Sunday, July 7, 2013

On literature and cheese fries

"It's ok though!" I remember my classmate reassuring our poetics professor. "I read Twilight, but then I read Shakespeare. I read New Moon, but then I made myself read Emily Dickinson before moving on to Eclipse. I always read a book I should read before one I want to read. It balances out."
My professor (one of the most formidably intelligent and utterly terrifying individuals I've ever had the privilege to work with) cast a pained glance over the class (each of us mentally cursing our colleague's ballsy and potentially heretical bout of honesty).
"But that's tragic." She wrung her hands. "You're treating literature like... vitamins."

Such is the horror of those demi-gods and goddesses who have never wrestled with what constitutes a guilty pleasure. They genuinely enjoy exercise and opera. They don't own sweatpants. Cheeseburgers gross them out - they don't understand why you wouldn't prefer green tea and a salad. 

Scholar Dude likes candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and never seeing movie adaptations of classic literature.

I have good news, America. It's not us versus them. Those luminous pillars of humanity have no more right to organic smoothies and Rilke than you do. Smoothies are good! Rilke is good! Cheese fries and Stephen King are also good!

For my part, I've been burning through the essays and short fiction of David Foster Wallace lately. Maybe I have a vitamin deficiency that's got me craving acerbic wit and frustrated optimism. Maybe I just love his writing. Maybe you would too.

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