Those writers who forget the Great Books of yesterday shall be forgotten by the readers of tomorrow.--Becket Knottingham
A literary renaissance rooted in the classical ideals shall be gen-x and gen-y's ultimate form of rebellion, irony, and reverence.--Elliot McGucken
One cannot deconstruct the Great Books; one can only deconstruct oneself. --Drake Raft
Navigating by the Fixed Ideals: The Good Ship
Ahoy mate! Welcome aboard The Jolly Roger, the electronic flagship for Beaconway Press! All crew members aboard this brigantine are united in their quest to revive Great Literature, such as that which has been banned for promoting violence against whales. New contemporary works written in the context of the Great Books will play a fundamental role in reforming society and saving our institutions from being subject to further decadence, or something. We believe that no medium is superior to that of the printed word in nurturing the rational part of the human soul.
With the postmodern politicization of institutions of higher learning and the steadily declining standards of popular culture, the rich context of Western Culture, from which Great Literature in the past has sprung, is in a state of decay. We believe that a New Literature, written by independent thinkers, committed to artistically expressing contemporary truths felt deep in their souls, will provide an intellectual and spiritual beacon. Guided by this beacon, we can unite and build a fleet of frigates that are committed to returning poetry to the people. A lot of postmodern liberals might get jealous and things, when they realize that we're doing the job that they profess to do, but are not doing. But they're too busy filling out grant applications and organizing ad campaigns for Douglas Coupland on MTV. But really, they shouldn't fret. For these new works shall provide them with literature that is well worth their time deconstructing.
The Jolly Roger is captained by the spirit of democracy tempered by abosute Scientific and Moral Laws greater than Man, and its crew believes that the only way that the institutions of higher education and culture can be reformed is if the people at the grass-roots level seek these Higher Laws. We take it as our humble duty to exalt and inspire all sailors of the eternal soul, and kindle the curiosity that completes the Greats' creations.
We do not share the pessimism found in the corporate conglomerate publishing houses that the common citizen is not capable of quality literature, but rather we feel that those in the elite editorial circles have lost touch with the deeper needs of present-day culture. Their politicized, watered-down literature does little to fill the contemporary spiritual void. They are incapable of providing the common man with a literature that means something to him, which is why they write for themselves.
Unlike many esteemed postmodern academics, we respect the endeavors of the scientific community, and we applaud the many contributions that science and technology have made to culture. The twentieth century has witnessed vast changes in the mediums in which man's soul can be expressed, and while science and technology are responsible for these machines and mechanisms of communication, it is literature's responsibility to provide the ghost within them. We're here to give the information highway something to say.
The Universities abandoned the teaching of great literature for the study of criticism about literary criticism, and now that they have deconstructed the great works, the only thing left for the students to know are the names of the professors forming the hierarchy of nihilists. Creative writing workshops have sprung up on all major campuses, and now form highly efficient bureaucracies that train students in the art of obtaining taxpayer's money to fund the creation of poetry that nobody wants to read.
We're going to have fun on our new ship. While aboard the vessels of postmodern liberalism, which currently patrol the institutions of higher education, it was easy to fear for one's academic life. Over the past thirty years, the Universities, the press, and the major media establishments, which up until recently have had a monopoly on the culture at large, had instilled in all the fear of the plank.
But no longer does the prospect of walking the plank carry with it such a portentous threat. For the whispering wind states that the elites' hulls are filled with holes, and their ships are taking on water. They have their tenure, they have their esoteric languages to adorn their nihilism with, and they have the money of a generation that traded their college loans for a politicized, gutted education. But it won't buy them the Truth. For as Drake Raft once said, "When one puts a price on education, one devalues it." Their vessels are sinking, and the holes in their hull are too great to be filled by the postmodern soul. As professors, they assumed the responsibility that only those who believe in the existence of Truth should ever assume. Immune to the beauty in the Great Books, they asserted that everything was but political, and then they made it that way. And now, in the name of diversity, you had better think as they do. They revel in an abstract void where what is most important is one's gender, skin color, and political beliefs. We aboard The Jolly Roger seek not to divide the people by promoting a politicized literature rooted in ethnicity and gender, but we seek to unite the people, with a literature of the Truth.
