We make holes in teeth!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Gravity's Rainbow & Infinite Jest

I know that books are subjective, no matter what the author intends. What I get out of it isn't going to be the same thing that the other guy gets out of it. So the adage that there's a chair for every ass has some merit here, there can be no doubt about it. But sometimes I wonder what the point is. Take 2 books I have recently tried to read, Thomas Pynchon's classic, Gravity's Rainbow (or this), and David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (or this).

Read the Wikipedia entries and the books sound interesting. They're not. They're both droning word collages that lull you to sleep with lack of direction and rambling prose. These books both come from the element of literature I refer to as word obfuscation. Using the expression "word obfuscation" is, in fact, word obfuscation itself. Obfuscation is defined as, " To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand." I cite that definition because I know it's pompous to use it in the context above.

Point being. Ok, right. The point being that both of these authors used this literary element, and as any well-grounded reader will tell you, this will trigger a slew of insecure literary dimwits to scream that the book is outstanding. "I can't understand it," the logic begins, "So it must be brilliant! Brilliant!"

The only interesting aspects of those books is reading someone else's take on them. Then they suddenly brim to life. Take those Wikipedia entries, for example. If you read them both, it probably took you about 20 minutes, maybe 30 total if you paid close attention. Each of these books is near 1000 pages long. You don't hammer that out in 30 minutes. No, with the circuitous path both narratives take, you read about 1 page per 4 minutes. The intrigue doesn't last long.

It's like this. If I built a road across the country where drivers had to occasionally get out and crab walk across a river and lay in cold snow for 15 minutes at a time, it would be really cool to watch an hour documentary of it on the Discovery Channel. But nobody would actually drive it and say, "Boy, that's a great road." Neither of these books are great roads, IMO. They're interesting for a small subset of people, and what those people get out of it is interesting for the rest of us to read. But that doesn't make either a great book. It makes them hard to read.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

All For This One...Moment?

If you've watched TV, listened to radio, or ridden on a train in the last year or so you probably know the expression, "All for this one moment." This is Lufthansa Airline's campaign to suggest that, I suppose, you've waited your whole life for this one moment to ride on this one airplane. Really, the details I could give 2 shits about. But if you care, you can read about it here.

There's a poster on the train which has some guy opening up his laptop while on the airplane. I looked for it but couldn't find it. In my mind, there's a glow in front of him, and I sort of think of Pulp Fiction, when they open the suitcase, the glow that goes with it. It' may or may not really be there, but in my mind it is. I looked only vaguely for it online, but could not find it. You might have more luck if you really want to see what it looks like.

Anyway, it's unimportant, except for that fact that someone on the train wrote a thought bubble on the poster which reads, "Porn!" Funny, of course this is what everyone thought when they saw the ad for the first time. If I can help it, I'll never fly
Lufthansa because the campaign is annoying to me. Remember, I am still the advertising demographic.

I have now changed that expression to mean that I get to drink a beer at certain defined times in my life. In my mind, it reads, "All for this one beer." Take, for example, tonight. I actually have 2 beers, not 1, chilling to drink tonight. One is Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA. I had one Friday, and it was something else. Not amazing, but very intense. You can read the details from the link above. I look forward to having the second of the 4 pack tonight, despite the fact that link tells me it has a whopping 290 calories per bottle. It's ok, I rode my bike 20 miles today so I figure I deserve it. Even if I hadn't, I'd come up with a rationalization, you can be sure. Sun spots - whatever.

The other is Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. I have not yet had one of these this year. I look forward to it. Again, you can read the details on the link above, not as inclusive as the Dogfish link, but it'll do to keep you entertained if that's your thing. No calorie information so I won't be burdened with the notion that I'm indulging in 600 calories for 2 beers. No, I will choose blissful ignorance and choose to believe the Sierra has no more than 110 calories, and 98 of those are burned opening the bottle.

In any event, that's what the expression means to me. Maybe if
Lufthansa served Dogfish Head, I might think something else entirely. But for now, it's all for these two...beers. That's my Sunday night.

Accommodation in aviemore