Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I Teach English: Psychology Without A License

Cut and pasted in its entirety because it's that good:  "Favorite Books of the Secretly Jerky"
Secretly Thinks You’re an Idiot: American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis.

Really, we can lump the whole Ellis oeuvre in here. Less Than Zero. Rules of Attraction. Whatever. Dude has an issue with ladies, ladies with their tiresome “thoughts” and “emotions,” and none of these characters has a single problem that couldn't be cured in two steps: Stop doing coke, stop banging hookers. If his literary hero is one of the Bateman brothers, head for the horizon and don’t look back.

Secretly Loves Drugs More Than He Loves You: Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson.

I’m inclined to give the gentleman a pass on this one, because one day, after many years of guys trying to explain Thompson’s appeal, I woke up with a revelation: Hunter S. Thompson is Meg Cabot for dudes. I could never explain to a dude why I like to read Meg Cabot books in the bathtub, and he could never explain to me why he likes to imagine tripping out in Vegas. It's a street that goes both ways. Still, if he quotes it somewhere in his Facebook profile, maybe don’t go through airport security with him. You wanted to fly home for Thanksgiving and suddenly you’re in a TSA holding cell, all because he thought his stash would be lonely without him.

Secretly Loves Himself More Than He Loves [Anything]: Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand.

He’s not going to feed your fish when you go out of town, and he’ll be mean to your mom.

Secretly a Blubbering Manchild: Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger.

I'm not saying this is a bad book. This is a pretty good book! I'd still like to raise two points. One, when a dude says it's his favorite, I automatically think "So he hasn't read anything since tenth grade English." And two, any time a person over the age of 18 tells you how much they identify with Holden Caulfield, it's a warning sign. Like a warning sign with flashing lights and shrieky sirens and a third alarming thing. I mean, I'm not telling you how to live your life, ladies. I'm just letting you know what you're walking into. Do it with your eyes open.

Secretly Planning to Cheat on You: On the Road, Jack Kerouac.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. This book is straight up terrible. It's a bunch of rambling about eating some sandwiches and driving around while eating sandwiches, and driving around, and then making some more sandwiches, which you will then eat while driving around. It is the universal favorite book of commitment-phobes. And please don't quote me that paragraph about how the only people for you are the mad ones who pop like roman candles. You know what’s better than a dude who pops like a roman candle? A dude who can keep it in his pants, rent his own apartment, and cook you something other than a sandwich once in a while.
I have no idea what Molly Shallgos, the author of the these analyses would say about someone who lists The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, American Gods, Gilead, Moneyball, and Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire novels among his favorites books.

Given her analysis, I think she's be perceptive enough to see that such a person would read too many comic books, hate mowing the lawn, but know how to make his mother's chocolate cupcakes.

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