November 17, 2003
Sign O' The Times

amis.jpgPoor Marty Amis. His latest novel, Yellow Dog, has garnered the nastiest notices of an otherwise charmed career. The first, and loudest, of these reviews came from crap novelist Tibor Fischer, disemboweling Amis in a career-making piece for the Daily Telegraph. “It's like your favourite uncle being caught in a school playground, masturbating,” he soberly notes.

Could any novel really be "masturbating uncle" bad?

It's true, Amis walks into his typical traps. There are the hugely unfortunate sentences:

And, to Xan, this poem of boredom was like a douche of self-discovery.

Or even better:

…for the first time in his life he was contemplating the human vulva with a sanity that knew no blindspots…

There are too the rampant pontification and cheerless self-importance, but these failings have been forgivable in the past, even part of what makes Amis great. But lately it would appear that Amis is guilty of a sin even worse than plagiarizing one’s own mediocre think-piece from Talk Magazine.

Mister Amis has become uncool – enfant terrible grown ancien regime or further evidence of Sick Boy’s Unifying Theory of Life. Even the typically high-minded Walter Kirn accuses Amis of using tactics that “might have raised eyebrows 50 years ago…” And in Amis’ universe, uncool is a capitol crime.

Evidence of Amis’ complete dissociation from contemporary culture has played out lately amid his spacy declarations concerning the internet. Confer Grandpa Amis’ recent nap on "Topic A with Tina Brown," in which he explains, “I’ve never looked at [the internet], because I don’t know how to use a computer,” here Tina politely chuckles, “and I’m often quite relieved that I can’t.”

Hardly a crime, but based on the evidence, perhaps it would be best for Amis to avoid including the transcripts of emails, or “e’s” as Amis labels them, in any future novels. Amis’ fictionalized e-mail exchanges feature lines more suggestive of a Prince song than any correspondence I’ve ever received. Below are excerpts from "Yellow Dog’s" "e’s" alongside some fakes. Can you separate the real crap from the fake?

& i no [email protected] if i ever find some1 2 spend the rest of my days with…

y o y, clint, do people use 6 2 infl8 their own gr&iosity?

tell u l8r. just u w8 & c.

u should go @ it 40ssimo

& per4ms the usual r&y stunts with a lady-in-w8ing!

4 him, the sun shone out of my *…

[Answer Key: They're all real.]

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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