Thursday, December 07, 2006

Neither Ratio Nor Juris

I’ve grabbed the early lead in the race for the most posts that are neither ratio nor juris, and I see no reason to relinquish it. So here’s another. Last night I had the opportunity to meet Michael Perry – not legal scholar Michael Perry of Emory, but rather writer Michael Perry of New Auburn, Wisconsin. These things are always a little weird because of the informational asymmetries involved – I’ve read all of his books and so know a good deal about him, but I’m pretty confident he’s read none of my law review articles. Still and all, he was as gracious as could be and came across every bit as rock solid as one would expect from having read his books.

I’d like to take a moment to plug those books. The odds are good that, as someone reading a blog named Ratio Juris, you did not grow up in a small town in the Midwest. (Which is an assumption I perhaps ought to reexamine, given that at least two of this blog’s contributors share that heritage.) If you did, Mike’s books are worth a read because you’ll learn some things about yourself. But better still if you didn’t. Because if you fall into that latter category, you might harbor some beliefs about the nature of the folks who live in such places that are, shall we say, incomplete. The stereotype of rural people who drive pickup trucks and go deer hunting does not, I suspect, include room for attributes such as “loves poetry” or “thinks gay marriage is a good idea.” Yet you’ll encounter such people in Mike Perry’s books, just as I encounter them when I return home. I’m not saying there are a lot of them. Just a lot more than you might think. To bring this post at least within the same hemisphere as our articulated mission, what you’ll find here is a good demonstration of how much is lost when we fall into the habit of viewing the world as involving red states and blue states, liberals and conservatives, and the like.

What you’ll also get in the bargain is some terrific reading. Last night Mike invoked an idea that has long resonated with me, namely that certain words just feel right in your mouth. That Mike has a refined phonologic palate is apparent in his prose, which is often powerfully euphonious. If it’s quality humor that you like with your insightful observations, there’s plenty here. And if you don’t get at least the occasional lump in your throat while working your way through Truck or Population: 485 I would, quite frankly, question your humanity.


Blogger StarStar said...

Thanks for giving the eloquent yet amiable Michael Perry a plug. He just doesn't get as much attention as he deserves.

1/15/2007 8:05 PM  

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