Thursday, April 16, 2009 34 Comments


In the dream, I was in my twenties,
In the old shared house on Shotwell,
And some of us had somehow decided
That we should clear the furniture

Out of the living-room once a week,
And host a series of underground
Live-blade kendo bouts. Apparently
This was quite the scene. Tickets

Were a cold hundred; the video
Pure money on the Internet. Or
So we heard. It was our first.
Hipsters lined up on the porch,

Glued three-deep in the corners.
The fighters came by motorbike,
In Aerostich suits, blue and red,
Full-face helmets, black visors,

And naked swords in their hands.
Without a word they entered, faced,
And began to fight. Blue charged
Red and slashed at his leg. Red

Batted the blow away, whipped his
Sword around, and slid it through
Blue's shoulder at the collarbone.
Blue collapsed. Blood was all over.

One of the hipster girls screamed.
The thread of the dream snapped.
Red dropped his sword and ran out.
The audience followed. One guest

Called 911; two others held
The bleeding man; the rest
Vanished, including of course
My housemates. I threw up, then

Slumped on the baseboard, staring
At the terrible blood, realizing
Everything in my life was ruined.
But at least I was in my twenties.


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April 16, 2009 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger Neutrino Cannon said...

Goddamn, those spam bots are fast.

April 16, 2009 at 5:59 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

this is getting bad.

April 16, 2009 at 6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"this is getting bad."

The poetry or the spam?

April 16, 2009 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...


Not bad -- this is the weakest of MM's poems so far. It's an a-metrical trainwreck lyrically and the subject doesn't seem to make sense with the ending. . .

Oh well. Better luck next time Menc!

April 16, 2009 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

You're supposed to use wooden swords for kendo...

April 16, 2009 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

This is actually my favorite of his poems after "Nosedive". I'm sure that it's an allegory for America or something (blue and red fighting each other), but I like it far better as it is. It's really just prose, a story, skillfully put into poetic form, and I think it works really well.

April 16, 2009 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I just read it again, and I take that back. Its better than Nosedive.

April 16, 2009 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Sandy, there's a treasure trove of narrative poetry out there.

My problem with the poem is that it doesn't sound good -- there's little to recommend it as a poem, which is unfortunate, as MM generally does a better job with prosody.

April 16, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

G. M. Palmer,

It's not that I think Mencius Moldbug has invented narrative poetry. I just think that he's using the technique pretty well, or at least that something is working out. Which of his is your favorite?

April 16, 2009 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...



April 16, 2009 at 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess even here I'm in the minority. I loved it.

Someone decided that blue versus red fights to the death would be a fun spectacle but the problem is that matches with naked blades end in bloodshed or not at all. Maybe someone could have thought that that would be a problem and come up with a way of running a government without having scheduled to the death fights for everyone's amusement.

Even the hipsters were horrified when the blood started to flow.

-Steve Johnson

April 16, 2009 at 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Radioman said...

Mencius Moldbug = Jew vermin

April 16, 2009 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Black Sea said...

"In the dream, I was in my twenties"

Most of us can fill in the blanks from there.

April 16, 2009 at 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its an ode to youth and its possibilities. good or bad.

April 17, 2009 at 1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its an indictment of the red/blue political scheme; specifically red impotence/cowardice. False wounds, fake outrage, and pageantry. Cant wait for the gods of the copybook.

April 17, 2009 at 1:37 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Yeah but Red v Blue also brings to mind Halo, esp with the fighting & game & interweb aspect. . .

April 17, 2009 at 4:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life sorta imitates MM's poem:

Documents: Fatal sword fight fueled by booze

The sword fight that killed an Indianapolis grandmother trying to intervene has claimed a second victim.

The Indianapolis Star says court documents claim Christopher Rondeau and his uncle drank beer, and the uncle allegedly drank other alcoholic beverages, before they began fighting with a Japanese-style sword and Samurai sword.

WISH television has more details on what allegedly started the fight.

A 77-year-old woman died trying to intervene in the fight. Although he initially survived, the older man later died of injuries he sustained in the fight.

Rondeau, the surviving fighter, faces charges of murder for his uncle’s death and reckless homicide for the death of the woman, his grandmother.

April 17, 2009 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Honorius Monkeymember said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 17, 2009 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger Honorius Monkeymember said...

I do not like it. But then again I really am against some (a lot probably) of Mr. Moldbugs views on poetry.

But I like The Raven, and Mexico. Mexico especially because it seems to me that the crumbling verse he uses goes nicely with the image of the state.

(do you find that "Here placid peasants put in corn" is quite similar to "Quattrocento put in ink"?) :)

April 17, 2009 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Honorius Monkeymember said...

The comment in the brackets above wasn't meant as a criticism. We all deal in borrowed rhythms, and this is a really good borrowing.

