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Thread: Americans Don't Kill Children, Guns Do.

  1. #1
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Americans Don't Kill Children, Guns Do.

    Americans Don't Kill Children, Guns Do.

    Tell me why, every time I hear
    of the second amendment to the American constitution
    it's right after American children
    are massacred by American citizens

    Tell me, as a father myself, why my heart should not bleed
    bitter
    angry
    tears
    every time I hear the word America


    [I'm sorry for all the good folk of America, but if you are not SCREAMING for gun control in your country, then you share the responsibility for this outrage against humanity]
    Last edited by Foley; 12-17-2012 at 07:28 AM.

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    Queen of the Realm Ambrosia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    Americans Don't Kill Children, Guns Do.

    Tell me why, every time I hear
    of the second amendment to the American constitution
    it's right after American children
    are massacred by American citizens

    Tell me, as a father myself, why my heart should not bleed
    bitter
    angry
    tears
    every time I hear the word America


    [I'm sorry for all the good folk of America, but if you are not SCREAMING for gun control in your country, then you share the responsibility for this outrage against humanity]

    I am angry. I don't know how to respond to what I see as a lashing out against the people of the US by a person in a poetry forum. This feels like an attack on a grieving population to me.

    And I am angered by it.
    ..
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  6. #6
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Poetry has a long and honorable tradition of addressing difficult socio-political questions. My question is also personal and genuine, I am a father of two kids who would have been in that school if we'd lived in Newtown. I have begun to associate these atrocities with America - if you don't like that then change your country.

    I haven't harmed anyone, perhaps your anger is misdirected towards me because you can't deal with the reality of what Americans are doing to each other and their children. I suggest you work to stop this happening again instead of attacking me for deploring it.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW B.D. Eyeslie's Avatar
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    Perhaps my anger should be steered
    to video games, TV, mental illness,
    the moon, the stars, God and the shooter he created.
    For only in America (your reasoning) do such horrors exist.
    But to be sincere, at this second,
    it's aimed straight at you.
    Foley, a country in need of hope and prayer
    doesn't need your form of hate.

    PS Don't be mad, I haven't harmed anyone.

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    "Americans" is kinda broad. There are over 300 million of us, after all.

    P.S.: The same day, a man in China came to a kid's school and hacked 20 kids with a knife.

    Reading up on the links from the BBC I found on the story, I came to another story from 2010 describing another knife attack in children's schools in China, which had come after four recent knife attacks in China on children's schools in 2010.

  9. #9
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.D. Eyeslie View Post
    Perhaps my anger should be steered
    to video games, TV, mental illness,
    the moon, the stars, God and the shooter he created.
    For only in America (your reasoning) do such horrors exist.
    But to be sincere, at this second,
    it's aimed straight at you.
    Foley, a country in need of hope and prayer
    doesn't need your form of hate.

    PS Don't be mad, I haven't harmed anyone.
    I'm not mad with you, B.D.Eyeslie, I think it's really sad you're making light of this tragedy.

    I don't hate anyone, my poem was a challenge to the Americans I pity to tell me how to deal with my impressions of their country.

  10. #10
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blarg View Post
    "Americans" is kinda broad. There are over 300 million of us, after all.

    P.S.: The same day, a man in China came to a kid's school and hacked 20 kids with a knife.

    Reading up on the links from the BBC I found on the story, I came to another story from 2010 describing another knife attack in children's schools in China, which had come after four recent knife attacks in China on children's schools in 2010.
    Yes, I saw that Blarg, simply awful, it does highlight the power of guns to do more damage though. A few years ago, when I was working in Japan, there was a spate of mass deadly food poisonings at kindergarten schools. I thought that was deeply sad, and it affected my view of the Chinese people.

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    practical experience, FTW B.D. Eyeslie's Avatar
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    If you think I'm being light, you certainly have missed my message. Where are you from? This special place which has never sewn injustice to innocents is a place I'd like to see someday before I die.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW B.D. Eyeslie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    Yes, I saw that Blarg, simply awful, it does highlight the power of guns to do more damage though. A few years ago, when I was working in Japan, there was a spate of mass deadly food poisonings at kindergarten schools. I thought that was deeply sad, and it affected my view of the Chinese people.
    So you are a racist!

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    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Way to heal the wounds, folks.

    I'm putting a temporary lock on this one until the room mods get a chance to review.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
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    is this how it ends? SuperModerator poetinahat's Avatar
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    To me, this isn't so much a poem as a diatribe with line breaks. I don't see poetic elements in it at all - no rhythm, no word economy or careful word selection, no structure, no rhyme. No development, no framing of a scene.

