Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Friday, October 11, 2013

Beggaring the Question

 Earl the Squirrel's Rule #58
     Many people seem to think that "begging the question" means "raising the question".  In fact, it refers to "basing a conclusion on an assumption that is as much in need of proof or demonstration as the conclusion itself."  It's like declaring that the presence of unicorns proves that they exist.

    Say, what?

    In discussing poetry, we often encounter the opposite:  the elimination of the only sensible answer in the phrasing of the question.  It's like asking:  "Other than 4, what is the sum of 2 + 2?"

    For example, in "The Missing Music in Today's Poetry" Arthur Krystal wonders implicitly where the music is in contemporary [arhythmic prose¹] poetry.  The progression from the quantified patterns of verse through the unquauntified ones of free verse to the unpatterned status quo has been a choreographed flight from musicality.  Now we wonder where the tune has gone?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #70

    Here is an even more fundamental case of beggaring the question:

    "How can we tell if a poem is any good without an audience²?"

     Prosodists like to bring up aesthetics from a time when poetry did have fans.  Obviously, that is cheating.  What part of "without an audience" do they not understand?

      On the plus side, the lack of listeners or readers is a boon to poet wannabes.

     "Who is to say my work isn't as good as anyone else's?"

      Who, indeed.

    See "tree falling in the forest."

    See "Pyrrhic Victory".


¹ - Forgive the redundancies here.

² - Let alone an informed audience.

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