Monday, December 19, 2005
Quintonians, An Occasional Series
I often wonder if the problem with my books isn't that upper middle-class academics just aren't very interesting people
Quintonians is a game invented by Iris Murdoch, and involves imagining the least likely thing someone would say.
Some opening suggestions.
George Steiner: 'The great thing about late period Wittgenstein is how crystal-clear and, in fact, quite simple it is when you think about it.'
Ron Silliman: 'Isn't it funny how having 700 bloglinks on my website makes post-avant poetry look strangely like a mirror image of the bloated consumer culture I hate so much? Well, with that in mind, I've decided to reduce them to the half dozen that are really worth reading.'
Judith Butler: 'Next semester's course will feature no reference to questions of gender, sexuality, the body, the psychoanalytic and the performative. Don't you think I've said enough about all those already?'
Tom Paulin: 'The important thing about Ian Paisley is that, in a just world, no one outside Ballymena would have heard of this jumped-up provincial bigot.'
Andrew Motion: 'The big problem with poetry these days is that way too many people are reading it.'
Melanie Phillips: 'The seeing to I got from that bloke I met down the pub last night has opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking about drugs and promiscuous sex.'
Every Irish Studies academic who ever lived: 'Having said all I wanted to say about Ireland in my last book, I'm now turning my attention to the comparable, and probably much more interesting example of another minor European nation state like Slovakia or Belarus.'
Harold Pinter: 'The USA isn't so bad really. I mean, if Russia or China ran the world then we really would be fucked.'
John McGahern: 'What you've got to remember about Ireland back then is that it was run by complete bastards and sadists. I hated every last one of them and forgive nobody.'
Mark Steyn: 'Why do I always go on about Muslims in my columns? Because I hate them and wish they could all be deported. Next question.'
Mark Steyn, pt 2: 'If white European Christians in the welfare-addicted EU don't want to reproduce themselves, so what? They've had their turn. It's time someone else had a chance, like the Muslims for instance.'
Helen Vendler: 'You used to be so great, Seamus, but I thought your new book was a bit crap, to be honest.'
Tony Harrison: 'Dropping in on mam and dad, I found them discussing Kathy Acker over an Indian takeaway. No change there then.'
Alan Bennett: 'Noticing how this whole Northern childhood thing was getting out of hand, and fearing the effects on me in adulthood, my mother decided to relocate to Watford.'
Eavan Boland: 'I personally wouldn't care to feature in any anthology of women-only writers, would you?'
Seamus Heaney: 'The problem with growing up in the countryside was the chronic shortage of anywhere that did a good latte.'
Any Sky News or Five Live reporter: 'You. Know. The. Way. I. Put. Full. Stops. Between. My. Words? That's. Because. I'm. A. Moron.'