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June 22, 2008

David Spedaris Responds!

While perusing my web page, as I do several times an hour, I happened across a most peculiar comment in response to my posting, “Help Me Defeat David Sedaris.”

The comment was from somebody called “Liz,” but if you read carefully, as I did, you will soon come to the conclusion, as I did, that it was written by none other than David Spedaris himself! The comment reads:

Sorry but you aren't witty enough to carry Sedaris' shoes. Quit before you embarrass yourself. Hope this is mutual joke. A curmudgeon.

How do I know that “Liz” is a nom de guerre for Spedaris? Meticulous deconstruction, that’s how. The same method I used to determine that Joe Klein was the author of the “anonymous” 1996 novel Primary Colors.

Read on and see if I don’t make my case.

Starting with the first sentence, Liz says I am not “witty enough to carry Sedaris’ shoes.” Question: why would somebody need to be witty to carry somebody else’s shoes. Answer: he wouldn’t. Therefore the question itself is absurd. Who uses absurdity as his coin of the realm? Who, in fact, has based his entire career on the idea of using the essay as a means of pointing out the absurdity of everyday life? David Sedaris, that’s who. Liz is therefore employing one of Sedaris’s favored tactics, absurdity, to make her (his) wilting accusation.

Proof that Liz is Sedaris? Perhaps not. But read on.

David Sedaris is a small man. By claiming that I would be unable to carry his shoes, isn’t Liz attempting to physically diminish my literal and metaphoric standing? As it happens, I am seven feet tall. The idea that I would be unable to carry the shoes of a man who stands, at best, three feet tall is, again, absurd. But this is not the first time Sedaris has used height or lack thereof to make a literary point.

In the essay, “Giant Dreams, Midget Abilities,” from the book Me Talk Pretty One Day, Sedaris describes how, as twelve year old (“small for my age” ), he was given guitar lessons by a “Mister Mancini,” an “honest-to-God midget.” Sedaris cleverly makes himself loom larger by contrasting his diminutive stature with a man who “barely reached my chest.” In this manner, he is employing the same tactic as my erstwhile reader Liz, attempting to make ME smaller by saying I am incapable of carrying Sedaris’s shoes.

I also think it’s interesting that Liz chooses to write “Sedaris’” with an apostrophe following a single “S” as opposed to “Sedaris’s,” which is the more common, layman’s spelling. This detail suggests to me that Liz is somebody familiar with the Strunk & White’s book, Elements of Style, the go-to book for writerly questions of English grammar and usage. What kind of person is familiar with this book? A writerly kind of person, that’s who! Particularly the kind of writerly person who specializes in humorous essays which recount the trials and travails of growing up in North Carolina and now lives in Paris with his boyfriend Hugh.

Next, Liz admonishes me to “quit before you embarrass yourself.” First of all, embarrassing myself has largely been the point of my career, dating back to my days with my sketch troupe The State, when I routinely dressed in women’s clothing and once paraded down New York’s Fifth Avenue wearing only a spangled thong. Perhaps Liz/David doesn’t know this about me, but I think not. After all, I am a celebrity (very famous). No, instead I think this was meant less as an admonition and more as an outright threat. What kind of threat? That’s the question, and the clue to Liz’s true identity.

Obviously a threat in the traditional “I’m going to rip out your eyes and feed them to a goat” kind of threat isn’t applicable in cyberspace, even if the person doing the threatening actually has access to a goat. Instead, I think this threat is more malicious than that. After all, what kind of person could threaten a celebrity like myself (again, very famous)? Another celebrity, that’s who! Particularly if that celebrity were a juggernaut in the publishing industry whose every utterance is immediately slapped on the New York Times best-seller list. That kind of person’s threats would have to be taken seriously. And I would take this threat seriously – if I was a pussy. But I’m not, “Liz,” I’m not. I don’t back down from a fight, even a fake fight like this!

Spedaris continues: “Hope this is a mutual joke.” This is where David really tips his hand. Obviously if this literary feud WERE a “mutual joke,” the one person who would know would be David Sedaris. Therefore, the writer in question is using a kind of reverse/reverse psychology to throw me off the scent. Why would I suspect Liz was David since obviously “Liz” doesn’t know whether or not this burgeoning literary war is a “mutual joke?” So it seems to me that Liz is deliberately attempting to deceive me into thinking she is NOT David by employing this rhetorical gambit. Guess what, Spedaris? I SAW RIGHT THROUGH IT!!!

The comment is then signed “A curmudgeon.” I find this last bit the most fascinating at all because it speaks to the poster’s obvious identity crisis. Why sign off using a different name than the name you identified yourself with in the first place? You wouldn’t, unless on some level, you were unsure of WHO YOU WERE! What kind of person would be unsure? A liar, that’s what kind. Particularly a writerly liar adept at using words like curmudgeon. What is a curmudgeon? It’s a grouch. And who is more grouchy than David Sedaris? Maybe Norman Mailer and believe me, when I first read this comment I immediately wondered if perhaps Liz wasn’t Norman Mailer, but then I remembered that Mailer is dead.

