Thursday, December 08, 2005

Some funny stuff...

This free Ricky Gervais podcast is really funny, particularly because of Miserable Karl, a Mancunian whose lack of enthusiasm for modernity is astonishing!

"We now go to places to where we shouldn't go. People now go on holiday to places where you've gotta have an injection before you go there. Forget it then. That's a warning. Don't go there." (the other half of what makes this funny is Karl's utterly depressed delivery).


Blogger Andytown said...


I'm going to go ahead and assume, on the sole basis that you're (apparently) from Dublin, that you're right about SATURDAY and I may have missed the boat by instead jumping on a bandwagon. However, I must admit that McEwan won this ugly American over, although not enough for to take up arms in his defense. I'm not familiar with his pre-ATONEMENT works, but I think that work is a close to that deviant, innocent girls on sidewalks, one mistep can last a lifetime, Thomas Hardy brand of determinism that I've been able to find.

I'm also a big fan of ULYSSES, and think it's not unfair to consider SATURDAY as ULYSSES for post 9/11 set. Joyce offered compassion, insight, and indulgence for barhoppers, motherlovers and sex fiends. And I admit it's hard to find kinship in a book about a Neurosurgeon . . . but I liked the fish recipe. And I liked the thoroughly scientific take on situational ethics presented in the car accident scene. And I even like that McEwan seems to be taking on modernism from the perspective of someone thoroughly modern, in those great pages when he discusses Perowne's own conflicts.

Yes, I know, all this from the author of the Macauley Culkin vehicle THE GOOD SON. But I think he writes beautifully and (gulp) profoundly (sigh of relief).

BTW, I also read the Toynbee article and didn't like it. Admitted, I'm a Christian, but I really appreciated similar, secular takes on THE NEW YORKER and SALON, as well as the book the Salon writer mentions by John Goldthwaite. Toynbee just seems a little too pissed off not only at Lewis but at me, because I like Aslan and what he represents. Something tells me these books inspire Christians more than just what appears to her to be knee-jerk fundamentalism.

I love HOUSE OF GAMES too. One of my favorite movies. I'll check out the con artist books.

10:32 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

I'm not from Dublin, but I am of Irish ancestry and lived there in 2004. Of course, there is always the opportunity to compare one thing with another, even if it's just to say, "Compared with X, Y is not much good." That would be the extent of my comparison of Saturday to Ulysses.

McEwan's novels are guilty of draining life from the world, because his language renders the world into graynees, whether it be The Cement Garden or The Child in Time. His writing has to take you back to the corner of the world he enjoys rendering, a doleful empty place, reminiscent of J G Ballard in some ways, but without any visual delight or intent. People think and speak like they do in other books. I have not seen anything in McEwan's books that suggests that he hasn't spent life in a space capsule, consuming literature. Maybe that's just my fetish, but I look for something else.

Writing beautifully is just too subjective to get into. McEwan's Saturday would be best compared to the failed work of Philip Roth, The Plan Against America, two writers without the strength or vision to write a compelling novel about modern America. (A shame because Roth wrote Our Gang, one of my favourite satires)

I will look at the secular takes you mention. I am a new arrival in America, and I share the Toynbee distaste for "muscular Christianity", I am of the opinion that the teachings of Jesus cannot be reconciled with advocating or supporting war, and I see cars with bumper stickers proclaiming Christ and "support the troops" every day in Memphis. To me, to be a Christian and supporting the troops is to have ducked the issue, because it leaves out the other side of the triangle, the massive civilian casualties in Iraq and the genuine lack of a moral case for war.

I don't know how you can accuse a humanist of fundamentalism. If Polly Toynbee is fundamentally humanist in her positions, I firsty, cannot quite imagine what that would mean, and secondly, the fundamentalist humanist movement, if it exists at all, is not as prescient a danger to freedoms as the Christian fundamentalists who are waging war on Darwin's theory of evolution and reproductive rights.

But thanks for commenting again, you are a welcome addition to the readership of this blog.

11:13 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

i should have clarified that first sentence, i lived in england for my first 30 years or so.

11:14 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

the narnia articles mentioned ->

new yorker

(you have to watch an ad first)

12:38 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

damn links got chopped, just google

salon narnia

new yorker narnia

if you're interested

12:39 AM  

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