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October 27, 2011 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-27

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011- 3B

'UDARIA' (1997-2001), MTV
In MTV's snarky glory

How rhyme measures up

By KAYLA UPADHYAYA
Daily Arts Writer
Remember when MTV used to
be awesome? It might be hard to
think back to a time before "Jer-
sey Shore," "Teen Wolf" and the
noticeable lack of music, but back
in the '90s, MTV featured intelli-
gent programming. Most notably,
there was "Daria," one of the best
animated series ever.
Daria Morgendorffer made her
first appearance on Mike Judge's
MTV animated series "Beavis
and Butt-head" before breaking
away with her own spinoff series,
which lasted for five 13-episode
seasons and two TV movies.
Though "Beavis and Butt-head"
will be revived with new epi-
sodes this week, "Daria" and all
of the titular character's teenage
angst,bundled into combat boots
and an army-green jacket is start-
ing to be forgotten.
Daria was sharp-witted,
snarky and provided deadpan
commentary on the suburban
teenage world that surrounded
her. What made Daria so lovable
was her very realistic portrayal of
a type of high school girl largely
underrepresented on television
in the '90s: She is unpopular, but
she never wants to break away
from that label. Her transition
into high school is not easy. On
the first day, she is placed in a spe-
cial class for students with low
self-esteem (to which she replies:
"Don't worry, I don't have low
self-esteem. I have low esteem for
everyone else"). But Daria never
tries to change herself or her
ever-sarcastic outlook - not for
social status, nor to win the affec-
tions of a classmate. She's Daria,
and she may not be comfortable
in typical high school situations
like parties and dances, but she's
comfortable in her own skin.
The titular character was not
the only compelling female per-
sona on "Daria." There was Jane

LaneN
heavil3
vocati
meet o
dale H
bond o
just ab
Jane h
but is
friend
- thou
ing an
I guar
a peps
S
W
Jan'
Daria,
est in c
hierar
more s
track
ately a
make
Daria
each o
huge e
ships.
change
manyt
develo
were r
a date
health
women
Dar
ter Qu
going
an ea:

with her dark red lipstick, but she has great people skills
y studded ears and pro- and can even be trusted as Dar-
ve sketches. Jane and Daria ia's confidant. Likewise, Britta-
'n Daria's first day at Lawn- ny Taylor, the head cheerleader
igh School and instantly and girlfriend of the Lawndale
'ver their mutual hatred for quarterback, develops an unlike-
out everyone around them. ly friendship with Daria. She is
as Daria's snarky attitude, far from being book-smart, even
different from her best worrying that she might fail art
in that she is a bit livelier class and have to take reme-
igh, think of your mostbor- dial art ("Perspective is hard!"),
d monotone professor, and but she manages to offer Daria
antee you they'll seem like sound advice throughout the
quad leader next to Daria. series.
"Daria" proved that there are
many different kinds of nerdy
-1~ 1 .girls, and that girls who get the
good grades are not the only sub-
arcasm a d stantive, complex characters. The
ar m and showalso tackled race: Daria's
it of 'Daria.' friend Jodie Landon is one of few
black students at Lawndale, and
she often notes the pressure of
feeling like she has an obligation
e is better adjusted than to represent black people in the
and even expresses inter- white-majority suburb where the
limbing up the high school show takes place. "Daria" man-
chy. She is accepted by -aged to explore gender and race
tudents when she joins the issues, all while maintaining a
team, but quits immedi- witty, offbeat script and three-
fter some of her teammates dimensional (though technically
fun of Daria. Jane and two-dimensional) characters.
are always looking out for Daria Morgendorffer will sadly
ther, as the show placed a not be making an appearance in
mphasis on female friend- the new episodes of "Beavis and
This was a refreshing Butt-head." Even more upset-
e of pace in the '90s, when ting is that there are no longer
teen soaps featured under- Daria-esque characters on televi-
ped female characters who sion. The closest match would be
more interested in finding April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) of
to prom than nurturing "Parks and Recreation" with her
y relationships with other deadpan asides and oddities. But
n. overall, few shows currently on
ia's popular younger sis- air manage to effectively capture
inn is a bubbly and out- the teen angst so inherent to high
cheerleader, making her school in the way that "Daria"
sv target for Daria and did.

Poetry doesn't rhyme
anymore, and the people
demand an explanation.
There should have been a press
release. Or a public referendum.
For many
of us, a non-
rhymingpoem
resembles a
non-alcoholic
beer: We don't
know why
anyone would
bother with it. DAVID
Or, to borrow LUCAS
from Robert --
Frost, "writ-
ing free verse is like playing ten-
nis with the net down."
But rhyme is hardly a necessity
for poetry, and many enduring,
non-rhyming poems predate
tennis, if not beer. Most classical
poetry lacks rhyme, as do nearly
all Old English poems. Rhyme
became a common feature of
English poetry only around the
time of Geoffrey Chaucer in the
14th century, and even then it was
often the subject of contentious
debate.

