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ALL THE TEXTS I’D SEND YOU IF YOU WANTED TO GO TO A SERGIO DE LA PAVA TALK WITH ME ON DEAD RUSSIANS

…but then got ran over by a bus and died. No im totally kidding! but you really did get the flu and couldn’t join me.

The talk was at Housing Works, and it included two other speakers: David Gordon and Michael Kunichika.Your expectations were unclear: talk about Russian writers who, though they left us long ago, remain potent presences for readers and writers today. From Dostoevsky and Tolstoy to Vasily Grossman and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, we’ll learn about obsession, madness, realism, fables, and more, in an event with all the drama and pathos (well, at least some of the drama and pathos) of the great Russian novels themselves.

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Here are all the texts I would have sent you, in chronological order and without clarifying who said what, because color-coordinating via SMS goes a step too far:

truth-seeking urgency intrinsic in russian lit

antithesis to beckett & writers who focused extensively on beauty of language

falling in love w/ english language, less plot driven urgency

dostoevsky similar to conrad in terms of truth-seeking urgency

multivocality of dostoevsky

there is no right, just different truths

dostoevsky threw the best literary parties (metaphorically speaking, as a creator)

proust s parties were too long, and maybe the guests were wearing better clothes

abstract psychological curiosity in motives, including abnormalities–>russian approach

going in depth for big questions, characters not being introverted

serialization of lengthy works, such as ‘war & peace,’ adds towards creating a broader debate. they become part of the broader debates occurring during their time

some compare the creation of microcosms of russian lit to ‘the wire’

comparing to british office, where they look at the camera at moments of despair but the viewer cannot do anything to help // to embarrasing dostoevsky characters

nabokov disliked dostoevsky for his “bad writing”

dostoevsky had a v diff approach to writing from nabokov: almost got executed literally, then was told he had another five years

that is also why dostoevsky did not pursue inanimate writing, unlike tolstoy (?)

nabokov didn t like music!

neither did dostoevsky !! (probably diff reasons)

saul bellow s ‘dean of december’–>similar urgency in truth-seeking (someone from the audience)

can reading a book be so vivid it appears like a different life?

if yes, it depends on willingness of writers to go to great lengths in creating characters who go too far, embarrass themselves/ are visceral

perhaps a key element that helps bring about the urgent truth-seeking: religion s role for the writers

religion, like their fiction, was trying to explain what goes on beyond the physical

nabokov s direct ancestor was dostoevsky s jailor. weird how he was not willing to cut him any slack, considering

dostoevsky was crowd-pleasing oriented bc he lived off writing

MONEY!!!

 

 

Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Events & Haut or not & Random / 2 Comments
February 11th, 2014 / 5:20 pm

oops!…i did it again: i cant remember to forget you (FKA MEANINGFUL)

I. Two Days After Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear

 I was taking about sex with a new person when I said I was annoyed choking is not on the table as an option. Then I said my ex’s name and remembered how she loved it.

“Oh, I know,” came his Freudian drip. I then punched him pretty hard on his arm, but without being violent. I was kind of upset, but I also knew he didn’t mean to hurt me, his tongue just worked faster than his brain in that moment.

Picture 1

The weird thing is, Billy was probably the victim in all of this. During a time we were trying to be over I surrounded myself with friends who weren’t shared, friends who didn’t let me respond to her manic pleas for reciprocity. So I saw the blocks of texts arrive, and I ignored them, but not because I wanted to ignore them. I was still forcing myself to not respond. That’s when it happened. I know because we eventually got back together and she never told me. But one day I went through her phone and saw her bragging texts about Billy and how he fucks like a rabbit and how the best part of it was that Billy was my good friend. She was bragging about it, but how unfortunate was that? She, who I successfully ignored, intentionally turned to someone else to hurt me for ignoring her. “Positional play is the maneuvering of opponents into the forced clarification of their (but not your) tactical lines of action,” and that was what she was doing. But we all got played in the end, thankfully including her.

Sometimes we do things for unclear reasons. Maybe because they feel good. Is that a reason? I think so, especially when I do the things. Is it worse when the sex is perfect with an idiot or when the sex is boring with a genius? I dunno, but I hope to have less of it and try to make it meaningful.

There is this mix I was listening to recently and it is very good, but I have a problem with it: it closes with a juxtaposition of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” and Britney Spears’ “Everytime.” Hopefully, I need not clarify why that poses a problem, but if I must let me say I have a problem with myself for feeling sorry for Britney, when she was the one doing things for unclear reasons because they felt good.  “This song is my sorry,” is a fucked up lyric to be used in a pop song when it is truly personal, and in Spears’ case at that time it was. [1]

You might remember my friend “Billy?” You probably don’t, so here. We grabbed lunch together last week, it was pretty fun. We got Ramen and talked about stuff on a broad scale: the things we are doing for money, the people we have been getting naked with and, naturally, cultural ephemera. An ephemeron we addressed for example was the Grammys ceremony and how we felt about some of the performances and awards. Of course neither of us was able to watch past the first half, or perhaps nothing of note happened in that half. We shall never know!

