“Sestina: Altaforte” by Ezra Pound explores the character of Bertran de Born, a French baron and Occitan troubadour. Pound manipulates the relationship between poet and persona, emphasizing the simultaneous artifice and naturalness in Bertran, to show Bertran’s primal and authentic character. Pound portrays Bertran independently to create a historical authenticity and objectivity, but cannot help but hint at the poet’s influence and own ideas. Hugh Kenner precisely notes this, saying Pound’s persona “crystallizes a modus of sensibility in its context.” (Kenner 11) The persona can thus be seen as a transparent mask: Pound wears the face of Bertran to immerse the reader in the historic context and character, but to make his own personal sensibilities stronger. Using this technique, Bertran is portrayed more vividly and personally, and “Sestina: Altaforte” can be read as an acceptance and vindication of Bertran de Born.
I love watching food programs. Everything from Hell’s Kitchen to Yan Can Cook, if I have spare time (and even if I don’t), I’ll be watching. For those of you with a social life, you might be unfamiliar with some of the finer aspects of modern food television. It cuts across every genre and every demographic. Gone are the days of mere instructional cooking shows or food documentaries – now, you have epic odysseys spanning several continents to find the best french fry, or some surreal dystopian competition where contestants use molecular science to cook to the death for our entertainment.
As food television becomes progressively stranger, I’ve noticed something interesting: cooking programs are pornography. I’m not exaggerating. I’m not saying, “Oh man, the Food Network is like porn,” in a joking way; I’m saying “The Food Network is porn,” in a dead serious way. Sure, one features naked people and the other features food, but at their core, they are the same.