Monday, January 28, 2008

What's Straighter Than a Pirate?

Today I offer two examples of the kind of prose I wish I could write:

(1)First, from Freak Show, by James St. James:
Although my sexuality is largely theoretical at this point, I hope that I don't actually LOOK gay--you know, all pursed and twittery with big, bulgy, "gay" eyes. It's a new school after all. I need to test the waters first before I break out the tiaras and leg warmers. I've given this a lot of thought, as you can imagine.

Don't worry.
It's totally masculine.
Swarthy, even.
Nobody will suspect a thing.
I'm going with the whole retro-newwave/Vivienne Westwood/pirate look. Fab, right? What's straighter than a pirate? ... I want the look to say: I'm not gay; I just flew in from Williamsburg. Where I had sex with girls! Many of them! The kind with boobs! So please don't punch me!
Yep, this is basically the story of a teenage drag queen taking a Florida school by storm. Billy Bloom weaves (embroiders?) a tale that's just too too to be true. But it's very detailed: from the composition of the spitballs hurled at him to the structural elements of the make-up he applies. The narrative is a little bit e.e.cummings, a little bit Perez Hilton, a dreamy meditation on the universe followed by Action! Action! Action! And I don't know if I've ever read a book that better captured the ostentatious moodiness of adolescence.

And the cover has an uncanny attraction for 9-year-old girls. I had to remove it from the clutches of more than one pre-pubescent.*

(2)Second, the Fine Lines feature at Jezebel. It revists 1980s teen novels like The Grounding of Group Six. This week the spotlight's on Jacob Have I Loved. But instead of being timely, I refer you to the analysis of Little House in the Big Woods (subtitled "I play with a pig bladder like it's a balloon!"):

Did you know that a black doctor saves the lives of the entire Ingalls family in Little House on the Prairie?

Es verdad. (There is also a not-particularly-sublimated gay sex scene in The Great Gatsby, but no one asked me about that.) I state this not because these are the most salient points at hand-or even points, really-but because I cannot figure out any other way to enter into a discussion of THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK OF OUR TIME.

It's like gushing over books, only with sophistication and maturity.

*I gave them Lily B. on the Brink of Cool as an alternatve. I haven't read it yet, but it's also pink.

No comments: