Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Things Jonathan Franzen Likely Finds Cowardly, In Ascending Order of Their Convenience and Cowardliness

51. Pert Plus

50. Rhyming dictionaries

49. Fencing

48. Lifetime achievement awards

47. Air freshener

46. Autoplay

45. Supergroups

44. Grade inflation

43. Urinal cakes

42. Sherpas

41. Flag football

40. Fabric softener

39. Greatest-hits collections

38. RSS readers

37. Rain gutters

36. Combo meals

35. Graphing calculators

34. Thinsulate

33. Mattress pads

32. Being likable

31. Forever stamps

30. Half-and-half

29. Stuffed animals

28. Dry-humping

27. Snorkels

26. Porta-Potties

25. Sympathy cards

24. Absentee voting

23. Cafeterias

22. High-speed rail

21. Bicycle helmets

20. Rental cars

19. Cheat codes

18. Park benches

17. Sunglasses

16. Cruise control

15. Elevators

14. Cantilevering

13. Baby photos

12. Rest stops

11. Catheters

10. The two-state solution

9. Pivot tables

8. Luck

7. Iteration

6. Constructive criticism

5. Compassion

4. Epidurals

3. Torque

2. “Undo”

1. Remembering your dead friend fondly

Mike Barthel also likes birds but so what?

26 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#1,720)


Matt (#26)

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

jfruh (#713)

People who allow Oprah to put her logo on their books.

HiredGoons (#603)

@jfruh: reading Jonathan Franzen.

Midwestern Passive-Aggression

gumplr (#66)


dado (#102)

I refuse to get an EZPass. Where does he stand on this?

saythatscool (#101)

@dado I love you, dado.

Matt (#26)

It's just a book.

Matt (#26)


Art Yucko (#1,321)

I'll take dudes Oprah finds cowardly for $1.00.

Werner Hedgehog (#11,170)

The axiom of choice



Quantrepreneur (#13,450)

@Werner Hedgehog He is, however, a fan of the Banach-Tarski paradox.

Mr. B (#10,093)

I remember a Franzen "personal history" in The NY-er wherein he admitted to liking The Moody Blues as a teenager until he read a Rolling Stone review that called the band's music the sort of thing that appeals to young men who whisper "I love you" to one-night stands.

HiredGoons (#603)

@Mr. B: I have a ghost story that involves The Moody Blues!

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@HiredGoons But Procol Harum will really scare 'em!

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

Remembering fondling your dead friend is also pretty questionable.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Franzen would probably hate my multispeed, self-reprogramming "smart" sex doll.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

The new one, I mean.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

That essay (shades of Montaigne and Lamb forgive me) is classic Franzen, the way it labels its shrink-wrapped platitudes as the delicate fruit of fully organic intellectual struggle.

… And here’s where a curious paradox emerged. My anger and pain and despair about the planet were only increased by my concern for wild birds, and yet, as I began to get involved in bird conservation and learned more about the many threats that birds face, it became easier, not harder, to live with my anger and despair and pain.

mishaps (#5,779)

@Tulletilsynet yes. In my mind, David Foster Wallace was like "dude's really nice, and understands the weirdness of being a literary star in the age after the age of literary stardom, but he can't think for shit."

Because it's really the only way I can handle my deep admiration for DFW and my loathing of JFran. Make of that what you will.

Todd@twitter (#12,959)

thank you Mike. this is the best.

xyAngelie55 (#13,496)

Very Nice…

The above could serve as a "don't go there" for any e-dating site. (Epidurals? Sugar, I had an epidural for knee surgery. I think any man who would frown on it for labor should have a scrotal laparoscopy unmedicated in Macy's window on Thanksgiving morning.)

thinktenk (#8,474)

Why does he look like Annette Bening?

baber (#244,003)

That essay (shades of Montaigne and Lamb forgive me) is classic Franzen, the way it labels its shrink-wrapped platitudes as the delicate fruit of fully organic intellectual struggle. thanks!!!
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