Prof. Wells, I presume
By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

In his first appearance at the 92nd Street Y, distinguished man of letters David Wells said he uses the gullibility of the American public as a means of publicizing his heralded works of fiction.

"I consider my work a metaphor for global instability," Wells said. "By intentionally drawing the ire of my employer and co-workers, I have been able to use the media to spread the deeper messages contained in my novels."

David Wells
David Wells rejoyces after delivering his thesis on the man-child in contemporary athletics.
Wells spoke as part of Granta's "Writers on the Edge" series sponsored jointly by Popov Vodka and He said purposely including and then retracting inflammatory lies while simultaneously presenting them as fact may confuse the majority of the public, but the tool allows those who would never pick up one of his works to become familiar with them.

"It's a deconstructionist thing," he told a crowd of roughly 3,000. "I have found that packaging my books as fact and then gradually revealing their status as figments of my imagination, I can make people believe I was half-drunk on the mound when I was really feeling only the slightly light-headed feeling one gets when mixing Benadryl with Bazooka."

There are other things, Wells said, that were kind of true but really not all the way true. "It's up to the reader," he says. "Words are whatever you make them. The writer has limits. As a reader, I have one request: Use your mind. Do your job."

Wells acknowledged that his unconventional approach to literature has earned him his fair share of critics.

"Anyone with the guts to threaten the accepted paradigm is bound to be met with the slings and arrows of the close-minded," Wells said. "To those people, I offer this parting shot: As Jack Nicholson was alleged to have said off-camera, 'You can't handle the half-truth.'"

This Week's List:

  • Tiger would win this one, too: A hasty and undisciplined reading of Google News links on Sunday night revealed the heretofore unpublicized existence of the "Al Samoud 2 Match Play Championship."
  • Since the RPI and Jeff Sagarin's hard drive always say steady guard play and senior leadership are key in March: I say Kansas.
  • From Memphis to Orlando to the happiest guy in the NBA: Drew Gooden.
  • Ham sandwich for lunch: $5.50.
  • Tie for road trip to Kentucky: $29.95.
  • Color television for dorm room: $500.
  • Having access to Coach Harrick's credit card: Priceless.
  • If Harrick goes down in Georgia: Would Steve Lavin look OK in red?
  • This week's cute couple: Emmitt and Jerry.
  • Speaking of the Cowboys' benevolent owner: When a guy with his head down, reading from a prepared statement, says, "It is with great emotion that I announce ...," don't you wonder just how much great emotion is involved?
  • Because if you did, Roy would evidently like a word with you out back: Did you or anybody you know fail to give Roy Jones Jr. his proper props leading up to the Ruiz fight?
  • Just for the heck of it: Pepe Mangual.
  • It's the subtle things that add up in the long run: David Toms is the latest to show us that normal humans get the flu while well-known athletes -- and golfers -- get food poisoning.
  • Just curious, but what would happen if every single person in America decided to recite the most obvious tripe at exactly the same time?: Apparently, the one thing every sports columnist in American can agree upon is that flag-protesting women's basketball player Toni Smith has America to thank for being able to stand there with her back turned on Old Glory.
  • Edgy, apparently, is the operative word: In a commercial that attempts to connect NBA players playing one-on-one in urban playground players, Nike cleverly and transparently tossed in a quick shot of two growling, squared-off pit bulls.
  • Revealed for the eighth straight spring training: Barry Bonds isn't concerned that many people consider him arrogant and self-absorbed.
  • Since it's always best to base your fantasy league baseball picks on the first week of spring training games, here are some handy tips: 1) Darren Dreifort (always a safe bet); 2) Cesar Izturis (apparently hit the weights real hard this winter); 3) that dude named Calloway who had two hits for the Expos the other day.
  • While reading all the expected odes to the new-look Phillies, remember this: Jose Mesa, closer.
  • Just as Hootie thought he could return to his lurid Suze Orman fantasies: The KKK adopted the cause of Augusta National.



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