Friday, February 09, 2007

Cowboy traffic — (Don't) summarize Proust — A.O. Scott, Angry Asian Man? — 'Jujitsu for Christ'

Dept. of Self-referentiality: The Dizzies received an abnormally high number of hits yesterday—chump change for someone like Jenny or Maud or Other Ed, but rather alarming for us to see. Are people visiting because of our recent meditations on the title of the new Jonathan Lethem book and its relation to lost-'80s/'90s folk-rockers the Vulgar Boatmen? Our newfound obsession with poet Loren Goodman?

No in thunder!

People are searching of former Buffalo Bills coach (and soon-to-be next Cowboys coach) Wade Phillips, who was mentioned in this post (by Dizzyhead Sweeney)—but who has not, to our knowledge, ever been pictured on The Dizzies.

Wade Phillips vs. Wilson Phillips—who will win?

* * *

The sage Lindsay Waters—a champion of Dizzyheads Devin and Howard—mentioned he had an essay coming out in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and now Dizzyhead Hua has linked to it. "Time for Reading" begins:
I want to start a new movement, now.

From the 19th century on, more and more segments of our society — farmers, factory workers, doctors, professors — have been urged to speed things up in order to produce more eggs or automobiles, or to heal or educate more people. Charles Dickens gave expression to the pathos of life under such a regime in his novel Hard Times; so did Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times, a work of cinematic art that gets to the heart of what ails society. The Monty Python crew made fun of this imperative in its "All-England Summarize Proust Competition" for the best synopsis of Proust's seven-volume Remembrance of Things Past in 15 seconds. The fun poked at attempts to speed-read the classics was as painful as Chaplin's effort to survive industrialization. And it's no joke: Imagine radiologists forced to read 13 mammograms per hour, without interrupting their reading to speak to the women whose scans they are analyzing. I know of at least one such case.

Is it any surprise that there is now a reading crisis worldwide that affects people at all levels, from preschool to graduate school, the affluent and the poor alike? Don't assume you are immune, people of higher education. Is it reassuring or frightening to learn that problems that afflict one group actually afflict other groups considered to be as different as night and day? Maybe such a realization is both consoling and discommoding in equal measure. In any case, the reading crisis that is upon us is widespread.

* * *

A.O. Scott should guest-blog at Angry Asian Man—he blew the whistle on the comic-relief Asian masseuse jokeage in the new Diane Keaton movie, and now here he is on Eddie Murphy's Norbit:
There were some big-boned people in the audience at the screening I attended, and also some nerds with glasses (one, anyway), and none of them seemed too offended by Rasputia or her husband. Mr. Wong (also Mr. Murphy), the Chinese man whose restaurant doubles as an orphanage, may not go over so well, though there is some evidence to suggest that ethnic dialect humor is creeping back into respectability under the sign of “irony.” “You ugry brack baby!” Mr. Wong exclaims when he finds the infant Norbit in his driveway.
Will any other major critic bring this up? I doubt it.

(And what's up with Kelly Hu's character in that new ABC sitcom? An Asian lead in a prime-time show = great. She plays an erotic masseuse = maybe not so great.)

* * *

The Other Ed has thrown down the gauntlet—well, it's gentler than that:

Again, when I tell you that you must read Jack Butler’s Jujitsu for Christ, and when I point out that the Rake ain’t lying when he says “everyone should go out and buy a copy of Jack Butler’s Jujitsu for Christ,” this is a bona-fide hot reading tip for you — nay, an entreaty! [...] Butler’s work is criminally neglected by the cool kids. (I’m looking at you too, Good Man Park!)

(Wait, does that mean we are or aren't one of the cool kids?) OK, Other Ed: Yesterday we found a copy, and we're excited to start reading...But first we need to take a short break. Watch this space next week for exciting posts from the other, much younger and better-looking Dizzies team members.


Blogger The Unknown Filmmaker said...

With Kelly Hu's show - keep in mind she's also a former international lawyer which I think is basically making a joke of the "Asian Masseuse" thing.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Parkus Grammaticus said...

That's a good point...and yet...Can you imagine another sitcom where one of the leads is essentially a prostitute?

(Thanks for the comment.)

10:09 PM  
Blogger R. Emmet Sweeney said...

Wade Phillips was the coach for the so-called Music City Miracle, so Wilson Phillips wins. I'm still a Rob Johnson supporter.

2:14 AM  
Blogger Jenny Davidson said...

Two funny things I often get hits for are (a) "Carly Simon spanking" (re: that "Stage Fright" profile in the New Yorker) and (b) "Prada trainers" (I linked to some overly ingenious Guardian piece about someone--can't now remember who--described as "Noam Chomsky in Prada trainers."

The most apt search phrase I've seen on my sitemeter: "what is calming literature to read"!

9:41 PM  

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