The New York Times has a great essay on contacting writers in this week’s Book Review. I’m not sure if this is one of those trend pieces that just blatantly makes things up (like the Duane Reade Bag “phenomenon”), or if this has only just now become a problem, but I certainly do accept the article’s general thesis: the internet has made it easy–even too easy–to get in touch with your favorite writer.

[The article also has a great sub-thesis: writers are too bored and too easily distracted to ignore your emails. This is 100% true when it comes to academics and poor feuilletonists.]

That’s why I’m so happy to see that someone out there is still sending their letters of complaint the old-fashioned way: hammered out on a typewriter and hand emended. The only thing better would have been a note drafted on parchment in full compliance with the rules of etiquette set out in Titles and Forms of Address, any edition. Or a telegraph, ideally modeled on those of Walter Burns.

Of course, I totally disagree with their complaint. Borat may not have been on our list of the ten best movies of the decade, but it would have been in the top 20. It’s really an exceptional film, constantly asking asking us to question the veracity of one of America’s core beliefs: our tolerance of others. Sure, many movies address this topic, but not all of them do it as joyfully as Borat. We want to sit through Borat. We laugh at the times when racism is so thoroughly displayed, or admitted, and then later we laugh again during the disquieting moments when we recognize ourselves in his victims. Borat is yet more proof of comedy’s power to comment on society.


On a side note, I think I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again. The Globe’s Movie Nation blog is really terrific. One of the best sources for daily film criticism.

Justify Your Existence

January 14, 2010

The blogosphere has often been compared to an ecosystem, in which blogs are creatures, fulfilling a specific niche.  Their success is linked directly to how well they do so, and should their niche change, they must adapt to the new circumstances or find their readership dwindling and their enthusiasm for blogging dying off.  The lifespan of most blogs may be brutish and short, but the system works: successful blogs endure, and blogs that are no longer relevant evolve, or their writers find new blogs to which they can bring fresh enthusiasm.

In this well-balanced system, Yesterday’s Salad presents an anomaly. It effectively died several months ago, yet in recent days, it has lurched back to life at an alarming pace of posting.  So, is the resurgent Yesterday’s Salad a triumph of the system, showing that blogs have evolved so thoroughly that they can emerge from a seemingly cataclysmic torpor, much like a frozen iguana?  Or is it an aberration of the natural order, liable to infect other blogs in burgeoning zombie-blogging storm?