home search forums groups articles video chat polls blogs help
19 Members Online | 11944 members total
Browse Members

years to

years old



New Members

46 year old male
Friday Harbor, WA (US)
With Wind In My
Wings Mt Spirit
Is Free I Am
Eagle Is Me

25 year old female


Browse the Archives in Topic:

containing search words:

Submit an Article | Bookmarked Articles

Viewing Articles About All - Page 1

The 2014 Grammys - A Postmortem
June 6, 2014, 8:12AM

by: citiZEN

I didn't watch the Grammys. I meant to, but I was busy with other things, like watching Sonic Youth’s Corporate Ghost video retrospective. I suppose I could download a torrent and watch it now, but it would be akin to watching football on Monday - pointless.

Besides, in retrospect, I’m glad I didn't watch the Grammys. If I had, I would have been compelled to throw a fuckin' brick through my TV. Judging from the tally of that spectacle, it would hardly seem worth the release, but I’m sure it would've felt damn good nonetheless.

Now I am not going to go through all the categories. I don't claim to know, or care to know, why whoever won "Best Latin Performance in a GAP Commercial" was so richly deserving or not so. However, I do have a few points-of-contention that, in my current state-of mind, seem destined for the blogosphere.

Black Sabbath won for best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for "God Is Dead". Black Sabbath? Who gives a flying fuck about Black Sabbath anymore? Who has given a flying-beheaded-bat-fuck about Black Sabbath in the last quarter century? I had to stop, right in the middle of the paragraph I’m writing, to see if the track that garnered the recognition is even any good.

Wait for it...

[One-time-through review]

A couple of decent riffs, a couple of nod-to-slayer diminished 5ths, with geopolitical innuendo and a liberal emphasis on the legacy of the band itself, through old clips of the band from somewhere around the Cro-Magnon era. Lukewarm and unremarkable, as I suspected it would be. They were "thrown a bone" as it were, to keep from having to actually find a metal artist worthy to bestow the honor upon. It was easier than doing their fuckin' job. It says as much about the state of metal these days as it does about the Grammys themselves, but whatever. Fuck it. I quit caring about metal after Pantera anyway. Vinnie Paul deserves a Grammy every year of his life for having the balls and the spirit to get back onstage after what he has been through. Long Live Pantera.

Trust me, I could've did the same thing for Led Zeppelin’s "Celebration Day" travesty, but, like I said, I just don't care.

And another thing: What is with the idea of lumping Hard Rock and Metal into one category? Are they so ignorant about the differences, the subtle nuances, between the two that they can't even tell the difference? I don't think so, though it wouldn't surprise me much. Look at all the sub-genres of pop that are considered: pop solo performance, pop vocal album, pop/duo group performance, traditional pop vocal album, and even Latin pop album. It’s the same with Rap and, to a lesser extent, R&B. Of course, all-encompassing awards like the "big ones" i.e. Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and so forth can be won by pop artists, as well by rap, and maybe even R&B acts if the conditions are right, but seldom, if ever, by artists that are truly breaking new ground. They certainly have no trouble distinguishing between those genres and sub-genres.

It’s more likely that the powers-that-be simply don't care about the differences...at all. I think it's a rather cynical way of getting the guitar-based genres, especially on the "heavier" end of things out of the way, so they can allot their television time to the people they intend to shove down our fucking throats, like castor oil, in the coming year - which brings me to Lorde.

I can almost feel the hate festering up from the pits of the hipster intelligentsia, but hear me out. In the past few weeks, through my constant presence on the internet (and who isn't a constant presence these days?) I have seen a lot of press devoted to the dark-haired girl. I didn't pay much attention really, though I did read a few small articles here and there. Looking back, however, I did notice a general motif in every one of them: "up-and-coming" "innovative" "vibrant" and of course "young". Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing bad to say about her personally, or her work as an artist. As I think I have made clear, I don't know anything about her yet. If you gave me a mix-disc with some of her best stuff (unbeknownst to me) and without the idea of a questionable designation clouding my judgment, I might even like it. But a Grammy? At seventeen no less? I’m sorry, but I can't get behind that. You know what? I’m not sorry.

