Are you excited for tonight's GOSSIP GIRL?
(OK, catch your breath.)
Now tell me: Does the show reflect poetry's diminishing cultural capital?

In the CW show (which returns tonight after a long, writers'-strike amplified hiatus), Dan and Jenny Humphrey's father, Rufus, is a former rock star who now runs an art gallery; they live in Brooklyn.
In the books (by Cecily von Ziegesar) upon which the show is based, Rufus is "a self-proclaimed intellectual and the editor of lesser-known Beat poets." They live in a "large and crumbling tenth-floor, four-bedroom West End Avenue apartment....[that] hadn't been renovated since the 1940s."
We learn (in book 2, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME) that "[t]heir dad wasn’t the best housekeeper in the world. It was hard to remember to shop for groceries or mop the floors when you were busy writing essays on why some poet no one had ever heard of was the next Allen Ginsberg. Most of the time Dan and Jenny survived on Chinese takeout."
Any candidates for the original of Rufus Humphrey?

Originally Published: April 21st, 2008

Ed Park is the author of the novel Personal Days (Random House, 2008) and a founding editor of The Believer. His work most recently appears in Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book (Da Capo). He blogs at The Dizzies.

  1. April 22, 2008

    In the interest of not incriminating myself or offending others, I shall not speculate about the real life model for Rufus Humphrey.
    I am writing today to express my Absolute Dismay at what I now discover: that not only am I *not* the only Harriet blogger, contributing or staff, current or past, to have read a Gossip Girl book, but it seems that you, Ed, have read more of them than I have!
    All right, the rest of you (Emily Warn??? Linh Dinh???)--fess up. How many, and who's your favorite GG?

  2. April 22, 2008
     Michael Robbins

    I'm glad others enjoy Gossip Girl. I haven't read any of the books, but I'm a big fan of mysteries, science fiction, & assorted comic books. It was nice to read this post the same day I saw Steve Burt's letter in the LRB correcting an author's misuse of the name Kal-El.