Monday, November 7, 2011

Yelping with Cormac McCarthy

So, here's something awesome from the tumblr-sphere: Yelping with Cormac. The premise is Yelp reviews written by Cormac McCarthy.

A lot of them are worth reading, but the October 26 review of Taco Bell is maybe the best:
Two stars.
And so the man defied the villagers and ate the taco. In defiance of the will of those people but also in defiance of some order older than he. Older than tortillas. Than the ancient and twisted cedars. How could we know his mind? We are all of us unknowable. Blind strangers passing on a mountain road.
The man laid there in the village square for three days and nights and took no food and spoke to no visitor. The older villagers said that the man should not have eaten the taco and no sane man would do so and the price of such folly was known to all.
On the fourth day an old lady asked the man was he ill and did he need a doctor. The man told her he was indeed ill but that he wished to see a priest. And she crossed herself and left and in the sweltering afternoon sun a priest came down to the square to see the man.
The priest asked the man why he lay there in the square and if perhaps he could be convinced to leave. The man said he had eaten a thing which he should not have and he could not move because the world was revealed to him in its evil and in its beauty. That if he moved he might fall into the sky and never return. The priest assured him that it was not possible to fall into the sky and that an earthly cure of ginger and peppermint would surely calm his digestion. The man asked could God make a taco so terrible even He could not eat it. The priest considered this and said no this was not possible and to think so was a sin. The man was silent for some time. Then he said that he had eaten such a taco and that it tasted of bootblack and horsefeed. That if this taco was under God’s dominion then surely all other great evils must be as well. And then the man took the halfeaten and greaseblackened taco from his coatpocket and thrust it at the priest like a broken sword. Eat it, he said. Eat it or be damned.


  1. I am now finally, permanently, in awe of you, knowing that you know McCarthy.

  2. Funny. I don't find it all that much like Cormac's writing. Or speaking, for that matter.

  3. This Taco Bell review is pure genius, but I was disappointed by the other reviews. It is not enough to imitate the style, you also have to be careful with the vocabulary: there are some words that McCarthy just wouldn't use, at least not in writing. And not every stripped-down apocalypse will do either.

    I met McCarthy once at SFI, and within minutes he was talking to me about Indians-cannibals. A class act.

  4. vHF: Yes, you're right. Many of the reviews mimic only one or two aspects of his style. That's why I picked the Taco Bell review to excerpt. I unreservedly applaud the concept, though.

    Chris: Fortunately for me, knowing someone requires no special skills or talent.