Monday, 24 July 2006

Reader Mail You may have noticed—you may have even emailed your observation—that on Friday I "posted a lame allusion to VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders and haven't been heard from since."1 I fail to write something substantial for four days and you consider me A.W.O.L.? Some bloggers disappear for weeks with nary "a lame allusion." I "disappear" for 48 hours and you call off the search? I could be drowning in two inches of water right over that ridge but you wouldn't know until they matched the dental records of them bones to mine in 2027. Point being, you people care too much, but not strongly enough. You lose the hounds when I quiet down, but you rein them in before they have a chance to find me. (A beagling metaphor on a blog? Is that really necessary?) That disturbing counter-tenor reminds me that I "reemerged" from my "hibernation" to answer some reader mail. I receive more of it than you may think, along the lines of three or four missives daily. (You must seem approachable.) I must. To the mailbag! But not mine! This is from Adam Roberts' mailbag, which he forwarded to me, and to which I replied, and from which a carbon-copy permission to reprint was ventured and obtained: Adam: Glad you like the Valve. There's a lot of interesting stuff posted there. Then, once you get hooked on Crooked Timber, Long Sunday, Torque Control and all the other literary blogs you'll really discover the meaning of the phrase 'time wasting'. Jessica: Oh, why did you do that? I am now hooked on Crooked Timber. (And Acephalous, though that dates from a while back; I've been a fan of Scott Eric Kaufman for beards.) I also like Pandagon, which keeps me in American-themed righteous feminist rage. Flattery does wonders for the soul, as does "American-themed righteous feminist rage" (about which, more later). Only I find Jessica's assertion that she's been a fan of me "for beards" perplexing. (You have fans? That's awesome.) It is, isn't it? Now hush. People'll get ideas. Where was I? (Beards.) Yes, "for beards." What could she mean? I've narrowed it down. It must mean she's read me For as long as it's taken her to grow one (presumably, quite) For as long as it takes me to grow one (a week, tops) or That she read that nifty Jonathan Lethem article "The Beards" [.pdf] (in which case I'm one of the three most important people in her life, a fact she won't recognize for a decade or so, long after she's stopped reading me). I must say, my Canadian readers confuse me mightily. On to the next question! I don't know why, but the other day I couldn't get your site to load, so I searched your full [pretentious] name and found you all over the place. Some of the places I could see why, but what's with all the feminist blogs? I don't want to sound like a jerk, but you don't strike...
A Just Humiliation Earlier today, on a blog with unlinkable comments, I wrote: Never fails. Correct someone’s spelling? Alwasy wtih a coupel fo typso. Praise clarity and precision? Always needlessly verbosely, with neither wit nor style evident in the presentation of the intended declamation, and frequently with errors of a grammatical nature, as evidenced in the previous comment vis-a-vis subject-verb agreement. The same Law of Just Humiliation applies to outbursts of blog triumphalism. Yesterday's post applauded in cluttered, clunky prose the clarifying influence of regular writing on the awkward word-stylings of academics. Terrible, it was, what I wrote, thinking I did so well. When, in truth, I failed in practice of that which I preached, and most egregiously, no less. But, I contend, even in this failure—complete though it be—I learned that on a blog you can only merely ever aspire to champion a cause like clarity, because you cannot revise unless you plan posts weeks in advance. But to do so would defeat the purpose, transfude the daily writing into a daily written chore ... and who among working academics does not already possess hoards of chores they blog to banish momentarily? If I extravagate into distant, anti-triumphal territory tonight, I do so because I lack the means to trochiscate some palliative into an easily digestible form. Would that I were possessiant of a pill expatiative, a curative of such impressive spectrum as to wither all fears and roots. Were that my fears more meloniform, that I could shoot or swat sans purfle and sink or jack them thus from yardland ... ... by which I mean, I'd delve into the OED and make myself feel a little less stupid and pointless by parading my recently acquired vocabulary before all you ignoramuses. You know, all y'all who don't recognize them words I wrote previously immediately. Y'all have to "consult" some dictionary to sensify me? I'm so much more superior. You may as well as go do what I feel like doing but am "cleverly" "disguising" by "insults" I'm sure y'all "take" "to heart." Doomed, we are, and to terrible things, no less.

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