September 30, 2002
9:32 AM   Subscribe

American Heritage magazine's fifth annual Overrated and Underrated list is out, with this year's experts weighing in on the most overblown poet, underappreciated pirate, and overadmired Roosevelt, among many others. (See the Metafilter discussion of last year's list for more dichotomies.)
posted by arco (17 comments total)
already posted
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 9:43 AM on September 30, 2002

I find Billy Collins and Robert Pinsky to be the two most overrated poets I have ever had the displeasure of reading.
posted by plexi at 9:58 AM on September 30, 2002

oh man. how'd i miss this 5 days ago?

this reads like me 5 drinks in at the bar.

except with less slurring and more specific indictments.

thx for posting again, arco, if only to bring it to my attention.
posted by fishfucker at 10:01 AM on September 30, 2002

In arco's defense, _sirmissalot_, he did note the previous post; it was this year's list that was discussed instead of last year's though.
posted by Oops at 10:17 AM on September 30, 2002

Somehow I missed that Miguel's post was from five days ago and not last year (as it was about last year's list). Whoops!

If Matt wants to yank this thread for being too "close" to the previous one, please do so. That said, it's still a fun list.
posted by arco at 11:06 AM on September 30, 2002

Hee hee, arco. I may be last year's man but my post was also about this year's list. It'd be very interested to see their other four annual lists, though. I hope this thread stays up, btw, at least so we can have fun voting which was the most under/overrated website; movie; record; etc...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:31 AM on September 30, 2002

Miguel: Why can't that voting take place on the previous thread? I say bring on the syrup!
posted by languagehat at 11:44 AM on September 30, 2002

J. D. McClatchy is an arrogant jerk. According to him, T.S. Eliot is "gassy", William Carlos Williams is "threadbare". Take a look at this. J. D., you couldn't hold Carl Sandberg's jockstrap.
posted by norm29 at 11:49 AM on September 30, 2002

There are times when the overrated is obvious, and all one can do is wince. Anyone who sat through Maya Angelou’s inauguration drivel will understand what I mean.

Hey, I missed the last post, too. But thanks for the most underrrated poet link about Edward Arlington Robinson as protege of Theodore Roosevelt. Now, there was a Republican of the party of Lincoln. I was diverted from my generic pile on of the horrific Ms. Winfrey when I read that great, albeit tragic-in-the-end, story. Thanks, arco--hey, you don't derive your name from Idaho's famous atomic facility, do you?
posted by y2karl at 12:03 PM on September 30, 2002

MacArthur is the most overrated WWII general. He should have been court martialed. Even his biography on PBS points this out.
I know nothing of Lucian Truscott. But Stilwell has the indignity of being one of our greatest WWII generals whose reputation is sullied by attacks from John Birchers. Stilwell clashed greatly with Chiang Kia Shek and wanted to supply the Commuist guerillas because they would fight the Japanese and Chiang would not.
posted by stevefromsparks at 2:09 PM on September 30, 2002

Nowadays, of course, the gassy Eliot, the twittering Marianne Moore, the threadbare William Carlos Williams all seem to have long outlasted their cultural sway.


I can't think of anyone more influential than at least Eliot and Williams. Marianne Moore is a good example of someone who was wildly popular decades ago and has fallen into semi-obscurity since, but she's certainly not "mocked" in the poetic world.

His work fell into obscurity and has remained more or less permanently out of fashion. His Collected Poems is out of print; anthology and textbook appearances are scant. The work of a greater poet whose themes were similar, Robert Frost, continually overshadows Robinson’s. But his work is a classic and should be a standard.

Aww, that's nice. I really like EAR. But to call him that underrated? Haven't most people who like poetry (an admittedly tiny audience) read Spoon River Anthology -- probably in school, at that? If you're going for a really obscure American poet I'd pick Weldon Kees or Anne Bradstreet. But what poets in America aren't obscure, besides Billy Collins and maybe Maya Angelou....

Thanks for posting something not Yahoo!news-related.
posted by redshoes3 at 4:03 PM on September 30, 2002

//rant on seeing the FIRST comment in the thread//

already posted
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 9:43 AM PST on September 30

Crying baby jesuses. I didn't see it when it was posted, and I read MeFi every day and try to keep a lookout for this kind of culture-vulture stuff instead of the endless Yahoo! news stories. The earlier post called out didn't generate that many comments and it's unlikely, given the present MeFi faster-than-the-speed-of-CNN atmosphere, that many people will go back to that now. What's with this double-post-no-further-discussion-required-we've-said-it-all-already machismo?
posted by redshoes3 at 4:08 PM on September 30, 2002

"Everything she sings is charged with self-loving vulgarity; worship me, she bellows, and forget the song." My favorite from this series was The Village Voice's great jazz columnist Gary Giddins, taking on Barbra Streisand, back in 2000.
posted by zenpop at 4:30 PM on September 30, 2002

I'm sorry, but this is horrid.

For "Explorers of America" and "Feminist," the writers decline to name anyone as overrated--"today we need all the feminists we can get," the latter bubbles. Well, since you've abdicated, can I nominate Camille Paglia?

Let's see. Teen idols. Bill Haley and Mick Jagger? Huh? Did I miss a trip in the wayback machine?

"Reform itself" is overrated, according to the "Political Reform" section.

The literary criticism here is completely senseless, as other posters have noted.

Many others (I apologize for underestimating the Curved-Dash Oldsmobile, I-40, and, puzzlingly, "The Great Gatsby") have no context to justify their inclusion in what is, after all, an annually-issued list.

Please try harder next year, American Heritage.
posted by kjh at 4:36 PM on September 30, 2002

redshoes3 (and arco, by extension): geeze, sorry if it sounded macho. is my mistake pointing it out, or pointing it out like a jerk? i was actually just being brief; no malice intended. the other link was up just a few days ago (well, five) and i've been seeing a lot of comments lately about there being too many front page posts ("given the present MeFi faster-than-the-speed-of-CNN atmosphere"). . . so . . . uhm, shouldn't we be helping each other out here? it was a cool post, no doubt about that.

as for non-famous poets, i wish Yusef Komanyakaa would get more attention.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 5:04 PM on September 30, 2002

My complaint would be there are too many NewsFilter FPPs, not just too many posts. It seemed too bad that here's a non-news link that got jumped on in the first comment. Yes, the other link was five days old, but in present MeFi time, that's like two weeks ago. More and more people are complaining that they can't keep up with the daily posts, let alone going back through previous days to see what they might have missed.

"already posted" seemed brusque -- like "Move along!" I would prefer something like "Also discussed here" or "Originally posted here," but probably that's just me.

Overrated sorta feminist: Ann Coulter
Overrated sorta feminist, take ii: Naomi Wolf
Overrated sorta feminist, take iii --
posted by redshoes3 at 10:43 PM on September 30, 2002

I saw the previous thread but didn't get to comment on it... So I'd like to say that this comes across as sour grapes mixed with pretension and served up cold. Mick Jagger was a teen idol because he meant it man, and because satisfaction summed up exactly what life is like for so many.

Captain Kidd isn't overrated because in pirate circles no one talks about Captain Kidd, and in non-Pirate fan circles, no one talks about Pirates.

As for the dismal of many of Ginsberg, Pound and others. People enjoy those works still and find meaning in them still, whether or not one person finds them over-rated.
posted by drezdn at 10:11 AM on October 1, 2002

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