Sunday, August 29, 2004


Jeffrey Simpson has hit the nail right on the head with his uncommon look at the overabundance of self-indulgent hooey [not to be confused with hoo-ha] being published in a widespread and ongoing manner, wittily presented as a snappy repartée between he and his 'Uncle Fred of Gabriola Island'. While using the 'autobiography-cum-memoir' as a vehicle for his cheeky piece, Simpson learns from Uncle Fred that the 'look-at-me!' syndrome is present in other forms of media [e.g. journalism, television], and that "20 per cent of all non-fiction books this fall are by people writing about themselves". Quite a remarkable albeit believable statistic, that.

The key word that Simpson throws aptly about is banality, of which there is no shortage in light of all this logorrhoea. Günther Grass once wisely remarked that "the sheer volume of information dissolves the information. We are unable to take it all in". This conclusion suggests that we are able to take in some of the information. Yet with the present day glut of so-called information in its many incarnations, this sentiment needs to be updated: what dissolves the information is banality. It would follow, then, that we are still unable to take it all in, but what exactly is it that we are taking in? Whatever it is, I suspect that it is less edifying than it is dubious.

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