What we do know: Billy is dating someone seriously, and she is taking him a lot more seriously than he is her. She is “intense” and “confrontational.” She senses what they both know. Basically what he is saying is that he is not up for it. He likes her, but she feels for him in ways he doesn’t. I tell Billy to tell her that he knows her intuition is right. To stop playing along and pretending he doesn’t see what she is right to notice their “thing” is missing.

Must we pass over in silence what we cannot speak about? 

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II. Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear

THE *REAL* GRAMMYS, HAPPENING EONS BEFORE THE SUPERBOWL 

I watched them with my friend who will not be told when she must cease thinking about Beyonce’s net shorts. (“i hate how everything moves so quickly. it’s like just because a few days have passed doesn’t mean i’m not still thinking about the grammys.  sure, not MOST of the grammys. but i’ll be thinking about her netted costume for a WHILE.  why does the internet want everyone’s brains on fast forward?”)

I could not believe how fortunate it was that I happened to be near a television! I was casually complaining about life to a dear friend on a Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear when all of a sudden… Beyonce! I never fully get how award shows work, their purpose and how the selection process works for who gets nominated for what. But if they start with Beyonce, I am totally mesmerized and willing to watch with full attention and the occasional loud “OH MY BEYONCEEE!” There were multiple of those, and people on the receiving end of Beyonce’s electric chair were electrified, as expected, jumping up and down their couches everywhere, unless they lived on the West Coast, and thus were penalized for their decision .

The *Real* Grammys seem to be organized by a panel of Ladies… who Love Cool J. Why is he the presenter? Why do they keep Doin’ It (feat Leshaun)? The sartorial negligence of the Cool James was apparent as he momentarily shared a stage with an immaculately dressed First Husband of America. Let’s just say there were no ZZZs in Jay-Z’s perfect outfit, and even less ZZZs were there to be found in the way the Presidential couple looked like while performing together during the *Real* Grammys, intoxicating everyone with their intoxication.

The deep blue sea of sartorial hmmms deepened further when our favorite Neptune decided to hide his crown under a hat, and all of humanity wondered: “Pharrell. Why!” He was still perfect, and at least wasn’t being ridiculous like those dudes who must have been sweating balls in their anonymity protecting helmets.

But looks and looking supa dupa fly are not all that matters in music these days. The young musicians have set up the bar mad high, where only Lordes can fly, and your prepackaged Dark Unicorn won’t fly you there despite its hypnotic beat (gah, this hasn’t happened to my brain (?) since when Gwen Stefani was cheerleading) that encourages obsessive repeat-play.

If the producers of your album aren’t Illuminati, you might have to join a circus. In the words of pop-princess (does she keep being princess until Madonna dies?) Britney Spears: “There’s only two types of people in the world: the ones that entertain, and the ones that observe.” Pink misunderstood the distinction and thought being observed was synonymous to entertaining, but acrobatics are all the ZZZs Jay-Z was missing that night. Except for her thigh strength, which so wow, very anti-ZZZ!

[*serious-y chunk*]

Anyway, time to get serious-y. Let’s address the thing that agitated most of us about the *Real* Grammys: Kendrick Lamar—who was, is and will always be objectively the best in everything for which he was nominated—didn’t win anything. Then the band (is Macklemore a band? or just that dude with the two-year old Freeman’s Alley barbershop hair a solo thing?) made the crass, gross error of trying to recognized their (his?) inferiority by sharing the thought with all their fans. This literally felt like a violent slap to everyone: (1) the people who might have thought Mackleduders deserved to win stuff, (2) the people who wanted Kendrick to win stuff and were frustrated he didn’t, and (3) let’s not even think about all the other very sensitive and insecure artists who were both nominated and lost and not even publicly recognized by the true winner of stuff they lost as the ones worthy of winning.

To think this band (or dude? I really have to find out at this point!) would even consider considering publicly sharing a private message he sent which should have been private, because eww band or dude, get a publicist! The negative criticism they (or “he,” whichever is correct!) have received is totally deserved. Bad apologies are in poorer taste than not apologizing at all, and this one was a very selfish and self-aggrandizing one. The reason this “apology” really sucked was the way it was portrayed and whored out via social media. There is a Kendrick song called “Real.” It is greatly introspective and reflective, further showing where in the “real nigga” doctrine Kendrick falls: he is not obsessed with appearances in a way consuming his music’s production.

The song stresses the importance of showing up, of being “real” in a way that is vulnerable:

The reason why I know you very well/ cause we have the same eyes can’t you tell?/ the days I tried to cover up and conceal/ my pride, it only made it harder for me to deal

[*end of serious-y chunk*] 

Speaking of #Unapologetic, sources close to the Barbadian queen of pop Rihanna have revealed to TMZ the star watched the show at the comfort of a new planet she recently purchased. While she is considering Stay-ing there a while, TMZ has learned that Rihanna used telepathy to support her bestie (hmm. Cara?) close friend Katy Perry during her Grammys performance. “Where have you been?” thought Katy in the secret illuminati witchlanguage she shared with Rih, and then she felt the transcendental high-five from afar.

