Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Lesson on Highbrow BS

The following is an excerpt from a funny piece in this month's Harper's Magazine. The essay is by George Saunders, and was originally published in the Guardian.

Whereas a boring realist writer might write, "Lillian sat at the black table," an experimental writer says, "Lillian sat at the flat plane of ebony, the night-shaded planar surface, the nonwhite spatial expanse on which one can put things, such as ashtrays, if one smokes." See how that is more innovative, because not just anyone could have written it, just the nerdy kids in school or your friends' smart-ass son who rolls his eyes when you say what bands you like?

And to be superexperimental, one could have Lillian, at the black table, turn into a chimp. To show that bourgeois life is a sham. But when she is a chimp, she is still Lillian. That is the deep part. Her husband, Brian, likes her better as a chimp and always makes her banana milkshakes. Until one day a milkshake develops vocal cords and begs Brian to spare him because he is terrified of chimps. In retaliation, Lillian has an affair with an orangutan, who is either from the zoo or from another experimental story. See how edgy that is? You will never look at your wife, a milkshake, or a chimp in the same way again. Whenever you see these things, you will be like: I am a capitalist oppressor.

No comments:


Free Blog Counter