The news today tells us that a respected literary journal (not to be named here) has just released a list of names they consider to be The Best Young American Novelists, and among them, a full third of these names have not yet had a novel published. And that’s kind of odd. Now, in other forums you might find your Miette boxing soap on matters like this, but here, I was genuinely tempted to call this one of the Best Young American Bedtime Story Podcasts, but instead, replay today’s weather. The gap-toothed grin of fortune talked me out of such brattiness, but still, if my name doesn’t appear on tomorrow’s list of Best Young Designated Hitters, there’ll be hell to pay. Send a nudge to your sources.
Listening to this one earlier, I noticed something. A noise, behind the entire story, not unpleasant, entirely, but a nuisance, distracting, and not unfamiliar. And then it hits: The dog, oft noted in these recordings, had used the moments of storytelling to enjoy an early repast. And given the fact that a) the dog lacks lips and b) dog food is crunchy, this provided a good backing track that might have interrupted your listening enjoyment.
And so, until now unprecedented in the history of Miette and Her Bedtime Stories, consider yourself presented with an entirely re-recorded story, for your listening pleasure.
And yes, even twice-over, I couldn’t come anywhere near decent troubled-urban-youth accents. Which you may consider a laugh. At my happy and grateful expense.
Does the title of today’s story affect you in such a way that the person nearest you is now asking what you’re sighing about? Or maybe you rolled your eyes so far to the side that you now have a stress headache and need to refocus before reading the rest of this blurb? (If so, please, take a moment. The next few words aren’t -that- important, and I won’t be accountable for repeated stress injuries. I just won’t.) Because it had that effect on me, typing it just now. I mean, there’s Kunder’s The Joke, and the Monty Python bit about the world’s funniest joke, and a recent study concerning the same. There’s the wildly not funny Freud essay, and from all this, we might think we’re taking a right turn onto Hackneyed Street.
But I promise you, my dears, if this The Joke was a bag of prepackaged organic baby spinach, you’d all be sick, not from bacteria, but from overindulging on its goodness. Enjoy.
Do you know about Ben Hecht? I only ask because a lot of people don’t, and because as a responsible Purveyor of Fine Information I ought to clue you in, and in the interest of living up to such, I should tell you that Ben Hecht was best known to many as a screenwriter, that the same mind is to be held accountable (in some ways) for Hitchcock’s Notorious, His Girl Friday, Gone with the Wind, and Scarface, although largely in an uncredited stop-the-presses-who-can-fix-this capacity.
[And yes, I’m aware that that’s one mighty long sentence, but it was a mighty long thought. Stay with me.]
I mention this only because it’s remarkable to me that someone could be brought on as the FIXER and produce what he did. It’s like building a rocket out of spiral ring binder scraps and spit, and not just ending up with a functional rocket, but a time-warping, human-transporting, beam-me-to-the-sunning Rocket of Tomorrow. And I don’t wax with simile very often, so when I do, you know it’s one that gets me excited. So I was mightily pleased to stumble on tonight’s story.
I know that I should be wishing some of you happy Passover, others happy Easter, others the goodliest of Fridays. But more importantly, more important than sweet Haroseth and pastel eggs and chocolate covered matzoh shaped as salty rabbits, let us not forget today’s holiday, the one hundredth anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s birth, which is deserving of thrice-leavened gilded eggshells. The obvious question: “why I’m not podcasting Beckett today, if it’s so damned important to you?”
The equally obvious answer: well, I’d rather not get sued during holy week. Not for this, anyhow. And besides, this allows me to thrust two writers on you at once, and chances are you know who Beckett is, but could use a little familiarity with Weidman, whose first name is a Saint and last is suitably Jewish to satisfy all of our celebratory needs for the coming days. So: listen to Weidman now, then go read Beckett.
Trivia for you: when Beckett was born, a hundred years ago today, it was Good Friday and Friday the Thirteenth.
And sincerely, to those in celebratory ways, my wishes for happiest of Passover, Easter, Beckett’s Birthday, etc.
I beg and implore you, dear listener: don’t be misled by the title of today’s podcast. Today’s story features neither the lovely Ms Farrow in her prime -nor- jokes about Hasidim, dental extractions, or polygamy. However, if you can recommend a story about any or all of these subjects, a cookie and a song for you. In other news, I was out on a walk earlier and saw an old church with the sign flaking and the letters peeling. The sign in the front reads “Aptist Church,” and I’m quite curious… what is it that Aptists do? Could I be an Aptist without even knowing it. Stay tuned; I may podcast live (ha! I may be apt to do so!) and on location before you even know it. Just watch.
A few blocks down from my apartment is a utility pole, and on that utility pole someone has graffitoed the following in black marker:
“Romanse [sic] is the death of enlightenment”
And I walk by this utility pole every day, and have made all sorts of teleological, phenomenological, and epistemological assessments of what this might mean, as well as just thinking about it sometimes. (It doesn’t make much sense! After all, enlightenment trumps death. And if you’ve gotten there, you’ve surpassed the need for romanse [sic] Or at least, I think so, but who understands all that anyhow?). But tonight, I think I get it! It’s not a misspelling of “romance” at all! They’re talking about FRENCH NOVELS (“romans”), which must be particularly girly if the affected feminine -e is suffixed at the end. Or, in other words, “french chick lit is the death of enlightenment.” Which makes sense, teleologically, phenomenologically, AND the rest of it. And so I offer you Bernard Malamud, not french and most decided not chick-littish.