Then everyone bought things and companies were so, so happy! Well, almost everyone bought things. Mostly women who wanted to wear all the beauty products that made their stars look like stars. Men would have to wait for a sports event, like last year’s Beyonce performance at the sports thing which made Janet Jackson a star.

In conclusion, the *Real* Grammys didn’t really change anything, but that’s okay. Because the Grammys rarely do that. It is mostly public opinion that shapes who the big figures are in culture, and all the individuals who are nominated for these awards have acquired a level of respect as artists significant enough to see Taylor Swift going hard to Kendrick live, which is fine and great and super, but remains besides the point. When our cultural curators shift our attention to something silly, even if this silly something is endearing and well-intentioned, they (the curators) have taken our attention away from something else.

Who chose the direction to focus on Swift—and more extensively—before showing us an enthusiastic Hova? Probably the same exact person who gave Macklemore the award. It wasn’t me. But if it were me directing, I would have focused on the performance exclusively, out of respect to the person on stage. If a majority of the population only likes stuff because other people like it, then please save the stuff I like from getting Grammys! 

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III Nine Days After Whateverdaythegrammystookplacethisyear

He felt sad, he said. It was the morning after he stopped hating himself for being kinda in the gray area for so long in private. The night before he had send me a text: “It’s over. A little back and forth but we both agreed it was checkmate. Broke up in Central Park, lol. It went so well/ was our first real convo. Probably the best convo we ve ever had. I feel surprisingly sad.”

I was really proud of him. And of me, for challenging him to be upfront about his lack of genuine want in his relationship. But I also felt meaningless. I wasn’t even able to arise in my person the decency Billy was finally able to come up with for his new ex.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent, I guess.

FKA-Twigs

 

NOTES

[1]  I know this with certainty, because this was the first song Spears wrote. She wrote it with a woman named Artani, who then went on a Greek reality-talent show, called “Fame Story,” which everyone in Greece watched at the time because we were trying to not focus on our faltering institutions as a nation.

Artani was dealing with a breakup while Britney was trying to face the new Justin Timberlake as an ex, who had released “Cry Me A River.” The song was personal, and “Everytime” was a vulnerable response to it, but how vulnerable was it really, when it was a pop song and it was created for everyone? Doesn’t that take away from it in serving a purpose as being a meaningful apology? I think it did/ does/ forever will. 

Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Haut or not & Random / 4 Comments
February 4th, 2014 / 2:32 pm

BREAKUP TIME

Breakup Time: Proposal For Alternative Metric Systems That Objectively Reflect Human Pain
1. Liters of Visine produced, organically
2. Years spent on bathtub, monthly
3. Number of “Ace of Base” songs that sound like “just like Nirvana” (*ATTENTION: if said number >=5, please revert to the bathtub immediately.)
4. Weeks spent during which The Most Delicious Thing You Always Crave But Never Have Because “Too Many Calories” tastes like a shoe you would not even wear
5. Months spent during which The Most Delicious Thing You Always Crave But Never Have Because “Too Many Calories” is all that you have, all the time
Universally Shared Symptoms Across All Metric Systems
*When in a different continent, the following inquiry recurs: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN NYQUIL IS UNDER THE COUNTER?”
In your heart, Destiny’s Child is still a group. Sometimes, Oprah is the lead singer.
Stay strong! Start smoking, avoid leaving your house and spend more days, one after another, eating The Most Delicious Thing You Always Crave But Never Have Because “Too Many Calories.” It is all about finding the balance between 4 and 5, where “weeks” and “months” transform into days.
Video-games might also help.
Behind the Scenes & Haut or not / No Comments
January 27th, 2014 / 8:13 pm

THE GOOD GHOSTS OF SNAPCHAT

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I don’t know if you have realized it, but if you look carefully at The Dick Van Dyke Show, you might notice that the star-couple does not share a bed. In fact, married couples did not sleep in the same bed until 1952 on American television, which is totally ridiculous. [1]

Things change in our culture and many weird things we are unsure we want to welcome suddenly become our reality. Here comes the Verysmartphone 5.3, with all of the internets for you to have and carry with all the time! The facebooks, the twitters!! Everything. And ew, you have Snapchat? What are you, a weird pedophile or, like, a huge slut?

Well I am neither, and I love Snapchat.

My entire immediate family lives in a country far, far away, in a small place called “Greece.” I don’t get to see them often, so it was great to have my mom and sister come visit over Christmas. We fought so much! It was amazing. But also, I made my sister download Snapchat. This has been the best thing for our relationship since I have emigrated from Greece and away from my family.

My sister is the kind of person who does not use social media the way I do. It is not a place for her to bitch about how adulthood is probably when you start washing your french press before you need to reuse it. We have a different sense of what is publicly acceptable as an extension of one’s self. This is where Snapchat comes in, I think. She is no longer preoccupied with appearing a certain way, even to me. There is a vehement liberation from the anxiety or stress some feel over the perfection a “permanent” record of a picture or note “must” leave; it is a weird empowering liminality that arrives with the immateriality of the Snapchat application.

