Monday, January 09, 2006

On the Dole: Day 1

I'm still in my pajamas, curled up in bed with my laptop, blinds closed tightly but glowing with the sun, folk music trembling out of my speakers. No! I refuse to be so easily pigeonholed. It's Monday: I will engage the world, even if I don't have a job.

First, to return my book to the library. Yes, an excellent plan. There will be some satisfaction there: I didn't like and I seem to be almost the only one. How can this be? How is everyone else so bowled over BY YET ANOTHER standard "satire" of college life where the male professors are self-obsessed preening student-fucking losers scared of the abysses within themselves and the female students are inarticulate post-feminist hypersexual vixens?

Yes, there is too much theory in colleges now. The long passage about no professor being able to say "I like the tomato" is the most memorable in the book for me. (Instead, each professor makes the sentence into overintellectual gibberish in their own particular way.) That, to me, is a valid critique.

The thing is, I LIKE Zadie Smith. I continued to like White Teeth even as the backlash hit. Some of her observations are astute. I like her writing, though not the dialogue, punctuated to death with ellipses, italics, and dashes. There was not a single character in this mess of a novel that I could identify with or admire. Worse, I got the distinct sense she didn't much value her characters either; she certainly didn't describe them charitably, especially the overweight women. Which means, to my mind, that she fell into her own trap of not being able to see beauty except in its conventional forms.

But, enough. Off I go to return it. Maybe I wouldn't have been so disappointed if I hadn't had some high hopes, and anyway, I have plenty to take my mind off it, as varied as The Eustace Diamonds and Kafka on the Shore. Not to mention job apps.

"Up and ATOM!"
"Up and AT THEM!"
"Up and ATOM!"
"Up and AT THEM!"
" ... better."

and so on.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ester, this is K-dawg of S-more (who in a fit of unparalled masochism dated kbaker-dawg). I haven't read your blog in a long time, because I don't read blogs, but then today I read your blog. And found that you continue to validate my existence, even when I am not there to observe it, by noticing the same things I notice: that the New Yorker claims Brokeback isn't a gay cowboy movie. That C. Sittenfeld is pretty much brilliant. And also she went to the Iowa Workshop. I noticed all these things. Anyway that's all. Sorry you got fired.

Nate said...

I had never noticed the similarities of abyssal-loser-professors-fucking-students between Wonder Boys and The Corrections, but there you have it; it can't be denied. But what's-her-name, with the ecstasy and what not, she wasn't exactly inarticulate. She put ol' Chip in his place at least once in one of the best scenes of the book. Hypersexual, yes, though. But Chabon could still write circles around Franzen, that is if we were to do an ill-advised D.C./Marvel crossover match up.

ester said...

hmm, nate - true - but franzen is a swattie, so i must be protective. it's funny, i really like both of them (him and chabon) - and actually i really like russo too. it's just that i never want to read about that particular permutation of events EVER again.

at least in Wonder Boys he didn't actually sleep with the girl, and she was more benign than the others.

zaino, child! (it is you ... ?) i'm happy to help. what the hell are you up to these days anyway?

Nate said...

He's also a Missourian.

Adam said...

Up and Adam, actually.

Nate said...

Ooh! Ooh!

Ahem. Yeah she was pretty benign, even with the red boots, which means they got the right person to play her in the movie.

Late wit.