MY MODEST TRIBUTE TO FRANK McCOURT

 

On pondering Frank McCourt, who passed away on July 19, Product DetailsI discovered that I had memories of this author despite never having read anything he wrote.  I saw him once on Charlie Rose and liked the show. I saw a documentary on him and heard his voice talking about the experiences that congealed into Angela’s Ashes.  Back in around 2001 or 2002, a student of mine was reading his book in my computer class. Saturday Night Live even had a sketch poking fun at the grinding poverty he depicted in his novel.

Has he written other things? Because AA is the only one I ever hear about.  But given the saucer of water that personifies the mentality of modern media, I’m not surprised.  Frank McCourt has been nowt but a couple of sound bites: Angelas’s Ashes and Pulitzer Prize.

This isn’t sounding like much of a tribute. And there’s a picture of a book cover with a smoking rubber chicken on it.

The tribute has to do with a satire of McCourt written by one Derrick Martin in the book The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes.  McCourt taught in public high schools for many years before becoming a famous author.  This bit was the first thing I thought of when I heard McCourt had died.  The bit is funny for lots of reasons, depending on what your experience of Irish people is.  On the surface, it’s funny because it’s so single-minded.  Every teacher has a favorite topic. Apparently, teachers have political leanings as well.  I like it because it’s a brilliant piss-take on McCourt. I don’t know if he had a sense of humor. I don’t know if he would have appreciated what Martin accomplished, but as a teacher, I like it.  As a reader and writer, I like it.  It’s just funny.

 

FRANK MCCOURT’S AMERICAN HISTORY SYLLABUS

by Derrick Martin

Week 1: The Irish

Week 2: Coming to America

Week 3: Marginalizing the Irish people

Week 4: Kicking the bog mud off your boots

Week 5: Ireland

Week 6: My father the Irishman

Week 7: The Italians!? Oh, please!

Week 8: Looking back (on Ireland)

 

See? Funny!

McCourt, you were not famous for a long time, but you made an impression.  Well done.

FRANK MCCOURT @ AMAZON.COM

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