Just had a lesson in Prof. Perry's "Introduction to Prose" class. The lesson started off rather repetitive of previous material, and I spent the time furtively reading Livy. Then things picked up, and Perry presented new material, with several interesting examples. But the climax was him reading out chapter 11 from John Barth's The Floating Opera, that intermezzo about nature as a vulgar signifier, and how writers should avoid picking up life's vulgar, all-too-easy similes and metaphors (such as a pigeon resting on a "No Parking" sign, or dogs mating as a funeral is held nearby) at all costs.
The brilliance! Hang it all, Pole, I want to drop everything else and read Barth right now! Failing that, I want to read Barth on my spring break1.
And a confession: while writing this, I realize that the wicked Baron Ravell (ravell) has already introduced me to this very concept one fine evening at ygurvitz's front yard, in response to a very peculiar instance of life's vulgar irony that shocked me that evening, much to ygurvitz's delight.
1 Ha! My spring break is already booked with everything I'm not getting around to during the semester.