jeudi, juillet 14, 2005

The Taming of the Shrew(d)

Dairy Tales

One of my most coveted exports to my Luxembourger flat is the jar of gbejniet tal-bzar (gozo pepper cheeselets) which had been submerged in vinegar and preserved for greater enjoyment later on in the year. The beauty of Gozo Cheese (of the preserved type) is that the more time passes, the better it tastes.

Now � eggs on the other hand. A raw, crude egg is a rough thing already. Once it reaches its sell by date there is only one word for it. Rotten. It stinks. It is useless and only forces you to turn your nose up to it in disgust. A rotten egg can be funny when thrown at someone at a bachelors or hen�s party. Otherwise it is just that � a boring, useless, stinking rotten egg.

That is why my joy at reading the latest literary contribution of Dame Lorna of the Poor to the Times was tripled when I read the metaphorical descriptions included therein. I�d rather smell of gbejniet any day, like a good wine they mature well�

Nobel Truths

So now we have it from the horse�s mouth. Dame Vassallo is a literary sans pareil and while she is decorating the pages of the Times with her literary value we are busy churning our �three-day-old organic waste bin� material. The Nobel Prize for Literature beckons of course � or will the �literary wunderkind� be phoning through some obscure website to claim the prize for herself thanks to her literary lineage? We will wait and see at the edge of our imaginary fence.

The Red Cross

The Italians like to use the expression. E� come sparare sulla croce rossa. Criticising writings like those of the �fairy flitting through the noxious miasma� is a bit of an easy task but I feel duty bound to do so, if only to amuse readers like Fausto who was wrongly quoted in her article (but more of that later). It has already been asked of her whether �She cannot be serious!� It seems that she is, or at least that she takes herself very seriously. She is the literary savant, the torch bearer of feminism and the beacon of democracy all in one. She is democracy�s answer to today�s problems. She is the Times� "shrewd shrew" from the Labour camp.

But let�s to the article and in our usual fashion enjoy the annotations to the literary meisterwerk of the enfant prodige from Labourland. Like the glossators we will gloss and examine the writings that is supposed to cause alarum that there is an invasion of pro-MLP writers.

Snippet One: On Self-Adulation

Dear Editor
Some time has passed since we met for the first time [did he pay her lunch back then?]. I know your trust in me as a member of your team was there from the very beginning [not the best of starts from the Booker Prize aspirant]. It is to this aim that I write to you just to inform you that my articles have had the desired feedback so far [hooray]. I have had so many people come up to me to shake hands [does this include beggars of all shapes and sizes?]. I've had university professors picking up the phone [ara x'wahda din, hawn telefon ma' l-art] and wishing to meet me personally [as against meeting impersonally through some academic ouija board session when the literary fairy is summoned] saying my English has literary value [a very diplomatic phrase indeed]. I've had VIPs asking my opinion about their articles and speeches and I've even been approached by top businessmen who hunted down my e-mail address [is this legal?] just to say "well done"! All these I heartedly thank en masse [is she the whole of the masse?].

On the other hand, apart from an anonymous letter, too threatening to be published anywhere, most of my critics tend to make more noises and publicise their views especially in your own newspaper [confusing ...the audio times of malta]. They tend to still be living in a delirium at the thought of introducing a shrewd shrew from the Labour camp [Delirium, New Street Off triq Il-Kbira - waiting for Godot].

Snippet Two: Critical Danger

But, back to critics, they sometimes include distinguished people (whether acting personally or not) [ok. a distinguished impersonal person or an undistinguished impersonal person or both], university lecturers, part-time university lecturers, a Luxembourger that smells of Gozo cheese (in the same way as I will forever smell of Mgarr eggs) [vide supra] and a number of other faceless didactic garrulous readers [hands up all you didactic garrulous readers out there]. All critics also have something in common - they all tend to play on the other side of the fence politically [which is greener, more coherent and tends to be that tad bit more modest].

The best compliment, however, was not published in your letters pages. It came through a group of chatters who employ their time [I pay my watch Lm1 an hour] writing via blogs, the result of which writings [the result of which writings = poetic license] usually reminds me of a three-day-old organic waste bin on a Maltese sunny afternoon. Otherwise it also reminds me of a cocktail of enzymes and proteins from which what is defined as "venom" (as discovered by Lucien Bonaparte) is produced this time from a collection of human bile [I think she means we do not like her writing].

I don't know, but it must have been either my femininity [erm... no] or my political [erm neither] or literary [erm... naaaaaaaaaah] wunderkind [do you actually possess a wunderkind or are you a wunderkind?] that triggered all this. But, to put it simply, it must have been my natural outright conspicuousness [ a bit better], that never and nowhere leaves me unnoticed [when it leaves her, it leaves her in a flurry of showiness], that has inspired in both my admirers and my critics a constant pet peeve and a fixation to turn me into a bete noire... an iconoclast [yes yes an iconoclast]. I can feel this as I fly above them wreathed in indifference as a fairy would flit [more like shelltox] through a noxious miasma [as against a healthy miasma - or is this dramatic hyperbole?]. The love-hate relationship with your readers [how could we hate you?] tends to attract them to me in the same way as Lucentio was attracted to Catherine [He was not... thanks Maltagirl ... "And in case Lorna happens to read this, I would point out that it was Petruchio who wanted Katerina".

