Gut Rumbles
 

January 13, 2005

literature

When reading Romance Era writers, one should keep three things in mind. First, a lot of the writers WERE paid by the word, so the longer they could stretch out the story, the more money they made.

Second, people who read those books had no TV, no radio, no internet and not even electric lights to occupy their attention at night. They WANTED, long, drawn-out books to help them pass a few hours in the evening before bed. The thicker the book, the better it was for them.

Third, some of the writers just weren't that good--- the writers had the good fortune and energy to produce a lot of material and then die, so that their books became "classics," regardless of their true worth. Henry James was an asshole who never appreciated the United States of America. Nathaniel Hawthorne was a bent, twisted bastard, who had severe psychological problems with wimmen. Herman Melville was a long-winded drone. Mary Shelley was a nut-case.

Reading those people made me appreciate Mickey Spillane:

"Those big-shot writers never could dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar."

I like salted peanuts.

Comments

James. You're right
Hawthorne. You're half right
Melville. You, sir, are chasing a whale.

I like salted peanuts, too. I'm a both/and kind of reader.

The well-beaten middle- and highbrow are stylistic discriptors, not quality judgements. James is highbrow, but not very good, because he had little imagination. Tolkein is middlebrow, but great due to detailed imagination. Highbrow Joyce celebrated middlebrow man with great respect and affection, and an imagination that noticed everything

The merriment over my use of the word ornate to describe complicated styles tickles me once again. Ornamentalism was a term used by Russian literary critics to denote fictional prose of Remizov, Bely, and other modernists, before the Soviets decreed that only straightforward styles acceptable. It's a good term.

Posted by: Brett on January 13, 2005 11:17 AM

"Approximately 1.5 million Americans have peanut allergies. Each year, 50 to 100 people in the United States die from severe reactions to peanuts. Signs and symptoms of a severe reaction include constriction of your airways, weak and rapid pulse, dizziness or fainting, hives, swelling of your lips and tongue."
http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=AN00546&si=1836

Note: Not all human beings that deviate from the typical fat, uneducated and culturally small minded American is bent, or a twisted bastard, who has severe psychological problems. In fact, the whole world believes the contrary. Where else would people chomp peanuts up to death?

Maybe you should stop chomping peanuts and your state of mind would recover...

Posted by: John on January 13, 2005 11:30 AM

"Approximately 1.5 million Americans have peanut allergies. Each year, 50 to 100 people in the United States die from severe reactions to peanuts. Signs and symptoms of a severe reaction include constriction of your airways, weak and rapid pulse, dizziness or fainting, hives, swelling of your lips and tongue."
http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=AN00546&si=1836

Note: Not all human beings that deviate from the typical fat, uneducated and culturally small minded American is bent, or a twisted bastard, who has severe psychological problems. In fact, the whole world believes the contrary. Where else would people chomp peanuts up to death?

Maybe you should stop chomping peanuts and your state of mind would recover...

Posted by: John on January 13, 2005 11:33 AM

Hey John,

Did you also know that every year 6800 Americans die from writing stupid posts, having people look up their addresses on yahoo's people search, and getting subsequently slapped silly and force fed entire 16-oz jars Kroger-brand chunky peanut butter?

I'll just bet you didn't. Hope you're not allergic, dude.

Posted by: Jimmy Antley on January 13, 2005 12:10 PM

Jimmy,
there are tens of thousends of holier-than-thou Americans blogging out there. So chances are slim Acidman is going to be among the 6800 dying next year. But you are right, we can still hope. And don't call him "dude"; call him "Acidman" and he will understand!

Posted by: John on January 13, 2005 12:25 PM

Ha, ha! That was good - I was assuming you knew who my post was aimed at, John ;-} My bad.

But, no, I wouldn't call acidman holy-than-thou (well, maybe if by "thou", they mean "you"). The holier-than-thou attitude seems to be a character trait of most left-wing types, bloggers and regular civilian non-bloggers.

