I posted a series of ‘Quintonians’ a while back, Quintonians being anti-soundbites, or rather the things people would be least likely to say. What triggers the urge to Quintonianize, for me, is the point at which people become too like themselves, the shift beyond self-parody that occurs when Charlie Chaplin enters a Chaplin lookalike competition and loses, that kind of thing.
I see one such moment in the current issue of Poetry magazine, where Rick Moody (Dale Peck’s ‘worst writer of his generation’) begins a short piece with the words ‘Any story of knowing Susan Wheeler is, perforce, a story that falls back on ekphrasis, the Greek rhetorical figure for poetry that describes the visual arts.’
Perforce? Forsooth. Woman who serves Susan Wheeler her black coffee at the diner when she comes in to read the paper in the morning, how do you see this leading poet of her generation? ‘As Derrida wrote of Heidegger’s ekphrasis in Being and Time…’ Come off it.
I’d better do some Quintonians to calm myself down.
Gerry Adams: ‘The great thing about the peace process is how I never need to be on the television anymore and can get back to being an over-promoted town councillor from a minor Irish province.’
Roy Keane: ‘As I was telling the lads on a character-building pub-crawl last night, I can buy all the third-rate strikers and washed-up cases I want but this team is going straight back down, by which time I’ll be managing Ireland or even United anyway, so it’s not like I care.’
Martin O’Neill: ‘Yes I have been wearing the same terrible pair of glasses for the last twenty years now for a bet, which I’d have you know I’ve just won.’
George Galloway: ‘My conversion to the Islamist cause came after the eye-opening, life-changing discovery of how hot, how incredibly hot Muslim babes are in the sack.’
Barack Obama: ‘Soccer moms of
Woody Allen: ‘Having watched in something akin to an out-of-body state as my movies got worse and worse over the last two decades, I was relieved when that piece of overblown pretentious guff I turned out recently in my much-heralded return to fiction was passed on by the New Yorker, sparing me yet another public humiliation.’
Neil Astley: ‘Poetry having inexplicably yet demonstrably ceased to be the vibrant and exciting art form it once was, we have reverted with immediate effect to 1960s-style book covers, minus author photos and biographies, the better to serve the priggish and easily frightened middle-class readership that remain poetry’s core audience.’