Archive for the ‘The Great Gatsby’ Category

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Getting Sci/Fi-ed with Bea Arthur

January 12, 2009

Hey Twin,

  I came across this today on YouTube and thought it was a perfect way to say “Goodnight, but not goodbye” to our old friend Gatsby while simultaneously getting ready for our leap into Science Fiction.

  It stars Bea Arthur and comes from a Stars Wars Christmas Special (just an FYI: my favorite part is when Bea nuzzles with the giant rat–just watch!)

Love, as always,
Jon

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Semicolon, not periodomma

January 11, 2009

Hello twin,

I question your deconstruction of your favored piece of punctuation, the semicolon.  Wouldn’t it be more accurate to ask…Is it a comma?  Is it a colon.  I mean it says it there right in the name.  

And I’ve never seen a period placed at the mid-line level..you need to refresh yourself on the rules of Palmer Method!

Punctuation aside I just finished Gatsby…and I believe that makes me the winner of this book.  (Not that there are winners and losers here…but I did win..and not that we’re keeping score, but that’s Jon 3 – Justin 2).  I have two thoughts about the impact of Gatsby on later cultural touchstones.

  1. Do you think that Joe Gillis’s death in a pool in Sunset Boulevard is meant to recall Gatsby…both were strivers for the American Dream?  (Moral: if you mean to pursue the American Dream stay away from pools!  Paradoxically why is the American Dream is so perfectly captured, metaphorically, in rock-em-sock-em cannonball?)
  2. Does the appearance of Gatsby’s father from Minnesota remind you of the appearance of Dan Fielding’s parents in that episode of Night Court where we learn that Dan isn’t the city slicker we always imagined but instead the son of poor southern farmers.  (Moral:  Treat your parents right…hi Mom!)

That’s what I thought about when I read the end of the book…how about you?  I also liked that the only person that showed up to Gatsby’s funeral was the library guy (Moral: Librarian’s rock…thank you very much).

The next time you hear from me I’ll be all Alpha this, Gamma that, and World State all around.

Looking forward to our Brave New Book,

Jon

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Lessons Learned

January 9, 2009

Let me set the record straight, Twinner, it was not that your last post was sub-par or uninspired. Far from it (cue the slow crecendo of Chicago’s “Inspiration” in the background–sorry this is a multimedia post, if you don’t have access to the song just hum it to yourself, and do not pretend for a minute that you “don’t know how it goes”) it was rather my lack of reading that kept me from posting.

Just so you know Twinner, your posts put meaning in my life. They are my inspiration.

(And cut the music.)

It seems you have learned many intriguing lessons since your last post. Including, but not limited to, the lost art of provocation, the symptoms associated with a ruptured spleen, and, apparently, the location of the exclamation point (!) on the keyboard. The ol’ vertical dash and dot is now your favorite piece of punctuation.

My is now, and forever will be the semicolon (;).

Is it a comma? Is it a period? No, it’s a little bit of both.

I am still one chapter shy of finishing Gatsby, myself. I have plans of finishing tonight. 

Well, I will keep this short. More from me later.

Justin

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Leapin’ Lizards

January 7, 2009

Well Twin Brother it appears that you have leapt ahead of me in reading…I haven’t yet gotten to the Three’s Company-esque Chapter VII…but now I’ll definitely be looking forward to it…if you’re Mr. Roper then I call that I get to be Mr. Furley.  Or Larry.  No definitely Furley.

Chapter 6 was a shorty… more disappointment blah, blah, blah–Gatsby’s built this whole world for Daisy and she doesn’t like it.   I did enjoy Gatsby’s hubris in believing that he can re-capture the past.  But you know what… Nick’s right, you can’t recapture the past.  Re-reading this book has proved that to me.  Whereas twenty-one year old Jon was loving the mystery and decadence…twenty-eight year old Jon is much more seeing the “desolate path of fruit rinds and discarded favors and crushed flowers.”  Sigh.  Sorry Gatz!

And speaking of Gatsby and the past…wasn’t that a nice trip down Memory Lane back to North Dakota?

Well I’m going to keep reading and try and get caught up with you…I just hope when I get there it’s as good as you’ve promised.

Best regards,

Jon

P.S.  How about Nick’s cop-out at the end of Chapter VI (speaking as you were of Nick’s more annoying traits).  And I quote:

For a moment a phrase tried to take shape in my mouth and my lips parted like a dumb man’s, as though there was more struggling upon them than a wisp of startled air.  But they made no sound and what I had almost remembered was uncommunicable forever.

Why even tell us that you almost thought something profound when you can’t deliver?…Nick is such an epiphany tease.

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Does He Know That I Know That He Knows That I Know

January 6, 2009

No the title to this blog post was not taken from one of…well any…episode of Frasier (ever) or for that matter Three’s Company. This is my way of summarizing the slow realization that we saw unfold with excrutiating slowness as the true nature of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship dawned on Tom.

