Esmay Parchment

Darryl C. Walls

There is no book genre on a bad day or a long flight like Chick Lit. I was having a bad day so I bought The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger.

The Singles Game is not a particularly good book. It is also not Lauren Weisberger’s best book; I recommend The Devil Wears Prada. But I found an interesting reflection of changing social mores buried in the plot of The Singles Game.

Our heroine, a great tennis player and very nice person, vapes cannabis at a party. To conform to the requirements of this genre, she has never smoked cannabis and gets high accidentally.

Our heroine is shamed. But those around her are not. Her requisite best friend says “It actually sounds kind of chic. Pot is legal in a whole bunch of states. I don’t know how many, but it’s a lot.” Her father comforts her “sweetheart , I was going to say that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes.”

In a chick lit novel, our heroine can blunder but not in way that will permanently alienate us. Notice that cannabis has become this sort of  a tolerable transgression. Notice that the book acknowledges that pot has become legal. Times have changed.

Bear with me. Here’s the syllogism.

Humans need gods to worship to make sense of the universe.

Gods are humans with super power benefits.

The Greek gods [Ares, Athena, Hera] are an example of this phenomenon.

Among gods, there is a Supreme God.

Zeus is the supreme God of the Greek gods.


Comic book superheroes are the gods of the post modern world.

The Marvel comic universe of superheroes [The Avengers] is an example of this phenomenon.

Ironman appears in and plays a prominent part in all Marvel comic universe movies thus far.

Ironman is the Supreme God of the Marvel comic universe.

Ironman is portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.

Therefore Robert Downey Jr is Zeus.


Was it Foucault who asked what difference it makes who the author is ? Yes. As we have to chosen to be  named content producers, it seems we’ve decided that the identity does matter.This makes me wonder about that pocket of anonymous writers: the greeting card writers and specifically the writers of Netflix envelope reviewers.

For example, here is the review of The Founder:

The concept and expansion of McDonald’s global fast-food empire represent one of the great success stories of American business. This meaty biopic profiles company founder Ray Kroc, whose canny instincts turned McDonald’s into a golden brand.

The choice of the word canny suggests that the writer is a person who likes to play with words. Now are the choice of meaty and golden, funny straight up, funny tongue in cheek or [this is unlikely] funny oblivious? How can we know without knowing who the author is.?


I have watched people age; now I’m aging. My observation is that as people age, they become mellower in some respects but also more controlling, more judgmental and cranky.  I think I have avoided the first two traits but I am getting crankier and will allow myself to inside my head.

From whence the crankiness? It’s a patience thing for me and also an intellectual fatigue thing. Number 1 on this list is people who say they are going to do something without being coerced and then don’t bother more to follow through more than twice. I’ve run through my patience for unreliability. Number 2 is people who get pissed off at you when they ask you for something that you can refuse and you say no. My social justice score may take a hit here but this also applies to homeless people who approach me. I guess I’ve run through my patience for requests that are really demands.

Having stamped my verbal feet, I feel better.

The holy trinity of great painters-I can’t say. The holy trinity of museum blockbuster exhibit painters, I can say. They are in this order Picasso, Matisse and Cezanne.

I am wondering though if Matisse is trending over Picasso. In the past two months, I’ve seen a Diebenkorn/Matisse exhibit and a Matisse in America exhibit.  There is also a Matisse in the Studio exhibit in Boston. Last year, there was another Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit which spilled into this year and a Matisse in his Time exhibit.  As far as I know, neither 2016 or 2017  are significant in Matisse’s life which is why I sniff a trend.

Matisse makes a good Picasso substitute. Of course,for starters,  they knew each other and painted contemporaneously. Both lived in Paris; I would like to say that they were both French but can’t really get away with it. Both were collected as painters and as people by Gertrude Stein. Both painted in different styles which makes for a large exhibit. Both lived long lives. Both are dead.

So, go for it.  Make Matisse the new Picasso and Picasso the new Matisse. It is a good deal for both of them, changes things up for us and gives Cezanne hope.


Question: How many buns does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Answer: One, two if one is a messy bun.