We believe in the people, the scholars, and the future of the intellectual institutions that unite them in a search for the truth. So walk the plank! We built The Jolly Roger to save our souls, and respond to others' SOS distress signals. She is made from, "Oak planks of reason, riveted with rhyme, designed to voyage across all of time." Each month we will launch an electronic magazine with stories, articles and poetry submitted by all of you, scattered across the fruited plains. To sign aboard, send the message, "join jollyroger," to email@example.com. You will receive instructions on how to subscribe and submit your poems, stories, and thoughts to The Jolly Roger. This electronic frigate seeks to sail the seven cyber-seas, and sign aboard cultural mutineers from all parts of the world. Your help in steering her to where she is needed will be greatly appreciated, so please forward this message to your colleagues, your students, and your friends. All are welcome aboard. All that will be asked of you is that you keep up the good cheer and be entertained, as we set out in our quest for what Melville deemed, "the ungraspable phantom of life." Sign aboard mate, and I say ye'll find that deeper, precious meaning!
All the Best, THE RED AVENGERS OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND TRUE:
Drake "Red Avenger" Raft,
Becket "Bluebeard" Knottingham,
Elliot "Ahab" McGucken.
The links stop here-- Beaconway Press Ahoy! Drop the crew a line!
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 1999 09:50:51 -0700 From: kwelch
DRAKE, who are you? why are you so freakin' cool? and how did this whole Jolly Roger business get started? I think it's just beautiful, I never can seem to find that kind of gumption in people my age (I'm assuming you're somewhere 20ish?) Anyhow, well done captain!
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 16:07:56 -0700
From: Don & Kathleen Starbuck
I came to your site quite by accident! It is a wonderful site to say the very least! Poetry touches my inner most being and oh how I wish I could express the thoughts, feelings, and events that lie deep with in me via poetry! I thought you might find it interesting to learn that your site has been visited by some one with the surname of Starbuck. I don't know how I can prove to you that this is the truth, but it is, so will just trust that you will believe me. My husband and I love the ocean. He very much likes Light Houses. We have vacationed in NC several times and it is our great hope to move there in the not too distant future. We plan to be in NC in Nov. This depends on our having the closing on our home by then. The purpose of our Nov. trip will be to find employment and housing.
The area we at the moment plan to locate to is a small town called Farmville. It is about 8 miles south of Greenville. We feel this is far enough inland to reduce risk of violent weather and yet is an easy drive to the ocean. Again I will say how much I've enjoyed your web site and that I will visit frequently.
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 12:28:29 -0700
Subject: lost times
In the course of some on-line research, i stumbled across your Nantuckets site, and, being a former year-round resident (at the time i lived there, the favorite t-shirt among we locals was "I'm not a tourist. I live Here") i felt i had to respond. Thanks for the thundering words, which awakened echoes in my soul.
I was a permanent resident, and i remember the long winters when the harbor froze and the planes couldn't fly, and we'd gather on the cliffs to watch the Coast Guard cutters try to break through the ice pack to deliver much needed staples. I recall the long winter nights, closing out the "Hood" as we called it then. (There was a particularly interesting waitress named Lucy, at the time, who put up with our "celebrations" with immense patience and good cheer). Also the "Box", when we were in a more garrulous mood, or a pool-playing mood. I was the manager at a pizza joint just down the road from the Box. Don't know if it's still there, used to be called "Foood for Here and There", owned by a decent man named Mark, whose last name i cannot remember. (This was 21 years ago). There was a character named Russ Carlson, whose jeep was the vehicle for many midnight carousings out to Sankaty and back. An ex-sailor named John Ferrara also owned a jeep, and i have fond memories of burying it in the dunes one afternoon, trying to impress a summer girl. If you still live there, and you happen to know either of these two men, please tell them Sundance said hello.
I worked for several years at the Cottage Hospital also, whose policy was to complement their nursing staff with interns during the summer. The resident nurses at the time, I remember, were generally a wild bunch. Hardest working people you ever saw during their shifts, but afterwards........well, fond memories there, too.
Just thought i'd say thanks, from a former year-round resident. I've done and seen too much to ever wish for those days again, but still, I'm glad i was there for those several years. I make my living as a writer and photographer now, and my time on the Island has kept me supplied with many memories to draw on. Thanks again p.s. I hope Nantucket has not turned into the Vineyard yet.
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 22:18:22 EDT
Subject: Re: Ahoy Deadhead! Welcome aboard THE JOLLY ROGER!
Ahoy Mates, glad to be aboard and bound for dangerous waters. I'm tired of politically correct currents and silent majority seas! Keep an even keel and show no quarter! Argrhrghrrgh! I'm ready to steer into a gale of torrential truth. I only hope to stay seaworthy. I'll try me best.
Subject: Re: Mates. ye are wicked awesome.
Awash ten long years now on Derrida ridden seas - what joy for a broad to find such raffish young scholars. Give me Dante, or give me death!
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