I don't think acidman is right all the time, specially about cats. He does seem like a freedom-loving dude, pretty close to a libertarian politically, and is also a good writer.

Acidman, I promise, that if you ever write a book that my kids are forced to read in government skool, I will make sure they don't just read the Cliff notes. This is in contrast to Herman Melville - I borrowed the Cliff notes for Moby Dick, in a college freshman English class, and even the damn Cliff notes were too thick! So, I really don't know whether Moby ended up killing the whale, getting swallowed up, whether it was a baleen whale or a toothed Orca-type whale, or whether any greenpeace zodiac boats were destroyed in the process (now that would have made it readable!), etc. I just hear that the ending was pretty Dicked up ;-}

Posted by: Jimmy Antley on January 13, 2005 12:45 PM

Note: Not all human beings that deviate from the typical fat, uneducated and culturally small minded American is bent, or a twisted bastard, who has severe psychological problems. In fact, the whole world believes the contrary. Where else would people chomp peanuts up to death?

I'm just a new commenter, so my standing is certainly suspect to some. However, how does a literary opinion describing a couple of authors within a particular school of literature translate to attributing those characteristics to the rest of the American reading population?

Also, what tremendously erudite, slimmed-down, fabulously fat brained non-American boulder do you live under?

Posted by: Kim on January 13, 2005 02:04 PM

Hey Kim,
I certainly believe and know thatt there are some Americans with brain in their head. Some even cultivated it.
My comment, however was in response to the original post refering to the intellectual and cultural limits of the majority of Americans and especially refering to this blogger's lines:
"the writers had the good fortune and energy to produce a lot of material and then die, so that their books became "classics," regardless of their true worth. Henry James was an asshole who never appreciated the United States of America. Nathaniel Hawthorne was a bent, twisted bastard, who had severe psychological problems"

Posted by: John on January 13, 2005 02:58 PM

Actually, only the best literature of the 19th century attained classic status. We have forgotten thousands of novelists (many of them women) from that period, and rightly so.

Posted by: Brett on January 13, 2005 03:32 PM

Perhaps I just am not understanding the English language today. If I have blasted you in error, I apologize. I just can't figure out why you were going on about fat, uncultured Americans vis a vis those who deviate from that path not necessarily being bent, twisted or psychologically warped.
I don't see that flowing from the original blog. It only referred to a certain subset of authors and and and...my head's going to explode.
Never mind.

Posted by: Kim on January 13, 2005 05:20 PM

Kim, because you're new to this, I'll gently let you in on one of the rules:

"Don't feed the troll."

That means when someone like John posts a comment like the ones he's posting in this thread, you ignore him.

It doesn't necessarily mean he'll go away -- he knows we're ignoring him on purpose and can therefore convince himself that by continuing to act up he's somehow making an impression even if we're not reacting to it.

Meanwhile we all get together at the Fat, Uncultured Americans Union Hall and laugh about him behind his back.

Posted by: McGehee on January 13, 2005 05:46 PM

Thanks, MCG. I do know about trolls-on other boards, etc. However, usually they are more flameworthy. This was sort of a watered-down, confused troll. But, I suppose you have to have apprentice trolls or junior trolls at some point, right?

I'll bring the bean dip to the hall.

Posted by: Kim on January 13, 2005 06:38 PM

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a bent, twisted bastard, who had severe psychological problems with wimmen.

Sweet. I'll be sure to check him out.

Posted by: horse with no blame on January 13, 2005 08:18 PM

Why the bug up the butt about old Nate?

Most of his stuff is short stories, and his favorite sport was tearing the moonbats of the 19th century more holes to poop from, cf THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE & "The Celestial Railroad."

Posted by: Ernest Brown on January 15, 2005 01:24 AM

To Jim Antley: KROGER peanut butter?!?!?!? KROGER fahcrysake?!?!?!

. Tha't's TORTURE!!!
.

Posted by: the friendly grizzly on January 16, 2005 12:40 PM

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