lileks gone wild

April 26, 2005 – 9:25 pm

i think james lileks, my all-time favorite columnist, has insecurity issues. behold:

I have on deck five pieces. Four: one Newhouse column, mostly done; one Backfence, half done; one Bleat, currently being written, obviously, and two Joe Ohio episodes, neither of which satisfy me.

All of these things have to be done in the next 45 minutes. What to do? Well: I have a big chunk o’ chunder I wrote this afternoon about an article in Entertainment Weekly, but I think I’ll let that cook. The Newhouse will be polished tomorrow morning. The Backfence I can sketch out tonight and tweak between 11 and noon. The Joe episodes I’ll just have to post, and ask your forgiveness. The only reason I want to do two on one day is to maintain the illusion that the story is evolving in some sort of real time. It’s set in 1955, a year whose calendar matches 2005. Our Monday is his Monday, in other words; our April is his as well. But there wasn’t an entry on Monday, was there? No. But I wrote one. I just didn’t put it up.

huh?! you’re a newspaperman with five columns due, it’s nearly midnight, and you’re worried about the absolutely free, gratuitous and indulgent JOE OHIO episodes for your web site because you WANT THEM TO MAINTAIN THE ILLUSION OF TAKING PLACE IN REAL TIME?! are you crazy?!

*sigh* the man is a prose machine. i can attest, after a month-ish of blogging, that just the daily burden of being clever (i know, i know: “who do you know who’s clever?”) is somewhat exhausting. but lileks’ thinly veiled insecurity issues over being a stay-at-home dad with nothing but columns and screedy bleats to write don’t keep him from being cogent. shucks, downright insightful, i’d say:

The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library – a group presumably formed to combat the work of their tireless foes, the Enemies of the Minneapolis Public Library – has a new ad campaign out to hype next year’s opening of the new downtown library. One side of the poster has a big picture of Mao; beneath him, it says, well, MAO. On the other side, a picture of the new library, with the letters MPL, for Minneapolis Public Library. From the Skyway News article on the campaign:

“What’s the connection? China sports the world’s third largest economy, while the library claims the nation’s third largest collection of books (per capita.)

“It’s a stretch, and a little weird, but it made us look, and that’s the point.”

Hmm. I’m curious: how many people do you have to kill, and how many books do you have to destroy, before you’re no longer a benign historical image to be used in a “clever” ad campaign? The campaign also features J. Edgar Hoover and Batgirl, because they, like Mao, were librarians at some point in their lives. “Mao Tse-Tung became a convert to Marxism while working as a librarian at Beijing University prior to launching a communist revolution in China,” the article explains.

Next up: Stalin shills for the church! Hey, he was a seminarian, once. See, it’s funny and clever when they didn’t kill anyone you know. Criminey.

the guy writes this stuff EVERY DAY while trying to make deadline on his paying gig in the middle of the night. sheesh. as usual, today’s is worth your time.