An important detail to emphasize is that my sister is also not the kind of person to gchat or verbally engage with me meaningfully online. She might be more of a visual communicator. I do not know for sure, but that is what the past month has shown me. And I am so happy in this little unimportant—yet so, so important—discovery. I can look at the video she sent me of her walking towards her boyfriend’s Ducati, and I can feel close to her. I still haven’t met her boyfriend, but I kinda know how he makes her feel and this technology has given me a sense of intimacy I didn’t know was possible. (Sister’s boyfriend is also the President of the Ducati Club in Greece, and for that alone, from my standpoint, they’re meant to be!)

With Snapchat, my sister can have separate beds in a public sphere, and if that is what she wants it should be respected. But it is nice to no longer feel as away from her as I really have been.

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[1] First shared bed thing was actually in 1947, but the couple was married IRL and it was before TV was really TV, just in case someone wants to split hairs.

Behind the Scenes & Haut or not / 2 Comments
January 10th, 2014 / 12:53 pm

20.5 “Books” I Found Especially Beautiful in 2013

Johannes Göransson said on Facebook that one thing he doesn’t like about the “list”-based idea of criticism is: “that you can’t challenge it. You’re not allowed to say: No this list is mediocre or whatever. Then you’re not a nice person.”

Here’s a list of books I’ve only read four of but find especially aesthetically pleasing. Be a nice person.

***

Brandon Brown – Flowering Mall – Roof Books

Dana Ward – This Can’t Be Life – Edge Books

Graham Foust - To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems – Flood Editions

Roger Luckhurst – The Shining – BFI Publishing

Vladimir Nabokov – The Eye – Vintage

READ MORE >

Haut or not & Web Hype / 4 Comments
December 22nd, 2013 / 8:42 pm

“THE COLORS TODAY ARE GOING TO WAKE YOU UP!!”

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Lindsey Wixson is primarily known in the fashion industry for her unique look: her dramatic lips, playful pout and her trademark gap between her two front teeth. The public narrative Wixson and her representatives have crafted for her is a rather detailed one, even providing information about the dreams and aspirations of the young woman had she followed a different path. During her childhood Wixson wanted to follow a culinary or legal career.

Her professional goals became exclusively fashion-oriented in the brief outpour of success that occurred after Steven Meisel chose her for the cover of Italian Vogue. After the cover, Wixson was booked for two luxury brands, Prada and Miu-Miu, both as exclusives. Ever since, she is a widely recognized face and prominent model.

In an interview with WWD, Wixson discussed how she understands her path and her ascend to success. She single-handedly cites reading a Reader’s Digest (RIP!) in a bathroom when she was 12 as the catalyst for her pursuit to become a model: “It was about how Bill Gates — the millionaires — got big. It was talking about how they took the chance and they took their opportunities and they took it to a whole other level.”

*

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Do you ever look around at the world, noticing the people surrounding you? Wondering how they understand their existence, how their brain functions and to what degree their understanding of things is similar to yours?

I do. That is why this video-mosaic of the famous model Lindsey Wixson is possibly the most fascinating thing I have seen in the recent past. It bewilders me to see her and her responses to reporters asking her questions about her experience and opinions as she is preparing for fashion shows. Within about a minute, Wixson manages to fit these gems:

The colors today are gonna wake up. They’re going to be, like, ‘WAKE UP, GUYS!’

BEAAAAUUUTIFULLLL! Oh my god, look at this dress! It’s Roberto Cavalli, it’s crazy!

It’s over the top, glamour, period-retro

I would like to become a pilot.

I feel like a woman from Mars… Obviously, I am, like, taking over the world. Pedal to the medal!

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Behind the Scenes & Haut or not & Massive People & Mean / 11 Comments
December 7th, 2013 / 7:18 pm

Someone Else is Sexist!

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This will come around to David Gilmour if you give it a minute, I promise.

When Paula Deen was revealed as a terrible racist it was sort of funny at first. This rich older lady with her crazy over-styled silver hair and her pancake makeup and her cartoonish fantasy life wherein the height of class and luxury was paying black men to dress like dolls and dance for her gathered friends and family. She was such a perfect grotesque. But then the story wouldn’t die, and on the one hand I don’t like to judge anyone for a prurient interest in anything, but on the other hand I got pretty sick of seeing her face. And more to the point, I got sick of how much other people seemed to enjoy seeing her face. They loved to look at her and hate her.

I’m not saying she didn’t make it easy. She did.

But I think the root of the pleasure we took in Paula Deen’s fall was the pleasure of feeling superior to her. And I will grant you this: the odds are decent that you are not as bad a racist as she is. Probably your racism, like mine, is pervasive and ugly and embarrassing, but probably it is not garish. You have a little class about it. (So do I.) When you have a racist thought, you don’t immediately recognize it as such, but when you do recognize it, you have the good sense to feel really bad. (Me too.) So maybe, in this sense, you and I are better than Paula Deen — perhaps narrowly better, perhaps a lot. It’s hard to say. But what we probably aren’t is uncommonly good people.

I guess the thing is this: why was it so much fun to find out that this particular human being was a bit of a scumbag? Did you have a lot riding on Paula Deen before you found out she was a racist? I am willing to bet you did not. She only became valuable to you, if you are one of the majority who took such pleasure in her collapse, as I will freely admit I initially did, when she became a resource — when she became a fuel. We burned her and felt better for the smell her burning made.

