“The Death of Derek Jeter”

My second major in college was English and I’m usually able to pull themes and subtext out of most anything (even if the piece in question doesn’t have any), but this thing has me stumped.

If anyone can tell me what the hell it’s about, I’d be most appreciative.


Print This Post
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Sara K
Guest
Sara K

As any modern English major will tell you, there is never One Definitive Reading of anything, but here’s my take anyway:  Martone is using a fantasized first-person narration by Derek Jeter to explore the instability of individual identity and the anxiety of human awareness of the passage of time and, ultimately, mortality.  These ideas converge in the concept of memory/memorabilia…how will we be remembered after we die, and is there anything we can do about it? 

Just in case we needed any more proof that baseball is, in fact, the master metaphor for the human experience…

Ron
Guest
Ron

In the words of the immortal Andy Taylor, he ‘sounds like a nut to me’.

That’s an Andy Griffith reference for the children in the audience.

Grant
Guest
Grant

I couldn’t get through. Unreadable. Lame.

Jim Hoffman
Guest
Jim Hoffman

Even in death, Jeter is soooo clutch.

Seriously, that piece was terrible.

Sara K
Guest
Sara K

If you are reading it expecting a plot, I can totally understand your disappointment. The technique is much more toward poetry than fiction – he’s layering images, motifs, and metaphors rather than trying to tell a story in a traditional sense. 

Undoubtedly, tastes vary, but the writing is actually quite good.

Colin Wyers
Guest
Colin Wyers

Sara K – I’m going to have to strongly disconcur here. The essentially point of writing is to communicate something – a thought, an idea, a feeling, something – between two individuals. I don’t think this is very successful at communicating.

Sara K
Guest
Sara K
Colin – I see what you are saying.  Clarity does count for a lot.  But at the same time, my college freshman in Intro to Literature are absolutely baffled by most of the literature they encounter and they miss all but the most literal information. They read some of the greatest works of literature of all time and call them stupid. Does the flaw lie in the writing or the reader in that case?  I absolutely have no problem with anyone’s personal taste; my concern is the conflation of subjective enjoyment with objective quality. I personally loathe reading Faulkner, but… Read more »
Melody
Guest
Melody

Simple—Michael Martone wants to have sex with Derek Jeter, because his father was absent or rejecting and his mother was a narcissist. 

Did I mention I was a Psychology/English major?

wink

Sara K
Guest
Sara K

A clarification, FWIW – There are some Faulkner works I do enjoy a great deal, and some that I deeply despise (The Sound and the Fury leaps to mind). Works need to be taken on their own merits, not by the name of the author. 

Melody – love it, love it, love it. He’s forcing fungo and cricket bats into Jeter’s hands out of phallus envy!  The melting watches are actually a tip-off to his impotence anxiety!  Reading it your way is much more fun. 😀

Craig Calcaterra
Guest
Craig Calcaterra

Sometimes I really miss college.  Other times, not so much.

No offense to either Melody or Sara. wink

TLA
Guest
TLA

Unreadable.

Aaron Moreno
Guest
Aaron Moreno

As any non-English major will tell you, you probably shouldn’t listen to English majors.

Craig gets a pass with a double major and an advanced degree.

Grant
Guest
Grant

Hey, I’m in the middle of a master’s degree in the humanities and social thought (yes, that’s what my degree will say on it) and have recently been subjected to a lot of Lacanian analyses of mid-century French horror movies. So I know what I’m talking about when I say something is unreadable. That thing is definitely unreadable.

Sara K
Guest
Sara K

Interesting. A lot of Lacan is unreadable to me, and I really enjoyed the Martone piece. Different brands of crazy, I guess.  grin

Ron
Guest
Ron

Wow, I’m going to take my high school diploma and go home.

I’m way outclassed.

Mark Schepp
Guest
Mark Schepp

Imagine it being read by William Shatner – makes much more sense in that context.

Jake
Guest
Jake

I liked it.  Then again, I did not go in expecting a narrative.

michael standish
Guest
michael standish

I read the Jeter story into a tape recorder, and then played it backward. Here, in summary, is what it said:

Brad Pitt will be playing mad scientist Billy Beane in a post-modernist film whose plot will recapitulate that of the movie Seven (7?). The head in the box will be Ted Williams’.

wpDiscuz