Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, March 15, 2021

buck wild
Among the predictable anti-1960s culture-war changes proposed by the newly-reactionary Texas State Board of Education for school textbooks is an almost out-of-place targeting of the nation’s third President:

- Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins. Jefferson, a deist who helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, is not a model founder in the board’s judgment.

Despite a rationalization that Jefferson’s ideas were derivative of others’ (and thus are curriculum-redundant), it’s pretty clear that his lack of devotion to strict Christian ethics puts him out of favor with modern-day conservatives.

As it turns out, this makes for strange bedfellows. A long-standing argument on the left that Jefferson was too much of a socio-political extremist to merit continued reverence basically aims for the same result: A marginalization of Jeffersonian ideals within American political culture. While there hasn’t been a concerted push from the liberal side to excise the Sage of Monticello from U.S. history, an unexpected impetus from across the political aisle could prompt a critical reappraisal that transcends ideology.

Considering all this, I guess it’s a wonder that Jefferson hasn’t been purged from his founding-father perch yet. The notion of his ideals might be just about correct, considering that they incur offense from both sides of the political divide, might be what’s saving him.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/15/2010 09:12pm
Category: History, Politics, Society
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Rielle Hunter is back, with a tell-all interview in GQ Magazine about her Presidential-quashing paternity affair with John Edwards.

Not that I care much for political scandal, even one as sorted as this one. I am happy to see that Hunter took a little time in the interview to acknowledge her antecedaneous 1980s fictional depiction:

There’s been one time period in my entire life that I would qualify myself as promiscuous. There’s this Jay McInerney book ["Story of My Life," narrated by a character based on Hunter, who briefly dated McInerney], and let’s correct a part of that right now. In my early twenties, there was a time period when I, in the late ’80s, did cocaine. And partied. I was living in New York City… But the point being, I was never, as it’s been reported, a drug addict. The word “addiction” means inability to stop. I stopped doing drugs in my twenties. As for being promiscuous, I would say that I was a bit promiscuous for about six months. But it was because I was partying, and there were a lot of very good-looking available 20-year-old men around that you’d be partying with, and there was a lot of, you know, hooking up going on.

So Hunter confirms that she was the inspiration for Alison Poole. At least, the Alison Poole character in “Story of My Life”. Maybe not so much for Poole’s crossover appearance in another, contemporary literary setting:

It must have also impressed fellow ’80s lit sensation Bret Easton Ellis, because he wrote McInerney’s Alison Poole right into the cultural earthquake that was “American Psycho.” Being “American Psycho,” Poole’s scene was short and includes brutal sodomy — and the Kentucky Derby, if memory serves.

No need for Hunter to deny ever attending the Kentucky Derby. Or hooking up with Patrick Bateman — because let’s face it, Edwards was close enough.

UPDATE: I guess I need to reread “Glamorama”, because I’d completely forgotten that Ellis had revived Poole-slash-Hunter in that later novel:

In “Glamorama”, Poole’s characterization is amplified, but only slightly more nuanced. She’s the coke-addled, sex-fiend girlfriend of a jealous club owner who happens to also be sleeping with the protagonist of the novel, Victor Ward, who is a model and promoter. Once again, the first time readers meet her is during a sex scene. After which, she berates Ward for not breaking up with his other girlfriend, a supermodel… Later, Poole loses it at her boyfriend Damien’s club opening after a rival for Ward’s affections, Lauren Hynde, sets her off.

As with the “American Psycho” appearance, no surprise that Hunter wouldn’t have brought up this later, even more unflattering portrayal. All told, I still go with the late truth about Hunter, because it’s easily stranger than either Ellis’ or McInerney’s fiction.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/15/2010 03:21pm
Category: Celebrity, Politics, Publishing
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Take two parts Dr. Seuss, blend in one part Edgar Allan Poe, and you’ve got “Horrton Hears A Heart!”:

One day I told Sam that I’d sample his pork.

He gleefully held out a bit on a fork

and I ripped the utensil from him with my trunk!

I poked out the Eye of that ham-sucking punk!

I jumped toward him with my whole two tons intent

on quashing Sam’s life - one hundred per cent!

I wish I could look forward to forthcoming editions, like “One Death, Two Death, Red Death, Blue Death” and “The Grinch and the Pendulum” (not to mention the sequel to the above, “Horrton Hatches The Raven”). But considering that “Edgar Allan Seuss” hasn’t expanded upon this literary mashup since 1996, despite a brief spurt of rediscovered fame five years ago, I’m not holding my breath.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/15/2010 10:54am
Category: Comedy, Creative, Pop Culture, Publishing
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