Thursday, February 18, 2021

'Five Hundred Pages of Mental Masochism'

We lost power around 2 a.m. Wednesday and it returned, defying all expectations, fifteen hours later. We still have no water service and I’m sorely in need of a shower. We spent the day in bed with multiple blankets and comforters, a dog and two cats. Have you ever tried reading a book while wearing winter gloves? On my bedside table were two collections of Kipling stories – Debits and Credits (1926), Limits and Renewals (1932) --  and a collection of humor pieces, Of All Things (1921), by Robert Benchley. Both are writers I loved as a kid, though my taste for Benchley has faded. Still, I found a few laughs. In “The Scientific Scenario,” he complains that movies have become too lowbrow. He suggests they be based on “sterner stuff”:

“I would suggest as a book, from which a pretty little scenario might be made, The Education of Henry Adams. This volume has had a remarkable success during the past year among the highly educated classes. Public library records show that more people have lied about having read it than any other book in a decade. It contains five hundred pages of mental masochism, in which the author tortures himself for not getting anywhere in his brain processes.”

Not a bad critique of the miserable old anti-Semite.

No comments: