Friday, August 02, 2013
Gagutz & Gobaloon
I was watching the last episode of THE SOPRANOS last night and Tony kept calling A.J. "the gagutz." (I've seen it spelled lots of ways on the "internet," and that's one of them. "Googootz" is another, actually closer to the way I heard it, but inelegant in print. There are others.) And the other day I was reading the Irish play THE SEAFARER by Conor McPherson and somebody called somebody else a "gobaloon." Well, you know what I like to say: the world is divided up between gagutzes and gobaloons. I don't really like to say that. Ha ha! For one thing, they appear to mean roughly the same thing. Still, Gagutz and Gobaloon could be one of those shows about a pair of mismatched cops. One is a gagutz and the other is a gobaloon! Together they solve crimes. In conclusion I don't want to spoil THE SEAFARER for you but here's a line I kept reading out loud to Dr. Theresa because it scared me, and it is certainly a spoiler about the surprise identity of one of the characters in the play: "We're going to play for your soul and I'm gonna win, and you're coming through the old hole in the wall with me tonight, Sharky." The scary part is "the old hole in the wall." But is it really a surprise? Who else are a couple of guys in an Irish play going to meet but the devil? Hey, that reminds me. I've been reading other stuff. At one point I seemed to be kind of trying to read the MAHABHARATA (the version put together by William Buck, highly recommended by Lee Durkee) and a William Gaddis novel and Norman Mailer's book about the moon landing all at once. And that big book about Hinduism might have been in there too. Talk about a recipe for brain tragedy! But this Gaddis novel, J R by name, has a hilarious early scene at a rehearsal for a high school production of DAS RHEINGOLD, and I thought I detected something. I thought I detected a Gaddis influence on the way George Saunders writes dialogue for dumb youngsters, something of which he (Saunders) is the absolute master so I try to rip him off all the time. The Rhinemaidens ask about Alberich, "Like if we're all so beautiful who would want to love this here lousy little dwarf?" I have no idea whether Saunders was influenced by Gaddis, but the specific syntactical, tonal and rhythmic glee induced in the reader is similar. And I'm into the lack of commas. Hey, you know how "Google" sometimes thinks it knows better than you? When I was looking up "gobaloon" it insisted that I wanted to "go ballooning" instead. "Google" is up in my biz and I don't like it. Don't tell me I want to "go ballooning." You don't know me!