ONE FELL SOUP: Or, I'm Just a Bug on the Windshield of Life by

ONE FELL SOUP: Or, I'm Just a Bug on the Windshield of Life

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Country Journal, Oui, Inside Sports, The New Yorker, Soho News, Eastern Airlines Pastimes, Columbia Journalism Review, Organic Gardening--those are just a few of the magazines where these 50+ humor pieces originally appeared, 1967-1982. (Blount's engagingly off-the-wall introduction calls them ""almost pathologically disparate."") And if you'd expect such a collection to be wildly uneven, you'd be absolutely fight. Good Blount, of course (cf. Crackers), is very, very good--usually featuring a direct, listen-here attack with underplayed asides in the Thurber/Benchley mode. The standout in that vein here: a hey-c'mon-guys reaction to the MacArthur Foundation grants to ""genuises."" (""It's not the money. Well, it is the money. . . ."") And there are assured, amusingly low-key commentaries on such standbys as the recession (""Picture your twenty growing, ominously, and Jackson beginning to look like Elisha Cook, Jr."")--along with an astute appreciation/lambasting of Steve Martin, a zesty review of Noel Perrin's Second Person Rural (""This is a dangerous book. . . .""), and a wonderful vignette at Nathan's eatery. Elsewhere, however, the level ranges from just-okay to trying-awfully-hard. Such tired Erma-Bombeckian topics as ""attrition of your socks"" turn up; more interesting material (like over-specialization in magazine publication) receives ho-hum treatment; pieces on orgasm and testicles slide into the truly sophomoric; the sports columns are mildly informative, rarely funny; more ambitious items of social-satire adopt the sneering, free-associative mannerisms of George W. S. Trow. And there is a great deal of light verse-which comes in nearly every shade of style and quality: decent imitation-Ogden-Nash (""The neighborhood stores are all out of broccoli/Loccoli""); country-song lyrics, both mock-terrible and genuinely terrible; and engaging whimsies-like a ghostly visit by Nijinsky. Only a few slivers of Blount's sly, deceptively easygoing best, then--along with lots of respectable (and not so respectable) runners-up.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1982
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown