Outdone By the Television Listings
“Come to an art party in Bushwick,” said the bright-eyed young hipsters, the wide-eyed young poets, the starry-eyed young lovers. “You can read a poem.”
I found a poem. It was a found poem. I stomped through the snow. I read it while the sleet drummed stacatto outside, on all the hard surfaces of the next industrial neighborhood to fall. The sleet fell on all the neighborhoods, newly and long-gentrified alike.
This was the poem I found, the found poem:
I am giving up writing, because I am 27, and I never wanted to be a writer as much as I wanted to be a rock star, but was not very musical, and I’ve noticed that when they reach my age many of the greatest rock stars simply drown, either in swiftly moving rivers or pools of their own vomit.
I am giving up writing because it is not an aerobic activity and does not double as exercise.
I am giving up writing because I’ve maxed out my typing speed at 90 w.p.m and English is an imperialist language.
I am giving up writing because it is lonely.
I am giving up writing because I was not part of the Allied Advance in Europe, and I harbor a secret and irrational belief that it is by experiencing the Allied forces’ invasion of Europe that one becomes a great writer.
But most of all I am giving up writing because I will never write anything as insightful or illuminating as the New York Times‘ one-line reviews of all the movies showing on television in the greater metropolitan area one recent Sunday.
Asian hit man teams up with passport forger. Sleek but empty.
The straight-to-video sequel.
Actor-cabdriver agrees to kill stalker.
Magazine editor and cargo pilot stranded. Island looks great.
The Da Vinci Code for beginners, with Declaration of Independence as guide. Ludicrous.
Deadly monsters hunt explorer station in Carpathian Mountain cavern maze. Rock-bottom horror.
Genial shaggy-dog tale of extraterrestrial in Harlem.
Crack dealer tries to go straight. Bloody and occasionally ridiculous.
An architect falls for the spirit of a comatose woman.
A black woman develops a budding romance with a white man.
A British earl advocates rehabilitating a child murderer.
A hopeless romantic faces many obstacles in her courtship.
Divorcing scientists chase tornadoes. Fantastic roller-coaster ride.
A student poses as her twin brother.
Voidemort lays a trap for Harrry at the Triwizard Tournament.
A drug dealer turns to rap music for salvation.
Widow becomes frantic when 6-year-old daughter vanishes during trans-Atlantic flight. Thrill-free thriller.
A playright fears a scathing review from a powerful critic.
The agony of Jesus’ final 12 hours, relentlessly, brutally portrayed.
New York bachelor meets mermaid. Sweet and sassy caper.
Dimwit silent-screen-star trio fall into Mexican adventure. Cheerful idiocy.
Rich man and poor man swap lives. Fast, lavish, likable farce.
An Algerian fights French colonial exploitation.
Out-of-control St. Bernard mixed up with well-mannered one.
Disease movie with bike racing. Artificial.
Young man with pruning shears for fingers. Clever, effective parable.
Appealing fantasy of rejuvenated Florida retirees. Don’s supporting Oscar.
Elderly couples from problem-free planet with unfinished business on Earth. Tired material, gallant actors.
Sly, vivid portrait of Ray Charles’s rise to the top of the charts.
Teenage ex-con struts his prison cool at new school.
Two twisted bank robbers punish three teen boys for fouling up their heist.
Guilt-ridden cop with nowhere to turn. Grimy and entertaining.
The sociopathic, talented Mr. Ripley, many years later. Darkly comic thriller.
Stranger steals woman’s identity and runs up huge debt.
A woman begins a frantic search for her newborn.
Deliveryman stalks woman who cut him off in traffic.
Siblings learn their family history involved the occult.
Dismissed nurse sues hospital.
Strangers offered $1 million to spend night in scary mansion. Junky remake.
Another Mafia blockbuster. In some ways, even better than the original.
Cold-eyed, breathless, brilliant.
Capote’s depression-era orphan and Southern spinster cousins. Poignant.
Stories concern a minister and an HIV-positive drifer.
Small-town pizzeria owner inherits $40 billion.
California sorority princess goes to Harvard.
Imaginative drinker and giant, invisible rabbit.
Multiple-murder stage romp, bowdlerized.
Rejected honeymooner finds solace with free-spirited woman. Chemistry fizzles; comedy was flat to begin with.
Two single New York parents meet, argue and fall in love. Sunny fluff.