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Saturday, December 21, 2002

The late Roger Zelazny wrote, in his introduction to the collected version of the original Books of Magic, that editors think they're buying a story, but what they're really buying is the way the story is told.

More or less the same story appears in two UK papers today -- journalist takes child to Lapland to meet Santa Claus. It's fascinating comparing the two.

Jon Ronson in the Guardian writes a funny, sad, perceptive piece about the vast gulfs between parent and child, and during his trip to Lapland everything goes wrong. It's the kind of writing that gets into your head in odd ways.

Meanwhile, over in the Telegraph, Peter Hardy takes his daughter to Lapland and has a perfectly good experience and writes a perfectly competent and entertaining article about it, which slips in one eye and out the other.

...

Incidentally, Jon Ronson's excellent book about extremists and conspiracies, THEM was terrific. Here's a link to the Salon.com review, which criticises Ronson for being funny about serious things -- But now, when federal prosecutors are about to put the so-called 20th hijacker on trial and when a British man has been accused of trying to blow up a plane with sneakers full of plastic explosives, Ronson's light, uncritical approach feels misguided explains the reviewer, which seems to me to have missed the point about an awful lot of things, particularly the shoe-bomber.
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