I love this. There are those who think that people like me who insist, whether petulantly or earnestly or flintily, that Shakespeare (as it might be) is quite a good writer and better in many ways than quite a few other writers, are ‘elitist’ and snobbish and mindless enemies of all of popular culture. But ’tis not so. It’s just that I insist in the same kind of way there too – some of it is better than other of it, that’s all. I don’t love all of popular culture. But then I don’t love all of the putative ‘canon’ either – some of it I think is over-rated. Gatsby, for instance.
But one bit of popular culture I do love, though I hadn’t given it much thought for some years, or decades, is Pogo. This article in the Boston Review attracted a post at Crooked Timber and the post has attracted fans, fans with more knowledge and better memories than I have, and both the article and the comments have made me all in a sweat to read it again. It’s hilarious stuff, and very American – but in a good way. Not the usual sappy mushy silly goggle-eyed irony-free way that people seem to think is so typical of us – no, in a Twainish, Menckenish, W C Fieldsish, Grouchoish, Ring Lardnerish, self-mocking way. Not bad for red paint.