No, the evidence is incontrovertible. Liz = David. It was a valiant effort, kid, but I’m afraid you came up a little short. A smaller man would use your words against you and tell you to quit before embarrassing yourself, but I am not a smaller man. You are. By about four feet.


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Chief Fever Nuts

7 feet? I had you pegged at 6'10", tops. But it's hard for me to judge, since I am 8'11" and 9/10ths inches tall and typing this on a keyboard with special keys that are the size of Chunky brand candybars, to accomodate my massive, club-like fingers.

Keith Barker

Michael, hey I have a college radio show at my school just outside of Buffalo NY, and we are really interested in doing a phone interview with you. Is this possible? Please let me know.

Sean B

I started a blog because I was too lazy to buy a notebook for a journal, and my favorite part of the whole David Spedaris thing, is in the amazon.com ad, the only quote from a critic, is in fact a quote from David Spedaris' sister.

That's advertising

Good Vibrations

Fucking FUNNY!

You're like that guy who deduces all the time, English accent, pipe. Watsons partner. But your acute paranoia and psychic skills are RIGHT ON as nothing is ever as it seems.

I can so totally vouch for your 7 foot height. You don't look that tall on VH1, but look out! One time, when I saw you at a meet and greet (sans any sign of a kissing booth) I remember looking down on your head which was about a foot down from my (double)chin.

Carmelita Funches

And P.S.
Because I'm helpful (and adorable): Keith Barker, you may want to post with a link to your website or some other form of contact that does not involve telepathic powers.

Chief Fever Nuts

I made that banner for Michael. I originally made one with quotes from Colbert and Hodgman on it. Then Michael and I agreed it should be smaller, and in the interest of making something that was uncluttered and clearly promoting a book, I made the banner you see now. I used Ms.Sedaris's quote because it was one of the shorter quotes in the press release for the book, and because she's a very funny lady, so I figured her word on Michael's book was gold. I had no idea how weirdly appropriate my selection was until Michael posted his first cri de guerre the other day.

Huw Coward

I have just recieved some information from a colleague of mine that may be of some use to you. Not only is this clearly the handiwork of that dastardly rogue Spedaris, as identified by your deductions, but it is also a well planned attempt to undermine your endeavours in this field!

My colleague informed me of a text by this oderous piglet Spedaris to the title of "The book of LIZ." This is obviously a pre-emptively, subconsciously launched enigma accidentally indicating his bumbling desire to disrupt your blog!!! YEARS IN ADVANCE!

Spedaris, the cowardly anteater, failed to realise that when we rearrange the title - with his fumbling attempt at attacking you in mind - it quite clearly creates the message "ok I will never be as good as you Michael, sorry I mean Mr Michael, Sire." (Give or take a few letters.)

Little did Spedaris - that lemming-provoking, turtle-tipping, monkey-molesting quadroped - realise this clue so apparent!

Hopefully I've been helpful in your crusade against this traitorous salamander!

P.S. I do quite enjoy the words of pSedaris, whose works are quite distinguished, unlike those of that lice-ridden wolf-man Spedaris! The cholera manifesting pachyderm.

No offence taken.

Easy Peasy

If you'll pardon the vernacular, fuck Spedaris, we want pictures of you in that spangled thong, dammit!


Dude, if the whole comedy thing doesn't work out you could totally be a detective.


Does David Sedaris (aka "Liz") have his own website? Let me know, and I'll gladly post the following comment there:

Sorry, but you aren't manly enough to wear Michael Ian Black's spangled thong. Quit before you embarrass yourself.

P.S. I love a good non-political feud


Yes, I think that "Liz" is Spedaris's sister, in fact!


Oh no Severed, you're sorely mistaken. "Liz" is definetely David Spedaris, not a sister, relative or even a friend of any kind. He/she is straight(gay)up, all 3 feet, David Spedaris.


Michael, hey I have a secret chamber in my bedroom floor just under the rug made out of potholders and cowhide, and we are really interested in having you stay for a while. Is this possible? Please let me know.


it's David SEDARIS, not SPEDARIS . . . is this on purpose?


Holy crap, Spedaris has taken on another alias! He is no longer going by 'Liz,' he's going by 'astar!' And he sounds annoyed as hell about being called Spedaris. It's working Michael, it's working!!!

David Sedaris

I hate you guys.


"it's David SEDARIS, not SPEDARIS . . . is this on purpose?"

I think there is a purpose to every word typed by the man.


i just think that if Michael Ian Black weren't attacking David Sedaris nobody would be. There is a degree of patriotism to that worth applauding. Even if people "don't get it" right now, history will set the record straight.


"“Sedaris’” with an apostrophe following a single “S” as opposed to “Sedaris’s,” which "

Oh,and just in case my recent confusion about this very thing raised suspicion that I could be "Liz", I assure you I am not because:
1. The last thing I'd want to do is verbally assault Black(and/or eat a spider).
2. Although I'm a bit slow on the uptake in certain matters, I'm confident I could come up with a more creative slam.

Evie Ling

I'd verbally assault Black today. Right now.

But only if result equals 'naughty girl' spanking.

Sean B.

hahaha, for some unusual reason, this reminds me of the taco sketch you did.


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