    Not that all or any of these elements are required, but I don't see what distinguishes this writing as a poem, other than its being short and chopped into lines. The title is a ponderous variant of the hackneyed NRA slogan, but with an anti-American slant; it's wordier than the poem itself.

    As a reader and critic of poetry, I prefer more art and less unedited catharsis. Pouring the words onto the page like dice from a cup, and inserting a few dramatic pauses in the form of carriage returns, doesn't bring the magic or music I look for in poetry.

    The three thread bumps, and the disclaimer/judgement you've added at the end, tell us that you might be more interested in a reaction than a critique.

    If that's the case, then Poetry Critique is the wrong place for it; perhaps Politics and Current Events is more appropriate.

    So there's the critique - apologies if it seems blunt. It's just that I've read too many poems where the poet expects emotion and importance to carry the day, to the neglect of any poetical craft. I don't feel there's much need to put a finer point on it anymore. And, hey, it's only my opinion as one who loves beauty and, well, poetry in his poems.

    Now, to the accusation of racism. Perhaps what you've said isn't racist. But you have, by your own admission, laid judgment and blame on an entire population (with Americans as you say you did previously with the Chinese) based on a couple of incidents. While that may not be racism, it's unwarranted extrapolation about a group of people from the actions of one or two, and therefore a national prejudice or stereotype at least.

    I think it's na´ve - or an error of judgment - at best, and disingenuous at worst, to post a poem like this, then to display surprise that people would react angrily to it. With all the anguish already out in the open, is now the time for a high-toned moralistic pronouncement?

    Your opinion is, of course, yours by right to hold and express. As it is the right of others to disagree with it and express their own feelings. As long as we're discussing with respect to each other, things are working.
    Last edited by poetinahat; 12-18-2012 at 08:34 AM.

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    I think it works as a poem. While i don't agree with what you're saying i don't see any problem with you writing about your own personal beliefs in this way. It's a difficult topic at a difficult time and i respect your writing about it.

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    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poetinahat View Post
    To me, this isn't so much a poem as a diatribe with line breaks. I don't see poetic elements in it at all
    - the attention to the music written into the language is clear if you follow the /i/ and /e/ assonance that run through the first stanza, the positioning of alliterated constitution and citizens with (and /i/ sound) children at the end of the lines, notice the rhyme America/massacred. In the second stanza the rhythm and rhyme of the first line works together: tell me, as father myself, why my heart should not bleed and the relationship between heart and father... there's more. I could argue that it's a single framed thought, that it's basically just two quatrains, although the second is broken to reflect my broken heart... etc. I wouldn't argue it's a good poem, but it is a poem. Doesn't make you sound credible to say that it's not.

    Not that all or any of these elements are required, but I don't see what distinguishes this writing as a poem, other than its being short and chopped into lines.
    - see above.


    The title is a ponderous variant of the hackneyed NRA slogan, but with an anti-American slant; it's wordier than the poem itself. -
    the title satirizes the NRA hackneyed defence, they have made this line a cliche, not I. "ponderous" is subjective, you are entitled to your opinion. Can you explain why the phrase "Americans don't kill children" is anti-American? Do poems have a responsibility not to be anti-anything anyway?

    As a reader and critic of poetry, I prefer more art and less unedited catharsis. Pouring the words onto the page like dice from a cup, and inserting a few dramatic pauses in the form of carriage returns, doesn't bring the magic or music I look for in poetry. - thanks for articulating your opinion.

    The three thread bumps, and the disclaimer/judgement you've added at the end, tell us that you might be more interested in a reaction than a critique.
    - you got me. This is where I turn around and admit that, unconsciously at the time, I was probably looking for some kind of fight to allow my anger, sadness and grief an outlet - I was, and still am, struggling to deal with what happened. I'm fighting battles by the hour trying to stop visions of my own kids and their friends as the children of Newtown.

    If that's the case, then Poetry Critique is the wrong place for it; perhaps Politics and Current Events is more appropriate.

    - the only reason I would disagree with this is because I often look to poetry and art in general for a better understanding of incidents like these. I scanned the P & C threads and just saw more bickering and the kind of blind defence of America and the right to bear arms that met my post of this poem. The first thing I did when I got to this forum was sympathise with Steppe and TP in Steppes poem's thread where I went looking for consolation and insight.


    So there's the critique - apologies if it seems blunt. [...] And, hey, it's only my opinion as one who loves beauty and, well, poetry in his poems.
    - I prefer the truth. Thanks for your response.

