Little Things That Irk Me

051a7f4322c133732035d16f87f39445c8c92“Irk”: Great word.

When I was at university I was considered laid back, easy going, accepting, slow to warm up, just a real nice guy. During several varieties of psychological tests (a common way for starving students to make a few bucks) I was calm, never got rattled, avoided panic and often ending up winning the “game.” Then  went to grad school and became much more confrontational.

Through the years I have encountered little things that, if only momentarily, shatter my calm acceptance. In popular parlance I believe these would be considered “pet peeves.” Unfortunately, the term “pet peeve” is possibly my biggest “pet peeve.” A peeve is an annoyance, something that irks someone, but the use of the word “pet” to (presumably) denote something personal, possibly uniquely held, I balk.

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Jealousy on Sesame Street

images.jpgThe other day my cable services died and it took beaucoup de hours to get everything back online (unplug, wait, re-plug, cry). The first service to be restored (ironically since I could care less) was the television. Since it was now Tuesday I suppose I was happy that I wouldn’t miss my Sunday night show. While testing the television service I flipped through many channels with satisfactory results (see disclaimer above) and uncharacteristically left the television on, in case the fix was only temporary. I went into my office to work on my Internet connection and could hear that Sesame Street was playing on the television. I thought I had left the room with HBO playing so I went back into the living room to be surprised that Sesame Street was now on HBO (it left PBS?).

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Books that wound and stab us

Robbe-GrilletTwo things:  my favorite author has been and remains Alain Robbe-Grillet (see) and although I find many of the postmodern works fun and thought-provoking, I turn to the Nouveau Roman for its challenges outside of the traditional definition of a novel. Earlier I discussed Robbe-Grillet and also suggested that La Jealousie was my go-to, if not favorite, novel (see).

Abrahms writes about La Jealousie in the Glossary:

Thus Alain Robbe-Grillet, a leader among the exponents of the nouveau roman (the new novel) in France, wrote Jealousy (1957), in which he left out such standard elements as plot,characterization, description of states on mind, locations in time and space, and frame of reference to the world in which the work is set. We are simply presented in this novel with a sequence of perceptions, mainly visual, which we may naturalize (that is, make intelligible in the mode of standard narrative procedures) by postulating that we are occupying the physical space and sharing the hyperacute observations of a jealous husband, from which we may infer also the tortured state of his disintegrating mind. Other new novelists are Nathalie Sarraute and Philippe Sollers.

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