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December 09, 2000

Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon

I just finished reading this book by Joe Queenan, who makes his living reviewing movies, but clearly feels free to roam farther afield. The thrust of the book is an overview of all that is low-culture in America, from, of course, Red Lobster to Michael Bolton, Kenny G, and their ilk. Queenan claims (for comic affect, to be sure), that in his quest to explore all that is cheesy, all that sucks, in American Culture, he became addicted to it, and had to fight his way out of the morass of trash culture which had trapped him.

I feel a certain resonance with that experience, since I started reading this book expecting a lightly humorous look at all that is cheesy (being addicted to several cheesy cultural phenomena myself, such as anime and 'flying people' movies). As I progressed into the book, I came to realize that one or two such essays were funny, but the more I read, the more mean-spirited it seemed. Yet I could not put the book down. In the end I finished it thankful that it was only 188 pages long.

Do yourself a favor and just pass this book by, unless you too have a rather mean-spirited attitude towards the trashier elements of pop-culture.

Posted by dpwakefield at December 9, 2000 03:10 PM