Continetti and I: Devotees of Hans Robert Jauss
Today, the Style section of the Washington Post featured a conservative-liberal duel on the topic of Sarah Palin. From the right wrote Matthew Continetti, a youngish opiner from the Weekly Standard. From the left wrote Ana Marie Cox, quite possibly the greatest blogger ever.
But I must say that it was Continetti who grabbed me this morning, right from the start of his piece. If ever there was a perfect lede, this was it:
Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue," I immediately thought of the German literary critic Hans Robert Jauss.
At that moment, I mind-melded with Continetti, because that's the very reaction I have when I pick up just about any book. When I recently finished off Hank Stuever's delightful Tinsel, all I could think of was Jauss. Sure, I was thinking of Tammie and Blake and Caroll and Marissa and all the other great characters in Stuever's narrative, but it was Jauss that really preoccupied me.
Last night, I grabbed Honey, I Wrecked the Kids. I began reading about such child behavior-influencing techniques as redirection and distraction, not to mention the important distinctions between praise and encouragement. But I was really obsessing the whole time over the teachings of none other than Jauss. He provided the frame of reference for the entire affair. Yup, Jauss.
Same dynamic applied to this morning's newspaper reading. I was checking out the Post's stories on the closing of the Washington Blade and about the killing of a 9-year-old in Columbia Heights. People like Lou Chibbaro Jr. and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham were mentioned in those stories. And they were so overshadowed, yet again, by Jauss.
Like a lot of people, I just wander around thinking about nothing but Jauss. I've got to get together with Continetti and talk some Jauss.