Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Gold is just lead on holiday"

In the latest Astral Weeks column at the LA Times, Ed Park considers the novels of Terry Pratchett:
Who was it who said P.G. Wodehouse could be relied on to provide two or three brilliant metaphors a page? I want to write "Evelyn Waugh," but I don't think that's correct. I am also pestered by the dim sensation that I've already used this assessment, in some fugitive piece years ago, in a quaint era known as Before Google.

If it wasn't Waugh, maybe the culprit was George Orwell, or Hilaire Belloc, or someone newish like Stephen Fry. It might have been Douglas Adams. I am dangerously close to forgetting why I brought the matter up in the first place, but the distant yowling of a baby, who happens to be my infant son, brings the point home: In my current fragile mental state, I am incapable of reading anything but the lightest of comedies.

I don't mean "lightest" pejoratively -- nor "comedies," for that matter. (Nor "of"!) I like light. And it's my informed opinion that it is many times harder to pull off light than heavy -- for example, this review so far is the product of nearly a week of labor, though much of that was taken up with changing the font from Times to Helvetica and back again. (Hmm, how would this look in . . . Garamond?)

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