‘Why is “Lolita” considered a literary classic?’

I wouldn’t consider Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita a classic or say there’s more value to it than in a Michael Bay film.

It’s an impressive technical achievement, and it’s formally beautiful; if that justifies its existence, I don’t see how that’s enough to justify its study.

I once read an essay arguing that if there were a story about someone obsessed with chopping off dicks, it wouldn’t matter how gorgeous the prose was: no one would assign it. Instead, this is about lusting after and raping a young girl, so we can call it literature. If hedged, ‘provocative literature’.

There’s a lot of literature that’s beautifully written. This one in particular is studied because it allows people to lust after a teenage girl under the pretense of art, from within the gaze a sexual predator they’re allowed to empathize with without feeling guilty of it themselves.

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We have to grade the past on a curve but not the present

Mother’s concern of ‘divided nation’ forces school to pull classic books

ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY) —Two classic American novels have been temporarily pulled from book shelves in Accomack County Public Schools.

Superintendent Warren Holland confirmed to 10 On Your Side that a parent filed a complaint about “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Continue reading “We have to grade the past on a curve but not the present”

After 20 years, ‘Oz’ has lost most of its magic

The other day I started watching the HBO series Oz. Going in, my expectations were that it was a serious drama from the late 1990s with a brutal depiction of prison life including lots of sexual assault and violence but altogether of high quality.

That’s not unwarranted, but through four seasons it’s mainly been interesting because it’s so completely a product of its era that it feels like it was produced in another country.

Continue reading “After 20 years, ‘Oz’ has lost most of its magic”

And the King James Bible turns 400 this year

The other day, someone posted a comment on the online version of my column regarding a passing sort of mention to Pentecost.

“I was really digging this until the Biblical reference. Fantastic way to isolate everyone but your Christian readers.”

Continue reading “And the King James Bible turns 400 this year”