Just a few notes on recent items & events:
- The much, much, much too-hyped CNN-YouTube debate for the Democratic presidential nominees wasn't the failure some predicted it would be, but it wasn't the political watershed moment CNN would have you think it was either. The big winner from last night? Democrats generally. With the Republican version not happening until September, the Dems will get almost two months of credit for engaging "the public" directly. The Republicans, however, are going to get crucified when their questions get sent in; by September, the schisms within the party will be plain and the calls for blood will be positively choral.
- You Jane Austen fans out there might appreciate this. In the Google age, this is inexcusable and should send more than a few heads rolling.
- The Guardian put together its list of the fifty greatest film comedies. Note some of the really bottom-of-the-barrel inclusions. We'll see if The Simpsons Movie makes a future version, but if the Guardian review is any indication, it will be; the review falls somewhere between supplication and fellatio.
- I will not link to any item about the LiLo fiasco. Period. I will only add this: given the paranoiac effects of alcohol and cocaine, and her constant realization that yes, she is being hounded everywhere, one should hardly wonder why she keeps going on and off the, ahem, rails. Remember the old adage: Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean that no one's following you.
- Recent online discovery: this wonderful reflection by the great lyric critic Helen Vendler. Pious Labours, especially: as RK would say, RLAID; read, learn and inwardly digest.
- After being reminded recently of Northrop Frye's The Well-Tempered Critic, I decided the other day to reread it in its entirety--- and which I did, in one sitting over pints at one of my locals. The first essay I'd still encourage everyone, of literary bent or not, to read & re-read & re-read yet again: it's brilliant, central and more valuable now than when it was written those forty-plus years ago. It also reminded me why I loathe the current critical trend to discuss literature as "discourse." Discourse, in its current usage, is really just an attempt to conflate the various areas of critical distinction which Aristotle rightly separated: the ethical, the rhetorical, the poetical. It also conveniently allows lit-critters to say and to write whatever the hell they want, regardless of disciplinary considerations, while guising it as scholarship. In short, it's a license to bullshit and has been used, egregiously, as one. No wonder I wince when I see the word in any scholarship in the past forty years; it has become meaningless, save to say that it indicates and enables pretentious prognostication of the broadest order. We'd do well, I think, to re-read our Aristotle--- without the commonplace sniggering about the convenient compartmentalization of elements.
Hair shorn and beard gone, believe it or not, I have been shocking the hell out of people lately. Further to the Ripley's file, from a young woman the other day: So how old are you? 22, 23?
If only, dear lass, if only....