Saturday, September 29, 2007

An echo from the past

Currently I'm reading Michael Malone's Dingley Falls. It's been absolutely terrific so far, but I'm not going to recommend it until I get to the end. You never can tell when a book may sour. But anyway, the story is set in 1976, and was published in 1980 -- long before the Internet. One of the (many) characters is the small town newspaper editor, A. A. Hayes, who can probably be described as going through a serious mid-life crisis. An aging man who once dreamed of fame, he's now despairing that "he would leave no scratch on the tablets of history." He's taken to publishing, as a regular feature in his newspaper, lists of facts. Listen to Malone tell it:
Into the lists that appeared boxed in The Dingley Day went all the ambition and idealism, the breadth and reach, displaced from his life. He made ruthless, sweeping decisions: the ten best books, movies, products, Americans, human beings. And the ten worst. He strode over history, awarded laurels, condemned to death. He posed questions in lists: Who really killed JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Marilyn Monroe, Lindbergh's son, Howard Hunt's wife? He asked his readers if Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty. Was Anastasia shot? Who was Jack the Ripper? Did Jefferson have a black mistress? Was Hitler alive? Were the little princes really smothered in the Tower? Was Truman wrong to drop the bomb? Should Nixon have been brought to trial? Exactly when (for it must come) would all those "Looking Glass" planes, flying over the Midwest since 1961, launch their nuclear missiles? Against whom? How long would that give us to compile our final lists, with whatever summations seemed fit? Was there a Holy Grail?

Nobody seemed to care.
Reading this passage, I felt uncomfortable. Disturbed. Agitated, even. I tried to put my finger on it. And then I did:

In this passage, written sometime in the late 1970's, Malone exactly described...


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Spooky. A Perez Hilton of the 70's. I'd comment further, but for some reason, the typing of keys makes the bambina lose her luch.
Okay, I live under a rock. I didn't even know what Perez Hilton was until I read Clara's comment are did a search :)

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