Frequently Asked Questions about "Hypertext"

1. What is “Hypertext”?

2. What are the Richards Criteria?

3. Who are you?

4. What is the Popular Interpretation?

5. And the Texas/Bush School?

6. Can you summarize the Technosexual Reading?

7. How about the Richards Posttranssexual Rereading?

8. What's the story with the fan fiction and the double murder?

9. Who am I?

5. And the Texas/Bush School?

Lest we forget. The Texas Reading, which became known as the Bush School, was first formulated by the late Hilton Allrich when he was at the University of Texas-Austin, predating the Popular Interpretation and well before the zenith of fan fiction (FAQ #8).

While Allrich found in “Hypertext” some superficial references to the life and scandals of President George Walker Bush (e.g., “pyx pyre” text refers to the burning or “cleansing” of official records documenting Bush’s controversial Vietnam-era National Guard service), he mainly argued that the rhetoric and grammar of the poem imitate Bush's fragmented speech patterns, awkward syntax, parataxis, and tortured diction.

Bush image 1Bush image 2

Thus, Alan Richardson chose hypertext as the “mother word” of the poem precisely because it yielded a Bushian monosyllabic, simpleton vocabulary and a grammar devoid of conjunctions and participles and lacking in verbs (only 10). Airheaded interjections (hey, eh, tee-hee, er, yep) outnumber the few adverbs (here, there, and yet), prepositions (re and per), and articles (the). Nouns and adjectives dominate the poem (40 out of 69 words), which Allrich characterized as:

...essentially a series of things, things that lack the subtlety of modification and qualification, things made static by the dearth of verbs.

Coherence is sporadic.

Like the poem's ostensible themes of political intrigue and the fall from grace, its sentence fragments, overreliance on the imperative, mixture of highbrow and lowbrow register, and dubious or inventive usage are almost Shakespearian. But the choppy cadences, the highly overstressed and chaotic meter—these are purely Bush.

By contrast, some neo-Bushies suggest that the abundance of rhyming and the repetition of vowels and consonants produce a kind of jerking, staccato musical quality, an almost incantatory effect (a hex if you will).

In any case, the credibility of the Bush School suffered a blow with the revelation, following Hilton Allrich’s death, of Allrich's physical attraction to author Alan Richardson. Following his failed promotion at Texas with a lowlier adjunct position at San Francisco State, Allrich took pains to seek out Richardson in person.

The pipe-smoking, double-chinned critic met the between-careers, postcapitalist poet at a Mission District cafe on at least one occasion, and in his diary Allrich described or fantasized being seduced by the “petite, long-haired, girlish” Richardson (cited by some as a source for Dick Hellton’s tranny barfly, FAQ #3).

For his part Richardson never spoke of the alleged one-night stand, and soon after, he dropped from public view entirely. Conspiracy theorists had a field day when Hilton Allrich was found blue and cold—having apparently hanged himself, and still with an erection—in his seedy flat in the Mission.

Mission image