    Now, to the accusation of racism. Perhaps what you've said isn't racist. But you have, by your own admission, laid judgment and blame on an entire population (with Americans as you say you did previously with the Chinese) based on a couple of incidents. While that may not be racism, it's unwarranted extrapolation about a group of people from the actions of one or two, and therefore a national prejudice or stereotype at least.

    - what I have said isn't racist at all - for one, I don't think worse of all Chinese because of my opinion, or all Americans, for two, America is not a race as the other guy suggested!

    How do you form opinions? What opinion do you have of me after reading this poem? Our opinions are shaped by what we know of a thing - which is exactly the point of my poem.

    Yes, my opinion of China was affected by the spate of poisonings in kindergartens, yes, my opinion of Nestle was affected when they were convicted of selling dangerous baby food to 3rd world countries, yes my opinion of Lance Armstrong was affected when I found out he'd been cheating all these years... yes, my opinion of America is affected by all these mass gun shootings, not least when they are perpetrated in junior schools.

    These aren't the only events that influence my opinion, but events like Newtown, Aurora, Columbine etc. are so horrifying they have a very powerful resonance. When you heard about 9/11 did that affect your opinion of Islamic fundamentalists/terrorists?

    Only if it didn't can even pretend not to understand the gist of my poem or claim I'm stereotyping or racist. I'll bet that you form opinions in pretty much the same way as I do, and if you're honest you'll admit it.


    I think it's na´ve - or an error of judgment - at best, and disingenuous at worst, to post a poem like this, then to display surprise that people would react angrily to it. With all the anguish already out in the open, is now the time for a high-toned moralistic pronouncement?
    - where have I expressed surprise? What was my moralistic pronouncement? You claim to read a lot of poems, but how closely do you read them? My poem is a direct call, "Tell me why" is repeated twice, for discussion or for readers to think about why a person shouldn't question why the 2nd amendment only gets to be challenged for a week following these atrocities, why a person shouldn't be angry at MY COUNTRY OR ANY COUNTRY BUT IN THIS CASE AMERICA who allows boys to go into schools with semi-automatic guns... you can call me names, or you can, like I did, attack the system that is at fault.

    Your opinion is, of course, yours by right to hold and express. As it is the right of others to disagree with it and express their own feelings. As long as we're discussing with respect to each other, things are working.

    I have shown respect to all those who replied, I didn't call anyone anything and I didn't close down the thread right after a false and insulting, and frankly unintelligent, charge of racism.
    Strangely enough the best response to my poem, that I've seen, comes from the president of America, let's hope it's not just rhetoric:

    "We're not doing enough. And we will have to change."

    -
    Last edited by Foley; 12-18-2012 at 04:09 PM.

  17. #17
    Queen of the Realm Ambrosia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    Poetry has a long and honorable tradition of addressing difficult socio-political questions. My question is also personal and genuine, I am a father of two kids who would have been in that school if we'd lived in Newtown. I have begun to associate these atrocities with America - if you don't like that then change your country.

    I haven't harmed anyone, perhaps your anger is misdirected towards me because you can't deal with the reality of what Americans are doing to each other and their children. I suggest you work to stop this happening again instead of attacking me for deploring it.
    Foley, my anger is not misdirected. And it is insulting that you say I can't deal with reality. What "Americans are doing to each other and their children" is the exact same thing everyone in the world is doing to each other and their children. Yet you have painted all of the population of the US with the same brush, that we as a whole are a violent and non-caring people. Calling people that, and then saying the anger is misdirected when someone confronts you over your words is cowardly, at best. You do not know me. You do not know what I stand for. You do not know if I own a gun or if I support the NRA or if I want every gun in the whole world melted down and turned into plows. And yet, I am guilty for the deaths of 27 people in the Connecticut shooting? What are you guilty of? I guess we will never know, will we? Besides causing further anguish to a group of people who are grieving the loss of their own. I equate what you have done here to the asswipes of Westboro Baptist Church protesting outside of funerals. That is how vile I find your "poem".

    It is my opinion that you used this poem for your particular brand of hate. And I find that quite offensive indeed.

    So let's get down to it, shall we? You wanted a crit, I believe?

    Your poem:

    Americans Don't Kill Children, Guns Do. (You don't need this line. You have it in your title. It is unnecessary.)

    Tell me why, every time I hear
    of the second amendment to the American constitution
    it's right after American children
    are massacred by American citizens
    (Telly. Beyond telly. And inaccurate as most of these events that have happened are not by more than one lone gunman. By "an American citizen" would be more accurate. Three "American" in such a short stanza is overly done. There is nothing in this stanza that says this is more than a run on sentence broken down into lines to meet the poetic form. What could have been possible with the use of alliteration with your "c" words isn't even there. The assonance is not enough to create flow. And, regardless what you think, "massacred" and "American" do not rhyme.)

