... just in case some of you are reluctant to click every link I tell you to.
I've admitted, here and there, that I voluntarily subjected myself to the first Star Wars flicker, complete with appropriately plastic Mall Cinema ambience, the smell of two-week-old "popcorn" reheated and topped with petrochemicals, and a crowded house of children and "adults" stomping and clapping and booing and hissing like their grandparents did for William S. Hart (it's different now, okay? As in "the people who were actually children at the time have so thoroughly adopted the parti-colored and sugar-drenched breakfast cereal of popular culture that juvenalia is in their marrow"; succeeding generationlets had no chance whatsoever. We accept and move on. But at the time we were convinced the entire exercise was a sort of mass hypnosis with a disturbingly political twist we only later came to identify as libertarian: the sort of easy psilocybin of special effects--no worries that you won't come back from this Trip, Mr. and Mrs. Middle America!--and the fact that the Good Guys won this one, like they should, like you knew they would, and in contradistinction to everything America Herself had her grubby mitts on at the time, and most everything since). And that I did so for the sake of the bible college student with the Amazonian physique and hypocritical taste and talent for premarital sex who sat to my right. It was a summer thing, as it most certainly had to be; she was up from Tennessee staying with her sister and brother-in-law. A months later we took advantage of their weekend absence to spend a night together at their place. On their return a concerned neighbor reported to Sis that my car had been parked in the driveway way past any other explanation, and my Amazon died of embarrassment.
What I don't think I've admitted is that I read the first twenty-five pages of The Fountainhead for approximately the same reason, with the same reaction most sane people who've undergone the experience while still young enough to excuse it report: five pages of thinking, "Hey, she's onto something," followed by a ten-page recognition that her crappy writing is not doing that Something any favors, followed by the distinct aroma of snake oil quickly becoming overpowering. My young darling at the time, a fellow highschooler who had, unbeknownst to me, already revealed as much of her dewy charms as I would ever be allowed, had pressed the thing into my hands between classes. I told her it sucked, even if she didn't, and that, as they say, was that. My best friend--I swear this is true--had a underclass coed walk up to him in the hall one afternoon as we were leaving and give him a copy of Justine. There's no way sexting has improved on that.