Archive for Almost Yogurt

Nobody puts Shetland in a corner

Another instance of pique outweighing practicality:

The Islands Bill, which aims to offer greater protections and powers to Scotland’s island communities, was unanimously passed in May.

It gives island councils extra powers over activities on and around their coastlines and requires ministers to have a long-term plan for improvement.

So far, so good. But then:

Thanks to an amendment from Mr [Tavish] Scott, it also includes a “Shetland mapping requirement”.

The Lib Dem MSP said the common practice of placing Shetland in a box off the Moray Firth or the Aberdeenshire coast was “intensely annoying” to islanders, and created a false impression of the challenges they face on account of their remote location.

What the islanders want, apparently, is for all maps to be drawn this way:

Map of the UK to scale, with Shetland in its actual position

That’s Shetland in red.

The final rule written into the bill requires the islands to be “displayed in a manner that accurately and proportionately represents their geographical location in relation to the rest of Scotland” in any documents published by Scottish public authorities.

One opponent: the Ordnance Survey mapping agency, which said the inset boxes, when used, would avoid “publishing maps which are mostly sea”.


Even older, and thanks for asking

Actually, this is just a pretext to run this picture:

And live from her very own Southern California back yard:

Maybe I shouldn’t be a cowboy?

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Subtlety is not his strong suit

Not that anyone in Hollywood is likely to care:

Bill Cosby may be in jail. Harvey Weinstein may be in hiding. But Roman Polanski is alive and well, and planning his first movie in the #MeToo era. He even has an Oscar-winning actor attached.

French producers Légende Films confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Polanski will begin filming his next movie, the political thriller J’Accuse, this fall in Paris. Louis Garrel will star as Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the real-life French-Jewish soldier wrongly accused of spying for the Germans in the 1890s. The scandal, which divided the country, concluded dramatically in 1906 when Dreyfus was exonerated after spending five years in the Devil’s Island penal colony for high treason. The Artist’s Academy Award–winning actor Jean Dujardin will star as the counter-espionage officer who vindicated Dreyfus. Mathieu Amalric, Olivier Gourmet, and Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner will round out the cast. Polanski has been developing the film for the past six years, with a script from British novelist Robert Harris.

All of which seems perfectly reasonable until you remember:

The subject matte — a man being wrongly accused and proving his innocence decades later — will likely make for interesting press conversations conducted around the time of the film’s eventual release. Polanski is currently evading sentencing in the U.S. after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor — then-13-year-old Samantha Geimer — in 1977. In spite of the plea, Polanski has maintained a successful movie career — even winning a best-director Oscar for The Pianist in 2003.

No, Polanski did not make it to L.A. to accept the award. Harrison Ford accepted it on his behalf, and then presented it to him at the Deauville Film Festival later that year.

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Yeezyer said than done

Or perhaps he meant “formerly”:

Sean P. Diddy Brother Love Combs was not available for comment.

(Via the BBC.)

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Best series title ever?

Certainly so long as it’s true:

Norm’s finest moment might have been hosting the ESPYs in 1998; it demonstrates his mastery of getting the audience to whisper “Did he really say that?”


Sic transit

Geoffrey Owens played Elvin Tibideaux (Sondra’s main man) on The Cosby Show for seven seasons. He’s still a working actor, when there’s work. And when there’s not, he bags groceries at Trader Joe’s.

And no, he doesn’t want your sympathy. The average member of the Screen Actors Guild doesn’t earn enough from acting to put food on the table. Ask anyone who’s been there.

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Delayed payback

In 1990, Ian Frazier wrote an opening statement, to be given by counsel for the plaintiff in the trial of Coyote v. Acme.

Given Mr Coyote’s welll-publicized issues with Acme products, this suit was probably inevitable. Perhaps not so inevitable was this:

Warner Bros. is developing Coyote Vs. Acme as a Wile E. Coyote animated movie with Lego Batman director Chris McKay on board to produce.

The sibling team of Jon and Josh Silberman, whose writing and producing credits include Living Biblically, Bordertown, Deadbeat, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, have been hired by the studio to write the Coyote Vs. Acme script.

