Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The post in which I compare Truman Capote to Wyclef Jean

The News-Herald proudly presents (though in no way endorses or is liable for:)

A Jason Lea Production:

The self-indulgent post in which I alienate most of my readers.

I previously compared James Joyce to, of all people, Lil Wayne, based on their shared proclivity for combining seemingly random words into a fascinating, but not always coherent, final product. After giving it some thought, I realized that comparison was unfair to Joyce (and not for the obvious reasons.)

Joyce began as a conventional writer. (Well, more conventional than “Ulysses” and “Finnegan’s Wake.”) Then, bored with the conventions of his art form, he slowly branched into more eccentric territory. This means Joyce is not Lil Wayne. He’s Andre 3000 — better known to most of you as the guy from Outkast who sang “Hey Ya.”

This epiphany started me on a dangerous line of thought. What hip-hoppers would be proper analogues to other authors? Here are some of the others with which I came up.

She wrote one book, and it was so good she never had to write another one. Harper Lee is... Lauryn Hill. (Yes, I realize Lee also deserves some credit for Capote’s “In Cold Blood.” We’ll consider that her “The Score” and Capote can be Wyclef.)

Critics showered him with acclaim and a lot of people drank the Kool-Aid, making him a good but thoroughly overrated artist. Jonathan Franzen is... Lupe Fiasco.

He hails from the dirty south... of England. (His novels put the sex in Wessex.) And all of his best work is about relationships and God. Thomas Hardy is... Big Boi. (You know, that other guy in Outkast. No? Nobody?)

He may not be the greatest writer of all time, but he probably influenced them. After his initial success, every author changed their style to be more like him. Christopher Marlowe is... Rakim.

Finally, for Kyle, he’s had more commercial success than critical. Despite his limited subject matter, he’s become an absolute superstar; and he’ll be remembered as one of the most successful in his field, if nothing else. John Grisham... is Snoop Dogg.

I also have an analogy for Franz Kafka and Kool Keith, but who would get it? Do Kafka and Kool Keith have any mutual fans? If they exist, I’d love to hear from them.

I’m sure this game works for other genres as well; so I ask you, the reader, what British Invasion rocker would Mark Twain be? What jazz band is most like the Bronte sisters? Who is the Bootsy Collins of postmodernism?

Yeah, I bet you didn’t expect homework... or someone to compare Andre 3000 and James Joyce.

--Jason Lea, JLea@News-Herald.com

P.S. I’m certain this blog will score no cheap hits from boolean searches for “Christopher Marlowe” and “Rakim.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earlier in the blog you asked, "No? Nobody?" Are you referring to the number of people that care about what you just wrote?

First, you write about lying. Now you're comparing classic authors to hip-hop artists. I mean absolutley no disrespect to hip-hop as I' ve been known to "Drop it Like it's Hot" at anytime, but what in the world are you talking about?

Have you actually read a book, or just like to make obscure references to random authors and even more random topics?

February 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM 

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