April 17, 2009 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...


Hm. Now I'm sad Mencius doesn't visit my poetry blog.

Also, the discussion on translation was interesting. I tend to side with Mencius that the language should be alive and not, as Roth said, "alien." Though we ought to do a service to the diction & word choice of the original author, my key to translation is that it should read for us like it would have read for a speaker of the native tongue. The experience should be what's preserved.

I'd translate that line of the Aeneid something like this:

veined with gold from the glittering golden branches.

With what of MM's prosody do you take umbrage?

April 17, 2009 at 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Lawful Neutra said...

Well, this one is definitely my favorite so far. That's probably a bad sign.

April 20, 2009 at 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

G.M. Palmer - noting your mention of the difficulties of translating poetry - it has always struck me that the greatest of them is the choice between fidelity to the original's words, or fidelity to its metre and rhyme. A good translation should attempt both, but few ever achieve it.

We're already at a disadvantage when translating ancient Greek or Latin into English or any other modern European language, because their metre was quantitative, whereas ours is based on accent. The only effort of which I know to introduce quantitative metre into poetry in a modern language was Baïf's, in the sixteenth century. He was also a spelling reformer, and his poetic reforms suffered the same fate as his spelling reforms. Both seem to me to bespeak an interest bordering on crackpottery, although I suppose a little of this is tolerable if one's poetry rises to Pleïade quality.

Even when the metre and rhyme adhere to rules comparable to those of modern English - as is the case with mediæval Latin - sometimes things still don't work. As an example, consider the great Latin sequences of the Catholic liturgy, most of which were written in couplets of a jog-trot tetrameter. The only well-known poetry in English that uses this metrical and rhyming scheme successfully is "The Song of Hiawatha." Here's an effort to fit the liturgical text to it in translation, in a very free attempt at a section of the "Dies irae":

Gentle Jesus, pray remember,
That in that long-ago December,
You deigned to come amongst us wretches,
So that Satan might not fetch us,
Down to Hell's eternal burning,
From which we know there's no returning.
So we beseech you, Lord and Saviour -
Pardon, please, our bad behaviour.

It seems such doggerel as to be vaguely blasphemous. Divine service, like the libretti of Italian operas, is best left in the language in which it was originally composed.

April 21, 2009 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...


Half the problem is that English is so damn much faster than Latin.

I tend towards fidelity to the words since there's really no way the musicality of the verse is going to come through.

And though in poetry how you say something is just as important as what you say (not more, that would make it music. . .), when you're translating something has to give, and I'd rather lose a bit of the original rhythm to keep the original meaning --

Again, I want a translation to give me a feeling of what the poem would be like if it was written in the current English -- this means making a few concessions to modern language and prosody.

April 21, 2009 at 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Trollope said...

Hey Mencius, did you read this article today from the gossip site Gawker?

It's about this crazy "ultra-Calvinist Puritan" who's been acting all crazy and Puritan like. It just so totally proves your theory right about all these crazy Puritans controlling everything and making everything miserable!! I mean, it's just amazing how right you are!! This guy is totally a crazy Puritan, with a crazy Puritan name straight out of southeastern England,......"Haim Saban." He's so Puritan, that even his name sounds all wacky....I guess that's the kind of names they used back in 17th century SE England or something.....oh those wacky Puritan nuts!!

Some great quotes from the piece about how Puritan and/or crazy this guy is:

"Even in a town of bigger-than-life personalities, media mogul Haim Saban stands out — lion-like in demeanor, furiously determined and unshakably loyal to those people and causes in which he fervently believes.

Those causes: Israel, the Democratic Party and medical philanthropy — in that order. And he has a history of putting his vast fortune behind all three."

"Another way to put it is that Saban decided to buy himself a foreign policy. He has personally paid more money to politicians than any other American—$13 million since 1999, according to Portfolio—all with the avowed intent of insuring that the U.S. will support Israel no matter what Israel does. Saban told Portfolio that his grudging support of Barack Obama in the 2008 election was premised on being reassured that Obama had a "visceral commitment, as opposed to a logical or strategic one," to the Jewish state."

"He is currently an owner and chairman of Univision, the Spanish-language broadcaster."

"In 2002, Saban launched the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, an arm of the Brookings Institution, with a $13 million grant. It served as a sort of left-wing cover operation for proponents of the invasion of Iraq, employing liberal hawks like Kenneth Pollack, whose book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq was influential in bringing Democrats on board with the Bush Adminsitration's plans."

"He applies the same attitude to his political machinations. During the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, when it looked like superdelegates were going to decide the race, Saban reportedly offered the Young Democrats of America—which controlled two superdelegate votes—$1 million if they would support Hillary Clinton. Saban denied it. Nor is his political largesse limited to the U.S.—he reportedly paid $120,000 to Shimon Peres' prime minister campaign in 2006 in exchange for help in purchasing the Israeli communications company Bezeq."

