Monday, October 11, 2004

Ridiculous Roth

Charles Lindbergh was a famous pilot, an authentic hero-- without question a believer in democracy and freedom, the founding ideals of this country-- with anti-Imperialist ideas popular in America when he lived. He studied Germany's air force, realized how advanced it was, and argued, rightly or wrongly, that we stay out of the war. (The time to oppose a war is before it begins-- to construct a national dialogue before embarking on such a momentous event.) When the war began however Lindbergh quickly enlisted to fight in that war, and when allowed, put his great skills to work. As I said, he was an authentic American hero, always honest and sincere.

Desperate to come up with a plot for a book, Philip Roth rummages through his wandering brain for a confused interpretation of the past, bringing forth a hokey "reimagining" of the 40's when somehow Lindbergh has become a fascist U.S. dictator. Even on the surface the premise is ridiculous; a fiasco; an embarrassment.

By endlessly hyping the unbelievable mess of a novel the machine has discredited itself. The line-up of stooge reviewers one after another praising it have discredited themselves. Only a fumbling doddering senile laughing stock of an author told relentlessly how great he is instead of being urged to retire would have written it.

His agent, editor, and publisher don't care. He pays their bills. Whether or not Roth artistically embarrasses himself isn't their concern.

(p.s. Philip Roth has been overpraised since the days of Goodbye, Columbus: hokey and ordinary.)

1 comment:

Jeff Potter said...

I'm not too excited about Genre Lit but it might offer more promise than General Lit (due to Gen'l Lit abdication, lo these recent decades). Roth is dabbling in a genre that's very popular these days (aren't they all): Alternate History.

I suspect AH has its own Natl Book Awards, classics, etc. Its own, ah-hem, parallel universe to Real Publishing---like every genre and niche has. --While Real Publishing augers in, is abandoned to fops.

(That's one of the things that burns me up about Lit today: they're making Lit into just another niche---a slow one at that.)

Anyway, I bet a bunch of AH titles could spin circles around Roth.

If they read the NYTRB (which they probably don't---relevance?) they're probably hitting their heads---"Doh! The old Holocaust-in-the-US plot again!"