Gotham Diary:
12 October 2011

Flipping through the new Vanity Fair yesterday, when I saw Nathaniel Philbrick’s piece about Moby-Dick, hailing it as the Great American Novel, d’you know what happened? I gave up. I conceded the point. Herman Melville’s experimental (ie incompetent), misinformed (see “chrism,” not to mention the taxonomy of whales), fustian tableau vivant of almost everything that’s wrong with single-sex society, making the book itself almost as unpleasant as the seafaring world it romanticizes; this ill-written, King-James’s-drunk adolescent American stab at “literature,” this tediously unillustrated graphic novel — it’s the Great American Novel, all right. That’s exactly what it is.

Late start! Owing to partly to the weather, and partly to last night’s late hours — for some reason (having nothing to do with alcohol), I was too exhilarated (by nothing in particular) to want to go to bed, so I didn’t turn in until midnight — I slept until eight this morning, jumping out of bed to make Kathleen her tea and toast. I thought I’d wait until she left for the office to write here, but by the time I sat down, the server was kaput, and needed a reboot, which happened soon enough, but by then I was on my way to the dermatologist’s office, to have a little thing burned off the back of my hand. At lunch, I could see that the site was back up, but I don’t know the password (my computers do), so I couldn’t work remotely. We’ll fix that anon.


I didn’t read the piece that carefully, but it struck me that James Surowiecki’s page about Steve Jobs in this week’s New Yorker never mentions the innovator’s death. Most commendable! And why should it? The event is the subject of this week’s cover.