• It is laughable that Sarah Palin considers herself an intellectual. That she “always wanted a son named Zamboni” is a sure sign that this nation is well on its way to a dystopia in which Gatorade has replaced water. (One thing that can be confirmed: Sarah Palin’s got electrolytes!)
  • This John Updike profile would have played better with me, had Emily Nussbaum written in a manner suggesting that she had thoroughly read the book. But Nussbaum spends most of her time dwelling on Updike’s personal life, playing amateur psychiatrist like some chirpy undergrad hoping to coast through an elementary English lit class on hunches. (“It occurs to me that divorce is a central subject of The Witches as female psychology,” Nussbaum writes, but doesn’t cite anything from the text.) How different is Nussbaum’s article from a People Magazine puff piece? (via Mark Athitakis)
  • Okay, something smarter: Richard Powers sequences his genome.
  • Moby Lives appears to have returned in written form.
  • Just because John Freeman declares the National Book Awards finalists to be “in dialogue with world literature,” this does not make it so. This is what’s known in logic as the bare assertion fallacy. The books themselves represent an output of consciousness, but this output is subject to interpretation by other people. Freeman’s sanction (“I say it because it’s true!”) does not mean that it is true, or that there is any foolproof answer. This is not what any “dialogue with world literature” I know is about. And on a more literal level, so far as I know, Aleksandar Hemon is not chatting with Elfriede Jelinek on the phone.
  • Brian Lehrer is discussing Arts & Culture Funding on Friday’s show, and has set up a wiki to receive feedback from listeners. I’ve left my remarks, spurned on by Jacket Copy.
  • Brian Francis Slattery’s Spaceman Blues — one of the best books of 2007 — is now available as a free download. (Caveat: You have to register with Tor to download it.)
  • Chad Post observes that Wylie, quite late to the party, is getting his grubby and avaricious hands into Bolano.
  • Philip Hensher confesses (more than he knows) that it’s difficult to have humility when you’re on the Booker shortlist. Is it just me or is Mr. Hensher quickly become the UK’s answer to Jonathan Franzen? Will we see a creepy Discomfort Zone-style essay in which Hensher sobs over Andy Capp’s hat? (via Mark)
  • And finally, James Wood on Saramago’s new one.


  1. Carolyn: Au contraire. My remarks were indeed “spurned on” by Jacket Copy, because I was kicked into responding to the lack of emphasis on literature. Deliberate wordplay on this end. Me knew what me was doing!

  2. Hiya, Hunksome (LOL): (Tough job, huh, cruisin’ Cyberia lookin’ for some intellectual stimulaughter and counting the horseshoes on my arse I can always count on you to come through with flyin’ howlers.)

    Actually, it is to laugh, that whole palin’-to-black attack . . . almost impossible to believe or conceive of such an obscenely offensive dame being a heartbleat away from your country’s leadership, Ed.

    You know, I recently came across the definitive smug shot of the wannabean-brain and thought you’d see what I see in it. On Daniel Finkelstein’s “Comment Central” Blog in The Times. Have a peek-see and I betcha you’ll agree with me:

    The pic speaks eloquent volumes in glorious peacock-livin’ pallor, don’tcha think ?

    “Country First?” Egawds, gimme a brick! Both index fingers point in the opposite direction and reveal a hellarious truth hidden in the open book of that defining gesture (or, do I mean, posture, poseur wing-ding departmental thing?).

    Given that over-weening ego, that fatuosity to the Nth degree, she’s gotta be the star of the me-me-meistic show (or else!), the one complemented by what must surely be her personal mantra / motto: “Spectaculorum procedere debet . . .™

    IOW, Narcissistic Personality Disorder’s a bitch-glitch in pitbull’s loathing, lip-schtick division, any which way you “ice” it (hockeyistically speaking, natch).

    On that, you can betcher near-pathological self-adoration “intellectual” permanent vacation when it comes to nation unification at the heart of the inner station, J. Conrad’s Efficiency Division. It’s a pukifying bonus she’s dressed in black; but, Lard help us all, Dear Friend, if she gets anywhere near the White House . . . Four years is a long time to hold one’s breath, eh? K . . . (Have an ice day :).)

  3. Heh, briefo is me-me-meo to beo :). She’s warring with McCain’s message trackers and insisting she talk about . . . guess who? On CNN ‘site today.

    Palin’s off-script comments irk McCain aides:

    OMGasp! She gunnin’ for runnin’ in 2012/16? I *know* Obama will make such a difference, there’ll be little room for her, et. ilk.; but, it’s still frightenin’. Scaraboo Barbie (and, that particular deployment of “Barbie” don’t ref the doll, not any more)? Talk heartbeat away from barbarity.

    Hope you’re having a terrific one; and, judging from today’s posting, you seems to be so doin’ (with yer normal class ‘n’ panache splash, natch).

    *winkie, winkie* (LOL.)

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