    Tell me, as a father myself, why my heart should not bleed
    bitter
    angry
    tears
    every time I hear the word America
    (Your repeat of "Tell me" from the first stanza to the second stanza could work. But it doesn't because you only have two stanzas. There is not enough here to form a powerful repeat. So all you have are two questions, broken down into line breaks. Again you have used "America", which is close enough to "American" from the first stanza to work as a repeat, but your repeats are not working for you. It is overdone and off-putting. Your line breaks in this stanza are not working for you, either. The strongest part of your stanza is "why my heart should not bleed". And a bleeding heart is a cliche'.)


    [I'm sorry for all the good folk of America, but if you are not SCREAMING for gun control in your country, then you share the responsibility for this outrage against humanity] (First, this statement is disingenuous as you are not sorry at all for what you have written or said. Second, if you have to put a statement at the end of your poem to explain either the poem or your reason for writing the poem, then your poem has failed.)
    Last edited by Ambrosia; 12-18-2012 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Corrected an over-generalization. My bad.
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  18. #18
    Has a few recurring issues kborsden's Avatar
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    RE: credibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    Tell me why, every time I hear
    of the second amendment to the American constitution
    it's right after American children
    are massacred by American citizens
    This is no more poetic than a soapbox, party whip contrived speech, but so is the question of credibility in any politically charged discussion...

    In terms of claims on the basis of assonance and rhythm/metrical definition:

    Tell me why, | ev'ry time | I hear
    of the second | amendment | to the American constitution
    it's right after American children
    are massacred | by American citizens

    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    Tell me, as a father myself, why my heart should not bleed
    bit//ter
    ang--ry
    tears |
    every time I hear the word America
    The rhythm is there, but is rough, and without the drive of any intentional recurrence, it is what a certain Hopkins guy once called a new rhythm, the rhythm of natural speech where the first foot defines the line and any number of unaccentuated beats may follow. Trouble is, the only one who could do it right was Gerard himself.

    Yours is not a far cry, and many would argue his output pure coincidence with design applied through retort and rebuke afterward... not sure if that applies here also; no evidence to support either claim for or against.

    I'm willing to go so far as to say there are rhythmical elements and aspects of what is required to format text in a method which shares metre without force or rigidity, and there are some rhymes (internally).

    However, there is nothing other than didactic phrase to carry it. Not necessarily a bad thing, but when followed by such a point as:

    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    [I'm sorry for all the good folk of America, but if you are not SCREAMING for gun control in your country, then you share the responsibility for this outrage against humanity
    any result is ultimately stolen away by the global casting of a giant rock launched from the window of a house built from perfect crystalline glass.

    That statement brings the credibility of the poem and poet into question before any critique or critic.
    Last edited by kborsden; 12-18-2012 at 08:03 PM.
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  19. #19
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Ambrosia, are you more angry with me or with Adam Lanza?

    kboresdon, proudly quoting an anonymous blogger who once said "you are a master" implies to me that your egotism will obstruct reasonable discussion.

  20. #20
    Has a few recurring issues kborsden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    kboresdon, proudly quoting an anonymous blogger who once said "you are a master" implies to me that your egotism will obstruct reasonable discussion.
    I thought my post was reasonable... but your words make me sad
    So, very, very sad.

    Another shining example of your prejudice in stating an opinion as fact without an iota of the back story, none whatsoever.

    Back to the proposed poem. As a point for 'reasonable discussion', there is and will always be something to the content and theme of your posted piece. Personally, I see the 2nd amendment as an antiquated remnant from the frontier days -- but that's my view as a foreigner, and far be it for me to enforce that view or state anyone who disagrees as a child-killer. Truth is, children and adults in general have been murdered, massacred and butchered the world over and not always with an involvement of guns. Perhaps stricter controls are required, who's to say? the current gun laws do make it possible for guns to be traceable and the owners on a register or list; take that away and should someone want a gun, they'll find a way to get one either way, but without the legal record. We have very strict gun laws in the UK, yet only last year a seemingly reasonable and normal cabbie went on a rampage in his small town, shooting everyone he came across. This type of thing WILL happen regardless of the laws surrounding guns.

    Taking away the guns altogether will never end massacres or murders, just reduce the potential choice weaponry. There have been serial child-killers across the centuries who never felt the need for projectile weapons of any description.

    My issue is not with your viewpoint or your 'willingness' to discuss it, but the way you frame it and tar every American, and their society regardless of background or personal view.

