Three people this week forwarded a “15 Most Overrated Writers” list. To be “overrated” implies either academic prestige or popular acclaim or both, and the compiler of the list leaves himself open to a judgment of spite and envy especially, as in this case, he is nobody anybody heard of. Since 6 of the 15 are poets and a 7th is a critic of poetry, one might even surmise he is a poet himself and suffering from a lack of appreciation. And to use the qualifier “Most” indicates there are oodles of writers whose writing he would happily vivisect if they sold a few more books.
Of course, as a representative of that “most despised of creatures, a blogger” (The New Yorker) I lapped it up. Jorie Graham doesn’t make a lick of sense to me either. But I love some of Mary Oliver. Sure, her work is uneven, but has our list-maker read some of Frost’s lesser works, or Yeats’s, or even “The Waste Land” before Pound got his paws on it?
It’s just bloody fun for all involved but the 15, who probably won’t crumble into despair should someone spill the beans. The list-maker gets to feel king of the (mole)hill, while the rest of us scramble toward his elevation. Have you read (fill in the blank)? Of course not. (Fill in the blank) is unreadable.
I decided to make a righteous list of my own. Here are the 10 Dumbest Things You Find in Gardens (in no particular order of detestation.)
1. The “Bounce Back Coil Hose.” It doesn’t stay put where you want it , it kinks and tangles easily, decapitates plants like a daffy puppy, and when it ruptures, which it will rather soon, is irreparable. 10 thumbs down.
2. Playhouses made of slabs of interlocking plastic. Years after little Emily has shown any interest in sitting inside that off-gassing, filthy eyesore, there it sits in the middle of the lawn. 2 palms upturned in exasperation.
3. Gas leaf blowers. Nothing more to say about them. 2 middle fingers up.
4. Electric leaf blowers. Ditto.
5. Bark mulch under leaf shedding trees (almost every tree on this planet). How do you remove the leaves except one by one? Don’t mention a leaf blower or else. 2 thumbs twiddling
6. Algerian ivy. 284 (all that’s left) hairs pulled.
7. Massive outdoor grills. Ask Les and Megan, who set their fence on fire. 5 knuckles rapped
8. Plastic identification tags stuck in the ground beside your stupid impatiens. We know it’s a stupid impatiens. 1 nose upturned
9. Propane heaters for the garden you don’t sit in even when the weather is accommodating. See previous post, “Sour Berry.” 1 bile duct excreting
10. Plug and play water feature. Most water features, really, unless you’re a Procyron lotor. 1 bushy tail twitching.
Want to argue?