Thursday, February 19, 2015
The library blurb
It is most famous as a way to sell prospective movies: the mash-up. For example: "It's Bad News Bears meets The Matrix. Plucky but troubled kids realize they're in a reality simulation with the help of a super cool pool cleaner." But, alas, movies have moved on from the mash-up and have become focused far more on the retell:
"It's Star Trek!"
"Yes, Star Trek meets what?"
"No, no, just Star Trek again, but new."
So the mash-up has had to go seek more fertile pastures. Fortunately they have found in books a happy home. One can hardly look at a book cover quote these days without seeing a mash-up. It's The Great Gatsby meets The Hunger Games! Man, I want to read that! Whatever it is, I mean. I read both of them and now presumably I can get all that quality in a single dose. I don't have time to read two books! I have a blog to write!"
"Oh, really, what kind of blog do you write?"
"It's sort of Bridget Jones Diary meets Bartleby, the Scrivener."
Who can resist the mash-up, especially if you're a book reviewer and you want to see yourself plastered onto book covers. But really, they're for anyone. They're so evocative, leading, suggestive, and, above all, economical. You can get your puny sentence to partake of whole beautiful novels and all the rich feelings they bring, but also you get to pretend to great creative insight through your juxtaposition of unlike things. It's like sticking a cherry bomb in a frog, irresistible!
Wait, did I just suggest that sticking a cherry bomb in a frog is irresistible? I'm pretty sure I can resist that. I'm nearly positive I can resist that!
Nevertheless, exploding frogs aside, the mash-up may be too valuable a tool to leave to narrative. It's just such a dynamic way to describe something. There I am at the library I work at. I am shelving.
Wait, what am I doing?
Ah, Shelving. It's, um, sort of Nineteen Eighty-Four meets The Little Prince.
Who will I be on the front desk with later?
Well, she's like Pollyanna meets The Metamorphosis.
And where is it I work, how shall we mash-up my library?
How about Papillon meets Winnie the Pooh?
The Odyssey meets The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death?
War and Peace meets Go Dog Go?
Oh hell, in the end, just grab any two books off our shelves. That should be accurate enough.