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I think he is the inverse of me – Rakoff likely comes off much better in person. I have no idea why they didn’t work aside from the fact that they didn’t work.“I Can’t Get That for You Wholesale” is a big ol’ who cares of an article about his experiences in the fashion industry (Lagerfeld’s response to Rakoff – “What can you write that hasn’t been written already? “Morning in America” which discusses the television show Good Morning America and the folks who flock to the windows to wave when the cameras pan their way seemed sort of… It was meant to be a post-9/11 observational piece but it just doesn’t work.Availability: Published in Doubleday in 2005, you can find a copy here: Comments: It feels weird not liking this book as much as I wanted to like it. A.” wherein he discusses participating in a night-time scavenger hunt in Manhattan. As an essay it leaves the reader with a “well, what was the point of that” sensation.
The best essay in the book is undoubtedly “Beat Me, Daddy,” where the openly gay, quite liberal Rakoff speaks to and muses over the motivations of Log Cabin Republicans.
As someone who gets way the hell lost in that sort of mixed allegiance, I have to say that not even Rakoff cleared this up for me but the article is both informative and funny.
I think part of the problem with the book is that I wanted to hear him speak these essays consisting of looks into his life or his mundane but witty observations, though that certainly is not the whole of it. This is certainly a “your mileage may vary” statement, but take, for example, his essay “J. “Martha, My Dear,” wherein Rakoff tells of his own craftiness, has the same problems.
Rakoff’s extremely dry wit comes across better vocally than on the printed page. A couple of the essays suffer from aof ambivalence.
I think where this book broke down for me was that I could feel when Rakoff had a passion for what he was writing and when he was just observing with amusement.
People observe with amusement all day long – the blogosphere is full of such pleasant inanities, however well-written many of them may be.Amusing observations need to be outright hilarious when sifted through a writer’s verbiage or they need to be left on Blogger. He is deeply witty, and clever as hell, and when those two elements combine with a passion for a topic, his writing is engrossing.Otherwise, it isn’t much to write home about unless one is listening to him speak it in that intoxicating, serene voice of his.The opening essay, “Love It or Leave It” is Rakoff’s remembrance of becoming an American.He decides in the days after 9/11 that he needs finally to make the conversion from Canuck to Yank, mainly in order to be able to vote against George W.Rakoff sums up the whole thing beautifully: Such abject masochims may make for great Billie Holiday songs – it kind of ain’t nobody’s business if Lady Day is beat up by her papa: he isn’t hoping to pack the courts with anti-choice troglodytes or to defund social security – but the Log Cabin blues have ramifications beyond the merely personal.It might be a price they are willing to pay for the sweet lovin’ they feel they’re getting from the rest of the GOP package, but I didn’t sign on to get knocked around by someone else’s abusive boyfriend.The streets would likely be running with blood, and such moral gray areas as might have existed will seem either so beside the point that I will join the fight, or so terrifying and appallingly beyond the pale that I’d either already be dead or underground. ” His sly observational humor was not reserved only for the Bush family, but also poking fun at himself for leaving out “under God” when he recited the Pledge of Allegiance.Interestingly, people bitched about Rakoff’s extensive vocabulary, mostly in this article because those who would complain about such things likely didn’t make it past this the first essay, but when I read people complain about Rakoff using big ol’ words, I could not help but think, “USA! His subtle voice is also better heard in “Wildman.” Rakoff takes a lecture tour in Brooklyn, hosted by Steve Brill, who is evidently a vegan expert on foraging for edible plants.So when I bought this book, I thought I was buying another book written by the PC Guy. On “This American Life”, I think.” And I was right.It wasn’t until I was into the first essay that I realized, “Hey. So it was mistaken literary identity that led me to this book but then I realized I did know the author and had some small amount of affection for him so I kept reading it. “Whatsizface,” Rakoff’s tale of meeting with plastic surgeons in order for them to tell him what they would do to improve his appearance has all the earmarks of a wonderful over-dinner conversation.