Monday, January 25, 2016

Dead Poet Society

This weekend, I posted a report on the UC Irvine-USC conference on Freedom Expression. As part of that report I poked fun at University of Florida Professor Richard Burt.

"The first afternoon speaker (in person) was University of Florida English Professor Richard Burt, an odd sort, whose talk was entitled, "What the Dead Said". Burt's first two sentences were, "I am dead. I am dead." He then went on a long and incomprehensible presentation about certain people who had written things, like poems, and whose work was edited after they died. Included in this monologue were such gems as, "You have to be alive to speak". What all this had to do with freedom of expression, I have no idea. Burt told us about some English poet named John Keats who had  died at the age of 26. Keats had written some poem about reading King Lear. He showed us a picture of Keats' tombstone.

Freedom of expression???

If Burt wasn't dead, he was surely dying up there at the podium. All the while, he was fumbling with a malfunctioning power point laptop. Finally, the moderator mercifully called time just as Burt was about to delve into some guy named Thomas Bernhardt. (I hope I'm spelling that correctly.)

This was the worst presentation I have ever witnessed. I can't believe they brought this character all the way out from Florida to present such irrelevant drivel."

One of my friendly co-respondents, who shall remain unnamed, has gently informed me that John Keats was actually a very famous English poet, and that I should have Googled him before passing him off as "some English poet".


So as not to feel too embarrassed (because I know nothing about poetry) , I have asked my local bartender if he knew who Keats was.

"Never heard of him."

Next comes Thomas Bernhardt (sic). I have just Googled him and I assume this is the guy that Burt was referring to:

Never heard of him either.

But then again, what do I know? I'm just a retired DEA agent.

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