Monday, 10 December 2007

Monday 10/12/07

So we all read and loved the comment last week telling me that I’m an uneducated moron with the reading skills of a newborn dyslexic kangaroo.  And you’ll be pleased to know that there’s been a follow up too.

On Sunday, The Reader sends me another message, but this one is quite long and I don’t want to bore you with it (after all if The Reader wants to rant he should set up his own blog), so here are some edited highlights.  Sometimes it’s just best to leave things without a comment… and this is one of them (well apart from when I can’t help myself and I have to say something). 

Right then, amongst his (approximately) 500 words The Reader tells us: 

I haven't read your blog for long, but it seemed to me that your not 'a reader' (Quotation marks Reader’s own) 

I've mostly been a reader: a 7 day a week, every evening reader for the last 40 years (I’m trying to work out with my simple brain how old The Reader is.  If we assume he learnt how to read at the same age as me – 26 – that must make him…let’s see…66) 

I'm a librarian, so recommending books is something I've had practice at 

The books on your list are all well-known and fashionable (Yes.  Fashionable.  Everyone knows that Isabella Blow was recently buried with a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea on her head instead of a Philip Treacy hat) 

I don't want you to give up reading - you'll need it (Am I the only one who this sounds like a threat to?  The “you’ll need it” part.  What is he planning to do?  Turn up at my house, tie me up to the radiator and cross examine me with literary questions?) 

It wasn't condescension - it was a librarian's desire to shepherd someone back on the road to reading pleasure (A mild Messiah complex there)

I actually do think that The Reader has good intentions and I don’t want to lay on him like I would on some irrational aggressive commenter that just messages me to vent anger and bitterness.  What The Reader suffers from is a) a naturally patronizing tone (which I don’t think is deliberate) probably due to limited human interaction and b) too many opinions that we didn’t ask for.  So I’m going to slowly move away, walking backwards and keeping my eyes on him, like you would from a drunken great-uncle at the Christmas table once he has started discarding war stories and moral advice when all you want is to pass out in front of the TV watching Police Academy repeats with a glass of port in hand. 

Now then, while we’re at it, let’s mention another reader comment from the last couple of days (relevant to this).  You may remember that I made reference on Saturday to having a “literary tattoo”.  Well actually you will probably not remember because you don’t cling to every word I write and leave the house occasionally.  Anyway, I did.  I was referring to my Bret Easton Ellis tattoo obviously. 

Anyway, in response to that a different reader says:  I WOULDNT EXACTLY SAY HAVING B.E.E COUNTS AS A 'LITERARY' TATTOO. HARDLY A SHAKESPEAR SONNET.........” 

Got that people?  Hardly “Shakespear”.  Maybe I should have “Shakespear” tattooed on my forehead next, that will make everyone think I’m smart.  (I’m being facetious here, this reader actually also takes the piss out of me for writing “Notre Dam” instrad of Notre Dame last week, so at least he has a sense of humour and he’s cool). 

So then, just when we were safe, drunken uncle (aka The Reader) butts in again (presumably bored of sitting behind his desk in the library and checking out a copy of Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophia Kinsella to ANOTHER semi-literate housewife) and tells us: 

That's interesting - is BEE literature?  In bookshops in australia there's a big Fiction section, where'll you'll find BEE, and a small Literature section, where'll you'll find Shakespeare, Penguin classics etc” 

“I'm not sure where BEE will end up, but so far the critics haven't been exactly wowed. Have a look at the authors who are getting the prizes - try Disgrace by J.M.Coetzee, another Nobel Prize winner - (you know I'm referring to the author, not the book). As Truman Capote might have said - that's not just typing, that's writing” 

At this point I am starting to lose my patience with drunken uncle.  If I’m dumb and illiterate and don’t know what books to read etc, why does he come back and read my blog and comment relentlessly?  Is he trying to educate me?  Am I his Eliza Doolittle?  I seriously don’t get it. 

Are there no other websites out there where he can have serious literary debates with people who actually care?  Or is my blog the only website he can access from the library PC? 

If he has these amazing options of Nobel prize winning writers to read (and has been doing so every evening 9 days a week for the last 250 years or something as he points out), what is the attraction of my lame little blog, with my shallow gym / diet / clubbing / clothes stories?  Also it's amazing how somebody who has dedicated his life to reading, doesn't manage to understand the tone and manner and humour of this simple little blog.  It makes you wonder what he actually understands from J.M Coetzee (whoever that as - I'm a moron, remember?)

I never claimed to be a genius and I never claimed to be a great writer.  I give myself  6 out of 10 at being intelligent and I’d like it to stay like that.  Can I be left alone now please? 

No actually, I take that back.  I AM a fucking genius and I am stronger than MENSA and Miller and Mailer and I spat out Plath and Pinter.  But please The Reader – leave me alone. 

Now then, we’ve dedicated enough time to this subject and I have stories to tell from the weekend and I haven’t been able to.  So this is the end of it, and I will NOT read any further comments from The Reader and I will NOT dedicate any more time to ranting about negative comments.  I will just not publish them or think about them, because it’s my blog and my blog is a monarchy where I am King and I will eliminate everything that I don’t like.  Ha. 

