Titles of posts about breasts that reference them crudely shouldn't be knocked, as they can make me hoot with laughter.

>> Monday, October 19, 2009

When John Updike died, Ben Shapiro declared that he "was not a great writer [nor] even a very good one," to which I replied:

for Young Master Shapiro to choose, from a hefty body of work, the opening paragraph of Rabbit Redux to bury Updike beneath should stand as the object lesson in why movement conservatives whose tastes range from Forsythe to Uris ought not be writing about literature.
There's nothing wrong with Forsythe or Uris, but if you can't discern what sophisticated readers find pleasing about Updike's prose, you're not a sophisticated reader. I'm not saying you have to like it, but there's a there there, and if you fail to recognize that, you should avoid writing about literary style in an authoritative voice. Moreover, should you employ a patently undeserved tone, you need to at least make an effort to earn it. Shapiro has not. Here he is this weekend writing about breasts:
Somehow, The Daily Beast has seen fit to give her a column---apparently in an attempt to test the scientific aphorism that a monkey with a typewriter can produce Shakespeare if given enough time.
First, the infinite monkey theorem isn't a scientific aphorism, it's a probabilistic theory with a mathematical proof; second, for someone as knowledgeable as Shapiro in what he would call The Art of Writing Prose Such That The Mellifluousness Of Which It Is In Possession Cannot Be Contested, that is one ugly sentence. If he wants to write about typing monkeys, he needs to read his Borges:
A half dozen monkeys equipped with typewriters could easily knock out in a few eternities all the books contained in the British Museum.*

*In practice, one immortal monkey would be more than enough.
That is how a writer writes about typing monkeys, and as a "powerful writer," Ben Shapiro should know that. But don't be too hard on him: he is, after all, the person who declared himself to be a powerful writer, and he clearly has no idea what that first word means when it modifies the second. If he did, he wouldn't have thought this insight was either original or wrought cleverly enough to transcend its rank banality:
Because Meghan McCain is apparently attempting to foist her way into the public consciousness by using her two biggest assets---neither of which is her brain.
I remember hearing such insults in high school, and they usually came from the mouths of boys whose fear of women compelled them to mock that which they most desired. Even unpowerful writers recognize that adopting the ethos of a salivating clod says more about your overweening need to think about breasts than anything else. But Shapiro's not even an unpowerful writer, nor is he content to limit his libidinal critique to to adolescent taunting because he's got a date with third grade:
Meghan McCain may hold a double-digit IQ (barely)[.]
His next post about women will not concern busts, which are gross, but the mainstream media's refusal to cover the critical shortage of circles and dots means many not only will we get it everywhere, we'll have it all our lives.


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