What Are You Reading, Stupid?

Lest you start thinking you’re an intelligent person with discerning tastes, let me remind you that you’re not. You’re an idiot. And I know you’re an idiot because Slate and Flavorwire told me so. They didn’t use the word “idiot” but then they didn’t have to, because people who are intelligent and have discerning tastes can read between the lines. People like me!

So, you’re an idiot. You read Young Adult fiction, Donna Tart, and nothing else. I put those last three words in italics to emphasize them. You should be ashamed of yourselves, and your idea that these books are the kinds of things that represent literature today is completely wrong. Don’t you know that YOU are contributing to the death of literary criticism by buying books that other people will also end up buying?

I mean, look at you. With your education and your job and your family and your, ugh, life. Are you on Reddit? Are you even on Tumblr? Then how in the HELL do you even KNOW what’s even REAL? You wouldn’t know good literature if it glued you to a chair and made you watch Shakespeare. Did you know that Teller of Penn & Teller fame is currently directing The Tempest? Of course not: you read Divergent and The Goldfinch instead of listening to podcasts. Scum.

You are scum. You read your books (plural!) and listen to your music (collective plural!) and watch your television shows, when the real, actual critics don’t even own a TV. Who has time to own a TV when there’s Netflix and Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime subscriptions to maintain on laptops? Who has time for, what are they called, sports? Who has time for sports when the World Cup is on in bars that sells beers you haven’t even heard of?

I’m avoiding the H word, because it would hurt your feelings, but I am so tempted to use it. You know the word I mean. Rhymes with “dipster.” You dipster. I haven’t found it yet, because I only read websites even I haven’t heard of (like Flavorwire), but I know there’s a website that describes how my calling you the H word means I’m an H word and admitting I’m an H word means I’m not really an H word and so you are one.

The point is, you have got to stop. Stop reading things that you enjoy. Stop getting so much satisfaction out of your entertainment choices. Stop being an idiot. Literary criticism (which, for the purpose of this essay and the ones on Slate and Flavorwire is the same as writin’ reviews, even though it’s not at all, even) will die if you don’t start reading… well, reading things that are so good no plebian like you would read them.

And if literary criticism dies, how will people adequately contextualize my essay about some essays that were about reviews of books that these essays say you shouldn’t read? Idiot. Scum. Dipster.

Staring at Faulty Films

Movie reviews by Jason Edwards

Three movies have hit theaters this week, all with similar titles and themes. Has Hollywood become nothing more than an incestuous cesspool of ceaseless drivel, devolving ideas back to a single primordial ooze of consciousness, or is this just coincidence? Crackpot conspiracy theorists and elite critics, at least, can agree that this bumper-crop of sameness is nothing to be trifled with. Unless you eat your trifle with a fork and a knife!

First up is a movie called The Fault in Our Stars, about a young girl battling a terrible oxygen addiction. She walks around carrying a can of the stuff with her at all times, and is meanwhile wooed by a handsome, tall man who’s literally half of twice her age. She’s conflicted, however, because she read on Slate.com that people who read young adult novels should be ashamed of themselves, and her suitor reminds her of her stint as a pregnant high-schooler who’s senior project was to overthrow a corrupt government via virtual-reality dreams. Alas, terminally illness ensues, Mtv style.

Next is The Fault in our Stairs, a fictional-documentary about blind paraplegics fighting for better handicapable ramps to be installed next to government building steps. Look for the director’s signature “slow pain“ camera shots, a play on the word “pan” and, by coincidence, always featuring one young girl playing a boy dressed in green, tortured, and flying. Not your average art-house flick, but not for young or old or in-between audiences either.

Finally we have It’s Fred Astaire’s Fault, a film about a man who wakes up every morning and says “Good job, brain,” thanking his mind for getting him through the night unattended. Over time this practice creates a disassociation between the man and his brain, until the two become separate entities. Eventually the brain falls in love with the man, and tries to woo him by learning complicated 30s-style dance routines. The twist, of course, is that the man is a blind paraplegic. A hologram of Cream drummer Ginger Baker makes a guest cameo as Ginger Rogers.

Altogether these movies would make for a heck of a Red Box rental binge, although seeing them now in theaters would perhaps ruin such an orgy. Suffice it to say that if you only see one of these films, you won’t have seen the other two. That’s not tragedy in the Greek sense, unless by “Greek” you’re referring to the American Fraternity System. In that case, feel free to skip these and play beer pong. Pro-tip: ice keeps the beer cold and sometimes makes the balls bounce out. Peace.