Fractured Didion

Today’s Zippy reels out burlesques of quotes from Joan Didion (as the Dingburg writer Joanne Obsidian), with a caricature of the writer in a muumuu:

This follows on two earlier strips (with burlesques of Edgar Allan Poe and Gertrude Stein) that I posted about on January 7th.

Panel 1, about shopping, re-works the beginning of the title essay in The White Album (1979), re-published in her 2006 We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction:

We tell ourselves stories in order to live…We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five.

That essay goes on:

We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.

Panel 2, about the diet food Lean Cuisine, has two sources: the first an essay “After Life” in the 9/25/05 New York Times Magazine (about the sudden, unexpected death of her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne), included in Didion’s 2005 book The Year of Magical Thinking (about Dunne’s death and then the death of their daughter):

Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

and the second a 1961 essay in Vogue magazine on self-respect, then included as “On Self-Respect” in her 1968 collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem:

Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.

Panel 3, which mashes up Emily Brontë and Brooklyn hipsters, is a re-working of a passage from another essay in Slouching Towards Bethlehem:

It was once suggested to me that, as an antidote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable: it is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in Wuthering Heights with one’s head in a Food Fair bag.

And the title of the strip, “Play It as It Slouches”,  is another combo, of the title of Didion’s 1960 novel Play It as It Lays and the title Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

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