We like to fancy ourselves as bookish and clever around here, as we advertise right up top. Today, instead of talking about writers I love or relishing one of my favorites, I’ve decided to dish a little dirt. After the break, a Very Biased List of who I consider to be The Worst Published Writers in the World.
Ernest Hemingway. Not only is he perhaps the blandest writer to describe the alpha-male experience for the bajillionth time, he seems like an asshole:
If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured, or well-bred, is merely a popinjay. And this too, remember: a serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl. -E. “Asshole” Hemingway from Death in the Afternoon (Scribner, 1932)
Bret Easton Ellis. He’s been a fucking hipster for damn near thirty years. His stilted, grating, redundant style was almost forgivable when he was a nineteen-year-old darling fresh on the scene. One would think polluting the American canon with thirty years of the same story over and over again would have forced him to improve. Not so much. Bret has contributed one important bit of coffee shop chat spat fodder to the world. He’s the creator of the first and only time a movie was ever better than a book. Bret Easton Ellis can make serial killers boring. Read the following and tell me you’re not more bored than repulsed:
Got you. You’re mine now. For the rest of the day, week, month, year, life. Have you guessed who I am? Sometimes I think you have. Sometimes when you’re standing in a crowd I feel those sultry, dark eyes of yours stop on me. Are you too afraid to come up to me and let me know how you feel? I want to moan and writhe with you and I want to go up to you and kiss your mouth and pull you to me and say “I love you I love you I love you” while stripping. I want you so bad it stings. I want to kill the ugly girls that you’re always with. Do you really like those boring, naive, coy, calculating girls or is it just for sex? The seeds of love have taken hold, and if we won’t burn together, I’ll burn alone. – B.E. “Onan” Ellis in Rules of Attraction
Erich Segal. He wrote Love Story. Yeah, I said it, Love Story is shit. Even worse than Love Story is the stupid sequel, Oliver’s Story. I’m not sure I can fully put my hatred of Segal into words, so I’m going to let you read for yourselves:
I got an A minus on the exam, coincidentally the same grade I assigned to Jenny’s legs when she first walked from behind that desk. – E. “Really?” Segal in Love Story
If that’s not enough evidence, how about this?
Ayn Rand. My hatred for Rand has nothing to do with my political temperament. Okay, maybe a little. (Internet trivia! Did you know there is an Ayn Rand dating site? There is!) Mostly, I hate her because she’s a terrible writer. For funsies, read the following aloud in your best Scarlett O’Hara imitation:
In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours. -Ay”aw”n Rand in Atlas Shrugged