September 04, 2015

Exit Ghost

Well, Wafers,

I've been reading a marvellous novel by Philip Roth (aren't they all) called Exit Ghost. The book contains much material of interest to Wafers. Phil is clearly a Wafer without knowing it. Let me give you a sampling of texts and themes.

1. Americans are basically dumb and get the leaders they deserve.

"I could not believe what I saw when a creature so rooted in his ruthless pathology, so transparently fraudulent and malicious as Nixon, defeated Humphrey in '68, and when, in the eighties, a self-assured knucklehead whose unsurpassable hollowness and hackneyed sentiments and absolute blindness to every historical complexity became the object of national worship [which he still is, BTW] and, esteemed as a 'great communicator' no less, won each of his two terms in a landslide."

"This is a very backward country, and the people are easily bamboozled."

2. Because of this endemic stupidity, the Age of Literature is over.

"There was a time when intelligent people used literature to think. That time is coming to an end...In the Soviet was the serious writers who were expelled from literature; now, in America, it is literature that has been expelled as a serious influence on how life is perceived."

"Reading/writing people, we are finished, we are ghosts witnessing the end of the literary era."

3. Existential Strain: The resentment of the trollfoons.

"Destroying reputations is how these little nobodies make their little mark. People's values and obligations and virtues and rules are [in their view] nothing but a cover."

4. The New Monastic Option as a solution.

My goal is "to remain in America without America's ever again being absorbed in me."

A great book, amigos! Hope you enjoy it.