Links Aplenty: The Good and Bad of Doing Easy and Reading Elite

1) William S. Burroughs two weeks in a row! But, hey, what can I say, his influence endures. After posting last week's video, somebody sent a link to his wildly instructive, maybe downright wise, essay, "Doing Easy," and I knew I had to share.

"Remember every object has its place. If you dont [sic] find that place and put that thing there it will jump out at you and trip you or rap you painfully across the knuckles. It will nudge you and clutch at you and get in your way. Often such objects belong in the wastebasket but often its just that they are out of place. Learn to place an object firmly and quietly in its place and do not let your fingers move that object as they leave it there. When you put down a cup separate your fingers cleanly from the cup. Do not let them catch in the handle and if they do repeat the movement until fingers separate clean. If you dont [sic] catch that nervous finger that won’t let go of that handle you may twitch hot tea across the Duchess."



2) Over at the New Yorker, George Packer asks "Is Amazon good for books?" His answer (SPOILER ALERT, it's basically "Are you {bleeping} kidding, of course it's not!") is perhaps of less importance than his studied, patient reasoning. We very highly recommend you give this a look. 





3) More media people asking questions. This time it's Laura Miller at Salon wondering "Is the literary world elitist?

"Intellectual insecurity is, alas, a pervasive problem in the literary world. You can find it among fans of easy-to-read commercial fiction who insist (on very little evidence) that the higher-brow stuff is uniformly fraudulent and dull, and you can find it among those mandarin bibliophiles who dismiss whole genres (on equally thin evidence) out of hand. One of the favorite gambits of people secretly uncertain about their own taste is identifying some popular book of incontestably lower quality than their own favorites and then running all over the Internet posting extravagant takedowns of it and taunting its fans. Yeah, I’m not crazy about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” either, but I’m not going to invest that much energy in proclaiming this sentiment to the world. To do so suggests you’re less interested in championing good writing than you are in grabbing any chance to feel superior to somebody else."

(Slipping my take under Miller's, so do what you want with it, but how nice would it be if more people felt as indignant, morally or aesthetically, to the abuses of an elite with, you know, real power? Ahem . . . stepping away from soapbox before I slip off.)