Archive for the ‘Writers’ Category

Margalit Fox, Bruce Weber, and more

April 30, 2017

The immediate impetus for this posting is a “Fresh Air” piece on NPR on the 27th, “For ‘New York Times’ Obit Writers, ‘Death Is Never Solicitous Of A Deadline'”, in which NYT writers Margalit Fox and Bruce Weber were interviewed in connection with the appearance of the documentary Obit (released on 4/15/16) in theaters:

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Bruce Weber and Margalit Fox have written obituaries for thousands of people, ranging from heads of state to the inventor of the Etch-a-Sketch. They are featured in the new documentary Obit.

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More Ravening

January 24, 2016

Today’s Zippy returns to Elgar Durwin Poboy and perhaps his most famous poem, “Once upon a bowling alley”, ultimately about those campfire treats s’mores:

We last heard about Elgar Durwin Poboy in a January 7th posting, which had only a bit of the Edgar Allan Poe poem “The Raven” that E. D. Poboy pays homage to here.

Lots of word substitutions, repeated references to bowling, plus some place names (Hoboken, West New Haven) and a figure (Charlie Callas) from pop culture.

Frances Kroll Ring

January 15, 2016

Posting a Zippy yesterday about F. Scott Fitzgerald reminded me of one of 2015’s more remarkable obituaries, for Frances Kroll Ring, who was Fitzgerald’s secretary and assistant. To put ths in context: Ring started working for Fitzgerald before I was born, and when the writer died, I was only three months old. Now I’m an old man, and Ring died only last June 18th (aged 99), a relic of times long gone by. Her story was told by J. R. Moehringer in the New York Times‘s “The Lives They Lived” issue on December 27th, under the heading “More Than a Secretary: She befriended F. Scott Fitzgerald and never let go”.

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Fractured Fitzgerald

January 14, 2016

Zippy continues today with another set of burlesques on quotations from famous writers:

F. Scott Fitzgerald, in the ridiculous guise of F-Stop Fitznebbish, and (like those who have preceded him) caricatured in a Pinhead muumuu.

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Fractured Joyce

January 13, 2016

Right on the heels of fractured Proust, today’s Zippy brings us fractured Joyce:

The title, “You, Lizzie”, is a play on Ulysses, the title of James Joyce’s most famous work, a gigantic stream of consciousness re-working of the Odyssey (published in 1922) on the streets of Dublin in a single day (June 16th, 1904). The novel’s central character, Leopold Bloom, appears in the strip as Neapolitan Gloom, and James Joyce (caricatured here, dressed in a Pinhead muumuu) has become Jimmy Joust.

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Fractured Proust

January 13, 2016

A recent Zippy, continuing a series with burlesques of quotes from famous writers (previously: Edgar Allan Poe, Gertrude Stein, Joan Didion):

This time it’s Marcel Proust (under the name Darnell Prouty — cue Olive Higgins Prouty, author of the 1922 novel Stella Dallas and the 1941 novel Now, Voyager, both of which became famous in adaptations, as a movie and a radio soap opera in the first case and a movie in the second). Once again, the writer is caricatured, dressed in a Pinhead muumuu. With the quotations amended by references to snack foods (Chips Ahoy and Little Debbies) and pop culture figures (Rosemary Clooney, Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas).

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Bilkpoe (and fractured Stein)

January 7, 2016

The Zippy from the 5th, with writer Edgar Allan Poe (under the name Elgar Durwin Poboy) crossed with Army Sgt. Bilko from the tv show The Phil Silvers Show (in a mash-up of high culture and pop culture):

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After these burlesques of Poe, today we get burlesques of Gertrude Stein:

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No writer is safe.

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Morning name: Herbert Huncke

August 14, 2015

As usual, I have no idea why the name was in my head when I woke up, though it is Huncke’s centennial year:

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Yes, a celebration of the archetypical outsider and outlaw. But now there’s a blog devoted to him, here.

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Briefly: an excellent portmanteau

August 4, 2015

The NYT Book Review‘s interview on Sunday (the 2nd) was with the author Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Early on, we get:

Who is your favorite novelist of all time?

Yes, who indeed? The post of Favorite Novelist has been filled in my world by Flaubert, Joyce, Faulkner, Conrad…. Right now it’s probably a creature of my invention called Tolstoyevsky: a great Russian who is able to write battle scenes as well as conflicts of the soul, whose astonishing eye for detail is matched by his great gift for making people talk, and who is second to none in describing the crossroads between the public life (history, politics) and the private existence of individuals.

The perfect cross between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

I don’t usually post about portmanteaus that have come past me. There are so many of them. But this one struck me as an especially apt creation.

Huffing and puffing over the Man Booker Prize

November 23, 2014

In the 12/4/14 New York Review of Books, a piece on the 2013 winner of the Man Booker Prize for fiction in English (James Walton’s “Star Fiction”, reviewing The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton) begins with this year’s controversy over the prize (with the bit I’m going to focus on bold-faced):

The year 2014 was famously the first time that Americans have been eligible for the [Man Booker Prize], alongside those from Britain, the British Commonwealth, and Ireland. It was a change of rules that had been discussed for years, but when the decision was finally announced, the reaction was not – I think it’s fair to say – wholly positive. The 2011 winner Julian Barnes called it simply “a bad idea,” while Philip Hensher, former judge and shortlistee, wrote a piece in The Guardian headlined, “Well, that’s tbe end of the Booker prize, then.” Just days before this year’s ceremony Peter Carey – who holds dual US-Australian citizenship, and is one of the prize’s few double winners – lamented the “particular cultural flavour” that will be lost: “There was and there is a real Commonwealth culture. It’s different. America doesn’t really feel to be a part of that.”

Ah, the US isn’t really Commonwealth material, Carey sniffs, alluding to a fantasized cultural commonality sentimentally uniting the Commonwealth of Nations under the reigning monarch of the UK (currently Queen Elizabeth II).

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