Maybe she is good, or even great. I have no idea, but is she so head-and-shoulders above her competition, as a teenager, that she merits the colossal boost to her exposure that winning a Grammy affords her? I seriously doubt it, and this is the main problem with the Grammys, as I see it: It is not so much a recognition, by the recording industry, of magnificent talent coupled with impeccable work - it is simply a platform for media darlings, and maybe it always was.

I think the Grammys have likely always been infected with this sort of politics; the kind of politics that, in my younger days, I foolishly thought music was immune to somehow. Does anyone remember 1989? The year that Jethro Tull won best Hard Rock/Metal Performance over Metallica? I do. I remember it well. I remember the distinct urge to kick a hole right through by brother's TV set. Jethro Tull deserved that Grammy about as much as I did, but the recording industry wasn't ready to recognize Metallica for their achievement: an album that went triple, yes, triple platinum with virtually no airplay. I guess they just hadn't kissed enough industry-ass yet. I think it's safe to say that they have more than made up for that oversight.

The irony of all this is that winning a Grammy so early in your career could actually hurt an artist like Lorde. Think of the pressures, that will surely come, to somehow top her Grammy-winning work. This kind of early, really early, recognition can also have a demotivating impact on an artist - as it does in other arenas of professional life. I just hope she has enough worldliness to realize that the industry is trying to do what it always does, and that is to take a talented, yet accessible, artist and jam them through the maul of the million-dollar-pop-machine. They are trying to exploit her popularity and, if necessary, even her integrity for their own ends. She needs the right people around her.

The overall point I am making is that the Grammys shouldn't be taken seriously as an awards show. It reminds me of a battle-of-the-bands I was a part of in 2003. We came in 5th, our friends came in 6th, and 1st prize (which was studio time) was won by the band whose manager was one of the judges. That’s pretty much all you really need to know about the Grammy awards - a place where pre-selected winners go to get their "push" headlong into the pop-fray. And while I’m at it...

...Album of the Year? ...Like Clockwork.

topic: Current Events

[reply] [2 comments]

Site Slowness
June 3, 2014, 3:12PM

by: eon

Sorry about the recent issues with lag. I've been away and only just noticed this today. Turns out that one of the hard drives on the RAID was faulting and causing the system to hang intermittently.

The first drive has been replaced and the data is currently in the process of replicating. After this happens, the second drive will also be replaced, and then we should be back in business.

As of now, I'm seeing a lot less lag.

Update: The second drive has been replaced and data replication will shortly complete. All appears to have returned to normal.

topic: Site News

[reply] [6 comments]

New Front Page Tab and a Bug Fix
October 25, 2013, 7:55PM

by: eon

I've added a new "latest" tab to the front page that will show the 10 most recently uploaded pictures to member photo galleries. Nothing much to it, just click the tab to see the pictures. If you click a thumbnail from there, you'll navigate to the full size version in the member's gallery.

In addition, I fixed a fairly annoying bug that was causing pages with lots of inline images to load slowly. (In some cases, very slowly.) This issue affected forum posts, profile pages, comments, etc. In any case where an embedded image appeared that was hosted on another website, there might be a delay in loading the page--the more pictures, the longer the delay.

A server-side caching solution has been used to fix the problem, so the delay should now only occur for the first person to view the image (presumably, the person who posts the image), or when the image has been expired from the cache. Currently, the cache expiration is set to around 12 days.

This is necessary for the automatic picture re-sizing / linking feature to work properly.


