16 July 2009

The First Philip Roth Novel I Coudn't Finish*

I took a trip to San Francisco (and Santa Cruz) this past weekend, and was planning to finish Philip Roth's Out Gang on the trip, but I ended up just skimming through it. The book is a satire of Richard Nixon, and it reminded me of a New Yorker "Shouts and Murmurs" piece drawn out into a two hundred page novel. It is funny, and pretty clever, and even prescient, but also just damn boring. The first section speculates on Nixon's ideas about abortion, which was interesting given the recent revelation of his feeling that abortion was okay in some cases, like interracial children. The book goes on at length about a plan to murder Boy Scouts and his alleged assassination. It is definitely in keeping with Roth's whole "immaturity" thing, but not interesting enough to keep me reading, unfortunately.

While in San Fran I went to a cool bar called "Zeitgeist" and it reminded me of that movie. Something I realized I had never given much thought to is the title of the movie, Zeitgeist, and what relevance it actually has. "The spirit of the time" now seems to reflect the popularity of internet conspiracy films, as well as conspiracy theories becoming popular in mainstream media (well, at least in The Da Vinci Code), then anything that the movie is actually about. I mean, what is "the spirit of the times" when it comes to religion, 9/11 and the federal reserve (the three conspiracies the film present)? I can't come up with anything that makes sense.

*I've been halfway through Sabath's Theatre for about six months, and probably won't finish it, at least not soon, and also now that I think about it, I never finished Portnoy's Complaint, but I've been planning to reread it.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I would like to formally advocate for Sabbath's Theater.