ask palinode: where the hell have you been edition

A minimum of three people have wanted to know what happened to my Ask Palinode feature. Wouldn’t they like to know. The truth is I got burnt out. The truth is I can never sustain anything. The truth is I am full of anger. The truth is I was deported to Albania. The truth is international espionage. The truth has lost its hold on virtue.

Here is a months' old question from Aleigh, who asked me a question that had so many possibilities that I couldn’t decide on the best answer. It got lodged in my answer pipe and then nothing would come out of my answer hole. Aleigh asks:

Dear Palinode,

Those who have crossed with direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom, remember us -- if at all -- not as lost violent souls, but only as the hollow men, the stuffed men?

The well-read among you will recognize Aleigh’s question as a quote from the modernist Norwegian poet Ole Stit, who often wrote under the pseudonyms Oil Test, Set Toil, Tile Sot, Eli Tost, ‘Tits’ Leo and Toilets. Scholars have spent decades uncovering the interconnected web of allusions and parodic winks to the history of Dano-Norwegian literature in his bewildering series of pen names. Most of his pseudonymous writing is porn or graffiti.

The quotation comes from one of his most famous poems, “Hometown Hell,” a searing exploration of a man’s quest to rid his village of a gang of vicious bikers. In its gritty detail, its metaphysical underpinnings and its examination of the loss of faith that has cast modern humanity adrift on the sea of flux, “Hometown Hell” remains the best Norwegian biker epic of the last fifty years. The line is spoken by biker gang leader Mads as he lies broken in the remains of his club Endeligt Anden Konge, imploring the main character Tor not to let them the gang be forgotten, or remembered only as “the hollow men, the stuffed men”. I’m going to let Tor answer this one for us:

TOR: What? I don’t get it. Why would people remember you as hollow or stuffed? First off, that sounds contradictory – if you’re stuffed, you can’t be hollow. Anyway, I think people will remember you as that guy with a bike who owned a club on the edge of town.

MADS: We’re hollow because we have no substance – leaning together – headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

TOR: Sorry. If you’re filled with straw, you’re not hollow. Clearly you’re trying to take this somewhere, but I’m not feeling it.

MADS: You know, I just, I just really hate you sometimes. You have no taste.

TOR: (crosses his eyes) Alas!

Lars von Trier is set to direct the film version.

So. You want your questions answered or not? Hey? Email a Palinode at