Friday, December 21, 2007

E.B White

I've just finished reading "E.B White; Writings from the New Yorker" and want to suggest it to anyone in need of something smart, charming, whimsical and beautiful to read. E.B White is probably best known for his children's books; Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and the Trumpet of the Swan (which has a special place in my heart because Eric and I read it to one another over the phone while we were doing the long distance thing). This book is a collection of the many unsigned articles he wrote for The New Yorker over the years. (Pictured beside White above is his beloved dachshund Fred. Mr. White said "Of all the dogs whom I have served I've never known one who understood so much of what I say or held it with such deep contempt." Must have been love.)

As I was reading, it occurred to me that these articles would make the most delightful blog. White's articles are exactly the sort of thing I'd like to read first thing in the morning, coffee in hand, still a little bewildered at the sharp contrast between asleep and awake. His thoughts are like a fresh breeze blowing in the window; clean, cheerful, invigorating. I would love to be able to write like this old gent. He's so dapper and bemused!

They are just his little thoughts about the city, the country, politics, advertising, art, news. The life around him. I had a terrible time choosing my favorite excerpt to share with you, but this one (like a suprising number of others) seemed completely relevant today. Enjoy!

"Advertisers are the interpreters of our dreams-Joseph interpreting for Pharaoh. Like the movies, they infect the routine futility of our days with purposeful adventure. Their weapons are our weaknesses: fear, ambition, illness, pride, selfishness, desire, ignorance. And these weapons must be kept bright as a sword. We rise to eat a breakfast cereal which will give us strength for the tasks of the day; we vanquish the excesses of our night with an alkaline fizz; we cleanse our gums, stifle our bad odors, adorn our diseased bodies, and go forth to conquer-cheered on with a thousand slogans devices, lubrications... We live by fiction. By fiction alone can Man get through the day."

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