Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oprah, Beckett, and the Triumph of the Human Spirit

Oh, Oprah! We can always count on you for a good chuckle when it comes to your book club. The pimping of Toni Morrison, the catastrophe of Jonathan Franzen, the embarrassment of James Frey, and the colonizing of Cormac McCarthy's fame....What fun-filled mayhem do you have in store now?

Well, if you've seen a recent article on her Website, one titled "Five Books Everyone Should Read at Least Once," by Vince Passaro, you'll know that she (or her evil cohorts) has her eye on that lovable and indefatigable champion of human optimism, Samuel Beckett. Here is what Oprah...uh, I mean Passaro...says about Waiting for Godot, one of the five must-read books in all of human history, according to Oprah's media empire:

"We need to remember that just because we're sad, that doesn't mean we're not also marvelously comical and transcendently courageous."

Is this a description of Beckett's famous existential play, the inside of a Hallmark card, or a blurb from a summer blockbuster movie? Hmmmm....hard to say. Let's see, Beckett wrote such "transcendently" uplifting texts as How It Is, Endgame, Happy Days, Ill Seen Ill Said, Molloy, Malone Dies, and Worstward Ho. Yep, guess Passaro, AKA Oprah's minion, is talking about Beckett alright.

Oh, Oprah, will you ever stop doing those wacky things you do with books?

Much thanks to my friend, Margaret Peña, for alerting me to this little bit of faux literary goodness.

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