Walter Kirn is David Denby’s Bitch

And while we’re on the subject of the rich, I couldn’t help but notice Walter Kirn’s review of American Sucker. Kirn writes, “Instead, like countless other Americans who had their own reasons for adding their hot breath to the mammoth bubble in equities whose bursting still echoes in the nation’s ears even as the market is puffing up again, Denby fell short,” and, just after painting the Denby-Schine marriage as “a model of bright metropolitan domesticity,” Kirn goes on to give Denby streetcred with the limolib crowd: “Denby, when young and living in California, had been something of a radical, dancing to the Grateful Dead and defiantly pitting culture against commerce, but he’d mellowed into a propertied intellectual who sneakily admired the system for its ability to supply the good life even to those who held it in partial contempt.”

Beyond the first quoted sentence (truncated here), which has more clauses than fleas on a mutt, is this really a book review? It seems more like biographical apologia than anything else. How can anyone “mellow” into a property owner, much less intellectualize about laying down escrow? Do you plop onto the beanbag one day, listening to Yo La Tengo, only to wake up with a deed of trust in your hands? Writing out a check ain’t exactly tantamount to riffing on Baudelaire. It is a thoughtless process used to keep creditors at bay for another month.

And who the fuck dances to the Dead? That’s a bit like trying to mosh to the Velvet Underground.


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