Friday, December 14, 2001

Advice to the Literary Mafia

  • Pack your heat in the back. It fits into the small of your back and doesn't show as easily as under the pit or down front (Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?).

  • Easy on the gelato: you gotta fit behind your desk to write there.

  • Don't EVER ask about what happened to Uncle Louie. There was a disagreement about the objective correlative. That's all you need to know.

  • IBM, no. Olivetti, yes.

  • Sanka, no. Espresso, duh.

  • When dining out, get a seat in the back, and always, always sit with your back to the wall.

  • Anyone caught reading Nicholas Sparks is outta the family. Period.

  • Similarly, the last person who gave the Don a Tom Clancy book for Christmas woke up with a horse's head in his bed. Nuff said.

  • When reading Pound, always go with a red.

  • Finally, avoid the Gambinos. They'll only try to strong-arm you into "admitting" that Italo Calvino was the twentieth century's greatest writer.

  • Ciao.

    Friday, December 07, 2001

    On December 6th, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft uttered the following inanity:

    "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics only aid terrorists."

    I responded to the New York Times article with the following letter:

    Dear Editor:

    Attorney General Ashcroft accuses his critics of scaring “peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty,” adding that their “tactics only aid terrorists."

    So, it’s the old “If ain’t for us, you’re against us” sophistry again. Patriotism, we’re intended to believe, doesn’t allow scrutiny of government action in times of war.

    As Mr. Ashcroft well knows: a free society encourages dissent. Vulgar generalizations like his not only oversimplify the concept of patriotism, they’re also no more than ad hominem attacks—hardly the tactic of anyone truly interested in winning adherents to his cause. Let’s hear some response to criticism, Sir, not pathetic attempts to shame your critics into submission.

    It's this breezy anti-intellectualism at the highest levels of our government that frightens me.

    Robert S.
    Charlotte, NC

    Would love to see that published, but I suspect the Times was flooded with similar angry letters.

    Monday, December 03, 2001

    I confess, I'm an Edward Hopper fan. Guess he suits my moody post-existentialist worldview. Someone once told me my writing read like an Edward Hopper painting and I decided to be flattered. Weird, huh? I knew what they meant. I only hope I can truly emulate the compliment and become the Edward Hopper of letters one day.

    New York Movie, 1939