Thursday, March 6, 2008

Notable & Cosmopolitan: Babalú Embraces Haute Culture

"Those helpful folks at the New York Review of Books have a timely online feature, a selection of pieces about fifo published from 1963 to 1998. Why these dates? Is there a part two or did they not publish anything after that? Only they know." - rsnlk, "A Reading List," Babalú, March 6, 2008

I will venture a guess that the reason that not only the articles about Castro but those about everybody else begin in 1963 is that The New York Review of Books was founded that year. Yes, it is greatly to be regretted that their writers did not chronicle the entire course of Fidel's political career. They are a wild bunch at NYRB when they are not the staid voice of the liberal establishment's culturati. They would have outgilded Herbert Matthews and then some and filled many votary vessels with their purple prose which today they would be trying to stuff with azaleas and pass off for planters.

I suppose the reason that the digital freebies stop in 1998 is that they don't want to give the store away and 35 years of its 45-year run is a good piece of change. However, if you subscribe to the deadwood edition of NYRB, then its entire digital archives are at your disposal. It's not all politics, of course; politics, in truth, is the least of it. The writers at the NYRB are more concerned with whether Henry James died a virgin and "How to Inherit IQ: The Fetal Question." That such irrelevancies can still command the attention of anyone let alone the most overeducated of the nation shows the immense gulf between practical knowledge and practically knowledge. These mental bonbons make minds grow fat as the real bonbons inflate the body.

As concerns Babalú, let me just say that I am surprised and delighted to see that it counts readers of The New York Review of Books among its writers. Since Val Prieto quoted A.E. Housman a few weeks ago, the "island on the net" has taken on a decidedly cosmopolitan air. This became even more evident after the departure of its preeminent cosmopolite George Moneo.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Manuel!!! Great laugh for a Friday morning.


Anonymous said...

El poodle on a leash is on " leave" he will be back shortly

Vana said...

Thanks to rsnlk