Monday, February 21, 2011

And Then I Go and Spoil it All by Saying Something Stupid...

It might be churlish of me to say so, but while reading How to Write a Sentence...And How to Read One by the critic and columnist Stanley Fish, I can't help thinking that the book, as pleasantly pedantic as it is, might be more engaging if its sentences were written by someone more boisterously creative than Stanley Fish. It's a good book. I like it. But if it were written by, say, Martin Amis or, in an alternate universe, David Foster Wallace, I would probably love it. But there is no point blaming a book for its author.

I can, however, blame the author for this passage, where he compares "bad" sentences that create good effects to bad cover songs that produce ironic pleasure:
There's an NPR program called  The Annoying Music Show, and when the remastered set of Beatles albums came out in 2009, an episode was built around it. The cuts played included Tiny Tim singing "Hey Jude" and Telly (Kojak) Savalas singing "Something in the Way She Walks." These performances were truly bad and they were truly good.
The line, as George Harrison wrote it, is, of course, "Something in the way she moves." And the song, for that matter, is titled, simply, "Something".

I tried to find YouTube evidence of this cover song atrocity but came up dry. But in searching, I did come across this half-forgotten Telly Savalas sketch on the old Carol Burnett show. Cheesy, but still funny, if you ask me.