“Make it new,” Ezra Pound famously said, a mantra which can be applied to any example of what is called found poetry. Examples of making it new can be found throughout history, both ancient and recent. Shakespeare lifted most of his narratives from existing stories; Marcel Duchamp put a urinal in an art museum; Ezra Pound himself created many examples of what could be considered found poetry; writer Hart Seely rephrased Donald Rumsfeld’s speeches into poems; and, most recently, Google Poetics surfaced across the internet. There is even the Found Poetry Review, founded in 2011 by a poet who was tired of having her found poems rejected.
Recently, while researching the search queries that lead people to this site, it occurred to me that oftentimes these search terms are poetic, especially when one views many search terms at once, in a list.
And so, I put together a number of found poems, using only the search queries provided to me by Google Search Console, only the search terms that lead people to this blog (according to Google) in the last 90 days. Enjoy:
Haiku about the meaning of the song “Renegades”
spielbergs and kubricks
renegades lyrics meaning
spielberg’s and kubrick’s
There is perhaps no narrative referenced more in today’s pop culture than that of Batman. It makes sense: Batman is omnipresent. He first appeared in 1939, and has subsequently been in eight live action films, two live action television shows, countless animated films and television series, and thousands of comic books. The ninth and tenth live action films to feature Batman (and, of course, Bruce Wayne) are both to be released in 2016.
Metaphors are how we talk about things in America. We seek something we already know from history or literature or film and we apply it to what we see today. At the moment, we have a political candidate whose ego and campaign results in comparisons ranging from homegrown Americans like Andrew Jackson and George Wallace to contemporary European buffoons like Silvio Berlusconi. And, of course, Adolf Hitler.
When a narrative has become as firmly cemented in American experience as Batman, it’s no surprise that it’s a common and convenient place to turn when seeking metaphors for our current political atmosphere. Parallels have been drawn repeatedly between candidate Donald Trump and the cast of rogues and anti-heroes in Batman’s Gotham City. In August of 2015, Trump proclaimed himself Batman. A month earlier, The Economist had described Trump as resembling Heath Ledger’s the Joker in The Dark Knight, a metaphor found in various places and explored further on this blog. Recently, comparisons have bubbled up across the internet comparing Trump to The Penguin, often accompanied by the hashtag #MakeGothamGreatAgain.
But who is Donald Trump? Does he resemble his fellow billionaire Bruce Wayne, or one of Batman’s malevolent foes? Is he one of the few heroes or the many villains that populate the fictional Gotham City? Is he the hero we deserve? The one we need?
Or is he our reckoning?
Let’s investigate, beginning with one of the most common comparisons I’ve seen since the beginning of Trump’s campaign: The Penguin.
“The liberation of Gotham has begun!” – The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992)
Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot first appeared in issue #58 of Detective Comics, in which he hid a shotgun in his umbrella and pulled off a number of heists, initially unsuspected because of his bizarre appearance. Since then, he’s been portrayed by the cackling Burgess Meredith in the campy television series and film of the 1960s, by Danny DeVito in Tim Burton’s bizarre Batman Returns, and by Robin Lord Taylor in today’s Gotham television show.
Each interpretation of the Penguin is slightly different, but some key elements are universal throughout his depictions.
The Penguin and Trump are both conventionally unattractive, with their appearance being a source for easy jokes.
The song “Trumpets,” by Jason Derulo, has been around for a while now, but I can’t help but think about the strange questions it asks of its audience, every time one hears it. It’s the tale of a first person narrator and a second person, the beloved, a female companion of the love-struck narrator who he has already wooed and is now in the process of praising.
But instead of simply being a Petrarchan catalogue of all the things he loves and admires about his beautiful beloved, it is instead a description of the things that Jason thinks about and hears when spending time with her. Not only that, but he tells us about the things he hears and imagines and about which he thinks through a series of questions, each beginning with is it weird…
Which requires an answer.
And that answer is yes: yes, Jason, a lot of what you are saying in this song is pretty weird.
So let’s take a look at the questions you are asking, whether or not the answer is yes, and why. If you aren’t familiar with the song, here you go:
But first, what do we know before the questions begin? We know that a) he often sees her get undressed b) when he sees her get undressed, he hears symphonies in his head c) he wrote this song while looking at her, although it’s not clear if she was dressed or undressed when he wrote it. (Note: all of Jason’s dialogue is actual lyrics from the song.)