Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Matt Smith's Lit-Crit

H. Brown on Matt Smith's recent piece in the SF Weekly on Weldon Kees (SF Weekly, July 27-Aug. 2):

A bunch of time went into discussing what's been written the previous week and there was pretty much universal agreement that Matt Smith's piece, 'Kees to the City' was his best work in a couple of years. Grab a Weekly out of the box while you still can. The theme is the complex relationship within the mixed nest of mating snakes called creativity and insanity and myth. Best thing anyone's written around these parts for a bit (http://www.sfbulldog.com/).

Well, at least it's better than Smith's bike zealot stuff, wherein he advocates putting residential highrises along Lincoln Ave. and Fulton St. next to Golden Gate Park.

But Smith screws up his Kees piece at the end when he ventures some Big Thoughts about San Francisco, while trying to draft Herb Caen into his pro-development cause:

The city's official chronicler, Herb Caen, spent much of his career shaking his fist at the skyscrapers that sprouted from San Francisco's downtown during the 1970s and '80s. Yet toward the end of his life, he wrote an essay expressing dismay at what he feared may have been his complicity in retarding San Francisco's progress.

Smith provides a short bibliography for his lit-chat piece on Kees, but he doesn't give us a citation for this unlikely claim. Hard to believe that Herb Caen---who had a pretty reliable shit-detector---would approve of Smith's version of "progress" for the city.

Maybe Smith thought it would be a good idea to strike an upbeat note at the end of an article on Kees, who evidently committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, but he goes over the railing intellectually, so to speak:

There's a bright side to the fact that an ordinary apartment here costs $750,000 and that a job to pay for it requires a record of breathtaking accomplishment. People one encounters here are interesting, able to hold a conversation about anything, they have so much going on.

Evidently Smith has never heard of inherited wealth. Does he really think that people who live in San Francisco---all those "interesting" people---necessarily earned the right to be here?

Labels: , ,