Friday, February 20, 2009

Sounds interesting ...

... The Legacy of an Irish Father. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Queenan says he grew up in the projects here. I wonder which one.
I also kind of like his unforgiving attitude toward his father. I find more attractive than the usual sentimental blather you hear in such cases. On the other hand, his father "would often start declaiming in the words of Fitzgerald, Hemingway or Shakespeare" and "we always had books in the house." That's omething to thank th old man for.
My own father, I think, was just a common drunk. As was I.


  1. The problem I have with Joe Queenan is that he crosses the line from humor to meanness. I'm thinking of his scathing and ugly review in the NYT on October 3, 2004 of a book called The Know It All by A.J. Jacobs. I found that book knee-slapping funny. I found the review gratuitously cruel. Here is the link. See if you agree:

  2. Frank, at the risk seeming impudent, it is hard to imagine you being a common anything.

    I do wonder what got Queenan's back up about Jacobs. He isn't usually that mean.

  3. Well, Lynne, that certainly is a nasty review (I think I may have linked to it here when it ran). I think the key to it lies here: "A graduate of the prestigious Dalton School in Manhattan and Brown University, Jacobs is a prime example of that curiously modern innovation: the pedigreed simpleton."
    Why do I think that? Because Queenan, whom I do not know, went to the same college I did, a Jesuit college, and if there is anything you get from a Jesuit college it is an absence of any sense educational inferiority. And yet Jacobs went to schools that should immunize one against that also. But he pretends to be a dunce. That said, I do think Queenan's review is over the top, and, as your own experience attests, maybe not an entirely accurate account of the book. But reviewing is not a science.

  4. Thanbk you, Buce, for thinking so well of me. I was a good drunk, as was my old man. In fact. a psychiatrist once said I was the best drunk he had ever seen. By which he meant that I could remain lucid after consuming appalling amounts of liquor. I guess there's something to be said for that. But my point is that I just liked to drink. It was a form of gluttony and there was no profound psychological reason for it. (That was the difference between my father and me: His drinking was grounded in a terrible tragedy. But that is private matter.)