Wednesday, December 16, 2020

William Ian Miller's "Outrageous Fortune"

William Ian Miller is Thomas G. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School. His books include The Anatomy of Disgust, which was named 1997 best book in anthropology/sociology by the Association of American Publishers.

Miller applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Outrageous Fortune: Gloomy Reflections on Luck and Life, and reported the following:
From page 99:
The inauthenticities of [such] movements dedicated to seeking authenticity generated new hypocrisies and phoniness that made the old hypocrisies of false piety look respectable. I must confess this: when it comes to pathetic pretentiousness, no Parisian avant-gardiste, no poète maudit could outdo me in June 1969 reading the Comte de Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror (1868), in French no less, while on a bus loaded with young boys/men heading down from Green Bay to the Milwaukee induction center for our draft physical as a preliminary to being shipped off to Vietnam. I had just graduated from college (the draft notice beat my diploma home by a week); the other eighty or so had mostly finished high school if that. The army discovered I had a slipped disc, two it turned out; thus, I avoided death in the jungle along with one overweight Oneida Indian, but how I managed to avoid being rightly murdered on that bus still mystifies me.
What luck, my page 99 is not bad; it is in a chapter in which I ridicule various forms of authenticity and the quest for it, so I am ridiculing the pretentiousness of various quests, Brook Farm, Blut und Boden, hippy communes, and the poètes maudits I blasted on page 98.
Learn more about Outrageous Fortune at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Losing It.

--Marshal Zeringue