We interrupt this irregularly scheduled blog to bring you a review of this monstrosity: Mona Simpson Quietly Embraces Art
(Go ahead, read that first. All of it. I’ll wait.)
What the HELL is this, New York Times? Okay, I don’t read you often and this may be the standard of writing you publish. But if that’s so, then my complaints are the least of what you deserve if you consider that pseudo-intellectual garbage worthy of publication.
The purpose of all mass communication is to inform, entertain, and/or persuade. Can anyone tell me which, if any, purpose the article above serves? This type of writing is what every journalism, creative writing, and ANY English class I’ve ever taken has taught me to avoid. And seeing an example of it, I have to agree; this is terrible writing.
From an informative perspective, I learn that this woman, Mona Simpson, is an author and has a new book coming out. Normally, I’d expect this article to include somewhere details about this authors body of work, what the new book is about and when it’s coming out. But The New York Times is too avante garde to include any of that useless twaddle in such specific terms. We do learn a bit about her upcoming novel, but it’s lost in a lecture about the Matisse exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Instead, I learn that she currently lives in the uncultured, illiterate slums of California and misses that paragon of civilization known as the Upper West Side. She’s divorced, Steve Jobs’ well-connected sister, hates Starbucks, and her teenage son won’t read her books. In essence, I’ve read the most prosaic Wikipedia page in existence. Any useful information is lost in a maelstrom of gossipy, irrelevant factoids.
As far as entertainment goes, it failed there as well. It proposes to be a Day-In-the-Life type piece (I assume. It’s listed in the fashion section. I suppose it could be a piece detailing how to be a fashionable writer? Martinis, snobbery, and famous siblings are the keys to success?) but it’s unfocused and tangential and I’m left disliking an author who, based on this interview, is so condescending and elitist that I’m devoid of any desire to read her books.
From a persuasive angle, how am I to be persuaded? Should I go see the Matisse exhibit?