Wile E. Coyote is part of Warner’s Looney Tunes characters, which include Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, and Marvin the Martian. The dialogue-free Coyote character first appeared in 1949 in Fast and Furry-ous, the first of 49 cartoons in which he was never able to catch the Road Runner, despite using complex devices from the fictitious Acme Corporation. The Acme contraptions invariably fail, leaving the Coyote squashed flat or burnt to a crisp.

Regrettably, there will be no new Carl Stalling score for the picture, Mr Stalling having died in 1972.


Schools cost money

Even some Oklahoma politicians are coming to realize that.

Joe Sherlock tossed out this little statistic this past week:

Tuition at St. Joseph’s Prep, my old high school, is now $23,900 per year, not including fees (books, retreats, sports, transportation, etc.).

Which sounds like a lot, though public schools in Philadelphia, in 2015 anyway, were spending $12,570 per student, and it’s almost certainly gone up since then.

So I dialed back to my own old high school, which, if your family qualifies as parishioners in the Diocese of Charleston, is charging a mere $9,600 a year. (If not, it’s $14,100.) This is about twenty times what it was when I was there, fifty years ago, but the only things that haven’t gone up at that rate are the things the government uses to calculate the inflation rate.

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Milne, his vocabulary augmented

The next generation, so to speak:

Pooh and Piglet doing lines from Star Trek

Well, I like it.

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Pizza from hell

Doesn’t mean it’s hot, necessarily:

Bad pizza will bum anyone out, but there are worse things than being served a crappy pie, like ordering from a place built on top of a gateway to Hell. That’s the cause of some very dark, demonic, and funny problems facing a small town in the first trailer for the new horror-comedy Slice, which stars Chance the Rapper in his big screen debut.

The latest from A24 is the “story of a ghost, a werewolf, and a pretty shitty pizza place,” and it stars Chance and Zazie Beetz (of Atlanta and Deadpool 2 fame) as “two daring survivors” who “set out to catch the culprits behind the cryptic crime spree” where a bunch of pizza delivery boys are killed. It also stars Stranger Things‘ Joe Keery, as well as Paul Scheer, Rae Gray, Hannibal Buress, and Rebecca Spence.

These days, Papa John’s wishes they could get press this good.

(Via JenLucPiquant.)


Swans of another color

“When in doubt,” said someone presumably wiser than I, “predict that the present trend will continue.” There’s just one problem with that approach:

Something unforeseen always breaks the present trends, whatever they are. The feudal system, for example, was going great until the Black Death hit. Induce a massive labor shortage by wiping out 30-75% of the laborers, and your society reorganizes in all sorts of interesting ways. Gunpowder, double-entry bookkeeping, and the rise of literacy all played their part, but all second fiddle to skyrocketing labor costs brought on by the Plague.

But sometimes the catastrophe is technological. George Orwell saw something like the Internet’s universal surveillance — those mandatory two-way TVs in Nineteen Eighty-Four — but he got the result backwards. Good Classical Liberals, as he was (and most of us were until recently), assume that humans want freedom. Big Brother and the Thought Police were supposed to be horrifying. But they don’t have half the power Zuckerberg et al do, and we can’t wait to put more and more of our lives online. O’Brien had to torture Winston Smith almost to death to get Smith to love Big Brother; we feel like we’ve been put on the rack if our Internet access is briefly interrupted.

This is, I suspect, because we think of Facebook as “free.” It is no such thing; no, you don’t have to write a check to the Zuckmeister, but the price is hidden by design.


The carpet might be red

The film is based on a 2014 novel by Jenny Han. I’d bet almost anything RB has read it.

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We learned this in sedimentary school

No argument here:

Geology rocks but geography is where it's at

(From reddit via Miss Cellania.)

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Downward dumbening

Not being a writer myself, I can observe this phenomenon only at a distance, but I suspect I’d be a bit upset if my readership were unable to, well, read:

Editors at conventional publishers have adopted a conformant attitude: “Write for an eighth-grader!” the smart ones will tell you. (The less smart ones will tell you to write for a fifth-grader.) And as you can probably imagine, it drives me absolutely nuts.

Dislike of the “vocabulary show-off,” I understand. I don’t care for the species of retromingent onager who festoons his books with a rebarbative congeries of obfuscations and anfractuosities any more than I like “literary” pretentiousness and those who luxuriate in it instead of telling actual stories. But I maintain that there have been changes as regards readers’ (and editors’) attitudes that aren’t for the better.