Enjoy . . .

topic: Site News

[reply] [9 comments]

Cyber-bullying and Suicide.
August 22, 2013, 11:43PM

by: Sigh

I'm not entirely sure how to start this ... But I wanted to write, particularly about the value of life. So that's what I am doing.
See, I recently lost a friend to suicide. And I wasn't even aware of it, until last night. I thought it strange I hadn't heard from her, but sometimes that happens, so I didn't look too deeply into it. But last night, a family member of her's finally messaged me on Facebook and told me what happened ...
She was a victim of cyberbullying, and eventually, being bullied in school. And, in my own opinion, and I'm sure many others, bullying is wrong, in any way, shape, or form. It just is not nice. And I've recently heard a lot about cyber bullying. It seems to be a pretty popular thing to do. But why? It's mean. Why would anyone want to bully someone around?
Maybe some people find it enjoyable, or funny... I don't know. But I don't think it's funny. It causes real harm, emotionally and mentally. And often times, even physically. I, personally, am for the preservation of life. Suicide is harmful, of course to the person committing it, but also the family of the person, the friends, the community ... It hurts a lot of people. It's hurt me, time and time again. And I'm sick of it.
I volunteer at a battered women's shelter. I get to guest-speak at DWI / Narcotics abuse classes. I am there for anyone who ever really needs me to be there. Because nothing is worth losing your life over. Nothing is worth suicide. I would very likely commit murder before I would consider suicide. But when I hear that a friend of mine has committed suicide ... it makes me question everything. Is it worth trying to help people? Is anything I'm doing making a difference? And I still don't really know the answer ... but I can't stop trying. And you shouldn't stop trying either.
Go out, change someone's life. Be kind to people. Hug your friend if they look upset, if they say they're fine or not. Ask how they're doing. Let them know you're there for them. Talk to them. Be there for them. LOVE THEM.
Because life is precious. And life is hard. Life is beautiful, and painful. It's disastrous and terrifying, and it is also miraculous. And a bad day, a bad month, a bad year ... it happens. But it can all change for the better. And you can help someone change those bad times, and if you are doing better than them, then you should feel obligated to do so.
That's just my opinion ... I'm just tired of losing people. It's never worth it.
That's all I have to say ... thank you for your time.

topic: Life

[reply] [39 comments]

Ten More Minutes (A Philosophy on Life)
June 16, 2013, 3:45AM

by: Sigh

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about life. And bigger pictures. Grander schemes. Nothing religious, or spiritual. Just things beyond my perspective, beyond my understanding. But thanks to advancements in science, we come closer to understanding the universe. Our universe. Our existence, and our lives. And the closer we come to understanding it, or at least believing we understand it, we also come to understand that there is so much that we will never possibly be able to understand.

But we're trying. And the more we understand, the more I see that we are learning to act based on rationality, and logic, and what we understand to be facts or factual information. And I see the advantage in this, as I'm sure many of us do. Faith has its place in the world, and even inside of us, but we evolved to be able to think about things. To answer questions, and then question those same answers. And it feels like in this day and age, as I'm sure it has always felt in every day and age, that things are rapidly progressing and evolving. Did you know we can copy genetic memories to a USB drive??? How insane is that? I have this theory on how our genetic coding and binary code is so similar, it could practically be the same thing ...

But I digress. I've been thinking about life. And life is fickle. And rapidly changing. And that brings me to a particular philosophy that I think everyone should go by, and that is a very simple philosophy. Everyone should have at least three goals in life, and one of those three goals should always be to live for ten more minutes. 'Why ten minutes?', you might ask. Because death is imminent. Death is inevitable. For you. For me. For all of us. I'm sure many of you reading this have had a near death experience or two, just as I have. And probably several that were so close, we never even knew it was a risk ... So ten minutes, can be the most precious moment you could ever experience.

Consider this: You are walking down the street. An accident happens. A car swerves, and unintentionally hits you. You're going to die. You know this. Now, if death granted you a review of the last ten minutes of your life ... you could relive it -- breathe the air, see everything around you, smell every odor, even taste it on your tongue, hear every sound, every honking car, every person's laughter, and feel everything, everything you would never feel again ... But you could not *change* those last moments ... Would not those last ten minutes be the most precious of your entire existence? Every thought you could think, that you could not think again. Every memory, that you would never have another chance to remember fondly, or with bitterness and contempt, or sadness and nostalgia ... Would those not be the most valued and precious minutes of your life? Could you ever possibly appreciate them as much as you do, in the last ten minutes of your life?

