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.
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.
Using examples that are not so much guided as they are flagrantly manipulated.
Pointing out repeatedly that you think that homosexuals are sick and kinda gross, at least the male ones. Also slutty.
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.
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.
Implying that Charles Kuralt might be a pederast.
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!"
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.
Making your readers say "Hold on, wait, this is the same guy who wrote 'The Moviegoer'?"
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.
Mocking the touchy-queery language of self-help books while using it yourself almost continually.
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.
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.
I don't know why you even waste our time on crap like this.
I mean, you went ahead and read it anyway! So who's the jerk? YOU. YOU ARE THE JERK.
SPECIAL BONUS POLL QUESTION: What's your favorite kind of milkshake?
some other flavor, which I will specify in comments
I don't like milkshakes
I could tell you, but I'd have to charge (la-la-la-la-la)
I call them "cabinets"
'Allegro non troppo'
seriously, I'm not kidding, it's some kind of future Space Pope, and he hangs around with Amos & Andy