Friday, November 18, 2011

The pious and the poetic

     DEREK REEVE. The recent Derek Reeve controversies (alienating Muslims, plagiarizing) have faded away. But I for one have not forgotten his promises to provide further, presumably vindicating, info regarding his “Patch” plagiarism (absurdly, he denies that it was plagiarism) and his sudden, mid-semester departure from Concordia U in Irvine. (See here and here.)
     Reeve has, I suppose, decided to cut his losses and to let the controversy quietly fade away, promises be damned.
     But how come he’s still teaching at Saddleback College? What’s he going to do if he catches a kid plagiarizing? Send the kid's stuff to the Patch for publication?
     Will he even be able to recognize plagiarism? Apparently not.
     Saddleback College is sending a message: that Concordia U has the expected academic values about honesty—but that Saddleback does not. Wanna take a course from a guy who plagiarizes and then refuses to acknowledge that his theft is improper? Become a Gaucho!
     For what it’s worth, today, Mark Nielsen of the Capistrano Dispatch accused Reeve and/or his Reevettes of demagoguery. More specifically, Nielsen carps (plausibly) about some seriously misleading “election rhetoric intended to pave the way for cohorts of Councilman Derek Reeve to replace incumbents up for re-election next November.”
     What is it with the Pious, anyway? I’ve got a neighbor like Reeve. She’s always got her “Saddleback Church” sign posted on the lawn, and she is pretty flashy about her alleged connections with the Lord.
     Yeah, but recently she and her husband decided to build a house under the oak canopy on their property, near their existing home. (They’re claiming it’s for one of their kids, but it's obviously a spec build.) They tried to get the thing approved without telling the neighbors, contrary to Hoyle. When the requisite meeting with the County finally occurred, the neighbors showed up, hopping mad. County officials then communicated the obvious: that the project didn’t have a prayer in overcoming various serious problems, including threats to the oak canopy and a nearby creek. (These problems predated their purchase of the property.)
     So what did the Pious Ones do? They put the property up for sale. The telephone sales pitch states that the property is ready for construction—a big, fat lie.
     Pious liars.

     DON WAGNER. Speaking of the pious and the deceptive, Assemblyman (70th AD) Don Wagner is back in the “news.” According to the Newport Beach Independent,
     The Newport Harbor High School culinary and management teams were officially honored by the state Assembly on Thursday for winning the nationwide culinary competition in April. ¶ Assemblyman Don Wagner presented the school with an official resolution Thursday morning during a special assembly honoring the NHHS California ProStart student teams. ¶ “It’s really a privilege and a pleasure to be here with you folks today,” Wagner said, “to recognize this superior accomplishment.”
. . .
     The Newport Harbor teams are coached by the Culinary Arts teacher, Janet Dukes, and two local chefs. ¶ Dukes traveled up to Sacramento and went on the floor before the state assembly for the resolution. ¶ “Which, I will tell you frankly… That does not happen often,” the assemblyman said. “It was a real thrill to welcome her to the floor of the assembly and say thank you publicly in that venue.”
     Now, in truth, Don is among those odd Republicans who refuse to regard any tax as anything but an evil. Public education in this state is seriously under threat, and people like Don seem to like it that way.

     Don’s strategy is to sprinkle these goofy resolutions around in a splashy, noisy way—at schools and colleges and whatnot.
     The idea? Maybe the rubes won’t notice what he’s really doing to education.
     Don relies on misdirection. He’s a magician.

     POETRY & MUSIC à la IVC. Today, denizens of Irvine Valley College were alerted to a special event tonight:

Colleagues and Friends,
You are invited to attend the premiere of
The Naked Turtle Dances

Poem by David Bugay
Music by Daniel Luzko
Choreography by Marie de la Palme

     Luzko teaches piano at the college; De La Palme teaches dance. But the poet, Bugay, isn’t among faculty. He’s the district’s Vice Chancellor of Human Resources.
     Bugay’s a nice guy, but, I gather, his poetry just doesn’t fly among faculty who actually teach poetry. (I've heard from some of them.) Their harsh reaction reflects, I think, not so much the quality of Bugay's poem as the circumstance that scholars among us who make it their business to study and understand poetry—or writing, or history, etc.—are once again bypassed, as though they do not exist or do not matter.
     Our community's authorities on poetry—including some damned good poets—would not offer this poem to represent that art. But that’s not a consideration among the benighted “leadership” of Irvine Valley College.*

*I have rewritten these last two paragraphs to clarify my point.


Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the poem?

Anonymous said...

Who's to say what is a good poem and a bad poem?

Anonymous said...

One explanation: money exchanged hands.

Anonymous said...

If everyone took some time to write a poem, the world might be calmer and kinder. But when a person sends his poem out into the public, the craft and meaning of that poem go up for critique. Poets, critics, teachers and students of poetry--they all get to say what makes a good poem. For its repetition, cliche, and sledgehammer of a metaphor, Bugay's poem is not great. If anyone wants to compare this poem to another (more crafted and articulated) poem, also about a turtle that loses its shell, google Jeff Worley's poem "On Finding a Turtle Shell." Then go write your own poem.

Anonymous said...

It's nice that he gave it a shot, but it's very hard to write a good poem. Here's one for a comparison.

Homage to Pessoa

I once loved.
I thought I would be loved.
But I wasn't loved.
I wasn't loved for the only reason that matters-
It was not to be.
I unbuttoned my white gloves and stripped each off.
I set aside my gold-knobbed cane.
I picked up this pen...
And thought how many other men
Had smelled the rose in the bud vase
And lifted a fountain pen,
And lifted a mountain...
And put the shotgun in their mouth,
And noticed that their hunting dog was pointing.

Frederick Seidel

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's "nice he gave it a shot" - though I think I understand your point.

I spend a great deal of time trying to get students to recognize the power of literature and language. I find the promotion and celebration of such mediocre work at the college problematic and discouraging.

But of course I often feel this way when I listen to the offical speeches given at the college which are riddled with error and cliche - the very elements for which I penalize students.

Anonymous said...

The silliest thing about the poem is that Bugay felt the need to append Ph.D. to his name. WTF?

Philip Lopez, LCMVO

Anonymous said...

Agreed, 11:26. I am puzzled by the stunning lack of self awareness in putting this poem out there for all to read, when it is pretty maudlin.

Anonymous said...

Whenever people cite their Ph.D. you know it's going to be a bad poem.

Good point Phil.

Prof. No Full ime Job, M.A.

Anonymous said...

This is why Fine Arts gets everything they want.

Anonymous said...

Remember when Dave Lang read from Chicken Soup for the Soul at commencement? We have a lot of mediocrity at our colleges.

Anonymous said...

Imagine someone in the sciences tolerating an administrator espousing his views of "intelligent design" in a public forum at the college under the umbrella of another discipline.

This is an embarrassment all around.

Not everyone can or should write a poem.

Anonymous said...

What's next? Glen playing Curly in "Oklahoma"? Craig cast in "Guys and Dolls"?

Anonymous said...

I have to give him credit for writing poetry--good or bad. But, he should be taking some notes and writing some memos about the sad state of affairs at IVC.

Anonymous said...

Roy, take a look at the Student Handbook at Saddleback regarding plagiarism and then apply the standard to Saddleback's embroiled Social and Behavioral Sciences's instructor.

Anonymous said...

But Saddleback isn't "embroiling" Reeves - if anything they are rewarding him with a wink - and classes. Embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Can you spell "vanity"?

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