And so everyone's goal should be to live for ten more minutes. Because life is fickle. Life is fragile. Enjoy it while you have it, because who knows when your next ten minutes, will be your last ten minutes?

topic: Philosophy

[reply] [16 comments]

A few small updates.
March 29, 2013, 4:33PM

by: eon

I made a few small updates and bug fixes today:

1. Inline image re-sizing. If you post an image that is wider than 800 pixels, the image will automatically be re-sized to a width of 800 pixels. Additionally, the image will link to the original so that it will be easy for anyone to click it and view it in full size. This applies to images posted in profile comments, forum posts, article comments, and almost anywhere else on the site.

2. YouTube stuff. Just a small update and bug fix here. You can now use the [tube] tag with the new "youtu.be" type addresses to link to videos. A bug was also fixed with embedded YouTube videos which caused some of the controls not to work properly.

As always,


topic: Site News

[reply] [4 comments]

The New Document
March 13, 2013, 2:54PM

by: Springheel.is.dead

There has never been anything like the internet. Not since the formation of the Silk Road has the free exchange of information between different cultures become so available, yet the onset of the digital age far surpasses it in magnitude. The world is simply a more populous place than it was, and to offer the entirety of humans the opportunity to participate in a greater world culture is a miraculous and complicated thing. It implies change in all facets of world culture: the economy, entertainment, correspondence, publication, and language.
People use the internet for lots of reasons, but it is clear that the average user wants to enjoy themselves by pursuing knowledge and experience regarding their private interests. It is the nature of entertainment to provide abstract insights into the human experience, and people who are entertaining themselves are not only seeking to understand life, but also to understand entertainment. Entertainment is comprised of common points of reason and emotional appeal. It is a person’s viewpoint applying to many, and so in seeking the human experience, humans seek to understand one-another.
To understand one-another, we must speak the same language. More than fifty percent of the internet is written in English, and has been for some time. There is an implied change in this trend, but so far the internet has developed as an English place, and so participants would need to read English.
There are many defendants of the purity of language, to the degree that certain invasive or viral words will be redefined as another word more suited to the context of the language. However, the evolution of language is an inexorable fact. As societies mix, we naturally seek to understand one-another. Sometimes the response to this is a hostile insistence on one’s own lingual point of view, but it seems that the trend of language is to change, and so those opposed to its diversity must be a minority.
The effect of this has been a necessary reduction of complicated discourse in the past, and so it is in the interest of preserving the integrity of elevated language that these proponents of lingual isolationism perhaps act. Ironically, these objections to mixing language are born from a desire to better understand one-another. In preserving the elevated functions of language by keeping the waters clear of multi-cultural discursive mud, the ability to speak and understand one-another about more abstract or academic ideas becomes cemented into an isolated culture. This presumably comes at the cost of alienating other cultural viewpoints, and so the quest for knowledge seems incomplete at either end.
“…meeting places for community and university values, language, and knowledge to become mutually informative and sustaining, places where greater numbers of people have a say in how knowledge is made, places where area residents, students, and faculty explore works of art, literature, and film to find ways in which these works still resonate with meaning and inform everyday lived struggles.”
The Public Intellectual, Service Learning, and Activist Research
Ellen Cushman
PG 810
Document page 819

