Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Lit Snobbery and the End of the World

 Everyone that knows me in real life is aware that I run an unofficial book group down here in Alabama, which I cleverly dubbed The Madison County Book Club.

This month I forced everyone at gunpoint into reading Alexander Hammond’s collection of disturbingly exquisite short stories entitled: Tales From The Edge of Forever.

Now that the month and book are swiftly coming to an end, I’d like to tell a humorous story about an argument I got into with a good buddy, who happens to think he knows everything, because he has an M.A. in Literature. For the purposes of this post I will call him Douche Bagg-The Incredibly Obnoxious and Redundant Lit Snob. I obviously don’t want to be rude and use the man’s real name.

The first story in Hammond’s book is entitled The End of The World, and I’d like to share a brief passage from this story before getting on with this ridiculous tale...

The night was warm though not unbearably so. It was for nights like these that the lone figure walking along the beach had traveled so far. A balmy ambiance pervaded and with the sun long gone, the walker was content to note that the sand still held some of the Caribbean sun’s fierce heat.

Yes I know, totally delicious writing and a natural starting point for our discussion of this book. I was chosen, as the person who had read the book the most times, to lead the discussion. As I started this venture I could feel Douche Bagg’s eyes on me, waiting to unleash a scathing rebuttal to whatever was about to come out of my mouth. Despite this fact, I squared my shoulders and started in on what I liked about Hammond’s writing style. Whilst I was in the middle of this, I heard an obnoxious, “Ahem,” which caused me to turn to Douche Bagg and look him in those steely, hunter green eyes.

         “That’s all well and good, but what do you think this story is about?”

         For some reason I was floored by this particular question.

         “Did you hear me, Natasha? What is The End of the World is about?”
         “Uh, the story is about sex…” I blurted out stupidly. To my relief, the thirteen other people in the group nodded their heads approvingly…except for of course, Old Douche Bagg.

         “Sex?” he asked dubiously. “Are you referring to this last passage?” he snarled, snatching my signed copy of the book out of my lap and drawing an incredibly pretentious fountain pen out of his front pocket. To my chagrin, he then proceeded to circle a passage before reading it out loud to the group.

As they embraced Sam felt as never before. The deliciousness of the girl’s femininity descended like a blissful mist as her long nailed fingers began their sensual exploration. Within moments the girl skillfully liberated Sam’s skirt from her tanned legs and started on the buttons of her flimsy blouse.

         “That passage makes you believe this is about sex?” he asked now, startling me out of the trance Hammond’s writing usually sends me into.

         “Clearly,” was my witty retort.
         “Bit of a juvenile assessment, don’t you think?”

         “Probably, why don’t you tell me what its about Dr. Bagg?” I asked hotly, rolling my eyes sympathetically at the rest of my book group.

Which he gladly did…

For the next twenty-five minutes I listened to a pretentious speech about beginnings and endings, and blah blah blah. Douche Bagg was in the middle of cleverly telling us about how Hammond was simply trying to say that for “anything to begin…something has to end.”

         At some point during this very long monologue, I managed to snatch the book back from him in annoyance. As I did so he laughed at me and asked in a queer voice, “Did I offend you?”

         “Not at all. We both said the same thing.”

         “Clearly, you weren’t listening. A story being about sex and using sex as a metaphor…are no where near the same thing.”

         At this point I threw the book at him in annoyance and grumbled, “And clearly you don’t get laid much if you think the world doesn’t begin and end with sex…”

         Douche Bagg stole my book after that last comment…God, I really hope it gets him laid.

This is where the asshole scribbled all over my poor book.

You can purchase Tales From The Edge of Forever here

The author's blog can be found here


Walter Knight said...

Something you might have some fun with, you might write the 'snob' into your next book, and let your characters kill him slow and painful. He actually sounds interesting, and readers would love to see his terrible demise.

In "America's Galactic Foreign Legion (Book 9) Scorpions" I created a character from a montage of literary critics, and threw him out an airlock. He died horribly in the cold dark vacuum of space. I arrested his mom, and shot his dog, too.

Just thinking. My writing keeps me out of anger management classes (most of the time).

Natasha Larry said...

LMAO! That's toooo funny. Oh man...thanks for the laugh and the helpful suggestions. He's a cat person...and I happen to hate cats.

MintySnipes said...

As a subtext - what ended, then started anew, was my predisposition to the character Sam, when you find out her sex. I had to go back and re-read to see if there was anything that should have triggered male/female in my mind, other than the name, and even that shouldn’t have, as I have met a few female Sam’s and Sammy’s in the past. Interesting.