Thursday, June 21, 2012

What I’m reading #66

In the Spectator Philip Hensher gives a rousing welcome to Martin Amis’s new novel Lionel Asbo: State of England:
But all in all, it is not as bad as I feared.
Courtesy of Shorpy: the Anti-Flirt Club. Here are the rules as published in February 1923:
1. Don’t flirt: those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure.
2. Don’t accept rides from flirting motorists – they don’t invite you in to save you a walk.
3. Don’t use your eyes for ogling – they were made for worthier purposes.
4. Don’t go out with men you don’t know – they may be married, and you may be in for a hair-pulling match.
5. Don’t wink – a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the other.
6. Don’t smile at flirtatious strangers – save them for people you know.
7. Don’t annex all the men you can get – by flirting with many you may lose out on the one.
8. Don’t fall for the slick, dandified cake eater – the unpolished gold of a real man is worth more than the gloss of a lounge lizard.
9. Don’t let elderly men with an eye to a flirtation pat you on the shoulder and take a fatherly interest in you. Those are usually the kind who want to forget they are fathers.
10. Don’t ignore the man you are sure of while you flirt with another. When you return to the first one you may find him gone.
Still sound advice, especially # 9. Younger women think that older men are defanged. They aren’t.

Lev Grossman on genre fiction as disruptive technology, responding to a piece in the New Yorker about “guilty pleasures”, a stupid concept if ever there was. Money quote:
The plots in genre novels are of a different kind, after all, constrained as they are by conventions. But conventions aren’t the iron cage they’re made out to be. Sonnets are bound by conventions too, but that doesn’t stop them from being great, and wildly various. Conventions are more like the rules of chess: a small set of constraints that produces near-infinite complexity. They’re not restrictive, they’re generative.  
Chad Taylor has finished writing a new novel. Good. Now he has time to praise Pete Dexter.

Much angst in Oz about Gina Rinehart, a rich woman, and Fairfax, a media company she owns a chunk of and whose board she would like to be on. Shock horror ensues. This terrific piece in the Guardian gives the background and quotes John Singleton, who is the Aussie equivalent of Bob Harvey – knows everyone in the media, has seen and remembered everything in and about the media, is probably just as mad but is always worth listening to. Money quote:
Singleton, who has known Rinehart since she was eight years old, says the suggestion that she would damage the Fairfax brand is ridiculous.
“If you trash a brand day after day and put on the front page that mining should be compulsory and you should eat iron ore for breakfast, then the circulation would go down along with the credibility. We don’t need lectures from bloody politicians about branding,” he said, adding that she must have a seat on the board.
“You get an Australian who’s been very successful and has nearly 20% of the company and she doesn’t get any board seats? Who the hell do they think they are?”
Alex Ross on Jack Johnson, world heavyweight champion from 1908 to 1915:
The boxer was, incidentally, an opera enthusiast, with a particular fondness for Verdi; he once appeared in a silent role in a production of Aida.
So here are Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Michael Henderson and the rest of the 1971 band in a performance of “Yesternow” from A Tribute to Jack Johnson:


Peter said...

Defanged? Or neutered?

Stephen Stratford said...

Speak for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Pish tush.
As a prettified cake-baker myself, nothing would suit me better than an alliance with a dandified cake-eater.

Rough diamonds can eat their burgers and chips down in the paddock undisturbed.

That'll be me on the chaise longue, saying "Let them eat cake".