"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can’t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling – but nice.”
Okay, I'll take a stab at it.
1) Tolkien. It's not that I have anything against The Lord of the Rings: The parts of the series I've seen on cable have been engaging, but the whole thing just goes on, doesn't it? I tried reading The Hobbit during an earlier Middle Earth craze but didn't get far, and don't see myself trying to master Elvish any time soon.
2) Monday Night Football, and big-time football in general: I believe George Will wrote an article once detailing all the unattractive components of American culture embodied in the Super Bowl. (Or maybe it was George Carlin.) There have been times, when the Pats have not been in the game, when I have prided myself on not watching a bit of the spectacle on TV, opting instead for a Home Run Derby marathon (a couple years), an Andy Griffith marathon (another year) and a Jewel in the Crown marathon (another). I tip my hat to the Pats and what they've accomplished. But where Hot Stove League chatter about baseball always holds my interest, off-season banter about football draft pick strategy has me reaching for the channel switcher pronto.
3) Hagiographic odes to Ronald and Nancy Reagan. I've come around to appreciating the Gipper's accomplishments as president, particularly in foreign affairs. But sentimental reveries on Ronnie and Mommy tend to be lost on me.
4) Marilyn Monroe: Picking up on a theme earlier sounded by the LlamaButchers: At a time when you had the likes of Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn or, say, Pier Angeli around, how did MM get placed in the celestial pantheon? Try sitting through The Misfits, sometime: of the two main actresses, Thelma Ritter ultimately is the one you'd want to take home, and that's saying something.
Not sure about # 5. Given my contrarian streak, I could go on about any number of items – country music post-Patsy Cline, say, or golf beyond nine holes, or the papacy of Paul VI – but I'll stop here, and if anything particularly pressing strikes me, I'll add it.