Thursday, October 04, 2007

Men Don't Read; the very male Beats, and more

This just in: Men don't read books. Wait, they read nonfiction (and news and spend hours online). But that doesn't count. Because they need to be more empathetic, like women (!), and only reading novels (which they DON'T DO, remember) would teach them that. And forget all those movies, tv shows and song lyrics - none of that matters for teaching men to imagine the world through another's eyes.

Oh and I LOVE this: maybe it’s...the way we're wired?

Stories like this (so popular lately) always claim that reading (books) is key to learning how to think, but they don’t exactly set the standard very high, do they? It's infuriating to those of us who actually love books, champion the importance of reading long-form writing, and see men reading everywhere. Insulting men and treating them as some kind of dying species, taking them up as yet another liberal cause - not a good idea. And why do these articles never question whether the publishing industry is actually publishing what they would enjoy reading? and doing a good job marketing it? ARGH!

An excellent essay about the Beats from FD fave Louis Menand. It inspired me to scour Youtube where I found the perfect supplement, this short interview in French (French!) with Kerouac. (My first embedded video, oooh!)

I was also curious to see Neal Cassady, the Beats' "male muse." All I could find was this video of Ginsberg reading a poem in which you get a glimpse of N.C. sitting next to him. [I didn't particularly dig the poem.] Then I started searching for other literary figures and stumbled on this amusing video parody of "As I Lay Dying" which a couple of high school boys made. Love the Gollum impression they worked in!

"Great films too painful to watch twice" (from the unfunny side of The Onion): too true. I've seen half of these, and I'll vouch for many of them (but not Audition, sorry). I esp. recommend Safe and, to some extent, Leaving Las Vegas.

So A.O. Scott is working (see byline) on "a book about the American novel since World War II"? That could be very good news, though I wonder what that says about his commitment to film criticism.


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