John Updike (1932-2009)

6 comments
By Glenn



As you might have read on your Twitter updates, famous American author John Updike has died today at the age of 76. I would like to eulogize him in my own manner, but nothing will compare to the official New York Times obituary. Their posthumous depictions of famous lives have guided me through a lot of otherwise dark periods. Please read the following two excerpts of Updike's work and try to understand why - on this day of his death - America will mourn an author who wrote fiction but lived a nonfiction life.






The following satire appeared in the September 1974 issue of the New Yorker. Susan Sontag writes as "Desperate" and John Updike writes as "Tech Support."
Dear Tech support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 and then installed undesirable programs such as NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Signed,
Desperate.



DEAR DESPERATE,

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and don't forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers
35.

But remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1. Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta. Whatever you do, DO NOT install Mother- In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources).

Also do not attempt to reinstall Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck,
Tech Support

The most glossed over the portion of Updike's Career where he moonlit in the advertising world. After the disappointment of Bech Is Back (1982) and before the wild success of The Witches of Eastwick (1984), Updike was stuck in a literary stasis. He couldn't write novels but didn't want to write anything else. Low and behold, CompuServe approached him at just the write moment. Pun intended, deliberate, slow and unnerving as the lung cancer that killed this man today.



Feel free to post your favorite Updike memories in the comments section, and don't forget to read the NYT obituary.

6 comments:

  1. I'm not very familiar with the work of Updike. I've read about half of one of his books and have seen about 25 minutes of Witches of Eastwick. I'm not too taken aback by his death, as I had assumed that he was already dead.

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  2. I was taken to see the Witches of Eastwick and had to leave because I was too scared.

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  3. “I would write ads for deodorants or labels for catsup bottle, if I had to,” he told The Paris Review in 1967. “The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me.”

    I didn't even know he had said this when I wrote the post. How true it turned out to be.

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  4. John Updike's short stories are among my favorites. He was always great on Charlie Rose too.

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  5. HAHAHA. Marriage ruins eeeeeeverything!

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  6. Interestingly, i just recently discovered John Updike... I haven't fallen in love with all of his work yet, though i'm starting to enjoy his candid writing style;

    his passing is a sad loss indeed

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