Details on the Save Segundo Plan will be put up here very soon. With the exception of Saturday’s much-needed musical fiesta, I’ve spent the weekend working. My research suggests that the way out is possible, although it will certainly not be easy. More TK.
Adam Thirlwell’s The Delighted States is a very odd book: an idiosyncratic volume of literary criticism that you’d think the American litblogosphere would get behind simply because it speaks of literature in a giddy, informed, and near intoxicated manner. But aside from a few grafs at Bluestalking Reader, Maitresse, and Nancy Rommelmann, I’ve seen very little on Thirlwell aside from a few links. I’m hoping to offer something lengthy and intelligible when I can. But the sense I’m getting so far is that Thirlwell is one of us: brash and impetuous, taken with silly generalizations, but also insightful. It was absolutely predictable when Michael Dirda went off on Thirlwell with the same needless energies that he expended on litbloggers. But what I didn’t anticipate was the near silence from the litblogosphere. Care to fess up why, folks?
To offer ripe bananas to the monkeys of our world, Dave Itzkoff’s inability to entirely understand Moorcock isn’t nearly as bad as one might think. And it was far from the dumbest article that appeared in yesterday’s Times. That honor goes to three articles. I’ll only mention two. The author of the third article has been mentioned here too many times and I have no wish to comment upon his continued inadequacies. He is beyond hope and best left unmentioned. There is the vague possibility that the other two might learn to use their noggins. But, of course, that last sentence was typed by an oft foolhardy optimist.
Stupefaciant Article the First: Margo Rabb’s remarkably snobbish pity party. Considering the current economy, Rabb should be grateful to have her novel published, but she feels the need to bitch and moan about how her po’ li’l nwovel was categorized as YA. Please pass the Kleenex. Of course, Rabb doesn’t seem to understand that agents and publishers are in the business of selling books, not stroking authors’s egos (well, mostly). And if the publishers feel that packaging Rabb’s novel as a YA book will sell more units, well then, what’s the harm? Oh yeah. It’s Rabb’s suggestion that walking into another section of a bookstore — whether it be science fiction, mystery, YA, chick lit, romance, or anything else — is the literary equivalent of talking with those brown-skinned people in the barrio, all of whom will presumably mug her. Apparently, YA is the new chick lit, which also explains why Curtis Sittenfeld — wisely avoiding the genre trash-talking that Rabb and the NYTBR were clearly pining for — was also dragged into the article. Unfortunately, many otherwise smart authors utter some rather foolish conclusions about the incurious nature of adults. But here’s the good news: maybe these authors might not slag off genre as they once did. Then again, never underestimate literary hubris.
Stupefacient Article the Second: I think it’s safe to say that when a writer writes an article beginning with the sentence, “I am stumped by how to excerpt the language on message boards and blogs,” the writer — in this case, Virginia Heffernan — can be sufficiently labeled an incurious and joyless badaud. Countless journalists before Ms. Heffernan have found ways to transpose flagrant misspellings into articles, including those who work at the Times, and these gaffes often result in verbal innovation. Consider, for example, a linguistic trend originating in Boston around 1838-9, in which various acronyms of deliberately misspelled words (“K.G.” for “Know Go,” “K.Y.” for “Know Yuse”) led to the emergence of “OK” for “all correct.” It seems to me that it would behoove the journalist not to correct the language so that some of what is being typed at a frenetic pace might be preserved for future linguists, in case any of these marvelous manglings mutate into new coinages. After all, the Wayback Machine only goes so far. Let the humorless grammarians who bang out these cranky castigations for the Times resort to sic impulses if they must. But there’s a significant difference between the President of the United States mispronouncing “nuclear” and some kid banging out an impulsive IM or misspelled comment on the fly. The former is merely embarrassing. The latter may be innovating and not know it.