Milton's stance aside, The
Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry
and Poetics - which makes great
beach reading - notes, "the first
edition of the Oxford Book of
English Verse (1900) contains
883 poems, of which only 16 lack
rhyme." But the 20th century
would avenge Milton witness-
ing the ascension of free verse
as the choice of unsentimental,
unadorned modern poets. Rhyme
would become as useful as a
horse-drawn carriage.
But that's not entirely fair
either. Rhyme abided and
endures through poets' inventive-
ness, the need to "make it new"
that Ezra Pound demanded of
modern poetry. Though many
contemporary poems do not
rhyme, some of the best new
poems enlarge our sense of what
rhyme is, and in doingsoenlarge
our sense of language itself.
Consider this section of "Sleep-
ing with One Eye Open" by Mark
Strand:

and language itself as individual
invention. Even the title refers
to "our family word / for the hot
water bottle," a secret the speaker
has revealed over the years
to various others, sometimes
accepted, sometimes "laid...
between us like a sword." In one
instance,
An hotel room in New York City
with a girl who spoke hardly any
English,
my hand on her breast
like the smouldering one-off
spoor of the yeti
or some other shy beast
that has yet to enter the language.
Muldoon is so subtle that his
rhymes could go unnoticed. It
certainly required several read-
ings before realizing that each
end word in the poem had a quiet,
unlikely rhyming partner.
"English" and "language,"
in particular, isso far-fetched
a rhyme that I, and many other
readers, resist it. That doesn't
rhyme, we protest. But then one
speaks the rhyme aloud in order
to challenge it - "English," "lan-
guage" - one chews through it
and hears the aural similarities
binding the words. We partici-
pate in rhyming as a process to
be worked through and we, like
the poet, create and recreate our
English language as we speak it.
Keep that idea in mind for the
first few sentences of Harryette
Mullen's prose poem "Kirstenog-
raphy:"
K was burn at the bend of the ear
in the mouth of remember. She
was the fecund chill burn in her
famish. She came into the word
with a putty smoother, a hand-
sewn
farther, and a yodeler cistern.
These aren't rhymes in any
sense what we're used to. In fact,
the poem doesn't make sense
in any way we're used to. But
See LUCAS, Page 4B

It's my night to be rattled,
Saddled

In
rh
ne

With spooks. Even the half-moon
(Half man,
the old days, Half dark), on the horizon,
the ol daysLies on
Its side casting a fishy light
zyming was Which alights
iver norm al. On my floor, lavishly lording
Its morbid
Look over me.

Jane's quips. But on a lesser
show, that's all Quinn would
be: an insipid, dumb queen bee.
Quinn is complex, perceptive
and smart in a way Daria never
could be. She may pay others to
do her homework and care way
too much about her social status,

The characters of"Daria" were
relatable and grew, which isn't
typical of animated series. They
were not stock types, but real
representations of young women.
And that's something to celebrate
- in a monotone, monosyllabic
utterance, of course.

In a prefatory note to "Para-
dise Lost" (1667), John Milton
defends his use of blank verse
(unrhymed iambic pentameter):
"rime (is) ... the invention of a
barbarous age, to set off wretch-
ed matter and lame metre..."
One success of his poem, as
Milton imagined it, was the
"ancient (non-rhyming) liberty
recovered ... from the trouble-
some and modern bondage of
rhyming." Rhyme was nothing
less than linguistic enslavement
- but Milton always was a bit
grandiose.

Strand's rhymes do not so
much rhyme as echo and, as
echoes do, present our own
voice to us as if we had meant
something else by what we had
said, as if we ourselves were
somebody else. The rhymes
become more than mere verbal
adornment; they become sonic
manifestations of the worry that
keeps the speaker half-awake:
"sleeping with one eye open, /
Hoping / That nothing, nothing
will happen."
Paul Muldoon's poem "Quoof"
celebrates verbal adornment

Join Us for an Admissions Reception
Michigan State University College of Law
Thursday, November 3, 2011
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
University of Michigan
The Michigan League, Vandenberg Room, 911 N. University Ave.
This informative reception will feature remarks by MSU Law administrators, faculty, alumni, and students. Informal
conversation will allow prospective law students and their guests to ask questions and obtain information about the
Law College's academic programs and admission requirements.

There is no cost to attend, but space limitations require that you RSVP
on or before October 31 at admiss@law.msu.edu or 517-432-0222.

MICHIGAN STATE
U N I V E R S I T Y
COLLEGE OF LAW

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