Not That You Asked
by Mark Randall
Collected writings on drinking, smoking, society, education, art and various other things on the decline, by the irreverent, provocative and occasionally witty Philadelphia columnist.
"...wonderful essays...elegant writing...combines the literary lucidity of Edmund Wilson and the wicked wit of Oscar Wilde.
Art Carey, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Excerpts from Not That You Asked:
On smoking: "...it is a shame we are content with this tedious non-debate about which is better, virtue or vice, instead of the really more interesting topic, namely, the relative virtues to be found among the available vices."
On identity politics: "...proponents of identity politics are not really offended by racial inferences...they would only prefer that all of the inferences be complimentary."
On city living: "Look upon your stolen wreaths as a kind of donation to the poor and you see that what you lose in Hope, you gain in Charity...In fact, since Charity is regarded as the greatest of virtues, you may flatter yourself to be exchanging your Hope at a profit."
On religion: "...anti-Papism is one of those activities that's probably best left to Catholics."
On the French: "...I have always tried to defend the French against the usual criticisms...but it is difficult work, hampered at the outset because most of the usual criticisms are true."
On his own problems: "But how do I reconcile a life that fades out with me typing alone in the basement instead of on a terrace in Majorca, on the phone to a producer, occasionally waving down to Francesca who is sunning herself nude on the pier?"