In anticipation of his forthcoming book, the Internet has been having fun with Jonathan Franzen’s astonishing recent article What’s Wrong With the Modern World. I’ve done my share of piling on. It might be time to remember just what a horse’s ass he is.
The Jonathan Franzen Horse’s Ass Quiz
Which of the following is not attributable to Jonathan Franzen?
A. After insulting the organizer of the country’s most popular book club by suggesting that she and her readers would likely not appreciate his novel’s literary qualities, he offered as an apology “I like her for liking my book.”
B. Described a period of youthful anger as being based on his “failure to have sex with a pretty girl in Munich, except that it hadn’t actually been a failure, it had been a decision on my part.”
C. During an interview, dismissed a comparison between himself and Don DeLillo by saying, “I had a preference for rounder letters—c ’s and p’s. I think of him as being more into l ’s and a’s and i ’s.” Went on to say that “I kept seeing a plate of food with beet greens and liver and rutabaga—intense purple green, intense orange, rich rusty brown—and feeling a wish to write sentences that were juicy and sensuous…the roundness of b’s and g ’s, the juiciness…” before reassuring the interviewer that “Nowadays I have almost the opposite aesthetic.”
D. Wrote an essay pitting “the narcissistic tendencies of technology” against “actual love” in which the example of “actual love” he describes is his own love for bird watching.
The answer is below the photo of the passionate technophobe (taken from his Facebook page).
Answer: All are true except B. The Munich girl was “unbelievably pretty.”