Saturday, February 18, 2006

Peter Craven on Peter Craven

Hi. I'm Peter Craven, intellectual.

You might remember me from such articles as 'Peter Craven on Proust', 'Peter Craven explains what the dickens Dickens is about', 'Peter Craven gives the absolute, ultimate, and definitive explanation of Shakespeare', and 'Some guy you've never heard of who wrote a bunch of book reviews that you'll never read, and Peter Craven.'
But enough about all those other people. This time, I'm here to review a much more interesting subject. Myself.

Now the first thing about Peter Craven (that's me) that you (the reader) are going to have to remember is that I'm really smart. Like, phenomenally smart. I'm so smart that whole cities have to be evacuated when I have a thought, because of the movement of my stupendously large brain-cells. This means that from time to time, I throw in a few big words into my review. It's obvious, really: big words for big thoughts. So here's how my review starts.

"Taken as a whole, Peter Craven's work is truly, astonishingly, omnipotently pure."

See? How do you like that? Not bad for a beginning, is it? I'm not surprised if you're impressed by that. I'm an impressive guy who writes impressive things.
But that's not all there is to me. I'm also an astonishingly funny person. I'm a wit, you see? I'm here to say quirky or funny things about literature, in order to make you look at it in a different way. Which leads me to my next paragraph:

"The ouevre of Craven's genre is exemplary. His progressively avant garde criticism is a cri de couer from the heart of all belles lettres, a 'barbaric yawp' across the ages. And his bon mots are extremely tasty, too."

I hope you notice not only the ingenious way in which I win you (the reader) over to my (Peter Craven, the reviewer) position with my natural charm, but also the professional way in which I display my credentials. The perfectly-honed prose seems to say: "Here I Am, Peter Craven, Intellectual: At Your Service." Or at least it would say that if it didn't say something else (I'm still not sure what that something else is.) Anyway, the point is by now well and truly established. I'm a clever guy.

"The orotund complexities of his prose - the baroque magniloquence of his orotund complexities. The rolling grandeur of his apostrophes - and scintillating brilliance of his strophes: he is never more truly himself than in his obfuscations."

Isn't that a clever paragraph? I thought it was, too. You see the trick? I use big words which make myself sound important. And that's because I am important! See?
But there's another good bit here too. And the good bit is this: although I'm a world-class reviewer, I never actually MENTION the books I review in my articles. Not once! That might seem a bit deceptive of me, but I'll let you into a secret. A good reviewer never DOES mention the books he is reviewing. Oh, it might seem like he does; he says 'this' and 'that' and 'what have you' about the authors. But does he ever actually quote the book? Does he ever actually engage with the writing? Does he ever? Does he, FUCK!
No, the trick is to just make it look like he's engaging with the book. Because reading books is actually pretty boring. It's much more interesting to re-write the book EXACTLY THE WAY YOU (or me, in this case) would write it (if you were writing it in first place (and you shouldn't be (unless you're me (and I am)))).

Actually - I'll let you in on another secret. I'm thinking of writing reviews of all the classics as a way of rewriting the classics. Then I'll get myself published in Penguin books. I've got a whole series all planned out.

Great Expectations (fails to live up to the title)

Romeo and Juliet (Thank God the fuckers killed themselves)

Phallus in Chunderland (The significance of Lewis Carroll to Modern Australian Literature)

The Bible - Where God Went Wrong: Craven explains.

Craven's Epistle to the Philistines

'James Joyce's 'Ulysses'' - by Craven

The New New Testament

Once I've written all these incredibly insightful and complicated reviews, you'll never need to read 'literature' again. And once my reviews become the new 'literature', you'll never want to read it either! Isn't that nice of me?

Anyway, here's the concluding section of my review.

"Yes, truly, Peter Craven is most sagacious."

And it's true, isn't it? Go on. Don't hold back!


At 10:49 PM, Blogger Tim said...

That's rather good, not to mention accurate. I love the bracket pile-up.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger TimT said...

It started off as a humble two-bracket sentence, but I saw it's potential, and encouraged it until it became a great four-bracket sentence.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger JPW said...

Brilliant! I never thought of Craven that way, but you're right: he is a genius. I can't believe I never saw it.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger TimT said...

There was a great photograph of Craven in The Australian the other week that I wanted to use for this; him looking all very high falutin' and pretentious, gazing ostentatiously down upon all the humble readers. He writes the most awful waffle, and presumably he's able to churn out great volumes of the stuff, because he gets published regularly by both the Fairfax and Murdoch papers. But none of it is worth reading.

What I find worst is the arrogance of his reviews; he's always explaining why some author is 'great', but never actually deigns to quote from the book, or offer an actual example of how he's engaged with the author. This means his articles are always full of vaguely descriptive passages which could easily be applied to anything that was written, anywhere in the world.

Peter Craven makes me angry. Grrrrr!

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous TimT said...

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your praise. Except for you, TimT. Geeze, are you wearing the crankypants this morning, or what?

And now that I come to think about it (and I think about it all the time), I am a genius, aren't I? Yes, you are. Oh, thank you. You're too kind.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Peter Craven said...

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your praise. Except for you, TimT. Geeze, are you wearing the crankypants this morning, or what?

And now that I come to think about it (and I think about it all the time), I am a genius, aren't I? Yes, you are. Oh, thank you. You're too kind.


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