only need to know of it in general, or do I need to have read it?

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 10:27am

I don't want to de-rail this anymore than I already did, because I love this discussion, but I have to add a quick quote:

"Before Elvis, there was nothing." --John Lennon

I'm not saying that is the only inspiration they had, but they list is among their top inspirations.  Before Elvis, there were not many (any?) white musicians singing that music. 

On TOPIC!  Is the Bible like Elvis.  Oh wow.  I actually think it should be read.  Keep in mind that I have read a lot of religious texts.  I think they serve not only a literary significance, but a cultural one as well.  You do not understand a people fully unless you understand their religion.  And I am a horse's mouth sort of girl.  I want to see for myself, not be told or get second or third hand information.  Of course everything I have read has been translated, so there is that.

 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long January 30, 2012 - 10:33am

Carl Perkins.

razorsharp's picture
razorsharp from Ohio is reading Atlas Shrugged January 30, 2012 - 10:57am

With the Bible, I think studying it is actually more important than reading it book for book. Take Job, for example. Job always seems to play a role in debates regarding Christian theology. But far too often people just read a translation and they don't study it (basically, they don't read what scholars have to say about it before forming an opinion of their own).

The most common misconception about Job is the "satan" character. The concept of Satan as we know today didn't even exist when Job was written. From the notes in my Bible: "Satan, lit. "adversary," or "accuser," is apparantly a legal term (Ps.109.6), and not yet the proper name for an evil being it was to become later. This title and function possibly derive from the Persian secret police and his duties would copare to those of a district attorney in the United States. He is the enemy of man, not of God."

This little footnote completely changes the way most people look at Job. But even if you ignore the quirks of translation/time, there's still other major issues with Job: 1. It's an old folktale 2. Major changes were made after it was originally written, including the ending.

I once talked to an evangelical pastor who didn't know this stuff. It really made me wonder how he was qualified to teach this stuff, when all he knew about it was his interpretation of a modern English translation. I haven't read the Bible in its entirety but I've studied much of it (Catechism). Understanding the history of how this book came to be is much more important than actually reading it.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin January 30, 2012 - 11:19am

Look at the atheist agnostic numbers, they have much better stats than any actual religious group. (jews come close, but the percentage on the right shows that knowledge is less evenly distributed)

-

Elvis was a huge influence on the Beatles. It isn't that rock and roll wouldn't exist without Elvis, it's that white people wouldn't have gotten involved in making it and it wouldn't have been... a commercial success.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel January 30, 2012 - 11:21am

Understanding the history of how this book came to be is much more important than actually reading it.

That is a very bold statement and I may be taking it out of context. It is very interesting, but not more important than actually reading it. There are so many important aspects in the Bible that...I'm not going to insult the groups intelligence about the importance of the Bible. We all get that it was an important compilation of works that has influenced so many aspects of our current world that without it everything would be different.

How the book came to be is important as it is interesting, but not more important than the actual stories and morals it attempts to convey.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 11:27am

@nk - do you have a link to that survey.  Someone here wants to see it....(it's me).

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin January 30, 2012 - 11:31am

Yeaah, sorry, should have cited my sources, I was just proud of decoding the forum code enough to get that graph in here.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 11:49am

I didn't doubt it, I just wanted to see!  Thank you!!!

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long January 30, 2012 - 11:56am

While it is arguable how prominent an influence Presley was on successive musicians, he (and the Beatles, Stones et cetera) owe an incalculable debt to the musicians who came before them, from both country and especially rhythm and blues. It just makes me angry (and a bit sad) that in the year 2012 caucasians still only seem capable of crediting caucasians for significant achievements.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 12:02pm

Okay, buddy, that is a big leap from what I said.  And I hope you are not attributing that to me.  I just said the Beatles were strongly influenced by Elvis, by their own admission.  I'm not arguing a case for or against anything.  Didn't mean to start anything.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 30, 2012 - 12:03pm

Elvis clearly stole all his moves from the black singers of yesteryear, at least Jerry Lee Lewis admitted it.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 30, 2012 - 12:05pm

Jessica, you white Beatles loving Nazi! LOL

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 30, 2012 - 12:05pm

Two words, one name: Chuck Berry... 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long January 30, 2012 - 12:07pm

You presented your view quite clearly, "Before Elvis, there were not many (any?) white musicians singing that music.", which is basically stating that the only artists that have mattered in terms of the development of rock and roll were white. It is like stating that gravity did not exist until Newton gave it a name.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin January 30, 2012 - 12:09pm

Reminds me of:

The modern feats of medicine
Ascribed to wealthy British men
Were the works of Arab doctors
And Persian mathematicians
Algebra, the 1, 2, 3s
The science and Astronomy
Education as the basis of real democracy

out of "In the name of Western Democracy" by Ryan Harvey.

But, it's tough yeah, it's a white man's world, and they tend to be self centered. I mean, all we can do is try to learn from the mistakes of the white men before us.

I'm not saying that Chuck Berry and Otis Redding don't count, I love Chuck Berrry and Otis Redding, but they were held back by segregation so it wasn't as easy for them to popularize their work as it was for Elvis to do so.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 12:11pm

Fine.  Take it how you want.  I just stated a very simple little fact about the influences of a band.  Sorry. 

I'm a total racist. 

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long January 30, 2012 - 12:15pm

Whatever Whitey.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 30, 2012 - 12:18pm

Mick, I think you are being a little hard on Jessica. I don't think she meant it like that. Trust me, I understand how fucked up and racist people were, reading this autobiography of Malcolm X, I understand why he hated white people. You can only be degraded so much before you resent those who hold you down but there were always subcultures. Even Malcolm had a white girlfriend and admits it was a status symbol among black men to take the white man's woman. Not to mention all the white dudes who wanted black prostitutes. History shades a lot of things, most kids today don't know of a world without the internet and many black people are still segregated in the ghetto. Rap music does tend to glamourize a culture of death and despair. Now watch me get fried for that statement.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest January 30, 2012 - 12:18pm

I'm not saying that Chuck Berry and Otis Redding don't count, I love Chuck Berrry and Otis Redding, but they were held back by segregation so it wasn't as easy for them to popularize their work as it was for Elvis to do so.

- I agree. Elvis has been 'officially' recognized as 'The King' (of Rock N Roll). But, I have to disagree. Elvis didn't didn't write much of his own music. Chuck did. Performing a hit song that some one else wrote is great, and I don't discount it, but writing and performing your own hit songs, in my eyes, puts you on a level slightly higher than the others. And for Berry to do it at that time and era is nothing short of remarkable. Elvis, made RnR popular to white audiences, thus expanding RnR's range. To me, Berry is 'The King'. But, just like all arts and opinions of them, it's subjective.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry January 30, 2012 - 12:20pm

Anyway, back to the discussion of canon.

I haven't read every word of this thread, so I might have overlooked someone already posting this guy who needs to remain in what we consider "the canon":  Steinbeck. 

Great writer, huge Elvis fan.

Mick Cory's picture
Mick Cory from Kentucky is reading everything you have ever posted online and is frankly shocked you have survived this long January 30, 2012 - 12:21pm

I disagree. Avery's view showcases a willful ignorance in my opinion, and should be addressed.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 30, 2012 - 12:21pm

Mick, aren't you like super white? Your name is Irish, isn't it?

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters January 30, 2012 - 12:24pm

Holy shit, for real?  address me.

What about the statement that the Beatles were influenced by Elvis is wrong and terrible?

Yes.  Elvis was in turn influenced by black musicians.  I didn't go back that far, because I was making a Beatles reference.