Today's column contains a free John Kass' Get Out of Watching the "Sex and the City" Movie Card, or Kass' SATC Absolvo Carta for short, and I'm offering it for this simple reason:
I can still hear the terrified cries of men from across the sea, from England, men scared stiff by the new "Sex and the City" movie premiere, and such cries are cries of warning to men in America, where this evil film will debut in a few weeks.
One of the first shrieks of woe came from a regular guy named Phil. His warning was posted in the Times Online, as a comment on the review of the film that premiered the other day in London.
"I don't think SATC is just for girls. I am a reasonably well-adjusted bloke and I am looking forward to seeing the film with my girlfriend. I am then looking forward to poking my eyes out with red-hot pokers, burning my skin off, and rolling around in salt for a while." — Phil Mann, Newcastle upon Tyne.
From Barnes & Noble: "Personal Days" by Ed Park (Reviewed by James Parker)
Park is a near-clinical humorist and parodist, in a vein that will doubtless have the odd reviewer hailing Personal Days as "LOL-funny!" The Sprout, always in a rush, sends emails of quite startling illiteracy: "Thnaks, for the heads-op! Aprecite it." Jill, out in Siberia, begins a strange compilation of corporate wisdom, carefully transcribing the apothegms of authors like Randall Slurry (Office Politics 101) and M. Halsey Patterson (Yes, I Drank The Kool-Aid — And I Went Back for Seconds). "Don't be the one who says, I told you so," counsels Slurry. "Tell them so to begin with. Tell them often." And from The Manager's Bible: The New Memory System for Daily Insights, by Wayne V. Hammer with Juliette Earp, Jill draws the following Eastern-tinted consolation: "Confusion is inevitable. Ride the wave."
Park, of course, made all this up; indeed it's worryingly possible, within the context of the novel, that Jill made it all up too. The fragmented narrative and shaggy-dog tangents of Personal Days operate in the service of a seeping, slow-build paranoia, of the sort that has sustained whole seasons of ABC's Lost.
From The Smart Set: Fully Booked
Wolf is stronger when she's discussing how the brain improves through reading, less so when she starts explaining how reading makes you a more compassionate human being. I've met too many writers and literary scholars to think that blanket statement is true. Wolf is a professor of child development, and that becomes obvious as she slips into the language of those Reading is Fun-damental campaigns. "When we pass over into how a knight thinks, how a slave feels, how a heroine behaves, and how an evildoer can regret or deny wrongdoing, we never come back quite the same; sometimes we're inspired, sometimes saddened, but we are always enriched." The examples she uses are, of course, writers like Proust and Dostoevsky, not breezy chick lit novels or the latest Da Vinci Code rip-off. How are people supposed to become expert readers anyway, from reading something pink with strappy heels on the cover to The Brothers Karamazov? That Wolf does not have an answer for.