|Courtesy of sxc.hu and Lieven Volckaert of Belgium.|
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Have you ever picked up a bestselling book so very dreadful in its derivative story and incoherent, tin-eared writing that it cleaves your heart to think that such things are our native culture, and what masses of people run after like the unfortunate, cute, suicidal, cliff-mad lemmings in Disney's 1950's White Wilderness? Just now I accidentally tripped and fell into such a book, and for about fifteen minutes I was in how long, O Lord, how long mode, caught up in Swift's savage indignation and unable to accept the ways of a world that shines up dross to be slick gold and ignores the well-made in favor of the "All out of shape from toe to top" (Yeats, "Under Ben Bulben").
Actually I felt more dramatic than that--more like a maddened-by-frustration Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis, who tried to teach nineteenth-century doctors that handwashing could save many women from childbed fever mortality, but who was ignored and committed to an asylum, where he died two weeks later after being professionally beaten by the guards. There's an epic comparison for you!
Downright full of calm acceptance and irrational hope for the future of the world and its arts and letters...