"When he learned in 2000 that a $250,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee had been bested by someone else who gave $500,000, he sent another check for $250,000 plus a $1 bill: "No. 2 doesn't fly for me"

I'm just so glad that you explained how everything works and how Puritans do all their crazy stuff.

Also did you hear about this crazy guy named Kevin Macdonald. He's a real nutjob....he says that there's some people who aren't Puritans who do all kinds of wacky things too!! What an idiot!!

April 22, 2009 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...


Wow, you've obviously done some deep readings of Mencius's posts! We're all so amazed at how you know that he's just kidding when he says all leftists, including those of Jewish descent, have bought into the "ultra-calvinist" position. We're even more impressed that you're dredging up a term than Mencius hasn't used in quite some time, moving in favor of Puritan and other words that start with P!!1!

It's even better that you quote some other people! We love that too, it really shows you're inteligence!!1!

And your ENTHUSIASM is inspiring!


p.s. hijacking posts is awesome! online terrorism FTW!

April 22, 2009 at 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Trollope said...


Ad hominem arguments and ridicule are to be expected, but come on now, "online terrorism"?

That's a bit rich, even from an old man enthralled by a clever little jew boy like Mencius.

April 22, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Trollope said...

Oh, and Palmer, good job refuting all those quotes from my earlier comment.

April 22, 2009 at 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also did you hear about this crazy guy named Kevin Macdonald.Kevin MacDonald's HungaryHaving thus prepared himself with a depth of research that would have been
unacceptable in a first draft from a mildly dim undergraduate, MacDonald
gives himself license to indulge in assertions such as this:

Not only were Jewish Communist Party functionaries and economic
managers economically dominant, they also appear to have had
fairly unrestricted access to gentile females working
under them -- partly as a result of the poverty to which the vast
majority of the population had descended, and partly because of
specific government policies designed to undermine traditional
sexual mores by, for example, paying women to have illegitimate
children (see Irving 1981, 111). The domination of the Hungarian
communist Jewish bureaucracy thus appears to have had overtones of
sexual and reproductive domination of gentiles in which Jewish
males were able to have disproportionate sexual access to
gentile females. [MacDonald, *The Culture of Critique,* p. 99.]

Comparison of MacDonald's lurid assertions about Jewish males and their
"unrestricted access" to gentile females with his "source data" as it
appears above suggests some observations:

1. Apart from Irving's reference to "prominent funkies" (by which he means
Jews, "funkies" being his term of abuse for communist party functionaries)
keeping mistresses, there are no references to the ethnic identity of those
who exploited the availability of woman factory-workers or who visited
prostitutes (or, for that matter, to the ethnic identity of the woman
factory workers or the prostititues themselves). Indeed, if Irving can be
taken at his word about the "staggering proportion of Hungarian males" who
"lost their virginity to prostitutes," the reference is almost certainly
*not* to Hungarian Jewish males who, in the years after the Second World
War, hardly amounted to a "staggering proportion" of the Hungarian or any
other European population. Nor is there any reason to conclude that the
availability of the woman factory workers described by the car worker was
"disproportionately" restricted to any particular group.


In fact, all of Irving's assertions about social phenomena in this passage
operate on this model: Irving himself posits the phenomenon, then quotes an
interview that is at best tangential to the point, giving no real data
(apart from the unnamed car worker's off-hand remark about the availability
of "eighty or ninety per cent" of the women in his own factory), but
instead relaying a refugee's personal anecdote. In some cases, such as the
assertion that unmarried mothers were "rewarded for each bastard child
born," the documentation supporting the point is entirely unclear. (And yet
this last is a key selling point for MacDonald, who construes it to mean
that gentile women were paid to allow themselves to become impregnated by
Jewish men.)

3. In sum, the passage offers not a shred of evidence that, as MacDonald
would have it, "Jewish males enjoyed disproportionate sexual access to
gentile females." It offers evidence only that not even David Irving is
exempted from Kevin MacDonald's capricious misuse of his sources, and, in
conjunction with that, that whatever the aspirations that motivate
MacDonald's writings about Jews, the production of sound research that
deserves to win acceptance within the scholarly community is not among

April 22, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...


I was simply mirroring your tone.

And the "online terrorism" referred to your threadjacking.

If you'd like to be civil and appropriate maybe we can talk. Otherwise, you might as well be peddling WOW spam.

And besides, I figured someone with more time would refute your silliness.

April 22, 2009 at 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Trollope said...


"And besides, I figured someone with more time would refute your silliness."

I'm still waiting.

April 23, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

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