October 2010

Mean Week is Your Week too, I guess 2

Last year when we opened up Mean Week to you mean freaks a lot of people had things to say. Don’t think we’ve been mean enough this year? Didn’t shit on something you wanted to see shit on from afar, such as, maybe, us? If so, now’s as good a time as any.

Please use this thread as a place to say whatever you want about whoever you want. Your comments will remain anonymous . It’s all just games in the first place, unless you want it to be more.


Mean / 104 Comments
October 29th, 2010 / 12:19 pm

Rude Democracy, Jon Stewart, Your Face

“Do we want more civil talk than uncivil talk?” she asks. “Of course. But what we need to focus on is how both civility and incivility are structured, contained, and used… Even some incivility can move a policy debate along. Creating a culture of argument, and the thick skin that goes along with it, are long-term projects that will serve democracy well.”

Scott McLemee looks at Susan Herbst’s book Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics and comes away with a great justification for Mean Week (in case anyone needed one). Addressing the Jon Stewart rally thing, McLemee argues, “the anti-ideological spirit of the event is a dead end. The attitude that it’s better to stay cool and amused than to risk making arguments or expressing too much ardor — this is not civility. It’s timidity.”

I’ll always argue that it’s possible to disagree nicely, but I also liked the quote McLemee ended his article with, from T-Bone Slim: “Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.” Impolite rhetoric has its place, why not. But in a comment box? Y’all’re morons.

Mean / 16 Comments
October 29th, 2010 / 11:48 am

2 Obituaries: Narrative and Opium

Narrative (September 21, 1995 – October 29, 2010) Longtime literary magazine Narrative, a nonprofit profit organization dedicated to storytelling in the digital age, finally succumbed to a rare enormous cyst, having suffering from Being So Full of Itself. Narrative will be remembered not only for its contemporary “lit lite,” but for their colorful array of contests, to which slush-pile fated folk tirelessly submit; and most of all, they are remembered for the awesome mug (w/ logo) provided to “Patrons” upon a $5,000 – $9,999 donation. Their “Backstage VIP access” allowed donors to read unpublished work, but (to mitigate such sadism) only by accomplished writers. Contributors were either attractive, or were friendly with professional photographers, pointing to a glossy cosmetic tragedy of sorts. Please join us as we celebrate their passing this Sunday at 11am at the Alpha Smegma Pi House. If you would like to submit an elegy, please include a submission fee of $15 at the door. All manuscripts should be in 12 pt. type, double spaced with one-inch margins, sequentially numbered pages, and contain exactly four metaphors, three similes, two foreigners, and one tear drop stain. If applicable, an editor will condescend with you.

Opium (October 19, 2000 – October 29, 2010) Opium Magazine died of exhaustion during its most recent Literary Death Match tour, on whose behalf editor and MC Todd Zuniga (clearly with independent financial means) perennially traverses the world betwixt London; New York; Beijing; San Francisco; Oxford; Edinburgh; Boston; Los Angeles; Toronto; and inexplicably, Kansas City. Zuniga’s enthusiasm for life (and frequent flier miles) was not just conventionally conveyed with the exclamation points adorning almost all of his descriptions of said events, but more notably, with hair gel purposefully rendering his look “chronically just woken.” Remembered as the first online literary journal to publish more event announcements than actual fiction, Opium is survived by approximately two thousand participants and audience members who must now find something else to do tonight. Of the occasional story that was published, they provided their trademark “estimated reading time,” assurances for their fickle readership that not too much time would be wasted. Opium is heroin’s main constituent, which may explain how publishing there can collapse a vain. Condolences may be offered at your nearest International Airport, Concourse B (Gate B7), where Zuniga’s apparition, on layover, will be briefly seen sitting by an outlet recharging his iPhone and hair.

Mean / 4 Comments
October 29th, 2010 / 10:05 am

“Is anything more tiresome, in fiction, than the problems of sensitive adolescents?”

— John Barth, “Lost in the Funhouse”


from Naked by Mike Leigh

Film / 3 Comments
October 28th, 2010 / 11:36 pm

Live Giants 10: Amelia Gray

Thanks to everyone for watching, to Amelia Gray for reading, and to Mary Hamilton for handling the internet questions.

At any point you can pick up a copy of Amelia’s brand new Museum of the Weird here.

Web Hype / 12 Comments
October 28th, 2010 / 8:55 pm

What is the #1 all time overrated, over–anthologized, you-are-sick-of story or poem or essay?

Reading out loud to an audience.

Dear touring authors,

A lot of you are really lousy readers of your own work. I’ve seen thousands of you. I’ve been bored by quite a few of you. Stop doing it.

If you suspect you are really lousy at it, you are. Stop doing it. If you are on a book tour, talk to the audience about the book. Pitch the book to people. Just answer a bunch of questions. Stop reading to us. It’s boring. You are boring us. There are other things you can do. Figure out where your strengths are, and go with them.

If you are an agent and you have an author who is not good at reading to an audience, tell her/him. Seriously. Just say it. And then figure out what the author can do instead. Stop sending them out to bore the hell out of an audience. A small audience. A very small audience that will inevitably get smaller and smaller because so many authors are so damn lousy at reading to an audience.

If you have a friend who is not good at reading to an audience, and her/his agent won’t say anything, or her/his editor/publisher won’t say anything to her/him, cowgirl/boy up and tell her/him. For all our sakes. Tell them to cut it the fuck out and figure out something else to do when given the chance to stand in front of a group of people her/him hopes will buy her/his book.

“Hey…listen. You guys in the front, if you see somebody going down, help them out. It’s what we’re here to do.”

And, really, if you are a terrible reader, but you insist on following the silly ritual, if you think because you are a writer asked to go to a bookstore, you must read something, read something in first person. First person fiction, memoir, maybe some autobiographical poetry. People perk up at the “I.” And you are a lousy reader of your own work. At least you can cover it by appearing to talk about yourself.

Mean / 40 Comments
October 28th, 2010 / 5:07 pm

One perfect paragraph (from a book with plenty to spare)

Upriver, dawn’s dry herald brought to the hungover steamship crew news of the pervert Evavangeline had gutted the midnight before. It went bunk to bunk in whispers and giggles. Instead of falling into the water like decent folk, the pervert had gotten tangled in a fishnet hung along the ship’s port side. Throughout the night a pulsing contingent of catfish, carp, grinnel, gar, sucker, alligators and even a few river-lost sand sharks disoriented by fresh water had followed the boat, swirling in the ooze. In the morning light, enormous orange crawfish with their pinchers clicking rode the body, one arm of which trailing in the water was festooned with moccasins attached at the fang. When one became too blooded it fell loose and sank in the clouds in the sky in the river.

Tom Franklin, Smonk

Excerpts / 73 Comments
October 28th, 2010 / 3:55 pm

Obituary: Third Face

Third Face (May 22, 2010 – October 28, 2010) This freewrite fart joke 420 rated-NR-because-we-want-to group “lit” (as in “to’e up”) blog lived so briefly it never was able to pass its oral and anal stages, thus there’s really not much to say about them in the way of remembrance beyond, “Who?” They are survived by none, and there will be no services, no corpse. I can’t even remember the URL. All that remains are some Fritos, a couple miles of lubey cellophane and Kleenex, some ICP gear, a couple of crusty one hitters, the mystery of how they were ever able to get women involved, a whole hell of a lot of mental cringing, and this photograph taken of the death gasp of two of Third Face’s longest standing (crawling?) members in the extra-social throes of what they did best, their very very own best, while they still could:

Mean / 6 Comments
October 28th, 2010 / 3:06 pm