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I Will Burn For This . . .

Literature & Poetry Mattie Stepanek

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#21 Dev F

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 09:28 AM

TravelerOfTheWays, on Feb 19 2003, 04:43 AM, said:

Oh, and I'm with Zack on that I could've SWORN I saw this one the Onion a few months ago!

Yeah, the Onion did a parody a while back: "Nation Afraid to Admit 9-Year-Old Disabled Poet Really Bad." Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have made it into their archives.

It's a shame about the poor little guy, really. He appears to be a sweet little kid, and he writes sweet little kid poems, but this constant adoration, the public's earnest desire to make him into something he can never be, cannot possibly be healthy.

It's all part of the silly "romanticization of childhood" tendency that our culture has been nurturing for the last 150 years or so. The idea that children have some primal connection to everything good and honest and pure, with which we adults have lost touch. Like that scary "Zoom, zoom" kid in the commercials whose innocent wisdom tells us to buy... whatever car it is that he's selling.

And all the people who buy into this idea, do they remember what it was like to be a child? As I recall it was fairly confusing and painful, and no secret font of knowledge was to be had.

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#22 Godeskian

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 10:26 AM

anyone else bothered by the fact that his poetry doesn't appear to rhyme???

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#23 Anakam

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 10:28 AM

Godeskian, on Feb 19 2003, 07:28 AM, said:

anyone else bothered by the fact that his poetry doesn't appear to rhyme???
Since I write free verse, no... ;) :p
Sailing free, boundless glimmer, golden whispers, fiery poise, delicate balance, grave and true, bound by earth, feared horizons, courageous steps unknown, shimmering future hidden yet unveiled....

I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

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"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

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#24 Godeskian

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 10:36 AM

now you see, that isn't poetry to me

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The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#25 Anakam

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 10:45 AM

Godeskian, on Feb 19 2003, 07:38 AM, said:

now you see, that isn't poetry to me
Takes all kinds to make a world.
Sailing free, boundless glimmer, golden whispers, fiery poise, delicate balance, grave and true, bound by earth, feared horizons, courageous steps unknown, shimmering future hidden yet unveiled....

I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself... - John of Gaunt, Act II, Scene I, Richard II

"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

"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

#26 Godeskian

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 11:10 AM

Absolutely, inluding folks who stubbornly believe that poems should rhym :D

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#27 Shalamar

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 11:49 AM

I truely feel sorry for the kid, he is having to battle terrible problems.  I agree that the adulation can not be healthy, and while his poems are cute kid poems,  they should not be held up as if some sort of poet laureat work.


And it's not fair to blame Rov on this one..the kid is not being served with a butter garlic sauce...Rov would at least have gotten a good recepie from Anarch, Jon, or I for that, if he didn't have one himself already.
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#28 Anakam

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 10:28 PM

Godeskian, on Feb 19 2003, 08:12 AM, said:

Absolutely, inluding folks who stubbornly believe that poems should rhym :D
Is this where I call you a purist? ;)
Sailing free, boundless glimmer, golden whispers, fiery poise, delicate balance, grave and true, bound by earth, feared horizons, courageous steps unknown, shimmering future hidden yet unveiled....

I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself... - John of Gaunt, Act II, Scene I, Richard II

"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

"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

#29 Kosh

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 11:42 PM

This is the first time I've heard of him, and I've seen worse poetry by people who were supposed to be professionals.
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#30 Rhea

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 11:45 PM

Anakam, on Feb 19 2003, 11:30 AM, said:

Godeskian, on Feb 19 2003, 08:12 AM, said:

Absolutely, inluding folks who stubbornly believe that poems should rhym :D
Is this where I call you a purist? ;)
Hee hee! I was going to say reactionary, but purist sounds EVER so much nicer. :p :p
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.
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When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


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#31 Godeskian

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 12:51 AM

In some ways i'm terribly inflexible

this is one of them

other suggested words are bigoted towards freeverse
Obstinate,
a fossil who needs dragging into the new millenium and so and so forth  :D

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#32 Rhea

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 02:58 AM

Godeskian, on Feb 19 2003, 01:53 PM, said:

In some ways i'm terribly inflexible

this is one of them

other suggested words are bigoted towards freeverse
Obstinate,
a fossil who needs dragging into the new millenium and so and so forth  :D
Nah! How about a guy who just likes his poems to rhyme?

