William Faulkner, illustrator, children’s author

Apparently William Faulkner was a bit of a proto-Gorey! And not only that but:

During the postwar years … Faulkner remained in aggressively role-playing mode. Following the initial season of sporting his unearned war uniform — worn not only on ceremonial occasions but at dances and on golf courses as well — he settled into an equally self-conscious role as a special student at the university. He took courses in English, Spanish, and French, but he was better-remembered for his cultural and sartorial pretensions. Earlier, his expensive tailored suits had earned him the title “The Count.” Now his more elaborate costuming — replete with cane, limp, and swagger — elicited from his university peers the derisive term “Count No ’Count.” Seemingly descent from Parnassus and returned from war-torn France, Faulkner maintained his façade of imperturbability. He published poems in the university literary magazine, the Mississippian, as well as contributed elegant, Beardsley-inspired drawings.

He also wrote a children’s book (with only the noblest of intentions, of course):

In 1927, Faulkner gave the story to Victoria “Cho-Cho” Franklin, the daughter of his childhood sweetheart, Estelle Oldham, with whom he was still in love. He hoped Estelle would leave her unhappy marriage and marry him instead — which she did two years later.

How does Thomas Friedman sell books?

Bad writing sometimes seems endemic among best-selling writers. One pertinent example is Thomas Friedman. I first got my taste of Friedman while I was driving home from Montana and put on a book-on-tape version of The World Is Flat. I listened to about half of it before deciding the guy sounded like he was just making stuff up, riffing on some pretty obvious themes that had been in the air for a while and writing a book on it. Apparently he now has a new book! Huzzah! Here is an excellent review that sums up how I feel about Thomas Friedman. An example quote:

Remember Friedman’s take on Bush’s Iraq policy? “It’s OK to throw out your steering wheel,” he wrote, “as long as you remember you’re driving without one.” Picture that for a minute. Or how about Friedman’s analysis of America’s foreign policy outlook last May:

“The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging.When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.”

First of all, how can any single person be in three holes at once? Secondly, what the fuck is he talking about? If you’re supposed to stop digging when you’re in one hole, why should you dig more in three? How does that even begin to make sense?

Indeed.