Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tristram Shandy

I watched the first 4/5 of Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story earlier today (interspersed with some writing, 75 minutes on the indoor trainer and work on the upstairs bathroom). Very amusing. I particularly like Steve Coogan (also in Coffee and Cigarettes by Jarmusch if you're reading Erik) noting that the book was number eight in the list of top novels, and his interviewer responding that the list was chronological. The movie is actually very much like the book in many respects, although it doesn't follow the book, but sort of riffs back and forth between trying to do the book and doing the actors doing the book, and doing the actors doing themselves in ways that are much like the book. It ends up being much more like the book than a straight interpretation of the text.

What's sort of surprising is that you get this impression that Sterne would have had a lot to say about bloggers. One of themes in Shandy is that as much as you try to impose order on life, life is unorderable. As much as you try to tell a story, other, almost random, things intrude. It made me think of all the bloggers who intend for their children to someday inherit a snapshot of their blog, so they can see what their parents were thinking about, and what sort of wisdom their parents had to offer as they aged, almost like Tristram's father's big book of knowledge that he's creating for Tristram (his Tristrapaedia [link goes to a summary of the book]). In reality, their kids are going to get Tristram Shandy the novel, a mixed mashup of heartfelt advice, semi-wit, and out-and-out random interest and linking that is nothing like a guide to life, but that nonetheless does show some sort of big picture, just probably not the picture the blogger intended, and certainly not one that makes their kid a better person unless the self-reflection has helped inspire better parenting.

I have decided that there's a piece of wisdom I can use from the book that I hadn't considered when I first read it as an English major. It seems to me that I should blog immediately before conjugal relations, that way Pooteewheet starts to associate my typing with a certain amount of...horniness. I type a lot.

As an aside, do you think Shrub ever read Tristram Shandy considering "The Skull and Bones secret society is rumoured [2] to use characters from Tristram Shandy in its rituals." (Wikipedia). I would be very surprised if he has, but if anyone bumps into him, joke about setting the clock and see if he cracks a smile.

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