Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Takeaway food

Yes, it's Zadie Smith again, doggedly confirming my thesis that she relentlessly mines her own life for material. This time it's the New Yorker that receives the benefit of her wisdom. I feel justified in a bit of sarcasm. The voice of our generation really should not be wasting her time with telling us that people who deliver food in London can be quite slow. It wouldn't pass for observational comedy - indeed, it would hardly pass for acceptable conversation at a dinner party.

Moreover, it's rather oddly worded. The most striking example is this "Another treasurable thing about London’s delivery service is its frankly metaphysical attitude toward time". Is "treasurable" a word? Should it be? Did she mean "endearing"? I can't think of a good excuse for that "metaphysical". I suppose the idea is that people who deliver food take a view of time which treats it as an illusion or purely a matter of subjective perception. For the sake of argument, let us assume that this could be a humorous idea: one can imagine a pretentious comedian trying it (or, more likely, that his local takeaway is located in a warped part of the space-time continuum where time runs completely differently).  But that is just not what "metaphysical" means. Just think how much better it would have been to have said "philosophical", which its added connotations of being resigned to fate.

As ever, I should say that the only reason I write about Smith is because I am a big fan and it irks me that she is so close to being so much better.

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