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I Will Burn For This . . .

Literature & Poetry Mattie Stepanek

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#1 Drew

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:23 PM

I just hafta get this off my chest.

MATTIE STEPANEK IS NOT A GOOD POET!

He's just a kid!

Granted, he's a kid with a debilitating disease, but he's still only a kid, and NOT A GOOD POET! Yet people treat him like some sort of new-age self-help guru. The kid was on Larry King last night, taking calls from adoring fans of his two books of sentimental 4th-grade poetry, "Heartsongs," and "Journey through Heartsongs." He passed out advice as if he were a wise man on a mountain.

But he's just a kid! And his poems are filled with trite, treacley tripe! Is the imagery unique? Is there anything particularly insightful about these poems? Any old truths expressed in a new way? No. Nothing. Just pages and pages of really bad poems.

Okay, so it's bad form to criticize the work of children, but in my opinion it's even worse to put their achievements on the highest pedestal and call it a monument to greatness in artistry. Shame on Oprah and shame on Larry King and shame on the publishers who are exploiting this poor kid.

Someone needs to speak the truth around here, and it might as well be me.

Wake up, America! Mattie Stepanek is NOT A GOOD POET!

(Okay, how many demerits have I just earned?)  :eh:
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#2 Blondie

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:26 PM

Sadly, I agree.
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#3 the 'Hawk

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:43 PM

Can I request a link to a sample of this "no-good poetry"? I've never heard of this kid before.

Thanks.

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#4 Taryn Wander'r

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 10:45 PM

^^ Yeah. I've never heard of him before.

But I can sort of understand where you're coming from...granted, no one's called Avril Lavigne a genius (yet), but I really cannot see what the appeal is.  :blink:

#5 Anakam

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 12:19 AM

Blink

Uhh.... I've never heard of him either.....

:blink:
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#6 RommieSG

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 12:49 AM

I was starting to think that I had missed something. But now I'm glad to see, that I'm not the only one. ;)

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#7 Drew

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 01:11 AM

Well, okay, here's a link that has one poem . . . and this is one of the better ones.

http://abcnews.go.co...ie_Reprise.html

And here's another that has a few fairly bad (by which I mean typical) ones.

http://myhero.com/he...=mattieStepanek

It's Oprah's fault! All of it!  :suspect:
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#8 Rhea

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 01:36 AM

Well. most of the people who I know who are disabled (and I know a LOT of them, being in special ed) would feel patronized if their work were recognized solely on the basis of age and disability. OTOH, he's just a kid. So I'm torn. Great poetry? No way. Great kid? Way.  ;)
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#9 Rov Judicata

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 01:36 AM

Drew, for once you and I are in total agreement.

His situation is tragic, and he is just a kid... but that entire interview was absurd. I left about halfway through.

Also.....

North Korea
The economy
Judicial nominations
Iraq
Al Qaeda
United Nations

And the best guest Larry King can get is a fourth-grader? What's next, the actress who plays Bart Simpson? The housekeeper of the guy who made South Park? PT Barnum's grandson?
St. Louis must be destroyed!

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~~ Josh, winning the argument.

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#10 Rov Judicata

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 01:39 AM

Drew, on Feb 18 2003, 03:13 PM, said:

It's Oprah's fault! All of it!  :suspect:
That's goin' in the sig....
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#11 Kaimia

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 01:59 AM

I would have to agree.  I have not been terribly impressed by the kid.

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#12 iMel

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 02:08 AM

I agree with you as well.  I read the poetry, and I wrote such poetry at that age.  Only it was a more...rebellious type of poetry.  I didn't very much care for most people (and I still don't).  They tried to hold me back in kindergarten, even though I was quite intelligent and did all the required things well, because I was "anti-social."  But the Islanders are exempt from my general dislike of people. :)
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#13 MuseZack

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 02:33 AM

Wow, I thought it was just an Onion parody from a  few months back.

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#14 Rhea

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 03:21 AM

MuseZack, on Feb 18 2003, 03:35 PM, said:

Wow, I thought it was just an Onion parody from a  few months back.

Zack
ROTFL! :D
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#15 Blondie

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 03:35 AM

I feel sorry for him, and I encourage him to write poetry...but the only reason he's on national TV is for the "feelgood" factor.  That's all.  It's different and heartwarming.

Sure...everything is Oprah's fault, I think.  :lol:
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#16 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 04:51 AM

Oh thank goodness....I saw him ages ago on CNN on their morning show, and thought he was cute but not good enough to be on TV like that....just for his poetry.

So...nay on the poetry, but yes on being cute.

Hey, if that's all it takes to get on worldwide TV......... ;) Gets out pencil and paper to write poetry. ;)

And I third that it's Oprah's fault!!  Or maybe Bart Simpson ;)  :D


#17 iMel

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 05:05 AM

Who wants to blame such boring public figures as Oprah or Bart Simpson?  No, it's Rov's fault. ;) ;) :D :D
I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words.
--Over the Rhine, "Latter Days"


Formerly known as Neozephryus :)

#18 Nick

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 05:49 AM

Eee gads . . . Yeah, I mean . . .it's very very sad that he's got this horrible disease and stuff, and cute that he's writing poetry and so many are reading it and being touched by it and all . . . but it seems like just the next incarnation of the "Chicken Soup" series to help America's busy-bodies feel like they actually care about something . . . "Chicken Soup for the terminally ill sappy child poet's soul."

Tho . . . It's a very Oprah thing to do, holding this kid up.  And it's nice that he's got all those readers and stuff.  And when he does succumb to his disease, there will be a nice sad photo of him on Time magazine, and a few weeks later he will be utterly forgotten . . . which is sad, but demonstrative of the fickle nature of modern media . . .

But don't let me tell ya how I *really* feel. ;)

-Nick

#19 Chipper

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 07:32 AM

I agree wholeheartedly.  It pisses me off sometimes how some kids who are mediocre at best with their "talents" are made out to be great heroes or writers or whatnot just because of their disabilities.

There are twice as deserving people out there as well, who get far less treatment than Stepanek, and yet the world doesn't care about them.

I'm pretty much sick and tired of these "amazing kids" I see all the time, when the truth is, the people who REALLY need help are completely disregarded.
"Courtesy is how we got civilized. The blind assertion of rights is what threatens to decivilize us. Everybody's got lots of rights that are set out legally. Responsibilities are not enumerated, for good reason, but they are set into the social fabric. Is it such a sacrifice to not be an a**hole?"

- Jenny Smith on Usenet, via Jid, via Kathy

#20 TravelerOfTheWays

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 07:41 AM

This really doesn't strike me as horrible, but it also doesn't strike me as...good.  Certainly not, IMHO, deserving all the fame this kid seems to be receiving.  I agree with all of you, this is definitely human interest versus real content/originality.  That's my main problem.  Which sentiment haven't I heard expressed about 8.3 million times in very similar words?  Hmm....   Oh, and I'm with Zack on that I could've SWORN I saw this one the Onion a few months ago!  

Then again, this could just be the influence after reading The Fountainhead for several hours straight :) (Not to bring for some the pain of Drom into this, but has anyone else thought the Nietzscheans really followed Ayn Rand's philosophy more faithfully than Nietzsche's?  I just read two of his works for a class, really enjoyed reading 'em cos when I disagreed with him, it the sort of "what on earth is this man smoking?? how could such notions even OCCUR to his twisted mind??" versus the usual "meh, I don't agree" I usually feel when reading philosophers)

Edited by TravelerOfTheWays, 19 February 2003 - 07:42 AM.

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