The eminent scholar “took the bull by the horns,”
substituting urban black speech for the voice
of an illiterate cop in Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae.
And we sat there.
Dana’s purple eyes deepened, Becky
twitched to her hairtips
and Janice in her red shoes
scribbled he’s an arschlock; do you want
to leave? He’s a model product of his
education, I scribbled back; we can learn from this.
At the same time I see that the academy has its ways of inuring too many of its chosen ones against a compulsion to apply their research and writing to contemporary issues that ought to demand all of our attention. Perhaps it’s that American campuses are so leafy and idyllic, allowing us to pretend that this utopic vision is but the world on a micro-scale.
It’s hard not to imagine every review as just a shout into the abyss. It’s why something like “A real stinker!” makes sense: it’s to the point. It says, “I would highly recommend you don’t buy this book.” While Wells’s review of Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar is a work of art and comedy itself, the very nature of critique lends itself to a rant. It’s amusing to plumb the depths of hate. It’s harder to discuss admiration with nuance and fairness. And if discussing it isn’t hard enough, it’s difficult to persuade someone to read a lengthy review written by an anonymous reader on Goodreads.
I used to be too respectful to disagree with Tolstoy, but since I got into my sixties my faculty of respect has atrophied. Besides, at some point in the last forty years I began to question Tolstoy’s respect for his wife. Anybody can make a mistake in marriage, of course. But I have an impression that no matter who he married Tolstoy would have respected her only in certain respects, though he expected her to respect him in all respects. In this respect, I disapprove of Tolstoy; which makes it easier to disagree with him in the first place, and in the second place, to say so.
Every night, I built a blind in the field from heaped tires, shot pheasants from there. I’d found the rifle at the abandoned shooting range. It was an air gun, fired pellets with hollow points that left holes the shape of keyholes in the targets. So far I had killed two pheasants and, accidentally, one squirrel. I had never seen another person. Squatters occupied the other abandoned warehouses, but squatters avoided the warehouse in the field.