Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: Worthwhile Literature, Worthless Newspaper

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  • Craig Ranapia,


    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    (There was even some swears and fanny jokes, if you had the patience to parse the footnotes. You’d be surprised how many did.)

    My working assumption with Shakespeare is that if it's meant to be a punchline and I don't get it, it's probably a sex joke. (Not a bad working assumption for humanity in general, at that.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    a bad working assumption for humanity in general, at that

    Humanity is a sex joke? Yeah, sounds about right.

    There's an old Irish joke that says that God invented sex as a joke. When nobody laughed, He made it a sin.

    I've just re-read my comment on Emma's thread

    I have a teacher friend who teaches at a fairly deprived school in Scotland. When you have a bunch of 14-15 year old boys in your class refusing to read the set text because one of the main characters is 'a fucking paedo', then you don't really have a choice except to open the discussion.

    Realised on re-reading that it's not exactly clear that it was 'Romeo and Juliet' that I was alluding to as the set text in question.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Wills was such a sleaze -- or a commercial playwright who had a perfectly sound understanding that fucks, fights and smut paid the bills.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    I almost wished I'd bought the thing occasionally so that I could stop. But I prefer a softer lavatory experience, so have never bothered. I did respect the integrity they demonstrated by at least presenting as a tabloid from the start...

    I think it's best just to recognise that it's only crumbling boomers and older who look at these things, and the organ has to to pander to its audience just like Fox and The Daily Mail. It doesn't make it real.

    More kids will read it precisely because of this flurry of interest from the old farts. I think that is the outcome to dwell upon.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    A few more adults, too, I reckon :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    There's enough sex and violence in the news already - for the simple fact that it keeps the newsagents and people-meters going - so the pot is calling the kettle black.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    To say both novels were shocking, in the best sense of the word, to a teenage gay boy at a single-sex boarding school was a considerable understatement. So were Maurice Gee’s “children’s novels” – particularly the Halfmen of O trilogy, which also appeared in the mid-80’s to this SF/fantasy geek’s whole hearted approval – which worried away at the ambiguities and tensions of Godzone with all the spirited moral ferocity as his adult novels. And not without controversy either: “sordid” is an adjective that has hung around Gee his entire career, no matter who his intended audience is.

    Maurice Gee is my favourite NZ novellist precisely because of those qualities- his best work doesn't spare anyone, and really gets something about how petty little squabbles between families that can affect subsequent generations (and even whole societies) if aggravated. I love how spare and controlled his prose- I'm a fan of writers who can be eloquent while also cutting right to the quick. He's also one of the nicest people I've ever interviewed, which only reiterates that you don't have to live like your own art.

    I remember similar controversy over Maurice Gee's The Fat Man winning children's book of the year. Granted, it's gothic as hell and some of its material is decidedly grotesque (particularly Gee's lyrical descriptions of the titular character), but the complaints ignored what a human work it was.

    As for the latest controversy over "Into the River"- I'd argue novels like that deal with those topics are absolutely necessary. Adolescents like being challenged- and they should be, too.

    I want to read the book, tho.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I predict that the next big controversy will be books that are perceived to egg on the nation's youths to subvert the powers that be. The Sex Pistols and The Clash managed to pull it off in 1970s Britain - who'd be the Johnny Rotten/Joe Strummer of literature?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    Michelle Hewitson interviews Ted Dawe.

    I couldn't give a rat's ass about the hoopla over the book, but I do feel for the guy and his personal tragedy. Also, if I'm going to read something, or have the children read it, I'd just as soon it was born of genuine life experiences than some vampire fantasy. Although I'm not about to restrict them on that front either.

    Reading is good. Not reading is bad. End of story.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2450 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to slarty,

    More kids will read it precisely because of this flurry of interest from the old farts. I think that is the outcome to dwell upon.

    Reminds me of my mother sending her books to Patricia Bartlett in the (fruitless) hope Bartlett would call for them to be banned. Can't buy publicity like that!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy D,

    Ted Dawe was my english teacher for several years at Dilworth School in Epsom, one of his sources for life at boarding school (he certainly would have had some rich material from that environment.)

    He was a superb English teacher that inspired a real love of literature in me, but also devilishly funny and a breath of fresh air in the stuffy atmosphere that could pervade my alma mater. I thoroughly enjoyed Thunder Road, so I suspect I’ll have to go out and buy this. Thank God I’m too old to be easily corrupted anymore :)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Shit.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    who'd be the Johnny Rotten/Joe Strummer of literature?

    There's no lack of YA-lit contenders out there, Melvin Burgess has been doing a pretty good job for around two decades now. If they got out more, Family First would probably have kittens - or more properly puppies - over his hilariously great Lady: My Life as a Bitch, which lives up to its title in every sense.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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