Friday, October 20, 2006

I Love to Hate Jonathan Franzen

Dear Chicken Butt,

I don't know why, but I was struck with wild joy when I read Daniel Mendelsohn's skewering of Jonathan Franzen's latest "book" of essays, The Discomfort Zone in the New York Times Book Review. I've disliked this author ever since his dissing of Oprah and subsequent articles detailing his pretentious life and writing process. I read some of The Corrections, thought it was okay, more like a really long book. He's not the worst or best I've ever read, but why do I hate him so much? It's an intense emotion and with little foundation.

--Hate and the City

Dear Hans-und-Franzen,

On sight hatred is okay and it's a free country. Not to plant a bad seed, but maybe this intense emotion is caused by some past life. Mayhap you and Jonathan duked it out over the love of a medieval lady. Whatever the case may be, it's good practice to develop concrete reasons for this hatred--as Franzen didn't really do when poo-pooing O's book club.

Poor Chicken Butt was asked tonight why she hated Michael Chick-less of The Shield. She couldn't explain why but instead poked and scratched for the young bartender rooster, whose love of action movies rivaled hers. Chicken Butt had no good reason for hating Michael Chick-less. She just hated him--he's bald, when everyone is freaking bald these days, and he's so ruff-n-tuff because of his shaved head, and ooh, he carries around a shield. Isn't that enough? Apparently not. Chicken Butt can't stand Jennifer Jason Leigh either and squawks every time she sees the crazy twitch on a screen. Has to avert her eyes for Brian Dennehey films. Thinks the Pussycat Dolls are empty and RIDICULOUS as entertainment. Never totally got into the Beatles! Stop me before I dig myself deeper.

Franzen may deserve ridicule, but arm yourself if you want to defend your right to despise. Once you acquire more insight into your hate and its object, secretly join me in a chicken dance of loathing. If we loved everyone, we'd be...well...God.

--CB

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