Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Note From Abe Simpson's buddy Jasper... Or, "The Old Grey Mare."

Maybe the thought arose because it is Sunday.

I cannot help thinking of Abe Simpson's grey-bearded
(the "e" is admittedly an affectation, one which I intends
ta' keep) companero Jasper dancing a jig and singing
"The Old Grey Mare, she
ain't what she useda' be,
ain't what she useda' be,
ain't what she useda' be."

This is the only image I can muster wading through my
Sunday Times Book Review and Travel sections.

Exhibit A:
Heather Timmons has apparently escaped her A.P. English
Class to party with the Swingers in the "very gay" resort
area of Mykonos. One can follow the link above to the
story. Please read the closing. Don't worry about starting
with the close, because as you'll see it could easily
be plugged into any other paragraph in the piece.
Should you like to be saved some time and effort, though,
I can excerpt a few quality sentences to illustrate my

Paragraph 8, Sentence 1:
"On the far side of the harbor, under Mykonos's
trademark windmills, and with candle-lighted tables
set just near the water's edge, the restaurant is a jewel-
like setting for dinner, although the crowd can sometimes
be jarring." (Emphasis mine.)

Paragraph 12, Sentence 1:
"The mix can be jarring."

While in Mykonos, Miss Timmons would have done
well to consult that Greek classic "The Thesaurus."

There, she might find words such as "harsh,
grating, rough, strident, stridulent" or, if you like,

Exhibit B:
Brad Leithauser, who in his defense is kindly employing
his brother Mark, reviews Ted Kooser's Flying at Night.
I will say this for auld Brad: he is the first guy to make
me stand in a room and sing Kooser's praises. Not that
I don't like Ted. I like his poetry quite a lot, though I
am not necessarily enamored of the underlying aesthetic.

I don't have the time or patience to go into an analysis of
just what Leithauser's review lacks in understanding the
Great Plains. (God help you if I did, Leithauser!) I'll just
go out on a limb and say the guy has never seen an ear
of corn that hasn't been transited by way of his local Food
Lion or Safeway, depending upon the Coast he lives on.
I could, as they say, fill a book with everything he obviously
doesn't know about my part of the country.

That isn't my real beef. In the closing paragraph of his
review (which, I feel compelled to mention again, ran in
the Sunday Times!!!) he.... well, I'll quote the offending
lines and let you draw your own conclusion:

"If at the end of the day Kooser's poetic aesthetic
is not mine (I prefer a thicker mix of language, a more
complicated architecture)"

Thanks, fucko. I was wondering the whole time just
what butters your parsnips.


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