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Movies I Haven’t Seen Make Me Feel Bad About Books I Haven’t Read

There is a very serious movie coming out soon called The Hours. You know it is very serious for a lot of reasons. Right off the bat, you’ve got the Meryl Streep factor. Meryl Streep makes serious-ass movies. Anyone who has seen Out of Africa, Sophie’s Choice or The River Wild knows this.

The next thing is the poster. It is totally serious. Check out the uglified (read: normal-looking) Nicole Kidman. They could have hired an actress who, you know, looks normal and un-gorgeous without having to sandblast her extensively, but dammit, they needed Nicole for some reason! Sit down, plain actresses! You’ve been replaced.

But finally you know this is a serious movie because it’s based on Michael Cunningham’s breakaway book that nobody read of the same name, which is itself predicated upon knowledge of another book that nobody read, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Following me? It doesn’t matter. There are only three people on earth who have the requisite amount of erudition to follow this trail of hopelessness, and nobody likes them anyway.

I am of course snarking away mainly because I’m a doink. I have a copy of the novel The Hours, which I am unable to read, because I paralytically think, “I can’t read this. I haven’t read any Virginia Woolf!” Which destroys my usual veneer of “I read pointy-headed books and stuff.” So then I go out and I pick up a used copy of Mrs. Dalloway. I am struck by the irony that I am not reading this book out of an actual desire to read this book, but because it is a prerequisite to reading yet another book that–I suddenly now realize–I really don’t care about reading too much either (it was a gift). At this point, the whole meta-ness is starting to suck at my neck, so I blow it off and get down to reading.

And that’s when the sudden-onset narcolepsy hits. It turns out that I am unable to read Virginia Woolf. Which makes me feel dumb and philistine-y and awful. But not awful enough to keep trying to read. I’ll just chalk this experience up as Not For Skot and move on. Secure in the knowledge that I Am Not A Serious Person.

But hey! I realize: I can always see the movie.

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