Thursday, April 3, 2008

L'Etranger or Suck My Dealbreaker

Last week the NY Times book blog, Paper Cuts, had a post on the seven deadly words in book reviewing. Generally, I agree with what they had to say - that poignant is incorrectly used all the time, that eschew sounds clunky when spoken and leads to its overuse in the written word, that there's been very little lyrical writing since the 19th century - and I was surprised to find myself so free of annoyance while reading a Times article on books since Rachael Donadio's piece on Literary Dealbreakers made me want to gouge someone's eyes out. Maybe it's because that article appeared in the paper's hard copy and so they felt like there was some need for pretension, but Donadio's article... nay, the comments... were oozing with self-importance and naked egotism.

I was talking with a friend of mine about the "Dealbreakers" article last night and we both agreed that it's not one book here or there that determines whether or not a relationship is worth pursuing; it's a pervasive history of bad taste that is the real dealbreaker. For instance, if I'm at gun-point and someone is asking me what my literary dealbreaker is, I'm second-ing one of the wittier commenters in saying "the sports page". However, that's obviously not a real dealbreaker for me since I once dated a rabid sports fan for about seven months. In that time I learned a lot about baseball, got to go to a boatload of Cubs games for free, and never once had to argue about who would get which section of the newspaper first on Sunday morning.

I have always had issues with Harry Potter fans, but I've only gotten halfway through the first book so who's to say I'm not missing out on some magnum opus? What was actually most offensive about this article - more than the douche bag commenters - was the illustration used to telegraph a would-be date's horror at seeing Albert Camus' The Stranger in some guy's back pocket.

Ahem... let it be known that I thoroughly enjoy The Stranger and have read it three times in English (the Matthew Ward translation is the best) and once in French. To anyone who has a problem with that... Suck. My. Dealbreaker.

1 comment:

lkbom said...

This arguement could be applied to any subject that anyone has a passion for. That article is stupid and nonsensical and further proof that people like that are alone because their expectations are too high.