August 1, 2007

Robert Olen Butler: "The Squid and the Whale" comes to life

Thanks to "The Egalitarian Bookworm (Chick?)" for originally pointing this out...

As regular readers know, last week I filed a review of the 2005 Noah Baumbach film The Squid and the Whale, an autobiographical movie detailing the messy '80s divorce of his parents, pretentious academic novelist Jonathan Baumbach and former Village Voice columnist Georgia Brown. Well, now from snotty gossip website Gawker comes this news -- that not only are Florida-based pretentious academic novelists Robert Olen Butler and Elizabeth Dewberry getting a divorce themselves, but that Butler apparently wrote a detailed email to his grad students explaining exactly what happened, and that the email was supposedly the kind of batsh-t crazy that can only come from a pretentious academic novelist.

Well, Gawker got ahold of the email themselves and published it; and yes, it's true, it really is batsh-t f---ing crazy, and further proof of why anyone who wants to be an actual decent novelist should stay as far away from advanced academia as humanly possible. I'll let you go over to the original Gawker post if you want to read the whole thing, but I simply had to reprint the part of the letter that made me both laugh out loud and shudder from my own repressed academic memories:

"Further, Elizabeth has never been able to step out of the shadow of the Pulitzer. As you know-and she knows-I have been an avid admirer and supporter of her work. Everyone has heard me proclaim my sincere high regard for her as an artist. I often did this publicly. But she has published two brilliant novels since she's been with me and neither has gotten anywhere near the recognition that they richly deserve. That made it harder and harder for her to live with the ongoing praise and opportunity that flows to a Pulitzer winner."

Batsh-t f---ing crazy!

Anyway, thought readers would get a kick out of this, given that I was just talking about a similar situation in fictional form last week here. And by the way, here's the final irony of the entire situation -- that of the two novels Dewberry has written now, one is entitled His Lovely Wife and is apparently a detailed chronicle of the crumbling marriage between a woman and her pretentious award-winning academic husband. Yeah, way to read the writing on the wall, Bob.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:30 AM, August 1, 2007. Filed under: Arts news | Literature |