But it’s not as if you didn’t know there were cartoonish, tacky racists out there, right? Please tell me that you knew. If Paula Deen was cause for joy, then you will have cause for joy until the day you are dead: there will be people like her so long as there are people like you and me.

The larger problem, though, is really you and me. Because we keep it quiet. Because no one has caught us yet. Because we’ll get away with it for the rest of our lives.

I have been working up to a question. The question is this: why is my Twitter feed, and why is the Internet in general, so excited to discover they are better people than David Gilmour? Furthermore, by what definition can they reasonably argue this is true? READ MORE >

Haut or not & Mean / 27 Comments
September 26th, 2013 / 12:09 am

Is this annoying?

(I think so.)

SICHA, CLINTON, CYRUS: THOUGHTS ON DIVERSE DEMOGRAPHIC REPRESENTATION IN MEDIA

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Choire Sicha’s first book is out. I haven’t read it yet, but it is called Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City. The book party was at the East Village gay bar “The Cock,” and I have to say I have never seen it as packed as last night, at least as a pedestrian who quickly walked past it from the outside. There will be a lot of talk about the book, because almost everyone who reads (a lot?) online knows of Sicha. The book follows a group of gay men and chronicles their lives, but for some reason I trust it to not be regressive, even before I read it. I choose to believe Salon, that it will be “among a next wave of books about gay folks as full American citizens that doesn’t bother walking them through schematic journeys meant to stand in for the American Gay Experience.”

The active endeavor to ensure the meaningful participation of diverse individuals in media is integral. It helps reach a realistic and more informed view on the specifics of a broader range of identities.  However, the constant overanalyzing of public figures’ gender, race and ethnicity identification choices may end up harming the very purpose they were intended to serve: letting individuals receive merit-based recognition for their objectively high-quality work.

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A recent example of excessive analyzing of such nature is that of Hillary Clinton setting up a twitter account. Since the first moment she signed up for the social media website many jokes–some witty, others offensive–have been recurring. An approach that stuck out to me as particularly idiotic was the interpretation of how she chose to order the numerous qualities that define her in her two-line bio. To assert that Hillary Clinton is “anti-feminist” because she starts her twitter bio with “wife” and “mom” before addressing her professional accomplishments, is not only naive and judgmental, it is also self-righteous and flat-out manipulative. Policing the way people choose to present themselves, and telling them they are not to be taken seriously as feminists because they prioritize differently then the average feminist is expected to (?) is childish.

Additionally, who does not know that she also has served as Secretary of State? Pure common sense makes the dialogue surrounding the topic redundant. I think this line of thinking contradicts the true sense of feminism, as in such a system of order the women are provided the agency to identify how to present themselves. What about the people who use humor in their bios? Is that unethical? Are we taking things–such as a public figure’s social media presence–that seriously, and if we are, whose fault is it?

MANIPULATIVE NATURE OF THE DISCOURSE

A piece in The Millions presented a family saga focusing on the case-hardened nature of the way identity is performed by the writer and her grandmother, who seem to fall into the trap of being defined by the social expectations their social identities in how they attain and use power.

“As mixed-race girls, we learned to take what we could from where we could to make a whole. That’s a vulnerable position to be in, susceptible to second-guessing and collapse, but it’s also a crash course in manipulation. Hence the posturing of invulnerability. The multitude of ways that my grandmother and I announced a lack of need, and presented ourselves as in solid control. We don’t need you, we projected, and therefore we may have to ignore what you need as we go about proving that to ourselves once and again. One of the only things I know how to say in Chinese is: Wo zi ze lai. I can help myself.”

After its initial appearance, the ideology of representation has slowly lost a large chunk of its significance. There are times that I feel like I am not supposed to not like non-white writing, even if some of it has to be mundane, dull and entitled. The worst is when the writing is also patronizing and borders delusional. In some ways, if the argument is reduced to powerlessness  as its selling point, it cannot easily be powerful when the powerlessness is not real.

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I am not Miley Cyrus’ biggest fan, but an open letter addressed to her on The Huffington Post offended me. The writer aggressively requests Miley Curys ought to stop disrespecting “what feels black.” What he means of course, is that she should stop trying to emulate the rap element that currently dominates pop culture: she is white, thus cannot and must not do these things associated with what the author considers parts of the black identity, such as twerking. To claim these as an exclusive element of black culture is silly, and certainly flawed at its core: it leads to a new separation and division among people of different races. It seems like the writer might not be comfortable with a broadly inclusive culture that is not segmented the way he views it, or at least that is what the tone of his letter indicates.

His main issue and the central issue with her is her requesting producers that she was trying to go for a vibe that “feels black.” Her creative endeavor to do that cannot be offensive. It can be successful or not. While it is difficult to decide which is the case, at the end of the video for “We Can’t Stop” she smiles wearing a grill. It is not a mocking grin, rather a smile of awareness. She knows what she is doing, and she is doing it with a sense of humor.