Back with normal stories tomorrow.


Neil said...

LP - i think you should embrace drunken uncle (at arms length) he sounds like quite a charachter. An old English eccentric :)

Librarians also need to be treasured - especially silly old queeny ones.

London Preppy said...

neil: Hmmm...I don't know about embracing. Maybe I'd poke him with a long stick. And then borrow A Whole New World by Katie Price from his library to give him a heart attack

Bobby Vanquish said...

Now listen - have you read Disgrace?

London Preppy said...

bobby: No. Should I prepare the radiator?

Bobby Vanquish said...

ohmygod - i'm buying it for you on Amazon. Put it on your favouries list now.
As you know I'm not a name-dropper BUT!
He lectured me in English at UCT around the time of a sexual harrassment case in the department. Read the book and you'll see what I mean - my friends pretend that it was our tutorial on which the book is based.
Some of it's very South Africa but your office Pam can explain bits you don't get.
It's bleak, dark, depressing, upsetting and David Lurie - the main character - is one of the few guys in a novel who you actually go away thinking "I really don't like that guy...".

From one beginner reader to another... of course.

Neil said...

'should i prepare the radiator' rofl!

as it's 'suggest a book week.'
'into the silent land' by paul broks (none fiction) somewhat philosophical meanderings - very readable. Absolutely love it, and everybody i have subsequently leant it to/ given it too also love it. - have now bought it 17 times!!! (for gifts, not to paper walls)
feel free to put it on your Amazon hit list - but i bloody well wont be buying it for you!

and with that i think i need to stop commenting on here for a while before i start looking like a stalker.

real like the blog though mr - keep it up!

Aaron said...

"Back with normal stories tomorrow..."

Like what happened to the post dedicated to the BLR? And what has happened to Pete's website? You know the one...with lots of photos -- including one that appeared to be a tongue lapping up some sort of fluid?

Rafa said...

Some people like to hear the sound of their own voice... er, I actually don't know how that phrase would work for the internet. But yeah, people just like to think they know everything. I had a similar experience last night with a friend which just left me extremely pissed off. I for one don't offer advice unless I'm quite sure I know what I'm talking about, and I used to assume most people were the same way.

Sadly though, that's not the case.

I really don't know where that guy gets his superiority complex from when it comes to recommending books. Not every book that we read has to be a Nobel Prize nominee, just like every film doesn't have to have won a Palm d'Or at Cannes.

I'd figure that he really has nothing else to contribute, so he has to rant on about books, since he's a librarian and takes your choice of a "bad" book to heart as would a sommelier if you chose Sutter Home white zinfandel over a fine chablis.

Frontier Psychiatrist said...

Don't take it personally. The Reader's not trying to educate you, just shepherd you back on the road to reading pleasure.

I had thought Muriel Spark was my favorite writer, but could you ask The Reader if she would be, in fact, my favorite typist?

fuzzy logic said...

eek - bobbyv - Disgrace is hectic bru! ;-) But so good at the same time.

LP - a librarian that can't tell the difference between "your" and "you're" - AAAGGGHHHH. He deserves to be shot, at dawn, by a firing squad. And he hasn't earned a blindfold.

Woodsman said...

I love that the Reader spelt "you're" "your". Oh the simple pleasures in life.

London Preppy said...

aaron: I know, I've been very slack with the BLR feature. I need to find some good non-boring questions. I have sent the £10 though! He's having some technical issues with his blog by the way - it will be up again

rafa: In any case I guess I should feel honoured to be the Chosen One for all this book advice?!

frontier p: I've never felt like a lamb in need of a shepherd so much before...

Tim in Italy said...

I'm really tired and all i want to do is go to bed, but i have to ask... what is a "fashionable" book? this concept leaves me stunned. have him look up norman mailer's defense of bee as art after "american psycho" came out. but then, maybe mailer's fashionable, too... except now he's dead. so NOW is his work literature?

yeah. going to bed.

London Preppy said...

fuzzy and woodsman: Sometimes you just get lost in the art of literature and grammar doesn't matter. Philistines! Are you new readers or something? ;-)

tim: There is a fine line between fashion and literature of course. Sadly we'll never know. You just don't seem like 'a reader' either...

Jim said...

I feel smarter having eaten my salad at my desk while this blog was up on my screen.

Not that I read it. I just had it up on my screen so others would think I was smart.

Wait a minute, I work from home, by myself...

h said...

now i feel slightly guilty for first mentioning the p word way back whenever it was . . .

although you've probably seen this, in the interests of lowering the tone, this amused me greatly

the one in your dreams said...

rule as a "king?"

really? not quite the monarch i pegged you for ;)

NGM said...

enough with 'the reader' am sure he taught english at my school. any news on Vladdy or have you given up on that idea?
how is 'old man of the Sea' going?

