Sunday, February 23, 2003

A Confederacy of Dunces

No, that's not a meeting of Trent Lott, Strom Thurmond and friends. It's the great comic novel by John Kennedy Toole. lists it here. Amazon's Editorial Review is a pretty good capsule of the book.

This is one of a handful of books I reread every so often. Larry Niven's Ringworld is another. But Confederacy is laugh-out-loud funny, and so bizzare as to side-swipe you at every turn. It hasn't dated well: some of the book's characters come dangerously close to blackface stereotypes and others are gay stereotypes so flaming you have to wonder. (And Toole's sexuality has been the subject of debate since his suicide.) But there's no mean heart here, just a love of character that shines through loud and clear.

Word has come along that Confederacy will be made into a movie. I have grave misgivings on this. It's now so "of a time" that, in order to get through Hollywood's PC filter, they'll gut what makes it work and turn Ignatious J. Reilly into a John Candy-esque buffoon. So, I was somewhat heartened to learn that Philip Seymour Hoffman has been cast as Ignatious.

As you can see from his credits, he's been in alot of good films. I don't go to movies much, but I saw him in Almost Famous, successfully and respectfully bringing to life rock critic and force-of-nature Lester Bangs, so I am slightly relieved.

I would have thought a younger Oliver Platt would have been perfect. He has the bull-in-a-china-shop style and the physical appearance. But he is a bit too old now for the part.

Ah well. We shall see how this goes.

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