Author News & Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Haut or not & Random / 6 Comments
August 7th, 2013 / 1:21 pm

STARK WEEK INTERLUDE: SLampson at the Goth Club

This is what happens when a poet quotes his poetry to a lonely girl in Second Life, a 3D world where you can discover your artistic talents and share them instantly with friends.

SLampson2

[2013/06/24 20:49] Dibblez Doobie (busy response): If All You Are Going To Do Is Send Some Lame, Overused, DumbAss Line, Just Stop And I’m Someone Else. Be Creative Man .FFS Thanks Have A Nice Day
[2013/06/24 20:50] Slampson Slarkweather: I should just dance my face off for the next 20 seconds.
[2013/06/24 20:50] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 20:50] Slampson Slarkweather: would that be weird?
[2013/06/24 20:51] Slampson Slarkweather: or good weird?
[2013/06/24 20:51] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 20:51] Dibblez Doobie: im not even sure what ur talking about but u made me laugh
[2013/06/24 20:51] Dibblez Doobie: so good wierd i guess
[2013/06/24 20:52] Dibblez Doobie: r u 3 weeks old or an alt ?
[2013/06/24 20:53] Slampson Slarkweather: I’m 33.
[2013/06/24 20:54] Slampson Slarkweather: and I still don’t understand the bird and the bees.
[2013/06/24 20:55] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 20:55] Slampson Slarkweather: and I’m a black belt in pussying out.
[2013/06/24 20:55] Slampson Slarkweather: :)
[2013/06/24 20:56] Dibblez Doobie: lol something to bwe proud of i suppose lol
[2013/06/24 20:57] Dibblez Doobie: r u sober ?
[2013/06/24 20:58] Slampson Slarkweather: I’m telling you, the squirrels are up to something.
[2013/06/24 20:58] Dibblez Doobie: duide
[2013/06/24 20:58] Dibblez Doobie: dude u know i have no idea what ui are talking bout right
[2013/06/24 20:59] Slampson Slarkweather: when you say “coffee” all people hear is “liquid turkey.”
[2013/06/24 21:01] Dibblez Doobie: im very used to men not making sence .. ;)
[2013/06/24 21:02] Slampson Slarkweather: I can hear the sound of your sadness, a small bird flailing in the grass, one wing making a useless music, and sometimes circumstance is the victim.
[2013/06/24 21:03] Dibblez Doobie: lol not the adjative i woulda used lol but ok
[2013/06/24 21:03] Slampson Slarkweather: what army hides inside you?
[2013/06/24 21:04] Dibblez Doobie: sorry im basing it on experince not
[2013/06/24 21:04] Dibblez Doobie: lol
[2013/06/24 21:05] Dibblez Doobie: lol no army silly
[2013/06/24 21:06] Slampson Slarkweather: Remember when Bill Murray was the right answer over Captain Kirk and you didn’t flinch?
[2013/06/24 21:07] Dibblez Doobie: lol wat the fuk are u talking abt
[2013/06/24 21:09] Slampson Slarkweather: I used to wonder what would happen if a plane flew through a rainbow.
[2013/06/24 21:10] Slampson Slarkweather: don’t you just love love?
[2013/06/24 21:10] Dibblez Doobie: i did once
[2013/06/24 21:10] Dibblez Doobie: n my friends adore me
[2013/06/24 21:11] Slampson Slarkweather: turns out this life is super fucking hard.
[2013/06/24 21:11] Slampson Slarkweather: you know?
[2013/06/24 21:12] Dibblez Doobie: that i know
[2013/06/24 21:13] Slampson Slarkweather: ever think the god that put us here forgot to punch holes in the jar?
[2013/06/24 21:13] Dibblez Doobie: every day
[2013/06/24 21:14] Dibblez Doobie: funny we are having this convo cause im watching titantic
[2013/06/24 21:15] Slampson Slarkweather: Depression is the fog that settles over the swamp you call your life.
[2013/06/24 21:15] Dibblez Doobie: ya tell me about it
[2013/06/24 21:16] Dibblez Doobie: i used to be happy
[2013/06/24 21:17] Slampson Slarkweather: I feel like my insides are about to explode.
[2013/06/24 21:19] Slampson Slarkweather: I want to help you, I want to open you up and fix all the black and bloody shit in there.
[2013/06/24 21:20] Dibblez Doobie: omg you sure are somethin
[2013/06/24 21:20] Dibblez Doobie: this party is lame, do you wana come hang out in my place
[2013/06/24 21:21] Slampson Slarkweather: I want to go where emails go, brave as the tiny birds stuck inside JFK airport chirping like a ringtone.
[2013/06/24 21:21] Slampson Slarkweather: Google Earth knows dick about my birthmarks.
[2013/06/24 21:21] Slampson Slarkweather: Dear Mom—you don’t know shit about poetry. If you were a think tank, we’d all be making cartoon balloons.
[2013/06/24 21:24] Dibblez Doobie: mom?
[2013/06/24 21:24] Dibblez Doobie: I ain’t your momma boy.
[2013/06/24 21:25] Slampson Slarkweather: It’s like Russia. Nobody realizes it size, the way you can die out there.
[2013/06/24 21:25] Slampson Slarkweather: We edit into existence.
[2013/06/24 21:25] Slampson Slarkweather: A girl’s leg disappearing.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: A hallway of possibility.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Dibblez Doobie: OMG.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: A new Eurydice.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: A green dress stitched with light.
[2013/06/24 21:26] Slampson Slarkweather: On her shoulders by thin electricity.
[2013/06/24 21:27] Slampson Slarkweather: Pulled the plug.
[2013/06/24 21:27] Slampson Slarkweather: The leg is flesh, which doesn’t make it real.
[21:27] User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.