London Preppy said...

jim: Ha ha! Every worker can benefit from having this blog up on their screen. At home, in the library, everywhere. I expect you'll end up promoting yourself now

h: I've seen this guy. Oh my God, I've actually seen videos of him injecting his biceps with bent needles. Now that's the right tone for London Preppy, thanks!

ngm: Vladdy was there today but I'm bored of him. I can't even be bothered sexing him up for the first time

London Preppy said...

one in your dreams: Ha! I did toy with the idea you suggest but it was just too obvious ;-)

Timmy said...

Maybe it is Oprah in disguise? You know she started that book club a few years ago and every time she suggests a book it goes to the top of the best seller list.

So in my warped logical thinking, I'm thinking she is trying to get your opinion about some of these books that The Reader (alias for Oprah) mentions to see what LP thinks.

Dan said...

Most people on the internet are either uneducated, obnoxious, delusional or some combination thereof. While I do not know Mr. Librarian personally, I'd say his completely unsolicited and unsubstantiated comments provide compelling evidence of traits two and three.

Perhaps he's new to this internet thing (tubes!). If so, perhaps this incident will provide Mr. Librarian with a valuable lesson. That is, if you're going to tell people what you really, really think about something, you should avoid exhibiting the aforementioned traits. Make a logical argument. Provide evidence. Have a fucking sense of humor. Be handsome and provide many half-naked pictures of yourself. Something to engage the reader, you know?

It's like anybody who's used manhunt will tell you: On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Jon C said...

Knowing this blog... I wouldn't be surprised if you or a friend of yours was the 'Reader'. Anything to get more comments. :)

j/k - please don't ban me from this blog.

Trybaby said...

I think when he said fashionable, he meant like popular writers, for example when Van Gogh first started turning out paintings people didn't like them but then they became "fashionable" later ie likable? Easy/safe to point to and say it's a good piece of art because everyone is saying it's good. Or how books , much like fashion trends, become trendy. I don't know what a trendy writer is but I've experience times when any idiot would come around saying that such and such book is good, and I know they are saying that just because everyone else is.

I hope that when you guys stated your confusion about "the reader" using fashionable, in this sense, that you were being sincere because if you were being fasicious then I just look like a twat here.

London Preppy said...

timmy: Well sadly, having ignored all her suggestions, I'm curious to see where Oprah will go from now on!

dan: "Make a logical argument. Provide evidence. Have a fucking sense of humor. Be handsome and provide many half-naked pictures of yourself. Something to engage the reader, you know?" Ha ha! All well established techniques of course. Good call.

jon: Quite honestly, I couldn't make this one up

David said...

Hi there :) just wanted to say that you shouldn't be giving that librarian so much importance. I would suggest that he goes back to popping pimples when bored, instead of bitching like that. I enjoy your blog immensely and agree on so many of the things you say. PS. you have really good eye brows. < and i don't just say that to anyone :P

David said...

Hi there :) just wanted to say that you shouldn't be giving that librarian so much importance. I would suggest that he goes back to popping pimples when bored, instead of bitching like that. I enjoy your blog immensely and agree on so many of the things you say. PS. you have really good eye brows. < and i don't just say that to anyone :P

graham said...

LP, I know you want to put this hilarious, though somewhat trying episode behind you, but I'm just wondering why one of the comments distinguished between fiction and literature...
I didn't realise that the Merchant of Venice, Othello and Hamlet (amongst others of course) were all true stories, or am I missing something here.

I expect the librarian is just annoyed that people don't need his help anymore. Perhaps when he first started working in the library (before the blitz perhaps?) people needed help to chose every book, because obviously only a select few were real 'readers'. Now, with all the young, ignorant folk turning to the interweb for information, his purpose in life is defunct. I don't know, maybe thats not the right word, I'd look it up in the dictionary, but I'm not a reader myself.

B said...

Given that this blog is turning into an intellectually elite, literary, one-upmanship book club, in an effort to bring it back to its roots, I put forward the following suggestion for a future post: London Preppy's Guide to the 15 minute ab workout, complete with pictures of the various poses (complete with red boxes of course), or maybe even a brief video.

Enough with all this talk of books and reading, bring back the muscles and the gym talk :)

Frontier Psychiatrist said...

Timmy may be right. Oprah did recommend "As I Lay Dying."

I also credit her for discovering Leo Tolstoy, John Steinbeck, and Gabriel García Márquez.

London Preppy said...

b: Now that abs thing is not a bad idea at all!

Jason said...

i really liike that... dyslexic kangaroo.. i'm going to use it on my mate tmr.. who is dyslexic.. haha.. its fucking un-pc but i love it.

Julio Cruz said...

Some people just love to parent. I agree though, they probably have nothing better to do and therefore use your blog (and others like it) to prove their superiority. Rather, attempt to and fail miserably.

One last thing; it's likely that these people who are essentially harassing you really aren't all that educated, and frankly, if they were -- they probably would have a more fulfilling career that would require more of their time instead of commenting on London Preppy's quips and sarcasm.

I read the blog exclusively for the writing style that I'm frankly jealous of. :)

Much love for LP.