October 3rd, 2007

  • lizhand


Inferior as we are, we're not as inferior as Theophile Marzials, now immortalized in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as author of the world's worst poem. Then again, maybe this is further proof of our inferiority.

A Tragedy

by Theophile Marzials

The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop,
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop...
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop...
And my head shrieks - "Stop"
And my heart shrieks - "Die."...
Ugh! yet I knew - I knew
If a woman is false can a friend by true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end--
My Devil - My "friend."...
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air -
I can do,
I can dare
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip, drop.)
I can dare, I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.
Plop, flop,

  • pgdf

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[Click = magnify]

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Posted by Paul DiFi.

(no subject)

I've just been reading back issues of Zoetrope All-Story, a fairly depressing experience in that the stories share a handful of tonal qualities, excepting a few gems and several classic reprints. The reason I set myself this duty was because I have a longish mainstream story and wondered if Zoetrope was a suitable venue for it (don't think so), and I was about to give up when I stumbled on a reminiscence/essay by Mary Gaitskill about the making of one of her stories into the movie Secretary with Maggie Gyllenhall. She had a caring producer who promised to be gentle with her work (and ultimately was), saying that he wouldn't do to her story what was done to the original script of Pretty Woman. Gaitskill's (and mine) reaction was, Huh? Pretty Woman? That retarded crap? Then, much later, she read the original script and found that it was a dark and powerful piece of work, entitled Three Thousand, about "a loser and a victim," the former dumping the latter out of his Rolls at movie's end and running off to be married.

This put me in mind of the original script for The Truman Show, a dark, powerful work set in a dystopic future Manhattan, with none of the frontloading that the film had, i.e., the audience is just as much in the dark about the movie's basic circumstance as is Truman, a tremendously suspenseful and menacing script, as opposed to the the frothy angst of the film. And I wondered if the majority of the crapfests that flicker before our eyes start life as good scripts. Could that be possible? Could Swordfish and Domino have begun as complicated, layered scripts like, say, Chinatown? Probably not. Still, I'd be interested if anyone knows of other incidences of this phenomenon.

Watched Pushing Daisies tonight, the new ABC series. It was surprisingly good--the afro-american sidekick was a cliche, but the whole thing had a nice fairytailish edge, a mixture of Lynch (lots of pie) and Edward Scissorhands all wrapped up in a package that reminded me of the Fractured Fairy Tales on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, complete with old English guy voiceovers. It won't stay good, but if you didn't see it, you might want to catch it before it turns bad.