Author Spotlight & Haut or not / 4 Comments
July 18th, 2013 / 4:04 am

Spectacle & Pageantry Always Trump Ethics

tour de france 100jpg

o, the humanity!

[ No, this post isn't about the current state of Politics in the “greatest nation that’s ever existed”, or The Vatican. But it is me being, as usual, angry and amused, reductive, pessimistic, excited, juiced up, judgmental, and making sweeping generalizations about humanity, our plight, our collective cultural soul, blah, blah ---  note:  I am a big fan of the Tour de France, absolutely care and absolute also do not care about the cheating. And I will be following as much of this year's Tour as I can.

I think, really, that I care more about the Tour de France than I do about humanity ]

So, anyways,

In less than 48 hours the 100th edition of the Tour de France will begin with huge fanfare. Does it matter that Lance Armstrong finally came clean (in his way), admitting he’d cheated his way, coldly and methodically (Armstrong headed up, according to USADA, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”), to his record 7 consecutive tour titles? READ MORE >

Events & Haut or not & I Like __ A Lot & Random / 5 Comments
June 27th, 2013 / 3:35 pm

New York’s 100 Most Important Rats Living In the Subway System

 

 

 

 

fluffy

 

 

 

 

darlene

 

 

 

 

beyonce

 

 

 

 

macduff

 

 

 

 

 

 

copyrat infringement

 

 

 

 

 

spike

 

 

 

 

 

 

fenton

 

 

 

 

skeletor

 

 

 

 

 

francois

 

 

 

 

 

meatball

READ MORE >

Haut or not / 19 Comments
November 29th, 2012 / 3:05 pm

And in itself and

“She comes to a rest in shadow. Above her is an overhang of chickenwire and tins. She freezes. Above her is a terrible shape, a jagged many-limbed thing, a tree tangled from the composites of aerials and tv innards, plastic extrusions like growths in its multipart trunk, thorns of glass and shattered plates. Its branches splay – finger after finger of tubing, and intricate wicked ribbing. Dangling from them like dirty dank foliage, like the skins of victims, are dish clothes, and umbrellas’ countless ripped canopies. Nylon in dinged colours.”

— from “The Flies That Bind” by “Jacques Francis,” The New Inquiry

“I used to compare everything in poems to metallic sheets of mica, the transparent fragments that flake off so easily. I never say I’m a poet; I just say “writer” and no one ever asks “a writer of what?” Once a man told me he was in the business of prosthetic limbs and I was speechless.”

— Stephanie BalzerThe Destroyer Vol 1.2

“We had a president living here once,
After he was president.
A famous animator lived here too.
We’d see him feeding the ducks.
This used to be a big duck town.
Ducks had a real voice.
Then one night they left for New Haven.”

from “A Little Background” by James Haug, Connotation Press

Craft Notes & Haut or not & Technology & Web Hype / No Comments
November 29th, 2012 / 2:32 pm

What we talk about when we talk about the New Sincerity, part 2

"Hi, How Are You?" cover art by Daniel Johnston (1983); "financially desperate tree doing a 'quadruple kickflip' off a cliff into a 5000+ foot gorge to retain its nike, fritos, and redbull sponsorships " by Tao Lin (2010)

It made me very happy to read the various responses to Part 1, posted last Monday. Today I want to continue this brief digression into asking what, if anything, the New Sincerity was, as well as what, if anything, it currently is. (Next Monday I’ll return to reading Viktor Shklovsky’s Theory of Prose and applying it to contemporary writing.)

Last time I talked about 2005–8, but what was the New Sincerity before Massey/Robinson/Mister? (And does that matter?) Others have pointed out that something much like the movement can be traced back to David Foster Wallace’s 1993 Review of Contemporary Fiction essay “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction” (here’s a PDF copy). I can recall conversations, 2000–3, with classmates at ISU (where DFW taught and a number of us worked for RCF/Dalkey) about “the death of irony” and “the death of Postmodernism” and a possible “return to sincerity.” Today, even the Wikipedia article on the NS also makes that connection:

READ MORE >

Craft Notes & Haut or not / 46 Comments
June 11th, 2012 / 8:01 am

What we talk about when we talk about the New Sincerity, part 1

Miranda July; Steve Roggenbuck (photo dates unknown)

I wasn’t surprised that my Monday post, which was ultimately about reading & applying some ideas from Viktor Shklovsky’s Theory of Prose, mostly generated conversation about Tao Lin and the New Sincerity. I knew that would happen even as I wrote it. So I thought I should take a post to clarify my thoughts on “the whole NS thing.” What follows will be a mix of fact and personal reflection.