{{{{{{{Gode}}}}}}}
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

#33 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 03:38 AM

Shalamar, on Feb 19 2003, 12:51 AM, said:

And it's not fair to blame Rov on this one..the kid is not being served with a butter garlic sauce...Rov would at least have gotten a good recepie from Anarch, Jon, or I for that, if he didn't have one himself already.
Monique tries not to snicker at Shal's remark but it's too good not too........

LOL at Shal, you are sooooooooo right--mmmm, butter garlic sauce!! :cool:  ;)


#34 Rov Judicata

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 03:40 AM

LOL Shal and monique

That's true.

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#35 Norville

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 05:08 AM

Hey, Drew, I only just noticed this thread. I agree completely! Oprah's little fans consider this kid to be some sort of god, just because he's disabled and writes (the reaction I've seen is something like "Oh, he's gone through so much, and he's so GOOD!"). One of my coworkers called his stuff "pity poetry". :wideeyed:

And yes, it *is* all Oprah's fault. I'm glad we're agreed on that much. :lol:
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#36 Godeskian

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 11:48 PM

Rhea, on Feb 20 2003, 12:00 AM, said:

Nah! How about a guy who just likes his poems to rhyme?

{{{{{{{Gode}}}}}}}
that too
i think that you
understand what i'm saying
so my thanks i'll be paying
for the hug you gave to me just now
but here, out of this thread i shall bow

{{{{Rhea}}}}

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#37 Julie

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 09:12 PM

I doubt that I'm a very good judge of this kid's work, since I decided in fourth grade that writing in free verse was cheap because anyone could do it, so the reader can't tell the good from the bad.

I still feel that way.  Give me Edgar Allan Poe over a free-verse writer any day.

Then again, I know first-hand that it's not an easy task to be really ill long-term and write hopefully.  At least, not if you're being honest with yourself.  So I do have to commend the guy for that.

Still though, it just isn't healthy for an eleven-year old to have all this worshipping.

#38 Brit

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 04:26 AM

I feel very sorry for this child and his mother, who also has this disease.  However, is anyone else disturbed by the fact that his three older siblings all died from this awful disability?  Why would someone continue to bring children into the world when death at an early age would appear to be inevitable.

Please do not pick up on me wrongly here, I am all for people's right to bear children, I just would not be able to allow myself to continue to have babies if I knew that there was the likeliehood of passing on such a disastrous genetic defect.
If I could remember any good quotes I would put one here!!!

#39 Rhea

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 08:15 PM

There's an article about it here:

http://www.spotlight...?article_id=433

"Mitochondrial diseases are caused by mutations in DNA, either in the DNA of a cell or the DNA of the mitochondria themselves. A mother's ovum contains the genetic instructions for all the mitochondria her children will ultimately develop, so that a mother afflicted with DMM has a 100% chance of passing the disease on to her children.

When Stepanek's first child was born, she had never heard of mitochondrial disease and had no idea she was sick. After the birth of her second child, it was clear that there may be a genetic condition within their family, but Stepanek was told it was recessive and would not happen again.

"When I was diagnosed in 1992 with adult-onset (DMM), doctors thought that this explained everything going on with the children," says Stepanek. "It was then that they were diagnosed with what is called infant-onset dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy."

By then all four of her children had been born with DMM, and the first two had died."


MDD is extremely rare and often misdiagnosed. And the adult-onset and juvenile versions don't necessarily look the same.

Edited by Rhea, 24 February 2003 - 08:20 PM.

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

#40 Orpheus

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 01:28 AM

Gode, I blame you. The moment I read your first crack about Rhyming, this bit of doggerel popped into my head.

Go hang yourself, you old MD!
You shall no longer peer at me
Through sundry oto-rectal scopes
-- a cure would kill my only hope!

I have not yet been praised enough
(Why Colin Powell frames my stuff)
I haven't won a Nobel Prize.
A cure you say? It's lies, all lies!

What? You published? Look what you did!
Now I'm just another kid!
A ten year old, too young for dames,
and unskilled at all schoolyard games.

I had street cred; I had guts
(and teenage poet-groupie sluts!)
What good is it, this much-praised health,
When I'll soon face teen angst myself?

I was heroic. I was valiant
(Though admittedly devoid of talent)
I was a living inspiration
to an entire Oprahed nation.

I could have bagged that Couric babe
Kept Britney as my guilt-love slave!
But worst of all, you white-coat jerk,
Now I'll have to do homework.



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