Thursday, January 29, 2009

Speaking ill of the dead

Current book: The Beautiful and Damned
Pages read: Still none

In lieu of actually posting about Fitzgerald, since I can't seem to get my shit together enough to read him, I will, instead, discuss Updike a little more, regardless of the fact that this is beginning to sound like the "I Hate Updike Project." The obituary for him in the Washington Post the other day had the title "John Updike's Lyricism Exalted the Everyday and the Unglamorous." I don't know what exactly it was that Henry Allen, the Post's lit writer, was reading, but it was apparently not the same stuff that I was reading. Unless the word "exalted" has lately been redefined as "cheapened and tarnished." If so, you'd think someone might have mentioned it to me. The obituary also included the following quotation, "He said in an interview in Life magazine that 'the idea of a hero is aristocratic. Now either nobody is a hero or everyone is. I vote for everyone.'"

Do you, Updike? Do you really? Then try making the everyday seem aristocratic, rather than despicable on every possible human level. Apparently I misinterpreted the situation when I said that I didn't think Updike really wanted us to like Rabbit Angstrom. I guess he did. How it is, then, that he failed so utterly miserably, for me, at least, is hard to fathom. But call me crazy for having a violent hatred for a verbally abusive husband who leaves not only his pregnant wife but also his pregnant prostitute mistress, accepts no responsibility for any of his actions, and comes out the other side thinking he's righteous and entitled. Christ.

I thought of some other witty commentary about this last night as I was falling asleep, but it faded in the fog of sickness that carried me off to the realms of the unconscious. It was really witty, though. There were going to be parentheses. And maybe even an asterisk.


  1. I personally was hoping for BRACKETS!

  2. John Updike's passing is sad news indeed... he possessed a truly beautiful mind; he didn't just write well, he wrote wisely



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