Trend of the Week: Obsession Obsession

This trend piece comes to us from Teddy Wayne, bestselling novelist and author of one million mildly to somewhat amusing one-sentence articles for McSweeney’s.  (For those not familiar with McSweeney’s, it is an online humor site for people who hate dick jokes and love those Yelp reviews that are in the form of an open letter to an abstract entity, but wish they were a little edgier.)  But he’s not just a disarmingly quirky observer of modern mores; he’s also a concerned and judgmental observer of modern mores.  For instance, one day Wayne was on Amtrak, and overheard four debutantes conversing.  He found their discussion to be humorous, so he began typing what they said and posting it on Facebook for his friends to laugh at.   I know what you’re thinking:  “That’s a really cool story.  It’s a shame that only Teddy Wayne’s Facebook friends got to see those posts, when they should have been made available for everyone to read.  Teddy Wayne is too modest, making fun of teenage girls on Facebook and then trying to get out of taking credit for it.”

Continue reading “Trend of the Week: Obsession Obsession”

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Crazy Love III

“The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an ‘objective correlative’; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.” So claimed T. S. Eliot in his iconic essay “Hamlet and His Problems.”  And what’s true of Hamlet is doubly true for the New York Times‘ Modern Love column.  This recurring essay feature aspires to represent emotion in the form of art, but with a 2000-word length limit, plus there’s no sex scenes or cussing allowed.  To put things into perspective, this it what it sounds like when an essayist describes their love story in literal language:  “We went to the beach and swam, held hands at the Fourth of July fireworks, went on roller coasters at Six Flags, ate Thanksgiving dinner with each other’s families, exchanged gifts on Christmas. We cried when I had to leave for long periods of time.”   Fascinating.  No, this will not do:  If you wish to interest the world in your banal tale of romantic disappointment, you must take Eliot’s advice.   You need a metaphor.  You need a symbol.  You need an objective correlative for those ineffable emotions.  Like this: Continue reading “Crazy Love III”