Thursday, July 21, 2005


Why do I even bother reading Lewis Lapham? I never understand him.*

From his "Notebook" column in the August 2005 Harper's:

"The infotainment to which we've become accustomed over the last thirty years, for the most part made with the machinery of the electronic media, replaces narrative with montage, substitutes for history the telling of fairy tales, grants authority to the actor, not the act. The country swarms with whistleblowers willing to provide particulars about any number of high government crimes and misdemeanors---whistles blowing every hour on the hour somewhere in the blogosphere, secrets revealed on every week's best-seller list---but who among the truth-tellers can compete for attention against the rumors of Brad Pitt's once and future marriages, or with the news just in that Russell Crowe has thrown a telephone at the concierge in a New York City hotel?"

Somehow this relates to Rip Van Winkle and Deep Throat. I lost the thread way before this paragraph.

It reads like one of the test paragraphs we used to have in my editing classes---the ones that we had to sort through for the real meaning and rewrite into intelligible English. Or Ted Casablanca's Blind Items. I can never figure those out, either.

So, again, I say, "Huh?"

*I realize that L'il E and Chamizo are infinitely more intelligent than I and therefore not only will understand Lapham but also will scorn me for not appreciating Lapham's erudite and sophisticated prose. To which I reply, "Bite me."


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