While I must confess that there was a minor impulse to satirize the sad, icky, and delusional article that is currently making the rounds and sullying the New York Times‘s credibility, I think I’ll simply stay silent on the matter. I urge all parties to do the same. This was a calculated and desperate effort from the Gray Lady to get you to link to the piece, comment upon the piece, eviscerate the author’s reputation, and otherwise drive traffic their way. If there’s one thing New York media welcomes, it’s this sort of hapless gossip. And rather than give this individual the attention she clearly pined for, I think I’ll take the high road here (or perhaps the middle road, since I am not quite obliquely referencing it). There are larger issues to think about: war, poverty, class and race division, rising food prices, the election — just to name a few. These are all more deserving of your attention than a young woman’s failure to understand just how hopelessly unaware she is of her own self-sabotaging impulses. (I read the article twice just to be sure. And these impulses became apparent the second time around when I realized just what was unintentionally revealed within this disastrous confessional. Some writers, I suppose, are content to pillage every inch of personal territory in order to “matter.” Not me, I assure you.)
Wyatt Mason has been giving good blog of late. The man has been tantalizing us with a striptease summation of the Wood-Franzen event that went down at Harvard not long ago. Part One and Part Two are now available. There are indeed considerable shortcomings in Franzen’s argument, particularly with the quotes presented in Part Two. But rather than offering my own thoughts, let’s see indeed how Mason rejoins. Tomorrow, he says, with a chance of scattered showers and G-men knocking on our doors to ask us how we spent our stimulus packages.
I have found myself of late RSVPing to parties and not attending. This is not a common practice of mine. And yet it has occurred. Therefore, I apologize to all those who have sent me invites and who have received such treatment from me. When one moves many books, one finds one’s self (one!) in something of a time-crunched pickle. 70% of the books have been shifted. I believe there’s now somewhere in the area of 4,000 volumes. Pickles will indeed be served on the other side. They will not be time-crunched, I think, but they will be tasty.
I don’t know if it’s entirely fair to use a photo as a book blurb, but it occurs to me that more folks should be photographed with shades, a wind-swept blazer, and a book in one’s left hand. Will GQ follow suit? I think not. But I’m looking at this photo and I’m thinking to myself that even I might adjust certain proclivities, if it will make such developments happen on a more regular basis. Is this Obamamania on my part? Perhaps. But you’ll never see a Hollywood actor look quite this badass. It’s all in the wrist action. It’s all in the book. (This, by contrast, is appalling.)
Sometimes, it takes a kilt-wearing journalist to point out that Scrabble has turned sixty. And with this, we see that even addictive board games become septuagenarians with little fanfare. There is no justice.
“Golden age of storytelling,” my ass. Not when you stick to squeaky-clean stories. Not when podcasters abstain from decent radio dramas (this one included). Not when Sam Tanenhaus continues to host the most soporific literary podcast known to humankind. (via Booksquare)
Speaking of which, Dan Green incites some controversy about authors as marketeers. Personally, I don’t necessarily oppose an author as a marketer, provided the marketing is predicated upon some justifiable creative component. A few days ago, while revisiting John P. Marquand’s work, I discovered that Marquand had written an additional piece for a magazine featuring Horatio Willing (the narrator of the Pulitzer-winning The Late George Apley) complaining about how Marquand took all the accolades without credit. It was a fun piece, and you’ll find it collected in the out-of-print Thirty Years. I imagine it was written with promotion in mind. But it had the same spirit of subtle hilarity that you’ll find in Apley.
Ways of Seeing: YouTubed. I’ve loved this program for many years and for many reasons. But I was always intrigued by the way in which John Berger used his show as a pretext to talk with women about female nudes while wearing one of those groovy and unbuttoned 1972 shirts. Draw your own conclusions. But you can’t get away with this in 2008, I’m afraid. (via Mark)