The delicate art of the forest

I was so pleased to hear Vera Farminga denounce her own film on the red carpet and state that The Hurt Locker should win Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards.

(Her comment was almost as amusing as her tragic dress and the vaudeville act that ensued when she tried to sit down.)

Granted, she quickly recognized her blunder and backtracked and basically ran away from Ryan Seacrest.

But finally! An actual opinion about who should win instead of all the hemming and hawing about Avatar’s effects are amazing but The Hurt Locker is so raw and Up in the Air is so real. They all deserve it.

For better or for worse, I’ll say whether or not I like a book or loathe it. We all have personal tastes and even a book that I think is the worst book in existence could provoke profound change in someone else’s life. (Though I have yet to meet that person.)

Which is why I was so pleased to stumble upon Mark Twain’s essay “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses.” (1895)

You must go read it. Twain, as always, is scathing and hilarious and decidedly opinionated.

In reference to the rules governing literary art, Twain lists 18 rules that Fenimore Cooper throws out the window. My favorite is number ten:

They [the rules] require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of “Deerslayer” tales dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.

After the rules and his commentary of how Fenimore Cooper breaks them all, Twain dissects several sections of Cooper’s works in order to illuminate the tragedy of his writing. I love how much Twain hates Pathfinder’s inexplicable ability to hit a miniscule target at a gargantuan distance with another man’s gun! Who can do that?! No one!

(I love how Pathfinder says, as an excitement building introduction to his shot, “Be all ready to clench it, boys!” Clench what? The mind boggles at the possibilities.)
P.S. Go find a way to see The Hurt Locker. It is a fantastic film and I was very excited when Mark Boal won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The storytelling was fantastic.

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