Remember the children’s books about a family named the Stupids? Evidently one of their descendants has landed a blogging gig at Harriet—a fellow we’ve met before: K. Silem Mohammad. His latest post is hard to beat for sheer stupidity. The irony, of course, is that our blogger resorts to actual compositional writing in order to praise a book called Words of Love for being “beyond the usual condition of appropriational recycledness”—a book, that is, of surpassing stupidity.
The book’s “author,” Mark Rutkoski, according to one of the book’s blurbers, Paul Hoover, “numbers and alphabetizes all the words in Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets.” Hoover means that Rutkoski counts all the words, groups the instances of each together, then places these groups in alphabetical order. But why quibble? Suffice it to admit that Rutkoski out-stupids the original Stupids, although his brand of stupidity lacks the puerile humor of the Stupids books.
If we step back a moment, we may fairly ask ourselves who is stupider:
- the “author” of Words of Love, Mark Rutkoski;
- the publisher of said book (Les Figues Press);
- The Mamas and the Papas, the title of whose iconic ’60s tune “Words of Love” is said to have been appropriated by Mr. Rutkoski;
- the blogger who has betrayed his conceptualist principles in order to assemble coherent sentences that pretend to justify the book;
- Shakespeare, for composing his poems in the first place;
- or me for wasting the time of anyone who has read this far and who, by now, has surely begun to feel that sickish fascination we feel when slowing down to stare at a bloody car wreck.