Now that I've left Texas, I find myself laughing a little harder at King of the Hill and hankering for Donald Barthelme, that most Houstonian of Houstonians, a little more.
Pagestopixels.com introduced Barthelme as their first Author of the Month in what I hope will be a long series.
Here's what they do with their Authors of the Month: They offer a story (if it's available) by that author. Then they offer a discussion of that story from some sharp literary critic or other. They offer two such installments as of now. One discusses "The Indian Uprising" and the other "Me and Miss Mandible." I hadn't read the latter one, but it's one of my favorites now. Bartheleme's got a funny way of writing about schools that shows what silly and powerful institutions they actually are. The accompanying essays are okay, too, but neither comes close to George Saunders's "The Perfect Gerbil" from his collection of essays The Braindead Megaphone about Barthelme's "The School." Writes Saunders thusly:
Barthelme does just this with "Me and Miss Mandible." Gas stations galore.