Reading between the lines

Oh my goodness, I am now a “proverbial philistine” with “smug self-confidence”, the epithets having been bestowed on me at languagehat, by none other than the Hatted One himself.  I am honored and will do my best to carry the titles with all appropriate smuggishness.

But is LH just being a cranky old jackass?  Or is there something else going on? The crankiness was directed at remarks I made about a particular author, but there are indeed other authors he himself is perfectly willing to be smug about.

forbidden-fruitsDan Brown, Grisham, Clancy, Crichton.

Who are these authors and how do his readers seem to know so much about them?  Have they read them?  If they are so objectionable, why?  Not pedantic enough?   Too prescriptivist?  The mystery deepens.  Clearly there is some sort of taboo associated with these books.  I love to read banned books, oh yes I do.  And these works are banned all right.  Not by library fiat, but by the even more subtly powerful weapons of sarcasm, peer pressure, and innuendo.

Dan Brown, Grisham, Clancy, Crichton.

Specifically singled out for special attention was Dan Brown, ranked among the “creators of paint-by-number self-help books”.  So you know which one I want to start with.  Oh, yeah.  By chance I remembered some books I brought home last week that were still in a bag and went to see what they were. Yes, indeed, a book by Dan Brown.

I feel like Orwell’s Winston Smith,  holding “the book” for the first time.

Don’t tell anyone.

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