Skip to main content

Blogs In Books

Browsing in a bookshop near Hampstead Heath yesterday, I came across Nick Laird's new novel, which I flicked through, before going on to other novels there, including my favourites, such as The Great Gatsby and Brideshead Revisited - works of masterful stylishness. I wouldn't want Eyewear's readers to think I don't enjoy good prose - sometimes, it can almost be as good as poetry. Anyway, back to this new novel. I haven't read it, of course, but I've read bits of it, in situ, and there seems to be a key character in the novel who is a thirty-something, chubby, frustrated Londoner who has a blog, where he basically rants about TV shows, films, albums he likes, books, etc.

Now, Laird has been lurking on the blogosphere, no doubt researching this character for his novel. I know this, because he's read Eyewear at least once or twice. I am glad to see bloggers in novels. It's a bit like Conrad tossing in an anarchist; or Maugham a scientist. Bloggers are a part of the zeitgeist, that's all. One day, they'll be quaint, and gone, like hack journalists with loose ties and pencils behind their ears. However, there's something condescending about the way that some in the literary firmament write about blogs and bloggers. Rather than viewing blogs as a new genre, worth exploring, it is treated more like a rash that should be eradicated, or ignored as best as possible. Irritating. The Establishment likes to be irritated - because it reminds them they exist.

What mostly irritates them is when someone, or some form, comes along, that they can't control, or black ball. Blogs are in that category - almost by definition, they are beyond anyone's borders. Anyway, I see the pathetic over-rated side of blogs, and agree with Laird's novel that many bloggers are lampoonable. Still, had Laird decided to himself write a sustained blog over several years, one engaged weekly with culture, and the world's events, as they flow or leap into view, he might have discovered the form as not being merely a platform for swipes and gripes (it is that sometimes sadly) - but a profound new way of communicating - with thousands around the world.

I am not sure it is entirely accurate to suggest that blogs might one day be seen as a new form of the novel, or memoir - non-fiction fiction of the Capote sort - but writing a sustained blog over half a decade is not simply an anti-social vice, or total waste of time. It is also a creative thing to do. Satire that merely simplifies does no one any favours. Meanwhile, I hope to read Laird's book, in the goodness of time. Maybe you should, too.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…