This passage, taken from Ellen Cushman’s article in Cross-Talk in Comp Theory, describes the aims of service-learning, where a student is made to become part of a greater community in order to learn from that community’s goal-related perspective. She talks about bringing the intellectual world down from the ivory tower to find a common audience with non-academic people. This article was written in 1999, so she may not have realized that her intended results are achieved by the internet, for the first step down from the ivory tower is one that finds common language. Many websites publish in multiple languages. There is a decidedly interested exchange of media between the two biggest web cultures: the east (China) and the west (United States). We watch each other’s movies, listen to each other’s music. We want to understand one-another, but that one frustrating barrier remains: language.
The obvious answer to this is for a service to translate the web. All of it. We could reach each other in forums, share our lives through pictures and video, navigate all the websites, and generally become an absolute melting pot of all available world culture. The threat of altered language would no longer be from bilingual expressions. However, many documents would come to resemble a certain mode of discourse which comes from direct translation. Those wary of losing an international audience may necessarily have to simplify their language in order to be translated with absolute success. Academic writing in the new international context once again contradicts itself; with a desire to be complete and complex in execution tempered by the want to be heard.
In the world outside academic writing, the average internet document is changing the most. The document is malleable. There is never a finished product. It can be edited at any time, updated, or otherwise changed, sometimes by many different users in a collaborative effort. The most direct expression of this is seen in articles which are literally a collaboration. They have multiple authors and can be accessed and updated by anyone. Wikipedia is a good example of this, as are google documents. Articles without explicit collaboration seem collaborative as well in that they make more available their citations in the form of hyperlinks, which perforate the work and perhaps draw the interested internet user away from the work source to chase a series of links in their pursuit of knowledge. Furthermore, collaboration occurs when commentary on the article is an available option. Comments can range from simple sentences to full-on articles in response. Authorship becomes less authoritative and more subjective. The readers are the author as much as the author is, and it is unclear who we should listen to. Mostly, authority is granted to whomever sounds convincing, and so it is assumed that this is a product of proper grammar and intelligibility. In short: we acknowledge intellectual authority based on not only a convincing use of language, but also a relatable use of language. If the reading is too dense, it is likely someone else has written it more simply, and may even be credited with a link in the article. This also may take the form of a comment in the article, which allows a user faced with acquiring the most efficient source of information another avenue through the work, circumventing the intended path set by its original author. Water takes the course of least resistance, and, with a world of information to choose from, so does the user of the internet. There is clearly a change in the way that we of the digital age acquire knowledge.
“…students learn well by reading and writing with each other, responding to each other’s drafts, negotiating revisions, discussing ideas, sharing perspectives, and finding some level of trust as collaborators in their mutual development.”
Distant Voices Teaching and Writing in a Culture of Technology
Chris M. Anson
PG 788
Document page 797
Those participating in internet discourse are always collaborators, and so we are always placing our trust in that academic-sounding voice to guide our learning. Oftentimes, that voice is each other, and so we teach as we learn, offering a variety of perspectives and sources. This cloud of information is a haze in which much reading can become lost. As the user follows one link to the next, what they are reading is truncated by an attention span assaulted by a myriad of distractions. Not only is online interaction beset by life’s normal spectrum of diversion, but also things published in the document, such as advertisements, hyperlinks to other articles, and the supplementary commentary, which may be accessed first to gage the worth of the piece and its worthiness in the face of valuable and distracted time. A wary web article must consider this in addition to its international applicability, and so seeks to be brief and elegant in the points it makes. If one seeks to be a popular source, that source must be to the point enough as to represent absolute knowledge as readily available as possible. Indeed, much of the web’s knowledge-seeking behavior occurs when something is brought up in casual discourse and those participating in the collaborative learning event wish to discover the truth behind their speculation. Such a thing commonly occurs on a mobile internet-accessible device of some kind, and so brevity becomes not only desirable, but explicit, if a source is to be considered. As these knowledge absolutes, such as the kind provided in question and answer type forums, become more prevalent, the result is a reduction of discussion in general. Instead of seeking to find a reasonable truth by talking about it, the answer can simply become available. The quest for knowledge once again truncates itself, becoming ironically as brief as it is expansive and expandable.
