“This is a game.” —Knight (repeated about 50 times)
Man, MTV is starting early this season with the To Be Continued episodes, huh?
Not that this week’s episode lacked for drama. First, we had a night out ending in tears after Knight pulled the old “throw someone’s laundry into the pool” trick. Knight seemed to think soaking Nany’s clothes was some great strategic gambit, since it would “get in her head.” Nany did flip out and threaten to leave the game afterwards, but aren’t she and Knight on the same alliance? What’s the sense in picking a fight with someone who’s on your side?
In reality, Knight’s antics only solidified Las Vegas’ team bond and made everyone else in the house hate him. Plus, it wasn’t even original: Tonya did that back in Inferno II. Continue reading
“You know she’s in her fifties though, right?” – Sen. Arthur Vandenberg to an overly optimistic Sen. Edwin Broussard, as the two discussed the arrival of the newly elected Hattie Caraway, the country’s first female senator.
Edwin S. Broussard had been involved in politics since he was a boy, where he participated enthusiastically in school government for the same reason anyone does: to meet and impress girls. In his day, as in ours, the so-called student leaders were simply powerless overachievers looking to pass off weak social lives as a passion for “extracurricular activities.” And true to form, Broussard met his female counterpart, a pretty but rather prudish young woman named Marie Patout, and married her at the age of 29. However, being the overachiever that he was, the handsome Broussard continued to engage in widespread “gerrymandering” with a variety of young ladies about the spirited town of New Orleans. So it was for several years until his philandering came to a brief halt when, in 1930, the charismatic son of Louisiana was elected in a special vote to finish the term of his departed brother Robert. After being sworn in, the surprisingly naïve Broussard discovered, much to his chagrin, that there were no women in the Senate. “They’ve had the vote for ten years…what the hell are they doing with it?” he wrote in his journal, which has remained largely unpublished by his heirs due to the lascivious accounts of the Senator’s extensive “pork barreling.” Continue reading
What we read while debating the plausibility of the Shroud of Turin…
What we read while New Orleans rioted (in a good way this time!)…
- This is what we tell all other blogs–and each other.
We’re back, baby! After a near two-month vacation, the Bob Dylan Rankings have returned…with a vengeance! And we’re making some changes. It’s nothing drastic, but after much consultation with the Bob Dylan Brain Trust, I’ve decided that proceeding through Bob Dylan’s catalog with no real rhyme or reason, as I’ve been doing thus far, is not ideal. So we’re going to impose some order on this madness, and go forward in a vaguely chronological fashion. The Top Ten will still be withheld until the end, and I reserve the right to switch the order up for any reason I deem fit, but, for the most part, we will go through Dylan’s oeuvre album by album, starting with Bob Dylan and moving through Nashville Skyline (the songs from The Basement Tapes will be dated based on when they were recorded, that is, between Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding, since they weren’t released until after my arbitrary cut-off).
First, a confession: for a long time, I was under the impression that Bob Dylan actually wrote “House of the Rising Sun.” Forgive me for my ignorance, but I can defend myself. After all, the grim darkness of the chords, the loneliness and desperation of the lyrics, and the vivid portrait of the protagonist that emerges from the song are all things that Dylan would eventually master and come to be recognized for. And whether or not it was Dylan who put his own trademark on this song or the song that put its trademark on Dylan, “House of the Rising Sun” was a perfect choice for his first album. Continue reading
Note to all potential readers of Zeitoun: It is located in the Biography section at Barnes & Noble, not, as one who has read Dave Eggers’ other more-or-less-based-on-real-life-if-slightly-fictionalized works might suspect, in the Fiction/Literature section. Furthermore, remember that, in the Biography section, it is alphabetized by subject and not author; this is because people don’t really care who writes a biography.
This is the weird circumstance of Zeitoun, a biography about a man—and more accurately, a family—who is much less famous than the biographer. Eggers is one of a handful of writers universally included in any conversation about the “Voice of the Generation”—consideration earned largely off of his almost-living-up-to-the-title A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Now, if you know anything about “VotG” discussion, you know that authors don’t stumble their way into such territory by keeping things simple and straightforward and understated. You have to do something pretty out-there, and you have to do it really, really well. That’s what Eggers pulled off in A Heartbreaking Work, a memoir focused on how the deaths of the author’s parents and his subsequent raising of his much younger brother. It is a very personal book—obvs—detailing not only Eggers’ guilt-inducing desire to avoid walking through the room containing his dying mother, but also more mundane things like his unabashed appreciation for Journey* and his own masturbatory habits.**
*It was written in 2000, well before “Don’t Stop Believin’” was aired on Laguna Beach and became cool to like again. How do I know this? Because you couldn’t get away with writing something like “I worry about exposing him to bands like Journey, the appreciation of which will surely bring him nothing but the opprobrium of his peers” today.
**They were T.M.I. in his book; they’d be beyond that in this review.