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The Mountain Times

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January 21, 2011


The novelistic length of this entry leads me to believe that it took a Franzen-esque amount of time to write. Of course, this might just be me invoking the cliche, "good things come to those who wait," but there's also the *off* chance that it reflects my actual experiences in this arena.

Either way, I'm glad that you exposed Hosseini as a hack; the time we listened to that piece of crap will be the last time we will ever listen to one of his pieces of crap again *cue ominous music*. :P Also, it was very satisfying to see you pinpoint the source of Freedom's (is there any way you can enable italics on this thing??) awesomeness with such clarity -- I would love for Franzen to do a take on Chua's family, but that'll probably take him 50 years. You know, I miss Walter's bordering-on-delirium rants, and I can think of a couple of really annoying, clingy people that I'd happily subject to Patty's horrifying laugh (on loop, that is). Oh man, if only...

Your assessment of Taylor Swift, on the other hand, I'm a little sad about. Can't say that my world's been shattered, though. I've always known that she's a vapid, overly-made-up Barbie doll, but I've also always been willing to give her props for being able to pen songs, no matter how stupid and unoriginal they are (same thing applies to Avril Lavigne). To me, writing lyrics and composing melodies seem to be such daunting, impossible tasks -- despite my musical background, I just can't figure out how notes can be strung together just so. I'm forced to resort to turning actual songs into retarded parodies of themselves (don't even try to deny that you enjoy these!!).

Anyway, I've at one point been obsessed with one or two of Swift's songs precisely because they're implausible, childish fairy tales that alternate between preventing me from thinking and stirring up feelings of intense ridicule within me. In Love Story (a super catchy song that I played again and again back when I was a deranged, lovesick clown), she can't even get the ending of Romeo and Juliet right -- I really think the song would've been more interesting had both Swift and her lover died rather than end up living happily ever after. But it's complicated... I secretly wanted them to be together, despite not having a single idea why this guy was so great, or even why she's so great, but I also would've loved it if they'd destroyed themselves by ingesting lit fireworks together. What can I say, I'm a deeply-warped teenager at heart and in mind and with soul. Oooh! That's totally going in my Xanga.

Point is, if Swift and her creepy middle-aged admirers weren't so ridiculous, listening to her stuff wouldn't be nearly as painful and thus, wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Sampling Speak Now was a bit like self-cutting, only instead of blood we got laughs. It doesn't bother me that all these critics are taking her so seriously; maybe they're just trying to justify their jobs, or maybe they're all perverted idiots. In any event, who cares -- Swift is consistent in her silliness and lamentable self-seriousness, and it's nice to have some constancy -- even if it's constant badness -- once in a while.

Good to see you back

I like your point about 'relatable', but...

The main difference between Swift and To...lstoy is that Swift's themes are like an adolescent person stuck in time, repeating the same mythic relationships, with no personal growth or connection which changed her outlook, mainly because that kind of love doesn't exist except in romance novels, movies and TV shows.

The diaries of Tolstoy's women reflected a passage of time and transition through maturity and were shared between them. Though the writings seemed to be very personal, they were written in an environment of social and political change, which also affected them and was reflected in the writings.

BIG difference, as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for reading, people.

Sorry, Quinn, but I don't think there's any way for me to allow you people to use italics -- that privilege belongs to the blogger alone. You lowly commenters can use all caps or quotation marks, if you wish.

Margo, there are about a million ways in which Leo Tolstoy is different from (and, obviously, superior to) Taylor Swift -- Tolstoy is a million times more complex and more important -- but as it happens, both Tolstoy and Swift bore and annoy me. And at times, they're boring and annoying for similar reasons.

That's it, I'm "NEVER" commenting again!!!

Taylor Swift sux, I knew it!

You've convinced me to take a second look at FREEDOM. I picked it up in a bookstore just over a week ago, flipped through it, and was turned off by the cliches. I like your angle, but I think I might answer your question ("is it his job to bend reality in such a way as to bring it more vividly to life than it can be at a supermarket or an airport or a Holiday Inn, no matter how attentively and analytically we look at these places") with an affirmative. I will give it a go now that I'm reading books again.'s the novel going. Take Dr. Quinn out for dinner - at the very least she gets massive approval for putting up with you.

Classic! Just found your site and wondered why you haven't posted anything lately? I could use another good laugh session:)

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