Diana West’s The Death of the Grown-Up, has received a handful of notices: William Grimes mocked it and The New Criterion‘s Stefan Beck was less dismissive, pointing to the Grimes Defense (“If an argument has been exaggerated a little bit for effect, we can throw it out—baby, bathwater, and even the soap scum of lingering doubt.”). Beck appears to be unaware that Grimes’s diluted form of reductio ad absurdum has existed long before Grimes. Indeed, it’s in use by many of today’s critics. And while many bemoan this rhetorical tactic, it is nevertheless a valid form of argumentative response. The problem with Grimes’s review in question isn’t his stance, but the flitting manner in which he declares West “Wrong. Totally wrong.” on the subject of Islam without citing specific textual examples. A good editor would have called Grimes on this and demanded that he strengthen his argument. Grimes really should have been permitted to write a 2,000 word essay instead of having his argumentative column inches diminished. Alas, the days where essays could be expanded to meet their argumentative requirements (as opposed to advertising demands) appear to be long over.
This year’s Orange Broadband Prize celebrity dunce jude? Lily Allen. Presumably, Allen will call at least one of the Orange Prize finalists a “cunt” and find a way to blame her slur on Amy Winehouse.
Bloglines appears to be seriously messed up. I’ve noticed that many blogs have lost scores of subscribers overnight. Between this, the delayed text, and the recurrent appearances of the Bloglines Plumber, I think I’m switching over to Google Reader or something else.
Alas, I was too swamped in deadlines to offer a few thoughts for this, but January Magazine has released its holiday gift guide.
Is it possible that the grand horror film company Hammer is using MySpace to make a comeback? (They will be releasing Beyond the Rave, the first Hammer film in 30 years and Ingrid Pitt is in the cast.)
Nicolas Cage and Alex Proyas are teaming up. I thoroughly loathed Proyas’s cinematic bastardization of I, Robot and have hoped since then that the guy who gave us the startling and underrated Dark City isn’t washed up.