“We’re already practicing brevity constantly. Twitter maxes out at 140 characters, Facebook statuses max out at 420 and wall posts stop at 1,000. Hashtags encourage #smushingtogethershortsearchablewords and most texting services have a character limit, too.”
Within all these paradoxes and self-contradictions, the new digital document gestates. Its real face lies in the whim of the masses, where it is continually being redefined, revised, and collaborated on. If what is popular in web documents now becomes more popular, the normative practice of writing an article will change considerably. For one, all documents will be web documents. Newsprint is on its way out. In 1999, Chris M. Anson predicted that the new newspaper will be downloaded onto a tablet, where the reader can enjoy a multimedia experience. We are not so far off from that now. Digital versions of much reading, from comic books to textbooks, are available and thriving. With this adaptation to web-living, the nature of the text is necessarily subject to the limitations (and simultaneous limitlessness) of all web documents, and so will come to resemble them more and more. The concept of necessary brevity will become a prevalent one, so much so that an article may only resemble a fraction of an article, with the option to expand by linking to another article, or engaging in the discussion that the article generates. An article will go beyond text, incorporating mixed media to grasp in hand firmly the attention span of its viewer. It will become almost a plea to listen, hashtagged somewhere in the white noise of countless voices trying to tell, sell or entertain a user. With so much to know, the only things worth knowing will be things known quickly, all in order to seek the next bit of knowledge. An article may then need to be broken into segments, with relevant headlines existing as a thesis statement, and just enough supplemental information to entice interest in the next link. The internet user wants to navigate knowledge on their own terms, and so seeks to find information from a variety of sources, even while looking for the one that reinforces or informs them absolutely. The internet user wants two very different things, then: to find reasonable truths stated explicitly, but also to find them themselves. The internet user makes the information their own when they learn to formulate the questions they want to ask in a way that the internet will respond to. Finding the right search engine terminology is essentially the act of discovering knowledge for an internet user, and so in seeking to learn what the internet has to teach us, we learn the language of the internet. Articles which exhibit phrasing common to search terms will be most often read and so most often referenced, and the kind of discourse they exhibit will inform future article writers. As aforementioned, this language will become most common because of translation and general elegance and brevity, and will be the next transformative step in the advancement of English as a language in the information age.
The most explicit example of the evolution of English in the world wide web is perhaps the onset of internet slang. Internet phrasing is so prevalent a lingual phenomenon as to find use in our spoken dialect. Anagrams allow us to represent emotional states, ideas and interjections in a readily-definable and overall elegant way. It is a movement defined by one over-arching principle, which governs the change of the article as well as the change in language it implies: We all want to understand one-another as quickly and easily as possible. If the result of the multi-cultural internet phenomenon is not to adopt foreign words and phrasing, it is at least to create a language as foreign as any and intersperse it into English, which is encouraged in many ways to become more simplified as a whole. The irony lies in the fact that becoming a generally more knowledge-seeking people seems to result in a depreciation of our ability to explain said knowledge. It could be said to cheapen the experience. Where people would previously sit down to a whole knowledge meal, there is now the availability of knowledge fast food. Quick and easy may be the American way, and the internet, which is an American construct, is coming more and more to resemble that ideal. Indeed, the most popular articles are usually ones featuring a list of some kind. The ‘top ten’ something or other is a commonly circulated internet archetype. It is easy to see how this caters to a deficit attention, and provides the type of easy knowledge statements that are valued by the typical internet user.
The academic up side of this is that there is simply more information to consume. While it may be more difficult to discern the type of article an academic would be interested in reading from the countless many available in the average internet experience, there will always be academic journals intent on publishing knowledge the old way, for an audience that can appreciate it. These will perhaps serve as resources for those dedicated to reforming knowledge for the new internet audience, but they will never be as popular as a short article in simple, clear language, perhaps featuring a cute video with a cat in it.

