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Binghamton’s Four Noble Truths, revisited

In Criticism & Review on May 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Thank you Brandon for stirring the pot. He writes:

To clear the air a bit: I don’t think writing needs to serve a higher moral purpose—morality isn’t everything, nor is this my concern. But I think we can agree (without making concessions) that all expression has purpose regardless of the source, scale, how it develops, etc. This includes writing, and this is a contribution to our culture. We huddle around news and networks like digital campfires to discuss this purpose.

The genuineness and thematic tension never develops and I’ll explain why through these four noble truths:

(1) The lead statements and closing remarks are OK and pair like Hansel and Gretel—no major concerns here. The remaining composition, however, vis-à-vis Hansel and Gretel pretends to address the journey and environment. (Next time leave a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow)

(2) The writer collects vain representations of the Binghamton college experience (e.g. drinking on a budget) ad nauseam and loses the reader. Failure to use literary devices effectively encumbers her rhetoric (e.g. The Hills Have Eyes, 10th paragraph), which is lazy at best. Hemingway is rolling over in his grave and if I find Chekhov’s Gun I’ll join him, earnestly.

(3) The only genuineness and thematic tension I can submit to is limited to Alyssa, herself, and not her writing. The writing is blunt and abstruse, defined by its unbridled pretense, not genuineness. The reader can view Binghamton’s Four Noble Truths as a criticism, bildungsroman, or Fodor’s Travel Guide to Binghamton—it doesn’t matter || you arrive at the same point: travelers with closed minds can tell us little except about themselves (Achebe).

(4) Her voice reaches for understanding concepts like nostalgia and reflexive schadenfreude in an attempt to find meaning as a BU Student but noble truths 1, 2, and 3 get in the way of this. Miss Mercante treats these concepts like petty possessions rather than using them to illustrate her quintessential Binghamton.

You don’t need to agree or disagree with her perspective of Binghamton (this is only one form of measurement). However, I would like to point to a larger issue: SUNY Tunes (BU Kids) and the City struggling to close the relationship gap, which is an issue of consciousness. When you don’t allow people to participate in social ways, they behave in anti-social ways.

I am from Long Island
I am from Binghamton University
I am great friends with people you call creatures
And they don’t hate me because I’m not an asshole,
And I don’t shit where I eat.

I have high standards for Binghamton University senior English majors, who supposedly possess intimate knowledge of the human experience. What is your expectation?

For more on this discussion:

Anthony Fiore writes there’s more out there than State Street, from May 4th 2012.

Here is my original post: BFNT Response.


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