Paragraph of the Day

by evanmcmurry

I don’t agree with all of Johannes Lichtman’s takedown of William Giraldi’s now-infamous Alix Ohlin review—I’d go into why, but I don’t think we need a review of a review of a review of a book—but agree or not with his overall points, this paragraph is dead on*:

Giraldi’s most puzzling criticism of Ohlin’s language is that she uses the phrase “a dive bar.” He believes that “dive bar” is an example of Ohlin’s “at-hand language,” a category in which I can only assume he includes slothful words like “shoe” or “eye.” Ohlin chooses the phrase “dive bar” to describe a dive bar because that’s what it’s fucking called. Maybe Giraldi would prefer stories in which we discard the tired “dive bar” for “lugubrious libation shack,” where we change “shoe” to “foot vestibule” and “eye” to “face periscope.”

* Edit: I’m going to qualify this statement. Lichtman’s absolutely correct in criticizing Giraldi’s inflamed vocabulary. But he’s not right that Giraldi would include words like “shoe” and “eye” in at-hand language. By at-hand language, Giraldi means easy, accessible phrases that have been rendered meaningless through overuse. Sort of like “dead on.”

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