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Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey

Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited
Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited
Somewhere along the line, somebody got the idea that genius must necessarily be mixed with malady. It’s almost a prerequisite for having the “genius” label applied. If you aren’t a drunk, blind, schizophrenic, or have a fondness for adolescent boys, you might as well turn your genius license over to the authorities. Call it the Wile E. Coyote syndrome. Certified genius, but kind of obsessive-compulsive when it came to that goddamned road runner. The Captain Ahab of the animated world.
Genius
It’s exactly that sort of worn out suffering-is-picturesque and genius-must-be-misunderstood attitude that makes high school goths dress up like bubonic plague victims and scrawl poetry in the columns of their algebra books. Invent an affliction, make yourself fairly opaque and presto! — instant genius qualifications. Waugh plays something like the genius card in the character of Sebastian — he’s a terrific drunk, shuns his family, and carries a teddy bear with him at all times. Fails out of school, wanders Europe, etc., etc. The problem is that we aren’t really given much reason to actually like him, even though I think we’re supposed to. He’s intended to be quixotic and charming (see Wile E. Coyote) but instead just comes across as kind of pathetic (see high school goths.)
As for me, I’m more than happy to can the whole genius myth. If this means that we’re forced to label Edgar Allen Poe a pathetic human being (despite being a good writer), so be it. If it means fewer kids in black eyeliner hanging out the parking lot at 7-11, it’s a price I’m willing to pay. I’d be pretty happy to be considered competent, and leave quixotic misfortune to those obsessive coyotes who get paid for that sort of thing.

Red Wine and Tryptophan

tryptophan
Like most indulgant Americans, I awoke bleary-eyed from my turkey coma late on Friday morning, having spent Thanksgiving day gorging myself on the carcasses of deceased animals and vegetables with the rest of my tribe. So imagine my surprise to discover that turkey doesn’t make you sleepy. Guess it must have been a combination of the cheap beer and the 1,450 miles that I put on my truck this week. It and I are both pretty worn out.
But it was, of course, worth the trip. I spent TurkeyDay proper at my grandparents’, and then shoved off to The Dirty City to visit with The Femme Fatale. Then it was off to central PA for the traditional DFam bacchanalia at the home of Crab Cake and his turkey-baking mistress. We had a trivial pursuit throwdown (team XY Chromosome sadly lost), and I talked music with MC FleshEater and Kitty Dodge. I need to see these people more often…