Not long after my last post, Obama was reelected. I try not to write much about politics here, at least outside of the cultural topics I started this blog as a place to write about. But anybody who reads this has noticed by now that I'm an unabashed liberal, and that I've been growing more and more depressed with the state of my country for the last few years. My whole adult life, really, things have been getting worse. Anyway. I honestly didn't think Obama would get reelected. But he did. And for a while the gravity of that, the grace of it, made my various little blogging ideas seem pretty paltry in comparison. So I just shut up. Not a bad thing to do now and then.
Then the busy time of the term hit me, and it was just too exhausting to think about posting. And now it's been an even month since I posted. Which is a couple of blog-lifetimes in Internet time. I'm aware I may have killed it.
But whatever. I don't feel like pulling the plug yet. I started this blog so I'd have a place to write about the things I don't write about in my day job, because I enjoy writing. Nothing more. And I still feel that way, so here goes.
Probably not a good idea to let the first post back be so negative, but. I'm a loyal reader of Andrew Sullivan. But, like most liberals who read him (and really: mostly only liberals read him), he annoys me about as often as he enlightens me. And lately one of the things that's been annoying me most is the crap he posts about literature on weekends. (Actually, of course, it's his blogserfs who post it, not him. But it's his sensibility, he assures us, so it's him I call senseless.)
Like this. I mean, the idea is iffy to begin with - a kind of pretentious that only The New Yorker can really aspire to - I find it snarky at worst and unhelpful at best to assert, with no hint of uncertainty, that the endings of all these great novels are "inartistic." (And what about the uninterrogated assumptions behind that insidious em-dash separating "inartistic" from "a betrayal" - is the equivalence there so self-evident?) There's the germ of an interesting theme there, the question of endings, but what's interesting about it can't be gotten at through self-satisfied judgments like "lame" or "shockingly bad." It might be get-at-able through actual literary analysis - what was the author trying to do? What did her audiences/editors/critics expect? What assumptions do my reactions proceed from, and might they not be faulty?
Like I say, the article Sullivan is linking to is bad enough. But there's something naggingly annoying in how Sullivan ('s gnomes) blithely link to it, nutting the pithiest grafs, with no comment, no reaction. I mean, I guess that's the aggregator principle: like the Daily Beast's brain-dead motto has it, "read this skip that," just sluice the words through your brain with "no attempt," as Dylan put it, "to shovel the glimpse into the ditch of what each one means."