December 15, 2003
J.M. Coetzee Is Crazy

coetzee.jpgJust because you've won the Nobel Prize doesn't mean you're sane. In fact, it's likely the opposite is true. But recent Nobel laureate J.M Coetzee outstrips even the typical idiosyncrasies we have come to expect from our literary geniuses.

Of course, there is Coetzee's creepy author photograph - monastic jawline, tropically open collar, glazed expression. This is the most frightening silver fox I have ever seen. In personal detail, Coetzee is slippery, a quality that is politely referred to as academic reserve. The first two volumes of his memoirs, Boyhood and Youth are written in the third person. Coetzee delivered his Nobel lecture in the authorial voice of Robinson Crusoe. Take a look at his latest masterpiece, Elizabeth Costello. It's exhibit A in any case against Coetzee's tenuous relationship with reality.

But J.M Coetzee is not alone. In fact, he shares company with a wealth of crazed writers using the first initial J.' Consider:

J.G. Ballard - Author of various perversions, cf. Crash, Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan,' and The Assassination of JFK Imagined as a Downhill Race.'

J.T. LeRoy - Cross-dressing former truck-stop whore. Friend of Winona. Purveyor of raccoon penis bones.

J. Peterman - Presumed author of maniacal colonialist fantasias. Bankrupt clothier.

J. Edgar Hoover - Cross-dressing FBI director. Author of rambling, paranoiac memos. Suspected Mad Magazine as part of the international Communist conspiracy.

J.K Rowling - Witchy woman. Wiccan propagandist. Single mother.

J. Lo - Wrote the following treacle for her anthem Dear Ben' : I love you, you're perfect/A manifestation of my dreams.'

J.R.R. Tolkien - Creator of an ornate alternate universe. Smoked pipe.

J.D. Salinger - Recluse. Maintains questionable dietary habits. Made his nineteen-year-old girlfriend cry, anorexic.

And compare those oddities with the eminently staid writers using, for example, the first initial A':

A.M. Holmes - Comely Connecticut housewife type. WASP.

A.S. Byatt - Reserved British writer of studied period pieces. Self-described post-modern Victorian.'

A.R. Ammons - Real-estate salesman turned poet. Bald. Affirmed the magnificence of creation.

A.A. Milne - Creator of the marvelously sedate Winnie-the-Pooh. Active religious and pacifist figure.

And then of course there's the lethal combination A' and J':

A.J. Benza - Obscurity, ain't it a bitch?

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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