Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I promise the Tiki review will be forthcoming, but...

The title is a teaser of my review of the fab tiki party that Sandy and Mike threw on Saturday. The Queen and I (I feel a song coming on....) will have battling blog posts (and if Cranky wants to throw in her cents, all the merrier). But what I want to talk about today is that I'm about to go hear a newly minted Pulitzer-prize winning author, Junot Diaz. He has been scheduled to speak to us for months but what a coup to have him just a few days from receiving such a coveted prize (oh yeah, Bob Dylan got one too). I read, or rather listened, to his novel, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which got him this fame. What I did like about it was that the main character is a comic book, science fiction geek who grew up about the same time I did. Therefore, scarily, I got all the geeky references that he made. It was a good book, but not, what I think a great book. The Academy (not my workplace but the CAP A -- academe) is currently favoring the pop culture/high art split that we are seeing more and more in such works.

One amusing comment about the book to show its true geekdom is that rather than having a usual pompous quote from some famous personage on the front page, this guy writes: "Of what import are brief, nameless lives... to Galactus??" Diaz talks about this in an interview. I quote at length from it:

"The book makes it clear that the Galactus figure, the Darkseid figure, and the Sauron figure are interchangeably dictatorships and also even the mindset found in the United States. I think that in some ways it's asking a question of the reader more than anything, because in some ways, depending on how you answer that question, it really decides whether you're Galactus or not. In some ways I think there are plenty of people who are members of the kind of brief and nameless lives, and yet they don't give a shit about other nameless lives. Some people are incredibly powerful and still think that. And so what's interesting about this is that the person that that's being asked in the comic book is the very character whom the narrator, Yunior, takes on as his narrative alter-ego, his nom de plume. Galactus is actually asking the question in the Fantastic Four comic book to the Watcher, to the person that's telling stories. So I always think that that's a question to the reader but also a question to writers in general. This was the only way that the book could begin. I was like, 'Yeah, I like that. Okay.'"

Now, discuss. Galactus as postmodern metaphor.

2 comments:

Cranky Yankee said...

Can I just enjoy a comic books without all the heavy thinking?

...whine.....

Of course not! I know too many academics!

K. A. Laity said...

I'm Galactus!