Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wimpiest Writer in America


Who's the wimpiest writer in America?

At the moment I'd give David Sedaris that designation, though there must be other candidates. (John Hodgman comes to mind.)

A security guard at an airport asked Sedaris to remove his vest, and he became out of sorts. Oh my! Hand-wringing. Such a traumatic experience. She was so mean! "I'm going to turn her into a rabbit," he proudly exclaims now after the terrible encounter, referring to his new book of un-fabled animal fables. What would the guy do if he were in a real confrontation? I hesitate to think about it.

John Hodgman reminds me more of the original wimp, namely, Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons. I can see Hodgman cornering people in alleyways, saying, "I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today!"

Jonathan Franzen surely needs to up there on the list somewhere. Who else?
Yes, sixty years ago there were likely too many macho Hemingway-wannabe writers around, but the pendulum certainly has swung too far the other way. This for an art, American literature, that traditionally distinguished itself by its vigorous characters, settings, and sounds.

Say what you will about the Underground Literary Alliance, but it sought to get back to American roots writing by promoting some of the more vigorous writers around, notably, Wild Bill Blackolive. Our women writers, from the print underground, were tougher than most of today's men. Even our trannies were tough!

We lost. The wimps and fakirs of American letters continue to occupy first place. Such is literature's sad state. (Never fear: the foppish aristocrats will soon enough go by the wayside.)

1 comment:

King Wenclas said...

It's funny. As I was leaving the coffeeshop after typing this post, a man walking down the street began shouting at me: "You white people all deserve death!"
"Say what?"I responded.
"You deserve death! Death! You all deserve death! Cracker."

Maybe I'll turn him into a rabbit.
(Or, another day on the streets of Philadelphia.)