    It's like saying that anyone who refuses the abolishment of the Catholic church is a pedophile -- end of the day, views vary; opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one and they generally all stink. No need to be the odd-one-out cock in the equation.

    Now, I'm off to polish my ego and find an even better place than my sig to display it.
    Last edited by kborsden; 12-18-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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  21. #21
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kborsden View Post
    I thought my post was reasonable... but your words make me sad
    So, very, very sad.
    Wow! In a discussion about the massacre of innocents in Newtown your most extreme expression of sadness is a reaction to an accusation of egotism?

    I'll step past my disgust.

    x implies y is no kind of prejudice, shining or otherwise. Really?

    I urge you and Ambrosia to keep your eye on the main event. It's not me or my poem, but the horror that inspired it. It's a lot easier to spout your vitriol at me than it is to deal with the real issues behind what happened on Friday. Aren't there better uses for your time, skills, energy... a poem that expresses your reaction?

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    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    Wow! In a discussion about the massacre of innocents in Newtown your most extreme expression of sadness is a reaction to an accusation of egotism?

    I'll step past my disgust.

    x implies y is no kind of prejudice, shining or otherwise. Really?

    I urge you and Ambrosia to keep your eye on the main event. It's not me or my poem, but the horror that inspired it. It's a lot easier to spout your vitriol at me than it is to deal with the real issues behind what happened on Friday. Aren't there better uses for your time, skills, energy... a poem that expresses your reaction?
    I'd urge you to keep your eye on AW's one rule: Respect Your Fellow Writer. Foley, you're not doing it and it better stop or you'll be having plenty of free time to think about it.

    When people take the time to critique your work, the proper response is "thank you." That's whether you agree with the critique or not. Arguing with critters is not the way to go. Stop doing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
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  23. #23
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Fair enough, Haggis, even though it wasn't their poetry critique I took umbrage with.

    (btw, how come you didn't find the false accusation of me as a racist disrespectful? Do your rules apply across the board, or don't they?)

    Thank you Ambrosia and kborsden for your critiques, your efforts are appreciated.

  24. #24
    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foley View Post
    Fair enough, Haggis, even though it wasn't their poetry critique I took umbrage with.

    (btw, how come you didn't find the false accusation of me as a racist disrespectful? Do your rules apply across the board, or don't they?)

    Thank you Ambrosia and kborsden for your critiques, your efforts are appreciated.
    Foley, I agree with poetinahat. You remember him, don't you? He wrote one of the critiques you argued about. He wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by poetinahat View Post

    Now, to the accusation of racism. Perhaps what you've said isn't racist. But you have, by your own admission, laid judgment and blame on an entire population (with Americans as you say you did previously with the Chinese) based on a couple of incidents. While that may not be racism, it's unwarranted extrapolation about a group of people from the actions of one or two, and therefore a national prejudice or stereotype at least.
    Understand one more thing. I'm not going to argue with you or explain anything else. I trust that's clear.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
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  25. #25
    ever decreasing circles Foley's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks Haggis for your critique of my poem. My position is still as it was to poetinthehat, who I remember and whom I also thanked:

    Now, to the accusation of racism. Perhaps what you've said isn't racist. But you have, by your own admission, laid judgment and blame on an entire population (with Americans as you say you did previously with the Chinese) based on a couple of incidents. While that may not be racism, it's unwarranted extrapolation about a group of people from the actions of one or two, and therefore a national prejudice or stereotype at least.

    - what I have said isn't racist at all - for one, I don't think worse of all Chinese because of my opinion, or all Americans, for two, America is not a race as the other guy suggested!

    How do you form opinions? What opinion do you have of me after reading this poem?

    Our opinions are shaped by what we know of a thing - which is exactly the point of my poem.

    Yes, my opinion of China was affected by the spate of poisonings in kindergartens, yes, my opinion of Nestle was affected when they were convicted of selling dangerous baby food to 3rd world countries, yes my opinion of Lance Armstrong was affected when I found out he'd been cheating all these years... yes, my opinion of America is affected by all these mass gun shootings, not least when they are perpetrated in junior schools.

    These aren't the only events that influence my opinion, but events like Newtown, Aurora, Columbine etc. are so horrifying they have a very powerful resonance.

    When you heard about 9/11 did that affect your opinion of Islamic fundamentalists/terrorists?

    Only if it didn't can you even pretend not to understand the gist of my poem or claim I'm stereotyping or racist.

    I'll bet that you form opinions in pretty much the same way as I do, and if you're honest you'll admit it.

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