March 4, 2007

Too squeamish to finish reading "How We Die"?

What a pussy Joseph Epstein is! He's reviewing Sherwin B. Nuland's new book and he admits he couldn't get past page 150 in that spiffy death book "How We Die." Epstein is 70 years old. That's too old to be a candyass about dying. Why then should I care what he thinks about Nuland's new book? Well, because the review is right here in front of me, and I'm curious what the deal is with Nuland writing a book with the candyass, Oprah-ready title "The Art of Aging." So let's go on with Epstein's opinion. To read this excerpt, you have to understand that Epstein has introduced a little literary device for the purposes of this review, characterizing the author as two personas: Nuland (the guy with the attitude encountered in "How We Die") and Nudelman (a squishier guy)(the name is Nuland's real family name, by the way).
I prefer to believe it’s Nudelman, and not Dr. Nuland, who thinks there is nothing really all that wrong with wearing a toupee or acquiring a penile implant; Nudelman who quotes Browning (“Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be”) and Longfellow; Nudelman who uses such words as “toileting” (see what happens as a result of our letting “parenting” get through?); Nudelman who announces that he is now going to reflect on wisdom “accompanied by the hope that I can avoid the great temptation of waxing ponderous,” and then becomes entirely ponderous, beginning with the word “waxing”; Nudelman whose sugary acknowledgments might be dangerous if read by anyone with diabetes. This Nudelman must be captured and as soon as possible silenced, if not placed under house arrest in a nursing home.

How to account for the stern and penetrating Dr. Nuland letting loose the soppy and vaporous Nudelman, this perfect “Oprah” guest. (Dr. Jekyll at least struggled against the emergence of Mr. Hyde.) Could it be that he sat down to write “The Art of Aging” after returning each day from the gym high on endorphins? Or, what I fear may be the case, is “The Art of Aging” itself an example of what aging can do to make a once unsparingly unsentimental writer so intellectually squishy?
Oh, I see Epstein invokes Oprah. Well, once you've done that, why are you so puzzled? Is money an obscure concept these days?

5 comments:

Mark the Pundit said...

What a pussy Joseph Epstein is!

Ann, your crisp form of speech is even better than Justice Thomas'!

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
Your first sentence is idiotic.

So you think that Epstein shows a certain lack of...what: fortitude, courage, bravery, grit?

To compare fearfulness to "the lower part of the female reproductive tract" is either:

(1) A thoughtless use of a stupid cliche;

(2) An unconscionable acceptance of silly gender stereotyping (i.e., men who are fearful are like women); or

(3) Another example of your increasingly frequent attempts to play the blogging shock jock.

My guess is that it's (3). That's okay, I suppose. Jerry Springer, a person of considerably more intelligence than he shows on his daily chair-throwing contests, has ridden this sort of coarseness to the bank and back millions of times. Others make a mint off of nastiness.

If it's your aim to join their number, you're well on your way. Have fun.

But please remember the stupid stereotyping you legitimize when you call someone a pussy.

Mark

AJ Lynch said...

Ann :

Re your first line- is that you or have you let Ann Coulter post to your blog?

I turn away when they cut and saw through flesh and bones on CSI episodes. Does the book have that kind of gore? I agree if you can't finish, it makes little sense to be paid to review it.

Ann Althouse said...

The Marks disagree on my use of the word "pussy." Here's the dictionary definition:

"1. Informal A cat. 2. Botany A fuzzy catkin, especially of the pussy willow. 3. Vulgar Slang a. The vulva. b. Sexual intercourse with a woman. 4. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a woman. 5. Slang A man regarded as weak, timid, or unmanly."

Obviously, I'm using meaning #4, which is "slang," but not "offensive slang." All the meaning are based on the first meaning, which is a little kitty cat.

bos0x said...

No, Althouse, YOU are a pussy.

Seriously: the fuck? You're the True Feminist around here--not to mention the baddest, most hunky-dory, hip-to-the-jive sixty-something in the whole wide 'sphere--so you of all people should know how the word "pussy" is perceived in this post-1920 world. Okay, so the weak-male version of "pussy" doesn't count as offensive slang in the oh-so-relevant dictionary hierarchy of offensiveness. But the dictionary does specifically mention "unmanliness" in the definition--probably because the word is so closely related to female genitalia.

Oh, but you don't even bother with all of those messy woman-related definitions. Calling somebody a "pussy" is almost like calling them a "little kitty cat"? Right. Just like how Ann Coulter only called Edwards a tidy bundle of sticks.

I honestly don't care if you want to...do whatever the hell it is you're trying to accomplish here. (Make all of your readers cringe in embarrassment? Gain credibility as a moderate? You do know that moderates get their name from their political positions, not by being conservatives with a slightly fouler mouths than average, right?) But the least you can do is defend yourself legitimately. Aren't you supposed to be a lawyer or something?