One hugely irritating thing I do is to file away David's advice and opinions (instead of acting on them) until they bubble up into the broader culture only then, it seems, noticing them. And what's worse is the pleasure I find in the process..... I've long since given up trying to explain that's it's all not true.
Anyway, I can't resist passing on this major piece from this weekend's Guardian by Philip Hensher on, of all things, Elmore Leonard. Like David, Hensher worships Leonard, has read and absorbed the lessons of Leonard, gets him, and writes beautifully about him. I love that....
His ultimate take is that Leonard is the great American humorist (and that even his vaunted "Rules" are "semi-jocular" and basically ignored by their creator), which as David points out, is what is really going on in that Raylan scene quoted below.
Too many cool quotes -- his explanation of why the first lines of the 'great' Tishomingo Blues are unfilmable, for example, or the paragraph that discusses that book, Out of Sight, Rum Punch, and Get Shorty without the obligatory mentions of the movies based on them, or his astonishing comparison of Leonard to Gladys Mitchell -- but I laughed out loud at this description of a scene from Rum Punch:
The comedy of the hopeless and of the inert reaches a sort of climax in the scene in Rum Punch when the three savage "jackboys", Zulu, Snow and Sweatman, find a rocket launcher in the back of their van to fire at the police trying to arrest them. Their superiority in firepower seems assured, but "'How to fire the motherfucker,' Zulu said." Here's the problem: none of them went to school much, and they are thrown back on their limited literacy, trying to read the instructions:
Zulu said "'Re-…' The fuck is that word there?" Snow said "'Re-…lease.' Yeah, it say to release the … something. 'Release the safe…ty.'"
It's going to end badly, as the police gather round the van.
This comparison of Leonard to Italo Calvino cracked me up, too:
Most powerful is Get Shorty, accurately described by Martin Amis as "a masterpiece" and surely one of the greatest novels of the century, the American If on a Winter's Night a Traveller.
Anyway, it's a great piece. Sorry.