Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

No New Tale to Tell

First Simon Cowell, then the Pope. Are people ever going to roll off of Bob Dylan? Pope Benedict XVI's assessment of Bob Dylan as a "false prophet" might carry more credibility if Dylan had ever claimed he was a real one, and the Pope himself might have more credibility full stop if he hadn't once been a member of the Hitler Youth.

In fairness to the Pontiff, he did not call a press conference specifically to excoriate Bob Dylan; his claim appeared in a book about his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who invited the vile-voiced mythic songwriter to perform at the Vatican in 1997. Well, at least the Pope isn't concerned about trivial matters. Still, the provenance of Benedict's antipathy toward Mr. Dylan dates back to July, 1965 when Dylan played an electric set at the Newport Folk Festival. The Pope, then known as Joe Ratzinger, attended the Festival as a music critic for BonnBeat, a standout alternative magazine. Ratzinger, a noted traditionalist when it came to folk music, was outraged by the jangling guitars and obnoxious drums in Dylan's band and never forgave him, vowing someday to become Pope and label the heretic a "false prophet."

What will it take to get some books with original titles? Browsing through some novels recently, I came across names like "Slipping Into Darkness", "I Know This Much Is True", "Every Breath You Take" and "Superstition." Is this fiction or a nostalgic radio show? Naming books for famous songs might appear clever to authors or publishers, but to me it's tedious, especially as it's done so frequently. If you were the first person ever to think of it and did it only once, that might not be so bad, but this has to stop or soon we'll see this on the shelves: "I Feel Good Because I Want to Hold Your Hand But I Can't Get No Satisfaction."

James Patterson has supplanted James Michener as the author with the least imaginative book titles. "Roses Are Red", "Violets Are Blue", "Along Came a Spider" and so on. You would think even his fans might be a bit weary of this approach, but apparently not; they've already pre-ordered their copies of the long-anticipated "One Potato, Two Potato". As for Michener, at least the reader never had to wonder what his novels were about. If you were looking for a tropical setting, you knew "Alaska" wasn't for you.

The answer, my friend, is brown sugar. How come it tastes so good?


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