Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Bouquets and brickbats

Eighteen months ago The Weblog Review (now defunct) looked at Other Men's Flowers and made some comments. One of the reviewers, a writer of some consequence herself, quite liked it; the other was not at all impressed but did make one very perspicacious remark: the vast majority of posts are off topic and trivially nondescript. I loved that bit: it's EXACTLY what I aim for in all my writing.
Last week two more reviewers had a go and neither of them could find anything interesting in the blog: you can see some extracts from their reviews HERE. I believe they really thought I was serious.
It is strange that some compatriots of Lehrer and Thurber find parody, satire and irony pass them by like foreign movies, and need signposts before they can enjoy them. I heard that when Monty Python's Flying Circus first went out in the States it was not popular: a lot of silly Limey twits fooling about. Then, a critic described their humour as "zany" and a great light dawned: ZANY! Of course, that's what it is! Woohahaha!
Nowadays, you can get just as sick in the States as you can in Britain of people quoting from The Parrot Sketch or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Eric Idle's SpamAlot won the 2005 Tony award for Best Musical, is currently pulling them in at the Shubert on Broadway, and then goes to Boston and Chicago.


Teddy III said...

Tony, you must face the fact that OMF is never going to be a big hit among the hicks, and I can imagine just how much this distresses you. Here in Boston it is another matter, for many of us read real books and know a lot of words. It may be the same in New York or even LA, for all I know.
Perhaps you should add a note to your heading: "Waste of time to read this blog until you're out of third grade". That will avoid others being disappointed as two out of the three Weblog Review writers were.

Hugh said...

Yes, you really puzzled those poor guys - they simply didn't get you. As Teddy said, you'll never capture the hillbilly market, but if you want to try you could keep it very simple, cut out the long words and stop being so careful about grammar and spelling. I bet they'd give our old buddy Arkansassy full marks.
After I saw this post I found the Weblog Review site and looked at a couple of blogs to which they had given top marks. Both of them clearly aimed at humour (or rather, humor) but were completely unfunny. One gave a detailed but semi-literate account of the doings of an extremely dull family and the other was mostly puerile and unoriginal comments on pop music. Both of them, however, were all tarted up with bright colours and jazzy graphics. You can't compete with that sort of thing.

Minerva said...

Zey know nussing darlink..I sink zat teacher from London, now she knows what true quality iss, dahrlink...

Gumby said...

The comments are a delicious ending to a fine and unexpected meal... perhaps I have become accustomed to stale crisps served by untrained and noisy waiters.

"Not livly enough"
"Boring font"
"Too black"
"How about a touch of perkiness"
"Too many pictures"
"Not enough pictures"
"Change the name, I don't know what it means."
"Kind of wanders"
"I don't get it."

I have comment envy.
I will be back tomorrow for breakfast.

Brent said...

Teddy III and Hugh:
I will very rarely leave a comment on someone else's blog after they have been reviewed. After all it isn't me who asked for feedback. But the comment about me being a hick/hillbilly - to quote Terry Bradshaw, "Now that's funny."

The two of you are posting comments from your "den" sitting in a brown leather chair that matches the rest of the room. The lights are probably low to keep the ultraviolet light from damaging the old books and artwork on the walls in said room. You are sitting their with your handlebar mustache in a smoking jacket, one hand on a pipe, the other just put down a glass of 1960 Scotch that you just opened and have more of down in your cellar. You sit there talking about the good old days how class and money went hand in hand and that anyone who wasn't in the top % of income earners was immediately deemed poor and stupid.

While I am sure that my description of the two of you is close to a perfect match, I can guarantee yours is not. I love it when smug pompous followers feel the need to stick up for the sites they read only because they have issues themselves. I can assure you that I am well schooled beyond the "third grade" and that my collage education was not taken for granted. Maybe, just maybe, if I grow a handlebar mustache too, I will get some more class to go along with my wealth. Please tell me of any schools run where I can learn such class as the two of you have displayed.

Tony said...

Dear Brent:
Although your comment was directed at my two correspondents (neither of whom I have ever met) and not at me, I felt that in common courtesy I should at least acknowledge it.

You are probably right about Teddy and Hugh, though you should have spotted from their profile photos that they have no facial hair, and I should tell you that they would not be sitting "their" in smoking jackets, for these went out of fashion in 1925. Apart from that it seems likely that the leather chairs, old books and cellars do exist, for certainly both of them are extremely rich by my standards and probably yours as well; in both cases it is old family money.

But it is very un-American to despise people just because they were born rich—shame on you! Neither of them despise me just because I am relatively poor, and I have always found them very agreeable friends with whom to exchange views. As far as I know they are quite without "issues" of any kind—very happy and well-adjusted I would have said.

I am glad to hear that you have wealth, and trust you are using it wisely. If you have more than you really need I would not be too proud to accept, say, a couple of Gs to make my 75th birthday celebrations in March go with more of a swing. We pensioners have to count the pennies.

My "collage" education wasn't taken for granted, either, in fact, if you look at my CV you will see that it didn't even do me any good.

What do you want to acquire "class" for? I never had any, it doesn't exist in the States and, take it from me, it's a handicap in England nowadays; the sons of aristocrats (many of whom are impoverished) are careful to acquire working class speech patterns if they want to have a career.
All the best