Here’s how the NAME THAT GOON SHOW works.

First you make a scathing little comment about somebody who gave your friend a bad review, or who doesn’t own an apartment building somewhere, or whose writing job at Harriet you covet, or who posts comments with such ease and frequency you get poster-block just thinking about it. Then the Administrator at the controls that day, who may or may not be Travis Nichols, gets you -7 Red votes pronto, which is not because he disapproves of what you say, just that “NAME THE GOON” is his show, and his job is to keep it in the groove!

So what Travis does is simply blindfold what you say, just like when you were a child. And that’s fun, I mean, you’re having fun — even if it is at The Poetry Foundation of America’s expense, you’re having fun like this:

Goon Comments Closed Best

The next step is up to you. Do you want to play along with Travis and keep it clean, or do you want to have some fun at you know who’s expense? I mean, do you want the dirt? Because if you do you just hit (click to show comment) and all the clothes fall right off and everybody gasps. Oh it’s all so wonderful and funny and, you know, it’s so unexpected!

And Ruth B. Lilly gave a lot so you could do this. I mean, look at this pretty little snit:

Goon Comments Open

In the next post on Blog:Scarriet we will give you a sampling of Eileen Myles’ and Bill Knott’s posts that got “blindfolded” like this by Travis Nichols, and hidden out of sight to protect your feelings. At the same time we will give you some examples from Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords and Christopher Woodman too, though of course in their case the game got deadly serious. I mean, like now we’re dead!

And don’t forget the Name That Goon Show is always on the air, 24/7, and so is Blog:Scarriet. Stay tuned on both for all the dirt that’s fit to click!


  1. thomasbrady said,

    September 26, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    “hidden…to protect your feelings”

    Imagine that– poets afraid of feelings…

    Well, it’s the modern way, isn’t it; feelings are ‘romantic’ and we’ve moved beyond that in our enlightened modernism; we’re progressed from the flower of Keats to the weed of Pound, from the warm swoon to the hidden wound.

    Foetics has discovered that its dangerous to allow pedants and adminstrators to turn poetry into an ice cold affair where passions and feelings are banned as rude and where no one is allowed to speak the truth and where everything has to be clean and professional and careerist.

    Wilmer Dukes spoiled the party for Joshua Clover, who is best known for being a Jorie Graham pet, (her student and winner of one of her judged prizes) and Clover is now attempting to be known for something more virtuous: a part-time teacher championing poetry education. Robert P. (Robert Pinsky?) defends Clover as fighting for rights against Dukes’ charge that Clover is a softie using the system.

    Isn’t this fun?

    This is foetics.

    Foetics will save poetry from the utter boredom of its ‘professional’ imbecility.

    There’s a wonderful moment of Foetics in the new Keats film; Fanny’s mum asks Keats about his new book and he tells her, in rueful honesty, that some of the reviews were “hostile,” but his book did get a couple of good reviews from “my friends.” Now some would say, you see? what’s wrong with Keats’ friends praising him–that’s not foetry. But, first, Keats never got a puffed review while he lived, and most of the reviews of his work were very negative, so much so, that a legend arose that he was killed by a review. In contrast, today, (this is changing ever so slowly) 99.9% of poetry notices are favorable, and there really are imbeciles who think this sort of ice cream candy climate is good for poetry.

    Keats’ reputation, and I’m sure his poetry, benefitted from the hostile reviews–even the unfairly hostile reviews drove him, impassioned him, to be better, to show the bastards.

    And brawling, sneering negativity, why shouldn’t it live in Letters a little bit, if that’s what people are feeling privately?

    Poetry has become so terrified of ‘bad press’ that no press is interested in it.

    The ‘professionals’ have seen to it that no sort of open discussion can take place if it embarrasses someone. “Keats is a good poet and he has a good job now, everyone go away.” The wonderful film ‘Bright Star’ makes one realize how much the jobless Keats was the antithesis of the professional poet of today.

    Where does the ‘writing on the wall,’ the unspoken, unofficial truth on ‘all things poetry’ get articulated?

    Harriet SHOULD and COULD be that. (For why not? It fits into their mission of expanding poetry’s presence in the culture.)

    But as Harriet’s Travis Nichols is, instead, ‘keeping things clean,’ to the point of trivial dullness, by hiding and banning, maybe SCARRIET will serve that purpose instead.

  2. cowpattyhammer said,

    September 28, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Yes, Tom, “keeping things clean to the point of trivial dullness by hiding and banning!”

    Had you thought about the similarities between what happened on Blog:Harriet and what happened on Clattery MacHinery? Extraordinary, and the object lessons are staggering.

    Both sites pretending the high ground and ending up in the swamp because of it!

    Indeed, nothing brings a greater fall than altitude, and no altitude is higher than a feeling of managerial superiority. “Control” is the bugbear, and it’s equally destructive to the freedom-fighting Poetry Board activist as it is to the big bad Poetry Board administrator! Clattery in the end comes out of the closet, and Da Dah! — there are both Motet from Pw.org and Chrissiekl from Poets.org standing right there before you in reverse drag!

    Here’s an image I just came up with on Bluehole, “The Bee in the Bonnet of On-line Poetry.”

    “If you’re a beekeeper you’ll recognize that right away as one of the great images for an obsession with your own self-importance, a chronic Poetry Board condition as unnerving and debilitating as constipation or shingles. The bee crawls up your nose, inside your ear, along your cheek, over your eyebrow, and you run around in circles and shout “spammer,” “hi-jacker,” “ad hominem!” When the sting finally comes you’re fine, you’re back to normal.

    Like the White Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, shrieking and shrieking until she finally pricks her thumb.”

    That’s another reason why it’s been so quiet on Harriet!


  3. bluehole said,

    September 29, 2009 at 1:41 am

    I heard this piece on NPR and chuckled to myself when Clover used the phrase “office of the President’s office.” I mean, it’s hard to sound completely brilliant all of the time when you’re speaking with such pretension.