A Special Guest Column by Dale Peck

Several weeks ago, the Village Voice told me never to write for them again. My literary outing had come, as it were, as a hatchet man. But after talking with my therapist and having lots of sex one wistful Friday evening with my main man, it suddenly occurred to me that I could continue to write articles about the articles I had already written. Furthermore, I could become something of a schizophrenic, wavering between long savage reviews and a kinder, gentler Dale Peck. A Dale Peck as adorable as a plush toy, a cuddly critic, but not too cuddly.

So it was with some relief that I accepted Edward Champion’s offer to clarify a few things on his blog. What Mr. Champion realized, unlike my other enemies, is that I would never shut up about my thoughts on the novel. And so he encouraged me.

If criticism can be called a sandwich, then it is composed of tuna fish. Nearly every critic today fails to consider the mayo once they’ve opened the can. But I, Dale Peck, am always capable of mixing my tuna with the mayo. Sometimes with relish, sometimes without. If you get my obvious metaphor, properly preparing a tuna fish sandwich is a duty that has eluded the current generation. And while the Voice and others may not appreciate this, someone very important out there does. Namely, Dale Peck.

It’s destiny, I’m sure, to take up space on the blogs that celebrate literature, sandwiched between the LiveJournal entries and the link-plus-commentary approach which counts for punditry. The reasonable argument is for the loser. And the true critic must remain chronically bitter, because the situation is well out of control.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming any particular book blogger for the phenomenon. I lost my love for literature the minute they started publishing my books, but certainly I’d rather write about my enmity than work in an office. Either way involves a unique form of hatred. If I didn’t express my contempt for authors, I’d probably be expressing it to a manager. I’d make any manager’s life a living hell, possibly stalking them after work.

When I read any sentence I get angry with it, and I am convinced that all sentences are out to get me. Thus my hatred is directed lovingly towards anyone who composes a sentence in the English language. This is because I see myself as a kind of self-loathing human being, not so much towards others but to the sentences they crank out.

So when Roddy Doyle goes after Joyce, I say, let the man go hog wild. I support Mr. Doyle’s ranting because I happen to think his nose is sexy, and I’m sure he would be a good lay. Mr. Doyle hasn’t yet returned any of my calls, but as any writer knows, perseverance is what counts.

The plain truth is that I am less and less capable of intellectual engagement because I no longer have any ideas or emotions left in me, save one that you probably aren’t interested in.

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