Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We see the shinola, where's the shit?

Kia on the sad state of book reviewing; on what it means to educate the book audience; on Cyril Connolly and Marvin Mudrick; on the stupefaction of stupid fiction; on the reasons she reads; on the relation of a news timeframe to a literary timeframe; on Mudrick's method of reviewing and his kind of good judgment; on remembering that "nobody gives a shit about you"; on academic "collegiality":

The great virtue is collegiality, the maintenance of this specious chumminess among people who secretly and violently loathe each other. What brings them together is saying shit about the stupidity of students and grad students and (I suppose) of those untenured phantoms who roam from campus to campus, living on Top Ramen, doing the actual teaching.
on preferring British book reviews to the USian species; on the wellsprings of USian essay tedium:
in order to say anything critical about anything and keep your mass audience you have to play the self-deprecating curmudgeon. “Oh, don’t you mind Uncle Frank. The Katzenjammer Kids set fire to his underpants again.”
on a certain parallel between contemporary essayistic (/blogistic) finery and the somnambulent procession of 19th century Augustanism; on getting "a pretty strong sense of the difference between shit and shinola," among other things.

I've not been reading many blogs lately. And whatever happens on Twitter can stay on Twitter. Who has time for Facebook? But this is like suddenly being hauled out of the ClichéoSphere with a Swiftean smack of sanity. I warmly recommend the whole thing.

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