If you’ve read B. R. Myers’s A Reader’s Manifesto, you might recall him lamenting the disappearance of “good Mandarin writing” in the fashion of Woolf and Joyce. I feel similarly — but in this connection, I lament even more wistfully the decline in educational standards and the acceptance of that decline by just about everyone. The most important aspect of that decline, as usual, goes all but unremarked. It’s the difference between two attitudes: “I don’t know that word, so I’ll improve my vocabulary by looking it up” versus “What right does he have to use a word I don’t know?”

It’s just a matter of time before some nitwit in academia declares that failure to write for fifth-graders is a deliberate slur, intended to show one’s superiority over high-school graduates (or college underclassmen) who read at a fifth-grade level because [insert buzzword].

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This bologna has a first name

And apparently its own planning department as well:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to add a new category for the 2019 awards show: Best Popular Film.

I am sure the Academy hopes that this will get more people to watch the show, since over the last 10 to 15 years they have been handing out statues to movies that not very many people watch at all, with a couple of exceptions now and then. It turns out that not many people are interested in whether or not a movie they’ve never heard of wins an award.

It sounds like something ABC, which carries the show, would dream up.

But there’s this one lingering thought:

If nothing else, this modifies the common complaint that “Hollywood is out of ideas”; it’s just that Hollywood is out of good ideas.

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Time out of whack

Rob O’Hara binges on ABC-TV’s The Goldbergs, and spots a few choice anachronisms:

Despite the fact that each show is introduced as taking place in “1980-something,” in regards to its historical accuracy, the show is awful. For example, in one episode, Adam both goes to the movie theater to watch Police Academy 5 (released in 1988) and gets excited about the release of E.T. for the Atari 2600 (released in 1982). Occasionally toys or movies are referenced before they would have been released, but more commonly, things appear way later than they should. I have read that it would have been too difficult for the show’s writers to keep track of a firm timeline of events and pop-culture references, so they chose to go with a “throw everything in every episode” approach and blur the timeline. And while generally speaking that approach works, seeing kids with brand new Tron shorts and valley girls in episodes that take place in 1989 will seem out of place for anyone who grew up during that time.

Then again, these are relatively minor issues:

To be fair, to focus on the show’s anachronisms is to miss the point. When Barry and his pals put together their own dance crew, all I could think about were the breakdancing videos my friends and I made in my living room using my parents’ video camera. And, while watching the episode titled “The Kara-te Kid,” I was less worried about the accuracy of the timeline, and more focused on my own memories of the karate demonstration I participated in right before The Karate Kid premiered in our local mall’s theater. As we used to say back in the 80s, “been there, done that, got the (wrinkled) t-shirt to prove it.”

Now to me, The Goldbergs has its chronology out of sorts for a wholly different reason: the first The Goldbergs series, which debuted on NBC on 20 November 1929. NBC radio, you may be sure. A television version first appeared on CBS in 1949. Show creator Gertrude Berg went on to win an Emmy and a Tony (for Leonard Spiegelgass’ play A Majority of One in 1960, with Berg as lead actress). Adam F. Goldberg, creator of the 21st-century series, used none of Berg’s material, but he has his own right to the Goldberg name.

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Over and over again

You can’t cross a chasm in two steps, they say, and surely it’s true; but throw enough smaller steps into the routine, and eventually, even though you had to crawl along the bottom for what seemed like a very long time, you end up where you wanted to go:

We have come so far in large part because of our ability to devise solutions to large problems by finding small operations, easily repeated, that when endless repeated solve the problem. Hand woven Turkish carpets come to mind, as does dropping seeds in a furrow, one by one. Building the pyramids was essentially two operations: cutting blocks of stone, and hauling them up a ramp, and doing it over and over again. The modern assembly line consists of a zillion trivial operations performed in sequence. Each operation consists on doing one thing and then handing the part to the next operator. The printing press and broadcast radio and television repeat the same simple messages over and over. Much of computer programming consists of devising ways to do some simple thing over and over again.

Sometimes it’s all just one big DO WHILE loop, or so it seems.

