Shaken and Stirred
bond, gwenda bond

the minions of oversimplification
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In case you missed it, Linton Weeks wrote in the Washington Post today about The Populist Manifesto. Cue, dah-duh-dum music! It seems, children, that the forces of literature (good and award-winning) and popular fiction (bad but sells) are at War. (Yes, really, it says that, go read the piece.) Weeks tries to skate around the edges, but I do think a not-so-subtle vote for literary fiction is cast here. Which is fine.

Except the whole comparison is invalid and meaningless as is. There seems to be some presumption here that literary fiction is always beautifully written and enlarges the human condition and that popular fiction is adequately, voicelessly written (btw, Peter Straub's writing does not qualify as the bestselling no-voice voice) and narrows the blinders on already poor, simple world views.

Seriously, let's be done with the snobbery and the namecalling. Most of what get published is bad. There's still a lot of really good stuff out there, and it's being published under all sorts of banners. So, c'mon, it's so obvious: Let's now kick off the Good Art movement. Read what you want -- as long as it's good!

(A definition of "good" can be had for the cost of $4.95 sent to the Fortress of Words, C/O George Rowe the Dog.)

And this whole WARWARWAR (reverb) WAR WAR WAR could have been avoided if Stephen King and Shirley Hazzard had either tangoed or arm-wrestled.

Anyway, go read the piece and see what you think. It irritates me at its base, on many, many levels. (Teachout, as always, is sage in his quotes.)

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If you missed the fascinating Nova special on the Spirit last night, then you should definitely tune in on Tuesday night for new, up to the minute footage and commentary. They do an excellent job putting these programs together. It's better even than looking at the pictures.

NASA needs our wonder now more than ever.

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I watched the last half of THE BURBS over the weekend, caught on some movie channel, and maybe you have to have found it funny when it came out, but I have a real soft spot for this movie. Despite Tom Hanks doing his over-the-top physical screwball stuff, I love, "I want to kill everyone. Satan is good. Satan is our pal."

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You'll be glad to know that they caught the glass eye collection bandit of Owensboro, a woman named Wink who found out she couldn't really unload the merch after all. Originally, the hospital misvalued the collection at $100,000, but it actually turned out it was more like $2,500. Still, $2,500 hundred dollars worth of glass eyes. You take that to the bank and cash it in.

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Christopher, update your journal!!!

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Good night.

earworm: "Crank," Catherine Wheel

random rec: SHOW WORLD, Wilton Barnhardt

namecheck: R.D. "email Christopher" Hall

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