Friday, January 3, 2014

Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits - Jack Murnighan

What I wanted to be reading was 50 Works of English Literature We Could Do Without, because Alice said the authors sounded 'brilliant, bored, and irritated' which is a flavor combination I enjoy, but my library is short on things like that and long on things like this written-by-a-90s-sitcom-dad piece of garbage that I didn't finish.

He says things like 'homeboys' and 'big whup.' Remember when we all used to day 'big whup'? We were wearing jelly shoes at the same time, because we were eight.

And he keeps going on about 'Macho Lit' and 'Virility Lit' (which in my head is like this


but in his is, like, The Illiad i.e. Achilles Whines About Stuff For, Like, EVER, and Then Kills Some Guys), the 'most macho' of which is Beowulf. 'Literary, yes, but let there be no mistake: this is no Pride and Prejudice.' I mean, this work isn't all full of LADIES and shit, amirite? No bitches be up in here, playing the pianoforte and doing fine needlework and trying to ensure their livelihood and that of any unmarried female relatives by attracting a man of reasonable income who is hopefully not also a troll, AMIRITE? Bitches.

Oh, except Grendel, but 'Beowulf has to go whup up on her.'


Ok and that's where I put it down AT FIRST, and then was like, Ehhhh, let's see what this guy has to say about something not written by dudes. Like, Pride and Prejudice, maybe.

Mr Darcy is dubious.

Apparently the 'standard logic' indicates that if you sit down to pee, you will like Jane Austen, and if you stand, you wont, because BATHROOM HUMOR. But, Murnighan rushes to assure you, even dudes can like JA (or at least P&P [or at least the first two thirds]). If you ARE a dude, he'd like to congratulate you on taking an interest in 'an activity, like midwifery or attentive listening, with which [your] gender has had little historical affiliation.' I assume that this 'activity' he refers to is 'reading books written by someone without the same plumbing as you,' and *I* didn't get any fucking accolades for reading the chapters on Homer or Ovid, so this is where I put this shit down.


This goes in the DNFiles. Come at me, 2014.

12 comments:

Julia said...

The most annoying part is that there is no indication on the cover that this is even geared toward guys...it's just assumed that what works for guys works for the entire population. I mean, if you're going to be a sexist moron, at least give fair warning in your title so we don't have to waste our time. Totally going to check out the other book you mentioned, though...:).

Love the blog - am a longtime reader!

Red said...

Man, this is sad. Cos Alice's book is not easy to find so I was hoping a modern version would be fun. Damn

Chelsea said...

"No bitches be up in here, playing the pianoforte and doing fine needlework" - I personally think that we as a society suffer from a lack of bitches and their fine needlework. But that's just me ;)

Loved this post. Would probably hate this book. No...do. I do hate this book. Sexist things make me rage-y.

Reading Rambo said...

THAT GASTON THING IS SO META FOR WE ARE ALL GASTON NOW

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

THis just made me laugh. Because I ACTUALLY read Beowulf on the Beach while I was on the beach because I made the mistake of not test driving this book before putting it into my suitcase for vacation. It was lacking. Seriously lacking.

Jim Dean said...

Sounds like a dreadful book, but at least it inspired a brilliant review! :)

Rayna said...

Sounds like a book has never more deserved the DNF. Also I've realized that even though I LOVE books about books, I don't like reading books that are just some dude/chick's opinions on the classics because A) usually boring and B) SO SPOILERY. This is how Jane Eyre was ruined for me. Bah humbug.

Tika Viteri said...

UGH this sounds terrible.

On the upside, your post reminded me of "50 Works" and I am now awaiting it from the interlibrary loan system. HURRAH!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Hahahaha, "Virility Lit" sounds like what I call Dick Authors (Roth, Mailer, Updike. You know. Those guys.) and avoid at all costs. Bleh.

Upside: That Gaston gif is my favorite moment in maybe any Disney movie ever. I would like to deploy that gif always.

Susan Bybee said...

DNF was a sound decision on that one.

lesbrary.com said...

Aw, this one sounded good! But at least you have now read it so the rest of us don't have to.

Megs said...

Waaaaait...Grendel was a GIRL-MONSTER? I always thought Grendel was Beowulf's accursed son. *Looks aslant at Murnighan*