"What an amazing building," says DAVID RAKOFF, gazing around at the historic Trinity Church in Copley Square. "I'm going to besmirch it with filth."
Thus began his reading from "Isn't It Romantic," one of the essays in his recent Half Empty. Perhaps you're not familiar with it, but you should be: an epic, bawdy, and dead-fucking-on takedown of the musical Rent, an "insidious middle class lie" that has somehow became more untouchable than 9/11. This reading very well may have marked the first occasion that the following phrase was uttered within the Trinity sanctuary walls: "You can suck a mile of cock, it does not turn you into Oscar Wilde. Believe me."
Afterwards, LISA BIRNBACH and CHIP KIDD bantered about True Prep, their sequel to her gift-book landmark The Official Preppy Handbook. The lesson of their presentation is: never, ever, EVER follow David Rakoff.
DOWNLOAD: "Pop Culture" at Boston Book Festival 2010 [mp3]