Wednesday, September 01, 2004

From East to West and Back Again

I’m back from Vancouver after a two-week holiday. There I had to curtail my media consumption, but I’ve spent the last 24 hours getting caught up with all the big hits. Topping the charts this week is my good close personal friend Russell Smith with his August 26, 2004 column about Dick-Lit. According to Mr. Smith:

The American publishing industry has, over the past five years, attempted to come up with a masculine rival to the phenomenal "chick-lit" successes of Helen Fielding and Candace Bushnell and Sophie Kinsella and all the other writers whose books have bright pink covers. "Dick-lit" fits a familiar matrix: It takes the form of first-person memoir or first-person fiction, is set among striving young people in a large city (usually New York) and tells the story of a youngish man -- a man who is starting to feel not so young -- who works in the world of media, just like Bridget Jones.


The current style was probably initiated by Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, followed by the handbook for the genre, About a Boy. Recent copies include Rick Marin's Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor, Kyle Smith's Love Monkey and Scott Mebus's Booty Nomad

Now I point you to an article in the Toronto Star, dated April 29, 2003 by Mike Dojc:

A new brand of literature has arisen to feed the 20-something guys' need to read. An antithesis to Chick Lit, this hot new typology has been dubbed Dick Lit by pundits and the British press.


Books like [Keith] Blanchard's and [Rick] Marin owe more to writers such as Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) or Chuck Barris (Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind), than any authors who follow more in the tradition of Wilt "the Stilt" Chamberlain's View From Above, in which he boasted to having bed 20,000 women.


Both genders need their fill of frivolity. In recent years, the male market has been underserved. One only has to walk into a bookstore and see shelf upon shelf of Bridget Jones Diary and Shopaholic clones as well as book club picks to ascertain the lack of light guy reads available

Smith’s column is stronger, but Dojc’s article appeared one year and four months ago. Which is better? To paraphrase the FNC slogan: I excerpt. You decide. (However, the next person who decides to write a Dick-Lit trend piece might want to mention the brand new Dave Itzkoff book Lads: A Memoir of Manhood in which the former Maxim editor deconstructs the myths of the lad-scivious lifestyle, in the process discovering it empty, false and stupid. But, as always, my free advice is worth every penny.)


* A great geek protest sign. If you don’t get it, it’s not your fault. You probably kiss members of the opposite sex or go outdoors.

* I’m sure I’m late to this one, but a waitress at a strip club is blogging during the RNC. According to the waitress, both Democrats and Republicans are horn-dogs, but only Conservatives are brave enough to demand both re-election and an erection during a convention.

* No one gives a backhanded compliment quite like Now weekly. And if you think that review was rough, try this classic chunk of snark.