March 16th, 2005

flavored with age

Pine-a-Poll Wednesday

So I finally finished reading this ridiculous book. It was, well, it wasn't that great. It had a lot of potential, and I'm somewhat fond of Percy's novels, but hoo boy. There was not a single page after a certain point where I wasn't rolling my eyes, especially when he really got rolling on the "demoniac sexual nature of modern society" or whatever. Since I know none of you have read this book and almost certainly none of you ever will, I decided, what better topic for a poll? Particularly since the whole book consists of exactly this sort of 'guided' question.

Poll #455714 Cost in the Lossmos

TODAY'S POLL: If you were a talented but minor American novelist who inexplicably decided to write a parodic/ironic/polemic/theodicic "self-help" book, what feature would be the most important?

Stressing the ultimate infallibility of Catholicism despite its somewhat dismal track record.
0(0.0%)
Using examples that are not so much guided as they are flagrantly manipulated.
1(3.8%)
Pointing out repeatedly that you think that homosexuals are sick and kinda gross, at least the male ones. Also slutty.
0(0.0%)
Introducing a completely impenetrable "semiotic theory of the self", then rambling about it for over 40 pages, and dismissing the most obvious objections to it in a single footnote.
2(7.7%)
Taking a bunch of isolated or minority social trends and assuming them to be universal in order to underscore your point that the world is going to hell without Catholicism.
1(3.8%)
Implying that Charles Kuralt might be a pederast.
1(3.8%)
Taking an unseemly joy in razzing Carl Sagan, along the lines of "So, I bet that BIG BANG really freaks you out, eh, Mr. Rationalist? HO HO!"
2(7.7%)
Using lots of ficitional material in your thought experiments, and making sure all the female characters are one-dimensional sex toys who don't have last names.
4(15.4%)
Making your readers say "Hold on, wait, this is the same guy who wrote 'The Moviegoer'?"
1(3.8%)
Employing the word 'nigger' perhaps a few times to many given that you are a white southern author, even if you're doing so ironically, sort of.
0(0.0%)
Mocking the touchy-queery language of self-help books while using it yourself almost continually.
1(3.8%)
Putting just enough interesting, challenging or well-written material in the book to keep the reader interested, and then end it by having Burt Reynolds go live in Tennessee with the Space Pope, or something.
7(26.9%)
Wait a minute, why do I even care about this? I've never read this book and I never will, and neither will 99% of the rest of the people in the world.
6(23.1%)
I don't know why you even waste our time on crap like this.
0(0.0%)
I mean, you went ahead and read it anyway! So who's the jerk? YOU. YOU ARE THE JERK.
0(0.0%)

SPECIAL BONUS POLL QUESTION: What's your favorite kind of milkshake?

chocolate
8(25.8%)
vanilla
1(3.2%)
strawberry
1(3.2%)
butterscotch
0(0.0%)
orange
1(3.2%)
Shamrock
3(9.7%)
malted
4(12.9%)
some other flavor, which I will specify in comments
3(9.7%)
I don't like milkshakes
1(3.2%)
I could tell you, but I'd have to charge (la-la-la-la-la)
0(0.0%)
I call them "cabinets"
2(6.5%)
sardine
0(0.0%)
'Allegro non troppo'
0(0.0%)
yes
2(6.5%)
seriously, I'm not kidding, it's some kind of future Space Pope, and he hangs around with Amos & Andy
5(16.1%)