topic: Essays

[reply] [0 comments]

Keeping: How Treasure Makes Monsters
March 2, 2013, 3:18AM

by: Springheel.is.dead

In the early years of the 1600’s, north England and Scotland were host to monsters. The mutant tribe of Sawney Bean “lived exclusively from robbery - and from cannibalistic murder.”(Thomas) They were a family raised on a foundation of murder; acts so atrocious that they led to the manhunt and eventual public castration and execution of the whole clan. These activities were hallmarked by an attitude towards material wealth that has often been a sign of monster-dom in even the earliest instances of literature. “…the soldiers found piles of money, possessions and clothes, taken from the Beans ' many victims.” (Thomas) In addition to being murderers and cannibals, the Beans were also hoarders, a condition as indicative of their evil as taking human life. This attitude can be attributed to similar monsters; those found in the epic Beowulf. While the unprovoked murderous intent of these two monsters clearly separates them from the ranks of civilized men, their description could not be complete without their hoarding of material wealth. Indeed, it is precisely this attribute that preliminarily identifies them as monsters, and gave cause for writing them as such.
To examine this necessary treatment of treasure, one should note the way that the distribution of wealth is regarded in that time. In many instances of early literature, the craftsmanship of goods, especially those made of gold, is something truly to be revered. From the annals of old Troy to Beowulf, it is not uncommon for an author to wax poetic about the gilded details of a warrior’s armor, or the lustrous sphere of their shield. It is not only the admiration of these things that distinguishes the actions of men as opposed to monsters, but the way they are handled. Kings and feudal lords, especially in medieval Scandinavia, were characterized as giving treasure to their subjects. “…he would share everything with young and old that God had given him.” (Luizza, L. 72) is said of Hrothgar. “…he gave out rings, treasure at table.” (Luizza, L. 82) This practice was so prevalent that kings were called ‘ring givers’. One can see the way that this may make a warrior into a king. Not only does it seem to trade wealth for loyalty, but sets a standard for the way that gold should be treated, and the way that it can translate into camaraderie.
Set very much in contrast to this is the attitude of the monsters towards their treasure. “…he [Grendel] saw no need to salute the throne, he scorned the treasures; he did not know their love.” (Luizza, L. 168-169) In this way, Grendel rejects not only treasure, which he has mounds of back in his lair, but also the social system built upon that treasure. It is in this light that Grendel is absolutely distinguished as being a monster. While from monstrous lineage and bathed in the blood of thirty dead thanes, it is not until he rejects wealth that he is fully alienated from the social world and made a true pariah. In many ways, the Beowulf poem seems to desire to draw parallels between lordship and the moral good intended by Christianity, and so there is something distinctly anti-Christ about hoarding within the context of the poem. There is a clear distinction between “…distributed treasure and unused treasure, for the former seems to be a metonymy for lordship and the Christian ideal, while the latter seems to be a perversion of them both.” (Marshall)
This ‘perversion’ is further reinforced by the actions of the dragon, who sits on an enormous treasure horde not his own. While Grendel perhaps took his treasures from his many encounters with the world of men, the dragon sits apart from it entirely, and took for himself a cave full of treasure belonging to a once-prosperous nation-state. This is perhaps even more grievous, for while Grendel seems to have ‘earned’ his horde in a sense, the dragon has just come upon his, and has no real relation to it. Unlike Grendel, he desires his treasure, noticing when even some of it comes up missing. We can see a point of contrast here between Beowulf’s earlier dealings with monsters and their wealth. While he left the hoard of Grendel, Beowulf desires the dragon’s treasure, even unto giving up his life for it. There are many reasons purported for this. Marshall notes that “given the recent destruction of his entire kingdom by the dragon, it necessarily follows that Beowulf now has virtually nothing left to dispense.” (Marshall) This makes sense, considering the attitudes towards treasure-giving being a function of a lord, but there is another nuance worth discussing: The dragon’s wealth has a known history, one which ends in the death of an entire people. The dragon’s horde is the remnants of their economy. It has not been removed forcibly from circulation by the murderous hand of an anti-Christian beast, but abandoned in perhaps the only acceptable way: a natural termination of the treasure-giving system that represents order and right in the Scandinavian world. The gold, while made unavailable by a hoarding monster, is still ready to flow through the veins of the economy once more. It was amassed there by men, not monsters, and is earmarked for use by men.
It is clear that the function of distributing treasure is an important one in Beowulf. One can understand how it shapes the economic whole of the medieval Scandinavian world. This was in a place when people mostly farmed or subsisted on trade and the lifeblood of their own day’s efforts. The warrior class was made to live on plunder and the generosity of their lord. Without a person to give them treasure, the warrior’s life would be impossible. In the closing action of the poem, Wiglaf exhibits precisely this principle when he says “-he gave us these rings- that we would pay him back for this battle-gear, these helmets and hard swords.” (Luizza, L. 2635-2637) The tools of a warrior’s trade are counted among the treasure he is allowed, and they become a material symbol for the obligation one has to their lord. Because war and the men who participate in it are often romanticized, their interests were popularized as well, and so the listening populace would appreciate treasure much the same. People would enjoy these songs about violence, and so enjoy the treasure that brought it to them. Treasure was popular. It looks nice, and men paid by treasure and gratuity were their only protection against barbarian hordes and other ‘monsters’. Treasure was the most coveted representation of ‘work’ that existed, and so the exchange of it and the receiving of it was a big thing; perhaps the pinnacle of social interaction.
By contrast, it is clear that the hoarding of treasure is a decidedly anti-social statement. It makes a thing into a monster not only by being in opposition to the social order, but, especially in the dragon’s case, by being in opposition to a lord. To dispense with the dragon and gain the treasure, one is gaining an increase in lordliness as well. Beowulf was able to save his people from a treasure-less life of abject poverty at the end, acting not on avarice, but on the desire to further his people, and prove himself a worthy ring-giver. “…it is important to notice that Beowulf is only gratified because he was able to acquire the treasures for his men.” (Marshall) The epic hero is set against a monster not only because the monster exists in opposition to the concepts that structure his kingliness, but also because he keeps for himself the things that allow a man to be a king; the very fuel for the fires of lordship.
It seems our heroes and monsters are fated to always be opposed. The monsters represent the cease of social commerce; of keeping when we should be sharing, and keeping to ourselves when we should be working together. The heroes are the collective voice of the people, representing the bonds between men, and how they can be made stronger. It is unclear why Beowulf would be uninterested in the wealth of Grendel but later trade his life for it at the hands of the dragon. Perhaps if he were a lord with a responsibility to pay his men at that earlier time in his life, he would have chosen differently.