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Saving the children

Jack Baruth on protecting the little ones:

The journey from childhood to adulthood is all about learning the iron bond between action and consequence. Children are naturally innocent of consequences, and the adults around them work to preserve that innocence as long as possible. When two kids get into a fistfight, we don’t send one of them to jail for ninety days. When a child crashes a bicycle, we don’t write him a ticket then force him to pay a higher insurance rate. If your fourteen-year-old sleeps through the start of his summer job a few times, you don’t kick him out of the house and force him to work casual labor jobs while he lives under a bridge abutment with the other homeless fourteen-year-olds.

Still, there’s a cut-off age for this sort of treatment:

The so-called “child refugee crisis” in Europe is a statistical fabrication designed to take advantage of human attitudes towards children. The NGOs sell an image of a drowned toddler then it turns out that ninety-two percent of “child refugees” are represented as being over fourteen, ninety-one percent of them are male, and the vast majority of them are actually in their twenties. It’s smart marketing, even if it’s dishonest at its core. Most people have zero sympathy for twenty-two-year-old men with beards and would prefer that those men fix their own problems in their own home countries.

This is not quite the case with the hordes pouring over our border, but it’s the identical advertising campaign just the same. And it works pretty well, given the gnat-like attention span of the American electorate and the persistence of its propagandists.

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I don’t understand this at all

Then again, it’s not like she did this for me or anything:

Let’s hope hashtag abuse doesn’t become a misdemeanor — or worse.


Even the small things

“Donate Goods,” says the sign on the Salvation Army collection box. But it says more than that: six of those eleven letters are painted red, so you can read it as “Do Good”: yes, it helps to toss some material things in the box, but you should also look for opportunities to do the occasional kindness.

In other words, something like this:

I was also thinking of something I used to ardently believe, but have kind of … lost faith in recently. It could be summed up by the phrase “Every loving act adds to the balance of love in the world.” The idea, I used to have, was that even if I did small loving things, it somehow helped to counterbalance the greed or selfishness or whatever other bad things … not that it would wipe those things out, but somehow, it would act kind of like putting a penny on the scales … something small, but something that said “This isn’t the only thing that has weight.”

This was why, in the past, when I’d hear of some bad event in the world (e.g., a shooter attack), I’d grab some yarn and needles and start making a hat or mittens to donate somewhere.

Of course, you can’t counterbalance the wickedness of the world all by yourself; but you still put the penny on the scale, and trust that friends and neighbors have spare change of their own.

And sometime around 2015 or 2016, I don’t know. It’s like there were too many shootings, there was too much bad, it felt too much like the cruel people, the bullies, the people who “othered” other people were winning …and it began to feel like:

1. What good I can do is pointless in the face of that;
2. There’s nothing I can do that’s big enough or good enough to help anything.

And … a little part of me lost hope. It’s a bad feeling, the sense that nothing you can do will make a difference and even though you may know that it is right to be unselfish in various ways, you’re ultimately going to lose.

In some ways, you are going to lose: Physics 101, by way of the laws of thermodynamics, tells us that entropy ultimately wins out. But that’s a purely earthly measure; if there’s more to life than just the obvious stuff, an unsatisfactory outcome is not foreordained.

And yet, I kept going, kept pushing. Continued to try to be helpful and be a compassionate person, because that’s how I was raised, even if some days I felt that doing so was utterly useless in the world at large (because of how little I can actually do) or that I was a “chump” because people who were selfish were “winning” and I sometimes wound up being taken advantage of for my good nature.

They aren’t “winning.” They’re just trying to gain some temporary advantage, because that’s how they were raised; karma may deal with them, or may not, but it’s not your responsibility to monitor the results.

So you keep going, keep pushing. And ultimately, knowing you’ve done the right thing is more rewarding than you might think; it may seem like just a penny on the scale, but many pennies make dollars, while the dross on the other side will never add up to anything.


Questionable dudes

This clip from John Ford’s 3 Bad Men (1926) is circulating mostly for a brief appearance of Olive Borden taking a bath. As pre-Production Code footage of nude women goes, it’s pretty modest. But it’s what happens away from the bath that’s interesting:

Poor George O’Brien, embarrassed by having peeked into the tent where Borden is bathing, goes all wistful on us, singing a song about being out on the prairie. He even blows a few presumably hot licks — it is, after all, a silent film — on the old blues harp. And the young lady who comes and sits behind him, he assumes to be the very girl he’d just seen in the tub. She’s not.

