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June 23, 2008


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This is the third time I've typed out a long comment on this post. This signing-in thing sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. Today, I hope, it worked. I had never heard of this guy and I watched the video and LOVED it. I have to watch it again. It was last week I watched it & failing to comment since then. Once that really struck me on the video was 'passed away.' I thought 'passed away' was an Australian thing, because I don't remember it prior to living in Australia. Apparently not. But people are really paranoid about saying the word 'died.' When my mother died, age 90 and ready to go, it was really strange. People would be talking normally to me, and then their eyes would get all shifty, and they'd look away and say 'when your mother ............passedaway.' They'd say passedaway as fast as it's possible to say it, then they'd hurry on to the next subject.

Lee Kottner

I think lots of English speakers say "passed away" instead of "died." It's always seemed ridiculous to me. Passed away where? I think there's something superstitious in it, like people are afraid if they say "died" it will attract Death's attention or something. I suspect that's where the euphemisms come from. That and the goofy Victorian sense or propriety that kept people from mentioning crude bodily functions like dying. That's when people got weirdly sentimental about death too: collecting tears in little vials, draping the house in black bunting, etc. All these rules developed around mourning: how long, what you could wear, what you could do that wasn't unseemly or disrespectful, etc.

Anyway, I'm sorry George is dead. He was one of my favorite comics.

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    Sponsors National Poetry Month in April and has a huge audio archive of readings, much of it available online. They even have an iPhone app!
  • Cave Canem
    Founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem Foundation is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.
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    City Lore is the co-sponsor (with Poets House) of the biennial poetry festival in downtown Manhattan showcasing the nation’s – and the world’s – literary and folk poetry traditions with special attention to poetry’s oral roots.
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    The annual Poetry, Theater, Performance Art, Film Comedy and Dance festival in the East Village, usually in September. Named after Allen Ginsberg’s poem.
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    Slams, literary events, readings, music, theater. Founded ca. 1973, originally as a home salon by lit professor Miguel Algarin. Old School slammin'. Don't miss it.
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