READ MORE >

Craft Notes & Haut or not / 137 Comments
June 4th, 2012 / 8:01 am

point oh

I’m in the early stages of developing an online CW class. I’m thinking an intro class. Anyone taken one? Advantages? Entanglements? I wouldn’t mind hearing some anecdotes. Was it synchronous or asynchronous? Did it matter to you? Face-time versus online time—what IS the difference, to you? What can ‘physical’ time offer online could never? What can online offer over physical?

I’m asking big picture questions here, sure. As I said, I’m in the early stages. One key aspect of early stages: Do I want to do this? I feel it could be innovative and high quality, but I could be wrong. I haven’t taken or taught an online CW class. You?

Haut or not / 15 Comments
March 12th, 2012 / 7:32 pm

“The Hottest Litmag” as determined by everyone who has ever read HTMLGIANT

—or at least those who responded a while back when I asked folks to name “the hottest litmag in the room.” As of that moment. And now, after the jump, I’ve compiled the responses.

By far the clear number one was …

READ MORE >

Haut or not / 56 Comments
February 6th, 2012 / 11:30 am

Baby Bump

Yesterday I was walking around Brooklyn on my cell phone and I walked so far I ended up in Big Sur. Who knew Big Sur is so close to Brooklyn? I was like, This has to be the shittiest Big Sur it is so shitty.

I was on the phone with my Aunt Shira and she felt deprived of information as to why I don’t have a baby. I was like, Do you want to know why? There is an Ann Lauterbach poem that might help you understand. It helps me understand maybe a little. She was like, Is Ann Lauterbach Jewish?

The poem I’m talking about is called “Indictment Without Subject” and it doesn’t really help me understand why I don’t have a baby, but it’s a neat poem.

In it Ann Lauterbach uses repetition to convey reproduction in machinelike, rather than biological terms. She writes:

The bourgeoisie tribe makes babies.
The babies cry I want.
The babies cry more.
This is how it learns to count.

Lauterbach’s language suggests that the tribe’s baby-making is a capitalist action: a product of and for conspicuous consumption, rather than a biological urge. They “make” babies like a factory makes a widget. The babies’ first words in the poem are not Mommy or Daddy, but “want” and “more.” Rather than establishing a dynamic of a parent teaching a child, the tribe instead consumes its children by “learning to count” them. 

When I think about Lauterbach as a female poet, I wonder how her consumerist portrayal of reproduction reflects upon women as childbearers and mothers? Nowhere in the stanza do we see any natural imagery, conveying childbirth as a biological action. The act of birthing and child-rearing are not described as women’s work, nor is there any joy in the process. Rather, it’s the collective “it” that churns out babies. Any reproductive ineluctability in this poem arrives out of an industrial, rather than a biological basis. The act of making babies—and the paradigm that encourages this as indispensable—is rendered a manufactured social signifier.

Can making art be as satisfying as making babies?
Is it selfish to deny your Aunt a niece?
Is there pressure on female artists to have it all?
Is there pressure on male artists to have it all?
Would you rather feel the pressure to have it all than the pressure to have only one thing?
Do you talk to your family?
Howz your biological clock doing?

Haut or not / 43 Comments
January 13th, 2012 / 11:42 am

A friend of mine wants to know—what’s the hottest litmag in the room right now?

Haut or Not: Spencer Madsen

I don’t know what’s worse: the racism in Black Boy, the paradoxical ingrown logic of Catch-22, or the unnamed impenetrable authority in The Trial. For a bro into dystopia, you ain’t seen a fucked up situation until our poor couple in Revolutionary Road shows us the bloody way. Looking at my browser’s recent history feels like my “resent history,” all the facebook albums of parties I never went, people in tighter-looser clothes and sexier-grainier lighting. And if low res camera phones are our muse, may she render the contemporary “indie” authors implicated to the right of the shelf — each spine thinner and thinner as the thinning of subject, or thinning of Roth’s hair; or, the opposite of Sartre’s thickening lenses — with red plastic cups optimistically half-full of beer, the ghost of guacamole or coke on a nose, and tattoos adorning signs so counter-culturally ingratiating, they should be affixed with “like” buttons below them. They are all a bit happier and I am, which isn’t saying much, my 9th hour in this office chair. Existentialism in Humanism seems redundant; what, you want an existential armadillo? Armor dude’s too busy being fucked to know he’s fucked. The enterprise of human sympathy began with words. Before that, we just ate one another. Let us not ignore the timely placed rectangular lake of a million bears reflecting the Columns of Influence, back when dour men capitalized things, instead of capitalizing on things. Madsen may have asked for matte, but the printers, perhaps consumed by his oily complexion, thought gloss might do the trick — and do not gloss over this tomb or tome or airy epitaph. The cover yields stereoscopic red and cyan, as if 3D glasses where needed to stumble into Apt. 3D, somewhere in New York City in which this writer resides, to finally grasp, then touch, the irl glossy flesh that is him. That Madsen is a walking Purell commercial is less of a commentary, than mere impulse.

Rating: Not

Haut or not / 37 Comments
August 17th, 2011 / 9:23 pm