Works Cited

Bammesberger, Alfred. "Who Advised Beowulf to Challenge Grendel?" ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews. Routledge, 31 Oct. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2012.

Thomas, Sean. "Monster of the Glen." News Bank. Daily Mail, 5 Apr. 2006. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

Marshall, Joseph E. "Goldgyfan or Goldwlance: A Christian Apology for Beowulf and Treasure." Studies in Philology. University of North Carolina Press, 2010. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.

Liuzza, RM. "Beowulf." The Medieval Period. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 2009. 47-91. Print.

topic: Essays

[reply] [1 comment]

Universal BBCode and other things.
March 1, 2013, 7:13PM

by: eon

You will now notice that BBCode works in most all areas of the site. This includes forums, groups, profile comments, as well as article, poll, and blog comments. Not sure what BBCode is? Check it out here. Basically, it's a quick and easy way to add links, videos, and other things to your posts.

In addition to the aforementioned areas, BBCode will also work on profile pages. That is, in the About Me / Likes / Dislikes / etc. sections of your profile. Some other changes have been made to the way the sections of your profile are displayed. Here are the two most important items:

1. Spacing is now handled automatically. This means it is no longer necessary to place <BR> tags to add spaces within your profile sections. If you have previously done so, you may notice some extra space on your profile--you can fix this by removing any tags which add extra space.

2. Profile sections are now checked for bad HTML, and some mistakes will be automatically corrected. If you notice that your profile now displays a little differently, you might need to compare the source code being displayed vs. the code you have entered in your control panel to see what was fixed. Most importantly, make sure you're closing all tags you open within each section of your profile. I don't think this will be a huge deal for most people.

Another small change is that it's no longer necessary to use any special code to post a link. In any of the above mentioned areas, if you post something stating with "http://", it will automatically be turned into a clickable link.

Let me know if you encounter any bugs and...


topic: Site News

[reply] [13 comments]

Forgotten Passwords
February 1, 2013, 8:32PM

by: eon

It seems that many people who re-activated their accounts have forgotten their new randomly assigned password. I'm not quite sure why so many people deleted their re-activation email (which conveniently displayed the new password) or didn't decide to change their password to something more familiar (possible if you go to Control Panel -> Manage Account), but I have restored the function of the "Forgotten Password" page for those of you with this trouble.

Please click here if you have forgotten your password.

The "Forgotten Password" page will now allow anyone who has already re-activated their account--or who created their account on or after January 14th, 2013--to reset their password.

Let me know if you encounter any difficulty!

topic: Site News

[reply] [8 comments]

pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 next