Not cricket

Jan. 8th, 2011 07:42 pm
pallas_athena: (Default)
[personal profile] pallas_athena
Looking back on it, yesterday's poem seems like a lazily obvious choice. Anyone know any better cricket-related poems?

Also, I should confess that I really hate Henry Newbolt. This is not entirely Newbolt's fault (though his tendency towards horrible sub-Kipling bombast doesn't help.)

I fucking loathe Newbolt largely because of the guy who introduced me to his work.

I like to learn from people. One time, I made the mistake of dating a guy who had to be right all the time. I was relatively fresh-off-the-boat then, and this fellow made it his mission to teach me about British culture. Well and good: except that he went about it in this kind of superior Pygmalion-syndrome way, and when I acquired enough knowledge to argue with him about things, being disagreed with made him go all huffy. You know the type? Yeah. That type.

I was mid-English degree at the time, while he was studying music, so he was positively jocular when he found he knew a poet that I didn't. For a couple of weeks, all I heard about was how Henry Newbolt was the greatest thing ever. Including having it read out to me amid proclamations of how moved he was. Having a significant other who reads you poetry is a good thing, right? Not when it's Newbolt, it fucking isn't.

So it turns out the reason I hadn't heard of Newbolt was that English tutors don't generally bother with him because he sucks so hard. If I'd specialised in that period, I'd probably have encountered him at some point, but thank all the gods, I did not. It was bad enough having to read Matthew Arnold, another poet who gets all slobberingly sentimental over his public-school days. But he gets away with it because he is a better poet than Newbolt. Then again, my butt is a better poet than Newbolt. So there's that.

In conclusion: Newbolt sucks; my judgement sucked for having dated that guy; and if anyone you're dating ever comes over all smug and superior, then no matter how crazy-in-love with them you are, it's time to hit them over the head with something heavy and and leave them to be devoured by coyotes. Trust me. It's for the best.
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