25 April 2009

Easiest rhetorical answer ever

Of course you can't tell it's Proust, and that's worked out really well for the iPod, or so I've heard. Clearly the point of this article was for author Nicholson Baker to confess he used to be super pretentious:
Years ago, [Baker] walked into a temporary job with a copy of ULYSSES. “I wanted people to know I wasn’t just a temp,” he said, “but rather a temp who was reading ULYSSES.”


Elizabeth said...

We can no longer judge books by their covers?

I used to carry my Greek homework on airplanes to intimidate my seatmates so they wouldn't talk to me. It was only partially effective: instead they would just talk about me in the third person (often across me if I were in the middle seat).

henry said...

Has anyone ever been impressed by someone reading a "classic" in a public place? If anything, it seems like you're just inviting an awkward conversation from someone you don't want to talk to.

And, as usual, the onion is there: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/31366

Ellen said...

Actually, Henry, I have seen people reading INFINITE JEST on the subway and been duly impressed -- but not enough to go up to them and congratulate them on their excellent taste. They all could be dupes though. The funny thing is, THE CRYING OF LOT 49 is probably the least pretentious Pynchon due to its length or lack thereof.

Elizabeth: Aside from the rudeness of people on airplanes (really? They imagined you were in a bubble of silence?) I think it is still okay to judge. It will be slightly more difficult for people with Kindles, but the Kindle doesn't have the market share the iPod has, so we'll still have plenty of judgments to make.

Wade Garrett said...

The worst is when you see some douchey guy sitting in a coffeeshop in a neighborhood like Park Slope or the UWS 'reading' a novel like that, when you know he's really scanning the crowd for women to impress with his bookish, sensitive-guy-ness.

Ellen said...

That douchey guy ruins it for those of us who are actually reading our pretentious books and not intending to impress. I think there's a good T-shirt slogan in here somewhere -- anyone?