Monday, January 5, 2009

On Snark and Men Named Thursday, Plus More...

One should probably be asleep at this hour, and yet there are so many wonderful things to watch and read that sleep seems a rather frivolous way to spend one's time.

Unless you're having extravagantly weird, or dark, or glorious dreams. In which case you might enjoy this little slice of Neil Gaiman history from a Canadian television show called, Prisoners of Gravity.

This is exactly the sort of show I would've watched as a young boy, delighting in the tinfoilness of the set and the very small television set on which Neil's face appears. It's also the kind of show I would watch now, if such shows still existed.

Speaking of things which may or may not exist, there's a sort of ongoing war over Snark, which as Clive James points out, was originally a nonsense monster created by Lewis Carroll, but has, in recent years, come to mean a bit of snidely delivered sarcasm, or sarcastically delivered snide. The current debate began with David Denby's new book, Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation. Adam Sternberg wrote a not exactly snarky rebuttal in the New York Magazine Book Review in which he didn't quite label the book an EPIC FAIL. And now, the good folks at the Elegant Variation have put up a link to a 2003 article by Clive James which more or less anticipates and puts a lid on this particular debate.

And because I promised a man named Thursday, go read this Wall Street Journal article on the aphoristically gifted G.K. Chesteron who said such marvelous things as:

"The business of the Progressives is to go on making mistakes, while the business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."

"Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance."

"He is a [sane] man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head."

"The aesthete aims at harmony rather than beauty. If his hair does not match the mauve sunset against which he is standing, he hurriedly dyes his hair another shade of mauve. If his wife does not go with the wall-paper, he gets a divorce."

And that is enough of that.

Happy beginning of the week, readers.

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