But this is John Ford for you. And after 3 Bad Men, he never made another silent Western; he would not return to the genre until Stagecoach in 1939.

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Pluck her gently

The mind wanders, as it will, and for some reason it went back and dug up a song we sang in French class fifty-odd years ago. It’s been modernized only slightly since then:

Monsieur Wiki has this to say:

Ethnomusicologist Conrad LaForte points out that, in song, the lark (l’alouette) is the bird of the morning, and that it is the first bird to sing in the morning, hence waking up lovers and causing them to part, and waking up others as well, something that is not always appreciated. In French songs, the lark also has the reputation of being a gossip, a know-it-all, and cannot be relied on to carry a message, as she will tell everyone; she also carries bad news. However the nightingale, being the first bird of spring, in Europe, sings happily all the time, during the lovely seasons of spring and summer. The nightingale (i.e., rossignol) also carries messages faithfully and dispenses advice, in Latin, no less, a language that lovers understand. LaForte explains that this alludes to the Middle Ages, when only a select few still understood Latin. And so, as the lark makes lovers part or wakes up the sleepyhead, this would explain why the singer of “Alouette” wants to pluck it in so many ways… if he can catch it, for, as Laporte notes, this bird is flighty as well.

Mark Twain had some thoughts on this morning-bird business:

Go to bed early, get up early — this is wise. Some authorities say get up with the sun; some say get up with one thing, others with another. But a lark is really the best thing to get up with. It gives you a splendid reputation with everybody to know that you get up with the lark; and if you get the right kind of lark, and work at him right, you can easily train him to get up at half past nine, every time — it’s no trick at all.

Uptown funkster Mark Ronson gets the last word.

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Damn you, Kong

Is it wise to let bulldogs watch scary movies?

I must concede, her instincts seem at least reasonably sound.


Quote of the week

Warren Meyer suspects there may be nothing that will actually improve public schools:

From some experience with private schools, I would say the biggest difference is that private schools set higher expectations. Even starting in kindergarten, my kids were doing WAY more advanced work than in public schools. I understand that public schools are public and thus tasked with teaching everyone, so there is pressure to pace the work to the slowest student. But the slow pace of public school starts even in the early grades before the school reasonably knows who the slowest kids are. Public schools that have low expectations for student performance are not going to be suddenly improved by better teachers. Putting Gordon Ramsey behind the counter at a Long John Silver fast food restaurant is not going to make the food suck any less.

MAPS for Kids spent somewhere on the far side of $700 million on local schools. Got some nice-looking buildings out of it, but not a hell of a lot else.

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We have all been here before

Blogdom’s Curmudgeon Emeritus contributes this complaint about one genre, or maybe one and a half genres, of contemporary fiction:

The covers of too many fantasy and science fiction novels feature a shapely babe, often wielding a weapon. It suggests deeds of daring in a realm of high adventure. Then you open the book and discover that it’s basically one long sex scene. Most such books are written by women. I can’t imagine why.

One thing is for sure: no one wants me to write one long sex scene.

The dearth of originality remains a serious problem. Space wars, galactic empires, time travel, and so forth are old hat. So are vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, and quests that involve some magical artifact. Surely there are other adventures, other wonders and terrors with which a writer can thrill his readers. Yet you would hardly know it from the books being hawked to me at Amazon.

It’s an old hat, but a familiar one; your standard purveyor of hackwork perhaps calculates that he can save some work on exposition.

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Just one of the guys

Jack Baruth has busted somewhere around six hundred bones in 46 years, and he’s sort of philosophical about it:

What is the difference between the man who cripples himself riding or racing or fighting or climbing mountains — and the guy who is not crippled because they quit riding skateparks at twenty or thirty or forty or fifty? Only this: the former knows that he’s not a pussy, and the latter will never really know for sure. Of course, we live in an enlightened era now. one in which “men” is a three-letter word. We don’t have “men” now. We have “guys.” Guys smile with their mouth open and guys never engage in acts of toxic masculinity and guys are exactly the kind of smooth rancid butter our society needs to make sure that we precisely duplicate the navel-gazing implosion of the Roman Empire.

