Thursday, June 02, 2005

I don't really give a buzz about bees...

But this Salon review of three new books about the honey-gathering insects is worthwhile clicking through the ads for the reviewer's funny ranting about 'dilletante literature'.
Holley Bishop's "Robbing the Bees" is another ball of wax altogether. It represents a venerable New York dilettante tradition, in which a privileged or well-connected New Yorker will become a casual expert on a subject, reading through the literature and taking a few field trips, then reporting his or her findings in book form...
I mentioned my own period of dread-haunted blockage earlier because the signal difference between, on one hand, myself and (I think) most writers, and the dilettante tradition... is that most writers type under an eternal, hanging neon sign that blinks, "So what? Who cares!" -- and that sign has to be argued with and answered every day, sometimes line by line or word by word. "Robbing the Bees," like most dilettante books, reads like it was composed under a neon sign that gamely blinks, "How nice! Do tell!"
[Thanks to Noah C. for passing this on.]

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