Tom slowly but surely comes to see things the way that they are, and then follows that up with the even slower realization that he is in actuality the last one to know.

Now I know what Mr. Roper must have felt like when he finally found out that Jack wasn’t gay and was in fact one of the swingin’-est heteros in late 70’s California.

And let me just say, I’ve had about enough of Nick Carraway as a narrator. As all of this starts to take shape in the story here’s what our great narrator has to report:

“The prolonged and tumultuous argument that ended by herding us into that room eludes me, though I have a sharp physical memory, that in the course of it, my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs and intermittent beads of sweat raced cool across my back.” (126)

That’s right, Nick can’t remember the argument, but he does have a visceral memory of a wedgie he had.

Perfect, Nick, perfect.

Now a brief thank you note to F. Scott Fitzgerald for including “Blocks” Biloxi who made boxes. Box-maker, wedding crasher, unwanted house guest. I loved this part where Jordan describes his stay with her family:

“‘They carried him into my house,’ appended Jordan, because we lived just two doors from the church. And he stayed for three weeks, until Daddy told him he had to get out. The day after that Daddy died.’ After a moment she added as if she might have sounded irreverent, ‘There wasn’t any connection.'” (128)

Kudos, Twinner, on your evocative use of the ellipsis in your last post. With each little dot…my heart broke a little more. It was almost like poetry in extremely rudimentary Morse Code. 

Oh, and just to keep you posted I am now 2 chapters and less than 40 pages from the end The Gatsby (the jury is still out on its “Great”-ness.) So  feel free to let me know what we will be reading next any time.

Happy Gatsbying,

Justin

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Scary Clowns? Bad Presents? No One Showed Up?

January 4, 2009

The title of my post are all possible reasons that F. Scott Fitzgerald hates parties.  I feel like Fitzgerald must have some kind of grudge against groups of people sharing merriment in enclosed spaces because each party that he has depicted has not only not been any fun at all (I can solve that problem in one word: Guesstures!) but have in fact made me never want to go to any sort of party ever again.

But then again the invitations aren’t exactly rolling in…

Did that last one sentence paragraph with it’s wistful ending ellipsis make you feel sorry for me?  I’m really just trying to manipulate your emotions.  Gosh I’m a good writer!  (I mean no F. Scott, but that did tug a heart string no?)

But I think you’re charge of Nick as pimp is a little harsh…if Nick is pimping Daisy it’s perhaps the most passive pimping I’ve ever read about.  My experience with pimps (which granted is quite limited and probably heavily influenced by stereotypes) has shown them to be very assertive and to have  an eccentric fashion sense.  And that leaves Nick out.

There was more development of the themes of disappointed expectations, etc.  But what I’m really excited about is the appearance of my favorite quotation from the book…it pops up on page 95 in my book…Chapter 5 (or V).

Daisy went upstairs to wash her face–too late I thought with humiliation of my towels–while Gatsby and I waited on the lawn.

Eek!  Dirty towels!  Nick, Nick, Nick.

Well I’m glad you’re back to reading…I’m ready to finish this book…I’ve already got our next book picked!

Back to the Egg,

Jon

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“Great” It Is

January 3, 2009

It seems that it has been some time since my last post. I apologize in the intervening weeks since my previous post and this one I think I may be a bit rusty so it may not be worth your time actually reading this, in fact I will give you an out right now, if you feel this is going to be a complete waste of your time no feelings will be hurt if you stop reading….NOW!

I will even give you a few minutes to walk away from the computer before I start writing again….

Hum-de-dum-de-dum. How about this weather? Did you see that fog last Friday?  That was some fog.

Okay, now you should have had more than enough time to walk away from the computer so now on to all things Gatsby:

I hadn’t read the book in a few weeks, and even briefly forgot what book we were reading. I knew it had “Great” in the title, but that was about it. Unfortunately, I got half way through Great Expectations before I remembered that I had my “Great” books confused and started reading Gatsby again.

By the way, Pip, Magwich, Mrs. Havisham, Estella and the whole GE crew say hello. Well, all except for Wemmick. (He said he had his reasons and you would know what they were.)

Anyway, I picked the book back up last night, and is it my imagination or is Nick pimping Daisy? Gatsby stops by with his fancy car and his “Old Sports” his offers of lucrative off the books jobs and free lawn care and in the most round about possible way asks Nick to set him up with his married cousin. 

It’s enough to make you think that maybe Gatsby ain’t so great after all. 

Oh, by the way, thanks for posting the David Bowie meets Der Bingle in the Manor House clip on your last post. I’ve always enjoyed their version of the Little Drummer Boy, but now having the context, it’s that much more moving.

Ba-rum-pa-pum-pum,
Justin