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Maya Angelou is a Colossal Blowhard

Maya Angelou is a Colossal Blowhard

Mr. Right-Click and I were watching the Inauguration, and naturally they had to roll out Maya Angelou for some choice pieces of wisdom, given that this was an historic moment (when I write about blowhards, I like to adopt their mannerisms, such as saying things like “an historic”), and more to the point, a moment of particular importance to the history of African-Americans. You see, when the topic is contemporary American racial relations, Maya Angelou is the go-to blowhard of choice, narrowly edging out Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Spike Lee for her superior recognizability and credibility, respectively.

I think you’re not supposed to actually call Maya Angelou a blowhard. I think she’s kind of beloved or something. But I’m convinced I’m just saying what other people are thinking.

Yeah, I know she’s a renowned poet, even if I made it through (counts fingers, runs out, starts over) 12 years of higher education in English literature without once being assigned one of her books or poems. I’m not going to get into the debate about whether she’s a great poet or not, that’s pointless, and the literary canon is certainly not a fair and balanced institution, so it’s totally possible that her work would be excluded from courses despite relevance or merit.

As a side note, I will say that the line, “I know why the caged bird sings,” that is a good line, in itself. I have children’s a book written by her, with drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, even, called Life Doesn’t Scare Me. Truthfully, it’s a little scary. But I probably I would like her poetry if she would just stay off TV and contain her excessive blowhardry for her inner circle. Like some people don’t seem to be bothered by it–Oprah seems to like it, for example. So leave it for Oprah, I say.

If you’re wondering if I have a recent, specific example of Maya Angelou’s blowhardry, well . . . no. This is mainly because if I see Maya Angelou on TV I immediately change the channel out of fear for blowhard infection. But let’s take a look at her website and see what we can come up with:

Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou’s unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race and Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.

BLOWHARD. Blowhard! I mean, maybe she didn’t write it, yeah, but this is on her official website. I’m suspicious of anyone who takes themselves so seriously. I don’t care if they are talented, or wise, or what not. Can wise people not laugh? Can wise people not laugh at themselves? Must wise people always be important and offer theses statements? Must they adopt a deep voice? Must we always be knowing their power?

Maybe it’s unfair to gang up on Maya Angelou. Let’s face it, I could just as easily be talking about Gloria Alred. Or Tyra Banks. Or Quentin Tarantino. Or Tom Cruise. Or William Bennett. Or Chrysse Hynde. Or Susan Sarandon. Or Tim Robbins. Or Sean Penn. Hmm. Maybe I should do a list?

EDIT: Check out this David Allen Grier imitation–SO FUNNY! He demonstrates what I’m talking about in a far more hilarious way.

Comments (19)

  1. Yeah, I am pretty sure you can get in big trouble with the poetry Gods for saying bad things about Maya Angelou.

    Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah´s last blog post..Ice Pellets? Again?

  2. Jan 28, 2009

    Twelve years of higher education. I’m impressed and intimidated. You look so young.

    I believe you are saying what many people are thinking. And your list? I believe we’d all be on it.

    Chris´s last blog post..Conversations with Mamaw

  3. Jan 28, 2009


  4. Jan 28, 2009

    Dude, you have balls, big brass calling a living legend a blowhard -and- being right about it. Still, I love her. Did you know she was a hooker for a bit?

    shonda´s last blog post..All My Bags Are Pack And I’m Ready To Go

  5. Jan 28, 2009

    @Shonda, no! I didn’t know that. See, why can’t she talk about that more often? Why does she feel like she always has to be “important” and everything?

  6. And I thought we were talking about oral sex.

    Is there a name for people who don’t take themselves seriously at all? I need to add it to my blog profile if there is. Softblow? Blowwimp? Blowpuss?

  7. Jan 28, 2009

    People who are overly impressed with themselves bug the shit out of me too. I ADORE celebrities who are willing to poke fun at themselves, and reluctantly have to admire Sarah Palin, just a little, because she went on SNL. And yes, I realize it was a total PR move.
    Let’s see, notables who seem down-to-earth: Jon Stewart, Dolly Parton, Adam Carolla, Ron Perlman.

    J.´s last blog post..Suppressing Urges

  8. Jan 28, 2009

    Oh my gawd. I thought I was the only person who thought this. She is on my List of Things Other People Like That I Hate, along with beer, the show “Friends,” and Bon Jovi.

  9. Whistleblower! You are whistleblowing on a blowhard, and honestly, I can only concur with you! I would also add Oprah to your list, but that’s probably just a given.

    foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog)´s last blog post..‘get the boys together get a ball get a run(s)’

  10. Jan 28, 2009

    Amen! Love your onions on this one. We’ve all thought it, but you said it out loud. Now go get yourself to some sort of witness protection situation, ’cause Oprah’s going to be coming for you and it’s not going to be pretty.

    @Heather – I love blowpuss. That sounds STD-dirty.

    eliz´s last blog post..Now on DVD: “Fireproof”

  11. Jan 28, 2009

    @Heather, I don’t know. We need one! Suckhard? 🙂
    @J., are you a fan of Adam Corolla, too? I love him. He cracks me up every time.
    @Kerry, I liked Friends at one point, but I think I was in college so that doesn’t really count.

    @eliz, I know! But if Oprah comes for me, she brings with her the full might of Harpo, Inc., which is fine, just fine. Plus, looks like she’s going to have to take @fadkog down as well.

  12. Jan 28, 2009

    Since you said I didn’t have to lurk if I didn’t want to…
    It seems as though, because one pronounces the consonant h in “historic” as opposed to pronouncing the vowel sound in “hour”, that while it is “an hour”, it’s actually “a historic”. Or something like that.

    MA is okay. My mother is from the deep south and can finish a sentence before dinner ends. Why does it take MA so long? Get on with it already!

    rebecca´s last blog post..First Two Things, Then Off to Bed

  13. Jan 28, 2009

    @rebecca, you’ve come up with an explanation for it–I was simply thinking that it sounded blowhardy, I didn’t even care what the actual rule was (if there is one)!

  14. Jan 28, 2009

    [bowing] Nerdy blowhard at your service. The next lesson will be on the 14 punctuation marks, which oddly doesn’t take into account html or editing symbols like < or ^. It’s a real shame. Once I did a vlog (sadly missed your experimental vlogs) on why it’s stupid that nouns and pronouns are different parts of speech. You wouldn’t believe how fun I am at parties – a regular Maya.

    rebecca´s last blog post..First Two Things, Then Off to Bed

  15. Jan 29, 2009

    While I agree that she definitely has an over-inflated sense of her own importance, her poetry is actually quite good and I have quite enjoyed her autobiography, at least the first four volumes which I read. I haven’t read the last two volumes. Did I say I agree she’s got an over-inflated sense of self? But really, I have to say, try to look past the blowhardiness and read some of her stuff. It is worthwhile. And she’ll even tell you that herself.

    jen @ negative lane´s last blog post..Twitterpated

  16. Jan 29, 2009

    @jen – her autobiography has six volumes???? I think that proves Anna’s point brilliantly!

    eliz´s last blog post..Now on DVD: “Fireproof”

  17. Jan 29, 2009

    Wow . . . six volumes. And she’s not even dead yet. The blowhardry abounds to a degree I had not even realized!

  18. Jan 29, 2009

    LOL–just found David Allen Grier doing an impression:


  19. MARIE
    Jun 10, 2009

    Maybe the h is dropped in the proper British pronunciation of the word ‘historic,’ and that is why it’s preceded by ‘an’? Or is dropping one’s “aitches” a lower-class thing? I’m so confused…and I’m supposed to be teaching this stuff.

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