Snippet Three: Miss Quote

And now for her forte... the shrewd shrew from the Labour camp voluntarily misquotes our very own Fausto... here is what Fausto said....
"I've grown to love Thursdays. Not all Thursdays, of course. Just those Thursdays when Lorna Vassallo writes in The Times. And it's not Vassallo's articles I care about; it's Jacques writing about Vassallo's writings."

and now for the literary wunderkind, political beacon and feminist icon....

"It is this that inspired one of my critics to say "I've grown to love Thursdays. Not all Thursdays of course. Just those Thursdays when Lorna Vassallo writes in the Times". Although he did go on to point out other things [other things??? you missed the point... or did you!!!], most of my critics' articles do contain tiring quotes of my articles [for once she is right] ad litteram [a quote tends to be so]."

Snippet Four: Fresh, Original and Entertaining

Apart from the fact that I always write fresh, original articles [phew. thank god... for a moment I thought someone else would get the blame] for your paper (and I do write them myself, believe me [we do Lorna, we do]) and never content myself [content myself ? apokope? elissi? injoranza akuta?] by translating from one language to another, (I swear [did you need to swear?]) I have given this a thought. I even collected statistics for the month of June with regard to contributions to The Times.

End of Snippets

Here the amusing columnist goes on to unilaterally redefine the standards of statistic gathering and analysis. The epitome of the statistical standard is the qualification of pro-party contributors... "that declare themselves publicly as such or pronounce themselves as such, have contested general elections with a party or have been gross financial beneficiaries thereof."

Now Lorna, we take note that you "highly esteem criticism" (sic or ad litteram) and that you do honestly believe that your contribution aids democracy, feminism, literature and labour. We are flattered that you found time to descend from the parnassian heights to explore the lowly depths of blogland (en masse) in the interests of the masses. For this we are grateful and will remain so. Not only that but I urge my fellow bloggers to take up pen and paper and to write to the esteemed editor of the Times urging him to listen to the Dame's plea. I will not turn this into "pounds and shillings terminology", just say please Mr Editor... give her more space.

I will expect in exchange that Miss V will be decent enough to put the address to J'Accuse or any other blog on her article whenever we are even so fleetingly mentioned. It is only fair.

Meanwhile we will go on pleasing our faceless didactic garrulous readers with our bilious cocktails of enthusiastic but amateurish writing. Good luck to Labour... with shrewd writers like these the only way is up.

Post Scriptum

* Thank you to all those who signalled the appearance of this article to me in the first place. Fausto, Maltagirl, Pierre Meilak, Twanny and Bananazzuro, as well as Doctor Antonio Tufigno.

* I also would like to say that I seriously found Lorna's reply decent (and entertaining) unlike for example the retorts from the rightists some time ago. I only regret one thing... that I am labelled as a nationalist. It is a label that is difficult to shed in this country and one that I guess I will have to live with for a long time... more about that in the next blog.

7 commentaires:

Antoine Cassar a dit…

The other side of the political fence is greener... I like that one!

Looking forward to reading about the "Nationalist label" and why it's so difficult to shed it.

Kenneth a dit…

Dik tat-telephone wisq e...

Hemm xi regola fit-Times li t?e??e? lill-artikolisti biex joqog?du jitkellmu fuq site imma mbag?ad ma jipprovdux link g?aliha? Id-Dame bil-blogg tieg?ek u b'ta' Fausto, il-Bocca bil-VivaMalta, u nibqg?u sejrin hekk. Jew forsi din tal-links a?na ("faceless didactic garrulous readers") biss imdorrijin biha?

PS. ?asra Brad Pitt g?andu l-influenza, g?ax kien jit?ajjar i?emplilha wkoll, b?alm'g?amlu (f'ordni kronolo?ika hekk kif imsemmija i?da mhux ne?essarjament ad litteram): il-?afna, il-Professuri tal-Bigilla u dawk li ?assewhom tant illuminati bl-Ingli? tag?ha illi sa?ansitra ?assew il-?tie?a, forsi anke dik i?-?erta kilba ta' l-istint, li jikkongratulawha ta' l-Ingli?.

PS2. Din daqsi taf t?obbu t-thesaurus milli jidher.

PSta'l-ahhar,promis. A?jar ?ibt ?ew? ?bejniet 'l haw!

nigredo a dit…

Anonyme a dit…

Dear Jacques (or should I say..Dear Ex lecturer)..

I hope you are enjoying it in Luxembourg. I come to Luxembourg every now and then when I have to attend to those horrible meetings at Bach Building..Eurostat.

Any way...I enjoy reading both the times (especially on thursdays) and your comments a couple of hours later..

Its nice to hear that you pay your watch Lm1 an hour...I guess i`m going to send mine for an internship.

...are you going to start a petixin with regards to the article mentioned above? In Malta we have harry tal-hodor (quoting Mr Lowell) inviting us to sign il-petixin tal-ligi tal-kera. Not that I`m against it mind you...

keep it up..


Anonyme a dit…

its me again...

let me correct myself...its Bech building....not bach...ghax naqla worning min shabna tal-jurostat.


MaltaGirl a dit…

Thank-you Jacques for a fantastic start to my day... haven't laughed this much in a while. Thanks for the links too :-)

Mr. King: "Stuff like your paper of news goes in Bin Six, Low Grade Paper Waste. I sells most of that to Bob Holtely up in Five and Seven Yard."
William: "What does he do with it?"
Mr. King: "Pulps it for lavatory paper. The wife swears by it. Pers'nly I cut out the middleman."

from The Truth by Terry Pratchett

Kenneth a dit…

Trid tid?ol g?all-competition! Ejja! ?allik mix-xog?ol t'avikot.