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10 August 2010


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Yes, it would be "everyone but him." What a douche.



"But in the meantime, have a read of his first hitlist: William T Vollman, Amy Tan, John Ashbery, Mary Oliver, Helen Vendler, Antonya Nelson, Sharon Olds, Jorie Graham, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, Louise Gluck, Michael Cunningham, Billy Collins and Michiko Kakutani."

I believe that every single person he named is a college professor. I know that Vollman, Oliver, Olds, Cunningham and Collins are. Regardless, it does occur to me that what all these writers exemplify is the modern academic writing style: clarion, accessible, polished of prose, of good sentiments, quiet introspection, and tired morality. They write the kind of books that one would write if every daring chance one took was shouted down around the crit-table; the the kind of timid, sympathetic intellectuality which speaks, not of a person who has graduated from a modern liberal arts college, but of a person who has elected never to graduate.

Perhaps they are more sophisticated than Dumas, more sensible than Byron, better-learned than Sabatini, more politically correct than Wolfe. Yet to me, like "Charlene and her friends" from Cryptonomicon, all I see is a "schoolmarmishness." They do not want to live a thousand new lives through their writing. They are content with the lives they have. Their fiction reflects this fact.

"I challenge you to name any fictional heroes who have survived in as good health as d'Artagnan and his friends. Sherlock Holmes is a possible exception. Yes, The Three Musketeers was a swashbuckling novel full of melodrama and all the sins of the genre. But it's also a distinguished example of the serial, and of a standard well above the norm. A tale of friendship and adventure that has stayed fresh even though tastes have changed and there is an now an idiotic tendency to despise action in novels. It would seem that since Joyce we have had to make do with Molly Bloom and give up Nausicaa on the beach after the shipwreck. . . give me Homer's Ulysses any day."

And I should know. Like Nicholas Sparks, I kick so much ass that I have to polish my shoes with special anti-ass formula.

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