wordpress interview #4

WordPress has some quality writing prompts, emailed daily, and I begin to feel real guilty when I get more than six or nine piled up before trying any.  And so I do these abbreviated answers to their themes, and hope that if you’re reading this, you find something useful or interesting.

WordPress: Does grammar matter?

Erin Virgil: Yes.  It’s been with us, sometimes as a friend to the English language and sometimes an adversary, for too long to throw away just because we’re lazy and have faster modes of communicating. And also the letters “OMG” become more, not less, annoying every time I see them. “Kew” is what babies say, I don’t find it “kew” at all.

WP: If you could change how public schools work, what would you change?

EV: First of all, I’d get rid of standardized testing.  I hated it when I was a kid, and it’s been thoroughly disproven as an effective learning tool. Bush’s “no child left behind” is still dragging down public schools across the country, forcing teachers to teach to the test.  Every other year, or every third year, an aptitude or IQ test would be okay, but not so frequently that hours of classroom time are spent learning how to think like an Otis/Kaplan/some other wanker test writer.  Next, I would champion reading and reading related activities.  While I’m not gifted in math or science, I respect their place in our culture, though I don’t understand the recent obsession around them.  But in my own  education, the first real intellectual curiosity I felt was for books. I read voraciously from when I was five on up, and it’s made my whole life more interesting, and full. If you can instill that joyful connection to a good story in a new mind, you can change someone’s life, which is cliche I know, but I’m too tired to revise it.  Then, I’d give good teachers the acknowledgment and compensation they deserve but have been lately robbed of by the Tea Party.  The teachers who took the job for June/July/August,  I would give the boot.  Devote more money to education, less to national defense, that’s so obvious I almost forgot to say it. Lastly, I would hire myself as an art teacher.

WP: What’s more important, electricity or the internet?

EV: Well, as the internet powers itself with electricity, this question is a little flawed.  I’ll look at it objectively. Electricity’s main social consequence, as far as I can tell, was letting humans be active at night: suddenly they could go places at night, read, throw parties, write, paint, cook and just stay up when they would otherwise be sleeping.  And, electricity powered thousands of new things: radios, razors, TVs, X-ray machines, refrigerators …electricity made modern consumerism possible. Also it brought vast improvements in medical science and every part of government and education; computers, except for the fascinating case of solar laptops used by  indigenous children of Uruguyan rainforest tribes, depend on electricity.  But somehow the internet is no less important.  As a means of spreading information across societal, national, and geographic boundaries, there’s never been anything as big or fast as the Internet.  Wikileaks has created a new field of politics, where government or corporate whistle blowers can come forward with real anonymity, before an international audience, to reveal what usually stays indefinitely or permanently covered up.  Education, music, photography, language, pop culture, and of course, networking: all of this and more is wed to the internet. Information is created, spreads and mutates there.

WP: Do you agree with the death penalty?

EV: No. It’s hard for me to think about the horrible crimes humans commit which have made the death penalty necessary, at times.  To get the real psychopaths out of circulation.  But this was before maximum security prisons, which keep our worst mistakes safely stored away.  Since there’s no way they can escape and hurt more people, except maybe nuclear holocaust, I don’t support state sponsored execution.  It’s not government’s place to take life.  Also, innocent people have been put to death;  Troy Davis just last week, for instance.

WP: What is your biggest frustration about driving?

EV: People who drive really slow, fifteen miles or more too slow, on long stretches of unpassable two lane highways.  Then, hours later when you can finally pass them, they speed up so you can’t.

WP: What is freedom?

EV: Freedom, I’m becoming more convinced, is a state of mind.  It’s one of those elastic words, thrown around by so many factions in dozens of separate arguments that it’s become hard to define.  There’s philosophical and political freedom, like when Lincoln freed the slaves, but then there’s actual physical freedom, like when the Northern soldiers freed the still captive but technically emancipated slaves as they marched south. I feel the most free when I can escape guilt and feelings of obligation; when it seems like time passes and I don’t notice this, in other words, right mind.

WP: If you could be part of any fictional universe, what would it be, and why?

EV: I’ll give you a few of my favorites.  There is a beautiful bucolic landscape in “Fantasia”, the animation of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony.  Centaurs, satrys, cupid’s angels looking like Kewpie dolls, winged horses and a giant vat where Baccus stomps merrily; all of these mythological creatures inhabit this world, in a richly inviting color scheme.  Another is 19th century Venice as it appears in “Wings of the Dove”, both the book and the movie. Definitely, I’d like to hang out in Twin Peaks. And the opera house of the future in “Fifth Element”, where a many armed blue alien valkyrie sings like a freaky angel, like Krishna dressed for a rave.   And, last but certainly not least, I’d like to be down in Fraggle Rock.


About emvlovely

Oh, I live in an RV. I write poems, essays and prose. Thanks for reading my blog, good health to you!
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