Well, that bastion of crap literature, Oprah's Book Club, is finally dead. Crap litterature like "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen.
"The Corrections is rather too amused by its own performance for the satire to be effective. Jokes run down into slapstick. The worst feature of Franzen's humorous repertoire is the funny-foreigner routine. Swedes are boring, while Norwegians compete to be more so; Scots say "laddie"; a British author (known only as "the Famous British Author") can achieve nothing more in conversation, during a night out with Philadelphia luminaries, than "cricket-and-darts-related wit." At this point, I wondered if Franzen had ever left America. More dubious than any of these schoolboy larks is the lengthy section of tragedy-as-farce set in present-day Lithuania. Chip, once a college lecturer with a soft spot for Foucault, has failed so badly that he is now cozying down with racketeers in the lawless Baltic republic, a land of warlords, drive-by shootings, chronic coal and electricity shortages, and a heavy dietary reliance on horsemeat.
Is it really that bad? No, apparently not. When Lithuanians objected to the fictional portrayal, a spokesman for FSG explained that the author just "picked an Eastern European country at random. He created a Lithuania that I assume was largely in his imagination." There happen to be real Lithuanians in a real Lithuania, a distant country of which we know little. But hey, they weren't expecting to shift many copies of The Corrections over there anyhow. "
...really, the segment can go to hell in my opinion just for this.
In fact, the heavy use of stereotypes here is ironic, because it really just increases the stereotype of the isolated American.
This segment reviewed books highly critical of countries which the author not only hasn't been to but obviously knows nothing about.
In fact, it's strange. Last I checked Lithuania recieved acclaim from both Jaques Chirac and an American diplomat. It was well on its way to EU and NATO membership, and recently its president visited Putin, the first of the Baltics to do so, and was told that Lithuania is a free country, free to seek its own destiny.
Feudal warlords running the country? Hardly... and apparently the CIA Factbook agrees with me...
"Constitution: adopted 25 October 1992
Legal system: based on civil law system; no judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Valdas ADAMKUS (since 26 February 199
head of government: Premier Algirdas Mykolas BRAZAUSKAS (since 3 July 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the nomination of the premier
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 21 December 1997 and 4 January 1998 (next to be held NA 2002); premier appointed by the president on the approval of the Parliament
election results: Valdas ADAMKUS elected president; percent of vote - Valdas ADAMKUS 50.4%, Arturas PAULAUSKAS 49.6%
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Seimas (141 seats, 71 members are directly elected by popular vote, 70 are elected by proportional representation; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 8 October 2000 (next to be held NA October 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - Social Democratic Coalition 31.1%, New Union/Social Liberals 19.6%, Liberal Union 17.2%, TS 8.6%, remaining parties all less than 5%; seats by party - Social Democratic Coalition 52, Liberal Union 34, New Union/Social Liberals 29, TS 9, Farmer's Party 4, Center Union 2, Poles' Electoral Action 2, Modern Christian Democratic Union 1, independents 3, others 5
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; judges for both courts appointed by the Parliament
Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Party or LKDP [Zigmas ZINKEVICIUS, chairman]; Electoral Action of Lithuanian Poles [Valdemar TOMASZEVSKI, chairman]; Homeland Union/Conservative Party or TS [Vytautas LANDSBERGIS, chairman]; Lithuanian Center Union or LCS [Kestutis GLAVECKAS, chairman]; Lithuanian Farmer's Party or LUP [Ramunas KARBAUSKIS, chairman]; Lithuanian Liberal Union [Rolandas PAKSAS, chairman]; Lithuanian Social Democratic Coalition [Algirdas BRAZAUSKAS, chairman] consists of the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party or LDDP, the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party or LSPD, and New Democracy; Modern Christian Democratic Union [Vytautas BOGUSIS, chairman]; New Union-Social Liberals [Arturas PAULAUSKAS, chairman]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACCT (observer), BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNMIK, UPU, WCL, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)"
Seems really strange that a country that can afford to export 3.2 billion kWh - roughly 1/4 of the power they produce, would suffer power shortages, isn't it.
I'm glad that ill-researched bullshit novels like this don't count as "great American fiction"! And the fact that the segment featured crap novels like this with logic holes bigger than anything Vince Russo could create is why the segment won't be missed.
A hell of a lot of what she says is utter junk. The best opinion on Oprah I ever read was in Howard Stern's "Private Parts". That damn book club forced so much mediocre tripe down people's throats it was a menace. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
PS The French eat horsemeat. It tastes like beef.
"Nobody enjoys a good time more than I do, but this business of yours is as legitimate as a three-legged donkey...which of course is illegitimate because as we all know donkeys have four legs."
Figures this would be carried by some Yankee station. This story really has to be taken in context. Lajitas is a small town that is basically a resort golf course, a bed and breakfast and some antique and souvenir shops near Big Bend National Park.