Maybe my first book should be “Notable Johnsons.”

I spent all day putting the final touches on the syllabus for my fall course in Restoration and 18th-Century British Lit, so forgive me for culling more LJ material from elsewhere than my own brain, because my brain is weary, and indulge me in thinking that the following New Yorker piece is freaking hilarious, because it is not often that the culture panders to those of us with an intimate knowledge of both bad ’80s television and the work of James Boswell.

In honor of the impending release of Miami Vice: The Movie, TheNewYorker.com has resurrected from its archives Ian Frazier’s 1986 piece Boswell’s Life of Don Johnson. An excerpt:

To those several critics who, with but the most superficial knowledge, accuse Don Johnson of haughty and peremptory behavior, I reply that my friend has long suffered from a recurring melancholia, brought on by the exigencies of a career that no critic could ever sustain. In addition, I submit that Don Johnson became (through no fault of his own) a man of painfully divided loyalties: on the one hand, he belonged to the city while, on the other hand, he belonged to the night. We can only imagine the agonies of doubt this must have occasioned within him, as his mind turned first toward the one indebtedness, [and] then toward the other. Moreover, Don Johnson has been troubled at irregular intervals by a very rare disorder whereby the reflections of street lamp cross the lenses of his spectacles in dizzying succession and deafening airs from popular operettas fill his ears. That he has managed even the smallest degree of civility in the face of such impediments I consider a remarkable feat.

Link courtesy of the ever-vigilant folks at Bookslut.

P.S. I can’t wait to see the Miami Vice movie, because I’ll see anything with Gong Li in it, and also because I think Colin Farrell is yummy even though he grosses most sane people out.

10 thoughts on “Maybe my first book should be “Notable Johnsons.”

    • Yes; with a little bit of interest and a lot of time to kill, one could trace me to the Salon. Several people have done so, and I’ve told a few former students myself.

      I try to make a habit of not posting anything I would be mortified for people to discover, but for the most part, I’m not all that interesting, so my life’s an open book. Or website. Whatever.

      • I’ve gotten super cautious and made my default friends-only. Which is why lj is cool and “real” blog sites are not. 🙂

        Academia is different, in some ways. You can be crazy and eccentric and it adds to your street cred. I’m a civil servant and I think “How would I feel if my boss read this?” before every post I turn into a public one.

      • Ack! Not that I am saying you give away a lot. You are very protective of the basic personal details. I mean, I am a master puppet account for your new employer and it took me like a year and a half of being your friend to steal your real name under the “postcard” ruse. 🙂

  1. Notable Johnsons? 18th century? How about Notable Richardsons? Samuel Richardson is the best.

    And you should really come and chat with me. I know so much about the 18th century I would make you sooooo jealous and make you want me soooo badly.

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