Some guy out there will read this and point out that I’m not the manliest man who ever lived. I’m a bookish intellectual who reads philosophy and who cried during the movie August Rush. I’ve never boxed professionally or climbed Everest. It’s okay. I’m not the message. I’m the messenger. Like Homer. We don’t know how much Homer could bench. We only know that he brought us the stories of Ajax and Achilles and that smooth-talking Mr. Steal-Your-Girl known as Paris and his resentful brother, Hector. In so doing, he inspired two thousand years’ worth of heroic exploits. We are all better off because of Homer.

And really, why wouldn’t you cry during August Rush?

You don’t even have to know the backstory to be moved by that scene.

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I know this guy

There are, in fact, those who might argue that I am that guy:

I was up late watching this film, and some of it doesn’t sound like me at all.

And some of it sounds exactly like me.

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Sure, blame the Culture Wars

Miss America as we knew her is gone, and whose fault is that? Roberta X examines the situation:

The swimsuit portion of the old Miss America is gone, just like Bert Parks (1914 – 1992) and the recording of him singing “There She Is…” (1955-2012, 2015). Don’t like it? You’re not obliged to — nor is there anything keeping the grousers from setting up their own old-fashioned, Atlantic-City-style swimsuits-and-heels pageant and calling it the Miss National, in much the manner of sports leagues. But no, the classic libertarian “let the market decide” wisdom is old-hat and it’s much better to accuse some “they” — women or liberals or possibly government fluoridators — of ruining everything.

I’m tired of it. Looky here, it’s a pre-ruined world and the only good stuff you can be even a little sure of are the things you build yourself. They’ve changed the formula of Vienna Fingers cookies, 7UP is getting more and more difficult to find on store shelves and Levis dropped the rise of women’s 512s to well below the natural waistline long before they offshored manufacturing and started getting snippy about politics. Change is the only constant and you can either surf it or let it tumble you around like driftwood. There are better ways to go through life than smooth, gray and abandoned on the beach.

If you ask me, Vienna Fingers haven’t been anything more than an oblong Golden Oreo since Keebler bought out Sunshine Biscuit around the turn of the century. Still, that’s a single transaction, Keebler’s absorption by Kellogg’s notwithstanding. Look what’s happened to 7 Up:

Westinghouse bought 7 Up in 1969 and sold it in 1978 to Philip Morris, who then in 1986 sold it to a group led by the investment firm Hicks & Haas. 7 Up merged with Dr Pepper in 1988; Cadbury Schweppes bought the combined company in 1995. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group was spun off from Cadbury Schweppes in 2008.

And DPSG is being merged into Keurig Green Mountain, even as we speak.

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The opposite of retail

A strange, and therefore believable, tale from Jack Baruth:

About a decade ago I decided to go back to school in the evenings and get my doctorate in literature. “As a 35-year-old white man,” the dean told me, “you wouldn’t be eligible for any of our assistantships.”

“Not a problem,” I replied, “I’ll pay cash. How much does the degree cost?”

“Well…” he huffed. “There’s no actual cash price per se because everybody is on assistance, which is only fair given today’s bigoted climate.”

“So I can’t pay to go to school, because nobody pays and you don’t know how much I would have to pay, because there’s no cash price for presumed bigots who are not on assistance because they’re ineligible for assistance.”

“I’m not sure that’s a fair way to phrase it.” Each and every day I have a better idea of what motivated the character of “D-FENS” in Falling Down. He, too, was an average fellow.

Well, except for the fact that he’s trying to walk across Los Angeles, which would drive anyone nuts.

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Quote of the week

The Friar remembers Tom Wolfe, painter of words:

His novels rested on a journalist’s reporting and his journalism had fiction’s flair, perhaps because he did not simply write words the way we do when we’re just communicating information. Wolfe used language — every facet of it on which he could lay his hands. Funky punctuation? All of those literary devices we were supposed to memorize in English class like alliteration or onomatopoeia? Multiple voices in narration and dialogue? All of those and more. If Winston Churchill was supposed to have mobilized the English language and sent it into battle, Wolfe mobilized it and sent it out to help people understand an increasingly weird and troubling world. It may sound like a much lower goal, but all Churchill had to do was defeat the Nazis. Wolfe had to explain why people paid money for a Jackson Pollock painting.

A difficult task indeed.

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