Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on Freedom

This was cobbled from some of my samizdat postings, forgive the incontinuity.

A few years ago Tom Wolfe, whose journalism I do admire, wrote another god-awful novel, this one titled I am Charlotte Simmons. It detailed the sexual rituals of entitlement at a state university. It was regarded as a shit book by everyone except for neo-cons, who championed it as evidence of atheistic education gone asunder. I am curious about Mr. Franzen's pedagogic ideas. How is Patty broadened by her college experience, well, for one thing, it allows her to sever ties with a her New York Jew Ways (not exactly sure of why Franzen situated this), and, then, discover herself, well, in sport-- no she doesn't learn a skill or cultivate a nuanced appreciation of the world or history or art.What does she do, then, exactly? She creates a surrogate family in her teammates and off the hardwood she becomes linked to a gaggle of fuck ups. I suppose Joey's khaki and flip-flop experience of hookups and mobile phone melancholy serves as a contrast to jock life with all the aside of an art freak. Perhaps, Eric, I mean Walter, is supposed to redeem us all.

Not pointing fingers, mind you. I read a review the other day which frankly stated that if Franzen were female, there would be no attempts at highbrow classification, it would simply be understood as an example of chick lit. Patty's lack is the core of the novel and I find myself leaning in Roger's direction as far as sympathy is concerned.

Consumption, consumption, what's that function, to paraphrase a favorite Saturday morning jingle from my youth. My own annoyance is steadily rising this morning, with no burly men and furnace in tow. Yahoo has been consistently touting this year's Black Friday deals for days now, and it is only November12th! Nabokov chimed on and on about coincidence as a plot device in both Dickens andDostoevsky. He then confirmed his point by making the mother of Dolores Haze die in a timely car crash, thus allowing Lolita (and Humbert Humbert) to stretch their, um,legs - if you will. When Walter's Boo dies, I muttered aloud, you hack.


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