The New York Times Magazine recently published a “riff” by frequent contributor Dwight Garner arguing that “important novelists” should be publishing more frequently than once every ten years in order to be “central to the cultural conversation.” Garner’s essay was titled “Dear Important Novelists: Be Less Like Moses and More Like Howard Cosell.”
Does it strike anyone else as hilarious that the two figures alluded to in the title of this piece are Moses and Howard Cosell? I had to look Howard Cosell up on the Internet (because, apparently, I’m on the outskirts of the cultural conversation). He was a sportscaster, now deceased, mostly retired by the time Moses became head of the National Rifle Association. But I thought Garner’s little titling shenanigans might make a fun game.
“Dear Refrigerator: Be Less Like Nature and More Like Ice Box”
“Dear Transportation: Be Less Like Buggies and More Like Steam Engines”
“Dear Math: Be Less Like Fingers and More Like Abacus”
“Dear Boyfriends: Be Less Like Caesar and More Like The Fonze”
But I’m entirely missing the point that Howard Cosell is being referenced because of who he was and what he did. Howard Cosell is being referenced because Howard Cosell’s catch phrase is “I’m just telling it like it is,” which is why people read novels. To be told it like it is.
I think Garner wrote this whole piece because Howard Cosell is a great name and it’s hard to stop using “Howard Cosell” once “Howard Cosell” has slipped its way into your mind.
I Coselled just this morning and it felt great. I’m going to Cosell again after I write this. No one can stop my Coselling.
Not even Moses.
(Image: terr-bo's Flickr)