Jumat, 25 April 2008

Carl Hiaasen

Last night I drove down to Albion College with a friend to hear Carl Hiaasen talk. Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald and has written some hilarious and scathing books about Florida and about the problematic intersection of greed and wilderness. His books are full of buffoons, which could get tiresome except that there are always a few immensely likable characters -- a marine biologist, a good cop, a social recluse who loves bone fishing, some capable,unpretentious woman -- and it is so absolutely delightful to watch Hiaasen skewer the greedy land developers and corrupt politicians. When my dad picked up a Hiaasen book last summer, he found it "relentlessly humorous" and did not finish it. It's true, Hiaasen is nearly non-stop funny, but I'm loathe to label him a comedian. I would not call Garrison Keillor a comedian, though he is a very funny man. There is something slightly pathetic and irritating in many comedians, like the court jester in a Shakespearian comedy -- a "fool" or a "clown." There is none of that in Hiaasen: he's a great satirist and he delivered an utterly engaging talk. It was a fun night. I told my dad I was driving down there and he thought maybe he'd give Hiaasen another shot someday. I hope he does.

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