Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Why are insufferable people so predictably unsufferable? Case in point: Paul Gowder. He interrupts the title of his complaint about my recent Watchmen post to slam me in a footnote: Strike one: the middle name. Only super-pretentious lawyers and people who have the same first and last name as someone famous use their middle name in correspondence/generally. What an original complaint!* That I've explained my reasons since Day One of blogging under my own name—check out Rich and I hammering it out the first time I blogged as myself—never satisfies people who uncharitably assume I'm as arrogant as they are. For the record: I chose to be known by full name because in Orange County alone I share "Scott Kaufman" with the designer of "Porn Star" clothing, a bankruptcy lawyer, a prominent architect and a stagehand/grip/actor. So I decided that instead of fielding calls and receiving mail (electronic and otherwise) for three of those four folks, I would use all the names my parents gave me. Of course, I only comment under my full name here and The Valve, and only then because I want to own my Google results. When search committees trawl the web for references to my work I want to control what they see. I don't normally want them to see the sort of petty-ante fisking of the sort Gowder attempts. But Gowder's post is odd. He mocks me for being known as "Scott Eric Kaufman" then writes: The second post in SEK’s Watchmen series starts with one of the most ludicrous tape measure remarks I’ve ever seen . . . If SEK had said . . . This is totally unbearable. Please, please, someone find a way for me to read Edge of the American West without this guy’s posts. It's almost as if he knows that I write and comment as "SEK." Were I so intent on wowing you people with the awesomeness of all my names you'd think I would put a little more effort into wowing you people with the awesomeness of all my names. His second complaint is that I'm guilty of [g]ratuitously name-dropping the top three unbearably hip and unreadable lit scene novels (if we count everything by Gaddis as one) in recent history. As I noted in my response: Your designation of novels published in the ’20s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s as “unbearably hip” points to exactly what’s wrong with people who like novels from the ’20s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s: namely, that they weren’t written in the bearably hip ’00s, ’10s, and ’30s through ’60s. From the faint words I hear from high aloft in my ivory bower, those are the most bearably hip novels ever written, and everyone who loves them has been scientifically proven to be better than everyone who loves books from the ’20s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I apologize for assuming otherwise . . . or for naming the four novels that anyone who’s studied 20th Century literature (a.k.a. my field) would know intimately. I know I’m lording it over the...

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