A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Friday, October 16, 2009

Substance Over "Style"

John McIntyre reviews a book about Strunk and White's Elements of Style.
In apparent disregard of Rule 9 (“Do not affect a breezy manner”) he writes that Harold Ross’s prospectus for The New Yorker “reads like a sort of literary bat signal that must surely have twiddled the antennae of E.B. White as he worked over his desk in the Frank Seaman agency.” And I think that Mr. White, if present, would sigh over Mr. Garvey’s preference for gauntlet over gantlet on three occasions. In short, Mr. Garvey’s little book on the Little Book illustrates the terrible, terrible fate of the writer that Auden identified in his elegy on Yeats: “he became his admirers.”

Shameless

Jon Stewart on the Franken amendment.

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Their American Cousins

Alex Massie on what Britain's conservatives think about America's.
David Cameron’s “progressive Tories” bear little resemblance to the Republican Party of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. Increasingly, British Tories wonder what has happened to their American relatives. It’s as if your favorite cousin had a nervous breakdown, found religion, and became an evangelist for an apocalyptic cult prophesying the imminent end of the world as we know and love it.

Hot Air

Ezra Klein on balloon boy.
Whether or not the drama was staged, it certainly served as a perfect metaphor for cable news: America spent hours riveted by a powerful and gripping story that turned out to be totally meaningless, and will have no significant impact on anybody's lives going forward.