We Pontificate, As Is Our Wont, on the Perils of Sentimentality

Well! Turns out we just had a very bad cold. We do tend a bit toward the melodramatic, as you may have noticed. Not our fault! Only child! We became somewhat confused between all the helpful naturopathic remedies offered us by our dear readers, and ended up chasing our Nyquil with bourbon (when in doubt, sterilize) which seems to have worked out fine. At any rate, our brush with death afforded us an excellent opportunity to spend a happy Saturday lolling about in our pajamas, reading an entire book from cover to cover (EEEEE!!! THE LUXURY!) and demanding our Support Team watch Reality Bites with us; during viewing of said film, we made a Strange Discovery.

Author-friends, we have not seen Reality Bites since we were fourteen; but we DISTINCTLY REMEMBER it as being a lovely and winsome little film, perfectly capturing the slacker glamour of an Adult Life we could only hope to attain. The debauched evenings! The Companions Who Understand! The agonizing choice between Fiscal Stability and the deliciously tormented Ethan Hawke, epitome of grunge-era masculine delight! Well, here's the Strange Discovery: Reality Bites is a TERRIBLE MOVIE. Really, epically, TERRIBLE. Plot? Contrived. Romantic tension? Forced. Conflict? Pathetic, totally unsympathetic, of absolutely no interest whatsoever. Ethan Hawke? GOOD LORD. We spent the entire first half of the movie shrieking WHEN IS SOMEONE GOING TO MAKE HIM WASH HIS GODDAMN HAIR until even our normally unflappable Support Team threatened us with physical restraint. (We also distinctly remembered Reality Bites as set in Seattle and prominently featuring the pulchritudinous Badmotorfinger -era Chris Cornell, until we realized we were confusing it with Singles , which makes us feel as though dementia may be setting in early, but that is neither here nor there).

Why are we telling you this, Author-friends? Let our example serve to you as a Warning on the Pitfalls of Unexamined Nostalgia and Sentimentality. We see all sorts of queries from persons wishing to evoke the halcyon days of one bygone era or another (confidential to the people who keep sending "Steve" queries for novels about the charms of the antebellum South: knock that shit off, it's CREEPY), but let us remember that any great novel which evokes said nostalgia also manages in some way to undermine or critique it (Gatsby, anyone?). You may consider yourself excused from this rule if you are a nineteenth-century Frenchman; but in that case, you are also dead, which makes writing a novel somewhat difficult (INSERT VAMPIRE/DAN BROWN/SARAH PALIN JOKE HERE). There is really no era in human history in which things didn't suck for at least a few people, and while we do not necessarily subscribe to the theorem that Fiction cannot be Great if it is not Depressing (ANGELA CARTER!), we do vehemently insist that you proceed with caution into the territory of the twee rosy past. Sometimes things we remember (as a person, or as a culture) as being marvelous really were that marvelous; Eric's Trip, for example, is every bit as awesome now as they were when we were fifteen. But tread with caution, dear Author-friends, upon the Florid Path of Memory.

After that bout of Pretension we shall return shortly to our regular programming of incoherent tirades and rabid foaming. We love you, Author-friends!