Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Moronic and Meaningless"

Thee New York Times Book Review has, wonderfully, enlisted the skilled Walter Kirn (who, at the ripe age of 32, totally married Maggie McGuane, Margot Kidder's 19-year-old daughter! Score! Note that this will become even more awesome at the end of this post) to review the idiotic tome of stupidity and misinformed thought that is David Denby's "Snark" (no link provided by me, ever, for this turd).

Things get off to a swell start as Kirn writes:
"And that, sir, is snark, society’s arch­enemy — making light fun of vulgar criminal robber barons who steal more in a month than Capone stole in a decade."

Kirn then goes to work on Denby's insipid misinterpretation of snark with the skill of a 17th-century Spanish rapier master de-skinning a particularly loathsome opponent.

To wit:

"He wants to correct and restrain, using scholarship and logic, perhaps the keenest, most reflexive, prehistoric and anarchic of simple human pleasures, short of eating or achieving orgasm. The act of laughter, this would be."

"As a species of vicious contemporary humor, it is defined by Denby in many ways — so many, in fact, that the creature never materializes as anything more than a shadow on a wall that Denby keeps shooting at yet never hits."

"Denby then engineers an accusation that’s even more moronic and meaningless."

Was it completely fair for the NYT Book Review to enlist Kirn, a former Spy mag staffer, to review a book that singles out that treasured tome for particular scorn, as it somehow offended the rich people it was, um, offending, which (according to Denby) is somehow more offensive than making fun of poor people? No. Is it, instead, awesome that they did that? Yes.

I think Denby has this weird gamma-dog relationship to powerful and rich people; see his totally weird arrangement with his ex-wife Cathleen Schine. In an attempt to keep his seven-room Upper West Side apartment, he invested $325,000 during the heyday (2000) of the NASDAQ boom. Somehow, he managed to lose $1,000,000. Read about this entire fiasco here. And here.

It is also worth noting that Denby's judgment has, apparently, always been completely poor: Schine, his wife of 18 years, left him for another woman. Get it? Yes, I just called Denby a woman. ZING.

Nice scarf, honey.

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