Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Philip Roth, RIP

"Writing is frustration. It's daily frustration, not to mention humiliation. It's just like baseball: you fail two-thirds of the time."

—Philip Roth

The greatest writer of our time. The failure to give him the Nobel Prize is one of those omissions that diminish the award.

28 comments:

Publius said...

RIP. Not even the best post-war American writer to die this month, but let's not bicker.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I'm not as much of a Wolfe fan, but he had his merits.

(Also, I don't think he was a baseball fan. Just saying.)

Anonymous said...

Roth's essay "My Baseball Years":

https://www.nytimes.com/1973/04/02/archives/my-baseball-years.html

Also, check out his baseball novel, "The Great American Novel."

TheWinWarblist said...

GLOOM!! DARKNESS!! Thomas Wolfe was an insecure self-aggrandizing turdlet who wasn't worthy of carrying Philip Roth's jockstrap. EMPTYNESS!! LOST!! ALL LOST!!

Anonymous said...

That's emptiness--not emptyness--as in your empty, blighted, desperately lonely, drunken little life at the keyboard, Warblist. And I think you're the first person to equate a 1930s Southern writer of sprawling lyricism with the lean contemporary urban-Jewish literary sensibility of Roth. Those just happen to be the only two American writers you've even heard of, so you throw those two antipodal names together into the same sentence, thinking that you will make a great impression, and you end up sounding just stupid.

Just wanted it on the record that you're an illiterate despite your risible literary pretensions. Back to your quart of Johnnie Walker Red Label. Just don't vomit on the keyboard--that would be the end of what's left of your little life.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I did like Tom Wolfe's famous Harper's essay about how there was plenty of juice left in the 19th-century novel. What was it called, "The Billion-Footed Beast," or some such?

I just didn't find that the New York he was describing in "Bonfire" much resembled the city I was living in. (Outside of its ritzier precincts, that is, which he would know much more about than I would.)

But hey, he was certainly an iconic figure who drove much of our intellectual discourse, and left his mark on our culture forever. I thought that his critique of modern art and architecture was generally spot on.

Anonymous said...

Hey HC 66--I think Warblist was referring to Thomas Wolfe, not Tom Wolfe. Do you even know the difference? I doubt it. The author of "Bonfire of the Vanities" was known as Tom, not Thomas.

You appear to be the Marv Thronberry of literary commentators . . . and of baseball commentators. But we are told that this is supposed to be a humor blog--so be it, even when the humor is unintentional, I guess.

el duque said...

My favorite Roth character was O K Ockater, the dwarf pitcher in The Great American Novel. Whenever someone mentioned his short stature, the angry dwarf would ask how tall they were and then invariably reply, "I didn't know the piled shit that high."

HoraceClarke66 said...

That was a great character, Duque—and so appropriate!

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

I tried to like Philip Roth but it appears I’m not his audience,

Anonymous said...


RIP Mr. Roth.

So many books worthy of praise yet it was one of his lesser known ones, "Indignation", that ended up having a profound effect on me and set in play a series of events that changed the arc of my family in a very good way. I won't go into why but it really did.

A truly great writer.

Doug K.

TheWinWarblist said...

I'm so glad Buck's Puckered Hemorrhoids returned! I enjoy how many absolutely wrong statements ze can cram into a paragraph. Tell us what else you know Puckered. I'll never say to you, "Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?"

Anonymous said...

Why is the one Anonymous so full of rage at life? Did they cut the free WiFi from his anger management meetings? Is he writing us from the Clink? I’m fascinated with his hatred toward Warblist

Anonymous said...

What wrong statement? Like your fourth-grade misspelling of emptiness? Your ignorant confusion of Tom Wolfe and Thomas Wolfe? You say i make mistakes to divert attention from your own. But you have yet to specify one of mine. Here's your chance. And please don't drink and drive ir vomit on your keyboard. And i bet you never read a book by either Roth or either Wolfe.

Emotionally damaged drunks don't read novels. They just beg for attention. Keep begging, drunk. I order you to pist again and beg for more attention. Misspellings abd confusions will do judt fine. Now beg. That's an order, drunk.

Anonymous said...

Corrections:

Post
And
Just

Typing while walking. Almost as bad as typing while drunk and stupid, right Warblist?

Anonymous said...

Hey warblist: i ordered you to post something, asshole. Now post. Now, dammit. Follow orders like a good lonely drunk. Post.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Interesting story, Doug K. Care to share more?

I quite liked that novel, too, though I felt that he ended it a little abruptly. His generally autobiographical descriptions of growing up in Newark were amazing, as usual.

What mastery of his material! What a willingness to experiment with different styles, formats.

TheWinWarblist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheWinWarblist said...

Exactly Thomas Wolfe, not Thomas Wolfe!

TheWinWarblist said...

Hey Puckered, how tall are you?

KD said...

every time I think that sassy stats anon is ready to enjoy the fellowship of men, and I mean REAL MEN, he reverts to his asshat form. good grief. you'd think i'd learn...

Anonymous said...

OK, Warblist--you follow orders. You're my bitch now.

Now post again. Anything--your usual ignorant drunken drivel will do. NOW.

Anonymous said...

KD, you witless slug. Do yourself and the world a favor and take a long walk off a short pier.

KD said...

Tom Wolfe may not have been a baseball fan but he was a fan of America. Loved his writing. RIP Mr. Wolfe. I loved and admired you greatly.

KD said...

see what I mean? it must be tough for asshat anon that I, a humble Entomologist, has more love and respect on this blog than him. or her. or it. whatever...

Anonymous said...

KD--you're not humble. You're a sniveling masochist, compulsively posting comment after comment of soul-crushing predictability and mediocrity. You want to be loved out here? If that's important to you, it's because you're an isolated, emotionally starved cipher. Typing on a keyboard isn't going to remedy that. Probably nothing will.

Anonymous said...

KD's Fractured Grammar for Kids:

"it must be tough for asshat anon that I . . . has more love and respect . . . " Yes, you has!

". . . has more love and respect on this blog than him, or her." In non-dumbass circles--from which KD will be forever excluded--that's "than he, or she. . ."

Finally, if KD were really an entomologist rather than a booger-encrusted shut-in, he would know that "entomologist" is a common noun, not a proper noun, and hence needs no capitalization. But he's not an entomologist--he himself is an insect, but devoid of the spiritual yearnings of the one in Kafka's metamorphosis--a doomed insect.

So we gave a hat trick of crude illiteracy in one brief sentence! Congratulations, dumbass. Now you must be REALLY loved by everyone, because everyone feels sorry for you, an illiterate blob of sweaty flesh, swathed in week-old underwear. YUCK!

Anonymous said...

Typo correction: So we have a hat trick. . . .