May 11th, 2011 / 10:07 am
Author Spotlight & Contests & Random

dull, humourless, uptight, inhibited, mindless, depressing, boring and swaggering

1. Amazing Herzog interview in GQ. You should read this:

I’ve always been suspicious. I don’t even look into my face. I shaved this morning, and I look at my cheeks so that I don’t cut myself, but I don’t even want to know the color of my eyes. I think psychology and self-reflection is one of the major catastrophes of the twentieth century. A major, major mistake. And it’s only one of the mistakes of the twentieth century, which makes me think that the twentieth century in its entirety was a mistake.

If an actor knows how to milk a cow, I always know it will not be difficult to be in business with him.

I think there should be holy war against yoga classes.

11. Interesting thoughts on biography in this review of Avraham Shlonsky.

7. American Short Fiction short-short contest ends in 4 days. Send.

12. Photo montage of writers posing with their typewriters. What is a typewriter?

13. Cathy Day with an interesting post about linked story collections and how to teach such a thing.

What is a novel-in-stories? A linked collection? A story cycle? I find it hard to make distinctions between these terms. Instead, I think of it this way: On one end of the prose spectrum is the traditional linear novel. On the other end is the collection of disparate stories. Linked stories exist on the narrative spectrum between “novel” and “story collection,” and they are unique and valid formal artifacts.

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  1. deadgod

      Ha ha – changed the blogicle title and added to the attractor-quote while I – not alone, I’m sure – was reading the Herzog interview.

      What I especially was impressed by in Grizzly Man, in terms of doc technique, was the way Herzog, without saying so – even while making the opposite look true, let Treadwell ‘win’ the conversation that cost him and his girlfriend their lives.

  2. Sean

      Yes, it is better now. Glad you read the article. A great way to start the day, really.

      I have mixed feelings on Grizzly. I know it is HErzog, but didn’t you find some of his staged things manipulative? Or just creepy. I’m thinking of the morgue/watch scene. Or the scene where he basically talks a woman into saying she was Treadwell’s widow. I don’t know.

  3. alanrossi

      i think Lynch and Herzog should fight each other with salmon about the utility/futility of meditation.

      didn’t they just release a ‘collaboration.’ am i making that up? reynard, could you google this for me? okay, here it is: My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

      good interview. i thank ye.

  4. Chris

      Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams is out in 3D. Good stuff.

  5. alanrossi

      i agree i was uncomfortable/creeped during those scenes, but i couldn’t figure out if i thought the scenes were pointlessly manipulative or pointfully manipulative (honestly, his voice didn’t help there, in a rare instance). i couldn’t decide if my discomfort was because something revealing and necessary was happening or something negative was happening. will have to relook.

  6. Sean

      Also note how much of the film is Treadwell’s own film. Also, Treadwell’s friends and parents talk in this weird, affected manner. The whole film is like three films. It’s the animal film, very beautiful. It’s a bit of psychology, the Treadwell life story. But then it’s a film about film ethics. The entire film is a bit of a three card Monty, where things are not what they seem. It’s a complex film, is what I’m saying. Less about Grizzlies than it appears, fer sure.

  7. deadgod

      But you don’t need “[to] google” the collaboration! – it’s mentioned in the “good” interview. (Lynch was the exec-producer, according to Herzog, who retails a piece of net effluvium to say that he – Herzog – is the only filmmaker of his acquaintance who’s not “insane”.)

  8. deadgod

      Yes, the interview stuff – theatrically telling the woman never to listen to the audio of Treadwell’s death/consumption in a way such as to amp up the horror – is “creepy”. Discomfiture can almost never be an ‘argument’ against a piece of art, right??

      What I mean by ‘letting Treadwell win the conversation’ has to do with Treadwell’s thesis: domesticity/domestication/domesticability are all on a spectrum, not a matter of a mutually exclusive duality. He insisted that bears – the lower-country bears that he knew or ‘knew’ – were, with patience and psychological care, susceptible to developing the kind of friendship – at more distance – that humans enjoy with farm animals and – more distance – house pets. He was saying that what circus trainers do with bears can be done without cages and chains and cruelty.

      The biologists with the Forest Service are (creepily) triumphantly ‘right’ that wild bears are “wild” — ‘ha ha [snap] so much for being “pals” with fucking bears’.

      But the way Herzog structures the narrative, Treadwell’s own caveat is foregrounded: The grizzlies closer to the coast are calmer, more used to human contact – those’re the bears that he spent years getting ‘to know’. That last summer, when he foolishly lets himself get delayed for a week before leaving, the bears that are comfortable with him have already gone into hibernation, and the (hungry) bears that come down to the coast to find hibernation caves are ‘wilder’ (= evidence of spectrum).

      Of course, it is a (“creepy”) Herzog flick: a guy feeds himself helplessly into the grinder of his obsessiveness.

      – but Treadwell is right: grizzly bears are not that far from farm animals in terms of tameness.

      Herzog made a subtle movie about domesticability being a spectrum. Like all his movies, it’s about Herzog, right?

  9. Sean

      Well, you said a fuck-load here. I like your conclusion: Like all his movies, it’s about Herzog, right?

      This is exactly what Herzog recognizes and possibly despairs (as he helps write his own actor’s memoirs!)

  10. Janey' Smith

      Sean? I am a stereotype writer.

  11. Sean


  12. alanrossi

      holy herzog, how did i miss that?

  13. alanrossi

      oh, it’s a terribly creepy film, but mostly in good ways. i’m only talking about the creep in specific scenes: no, discomfiture can’t be an “argument” against a piece of art. really, nothing can be an argument against. but certain types of discomfiture can be, you know, lame, especially if, say, he’s amping up the killing moments of Treadwell to make us want to hear (which is fine) and also creating the possibility of making the woman want to hear it (sort of lame and manipulative).

      the farm animals thing, though: depends on the animal.

      in any case, right on: all about herzog.

  14. christopher.

      Most all of those typewriter photos are black and white. WRITING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS!

      Faulkner fucking ruled as a human being. At least, in that photo.

  15. kb

      Herzog is Schopenhauer without sentimentality. Same amount of understated histrionics, though.

  16. reynard

      did you guys read that bagpipe paul bailey’s piece about how the typewriter kept people from being self-indulgent? can someone explain to me what the fuck he’s talking about? but before you do, don’t

  17. Anonymous

  18. shaun gannon

      today i learned that in her youth margaret drabble was really hot