Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Heaven and Hell

Two writers died this month, both from the British Isles, both in their middle-60s. One was a pig, a snitch, a backstabber, a liar, an ass-kisser of the powerful, a Neo-Conman regularly gibbering for more and more worldwide murder. This pig did his gibbering at Vanity Fair, at Slate.com, on MSNBC and CNN, on National Public Radio. Of course, you know this one's name: Hitchens.

The other was one of the best literary and movie critics of his post-literate time, one of the best novelists and short story writers, as well: the great Gilbert Adair.

Was Adair's death even mentioned in the New York Times or on the oh-so-precious NPR? Was his value debated at CounterPunch or Salon.com or at The Nation? Was he hosanna-ed in The New Yorker, at Harper's Magazine or The Atlantic Monthly?

Since Adair never met an elitist he didn't hate or mistrust, of course not.

His work was beautiful and kind and funny and human. Surfing the Zeitgeist is a fine place to start.

From its preface:
Let's put it bluntly. The health, and hence the future, of our culture is in the hands of hacks -- hacks of whom it may be said that, when they die, it will be as though, professionally, they never lived, as though their opinions were never expressed, as though the millions of words, the literally millions of words, which they committed to print during their lifetimes, failed to make the slightest impact on either their own posterity or on that of the medium to which their careers were dedicated. Given the stratification of our society, we have no choice but to entrust the management of its culture industry to these hacks, as we have no choice but to entrust our social and economic welfare to politicians. That, however, is no reason why we should regard the former as any more intelligent, any less obtuse, than most of us do the latter.
As December showed, this man full of faith and trust and heart had, of course, things backward.

Gilbert Adair, R.I.P.