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Elsewhere Mr. Scott admits that Epstein, Fadiman and Lesser's essays "annoyed the hell out of [him]." Presumably then Montaigne, Lamb, Hazlitt, and Emerson would annoy the hell out of him too, were they writing today. That is, unless they changed their style, dropped all those references to dead white males and the occasional punctuation mark. The cause of Mr. Scott's annoyance seems to stem from his belief that the essay should be "a democratic form, requiring no particular learning or credentials to practice." In other words, a second-rate genre practiced by second-rate writers. Epstein, Fadiman and Lesser, he goes on to say, are "big snobs…They're not like you and me at all--they're better: better read, more sensitive, more discerning…Reading Fadiman and Lesser back to back was rather like watching a PBS fundraiser drive…all they can talk about is how much better their programming is than anything else, how threatened is our vulgar culture, how only viewers like you can keep it alive. And I find myself thanking God for the Fox network."


So it is that literary critics--doubtless the snootiest pretenders inhabiting this crust--make themselves feel less snobbish when they accuse personal essayists of being the real snobs. I find this game of "Who's the snob?" silly, to say the least.


For his final trick, Mr. Scott has at Epstein and Fadiman for assuming "the love of books, and of certain types of books, is a sign of cultural, and therefore moral, superiority." I wonder which is the greater crime for Mr. Scott, being culturally superior or believing oneself culturally superior. For such critics the only acceptable essay seems to be the dreary death and dying essay. No chance of feeling superior there--at least until the essayist begins to claim that her hemorrhoids are larger and more painful than yours.



Материала е изпратен от: Михаил Илиев




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