Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

  • Music:

Recreational reading

Vacation, what a concept. Still haven't found time for the big update on my life LJ entry, but have been doing some recreational reading. From Hendrik Hertzberg's review of Bill Clinton's book, in the Aug. 2 New Yorker:

Clinton .... is already a kind of folkloric character, the larger-than-life protagonist of a great American tall tale. Bill Clinton is to politics what Paul Bunyan was to lumberjacking, and "My Life" is his big blue ox—very big. And very bovine.

How big is "My Life"? It weighs in at three pounds, five ounces. According to Knopf, 2.6 million copies are in print, which puts the over-all tonnage, so far, at four thousand three hundred—the equivalent, in sheer mass, of a ten-mile-long motorcade of Lincoln Town Cars.

There's more of the same ilk. President Clinton has "been looking trim lately, but he still hadn't licked that weight problem—he's just put it between hard covers", for instance. But I just about fell out of my chair at "bovine", and had to share it.

Pedantic grammar aside: In the sentence >>How big is "My Life"?<<, I am quoting the New Yorker literally. So at least one major American magazine has gone over to hackish usage in quoting punctuation: don't if it's not in the original. This is promising: Maybe in another hundred years, American school teachers will have stopped insisting you should put your own punctuation inside the closing quotation mark of a quotation.

Tags: english
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