ToBS R1: gordon lish vs. foot fetish

Posted by @ 1:17 pm on December 5th, 2011

[Matchup #14 in Tournament of Bookshit]

Background – Feet

Casanova dabbing at some polenta around his mouth, glimpsing the toe cleavage of a passer-by, dropping his neckerchief, hanging his head, leaving his still-full plate on the table, going after her.

F. Scott Fitzgerald looking through the peephole at Zelda (hyperventilating in her chair), writing something in a notebook, lying on the carpet so he can see, under the door, her bare feet shuffling back and forth.

Goethe with writer’s block, sketching a foot, a viaduct, a foot, a cliff face, a foot, a shoe, a foot, a liberty pole, a castle, a foot, a foot, a foot.

Dostoyevsky at a bakery, queueing behind a woman, noticing her sandals, leaving loafless to follow her home, being invited in for vodka in his imagination, his stomach a sad animal.

Elvis looking at a pamphlet, blinking at the words “somatosensory cortex” rereading them for the fifth time, wishing he was holding a pineapple close to his face, wishing he was 13 again with his mother tired from work, taking off her shoes, relying on him.



Background – Lish

Gordon Lish doing chin ups in a park, dusting off his hands, kissing his guns, saying to no-one in particular, “muscular ass prose”.

Gordon Lish in a room at Twitter headquarters, brutally shortening URLs.

Gordon Lish at a cash register in a coffee shop, squeezing the cheeks of a barista, saying “the secret of good coffee is telling the truth, dumbass,” before walking out without paying.

Gordon Lish commenting on a YouTube video of Demi Lovato’s song Skyscraper: “demi. a word of advice: never be sincere — sincerity is the death of writing. (love the song tho lol)”

Gordon Lish in a chair at a hospital, hypnotically snipping his scissors in the air, impatient for the birth of a child, any child.

Gordon Lish entering feedback online about a sandwich he recently ate at Arby’s:

Feedback regarding Menu/Products:

To get to the heart of a thing, of any thing — to not pussyfoot around hot porridge as the Czechs etc would say — but more of the thingness of this thing, would be to write: The Three Cheese & Bacon Ultimate Angus I ate at your Ann Arbor Branch this afternoon surely filled a space.

Any further comments:

Don’t have stories; have sentences.


The Vs.

So. We know that foot fetishism increases as a response to epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, keeping the infested parts of each person about as far away as possible. Seems legit. What do the abstinence lobbyists have to say about this? (Hit me up in the comments, guys!!) So, in these troubled times shouldn’t we be imprinting these desires in our sons through strong emotional trauma, getting them good and scared of vaginas, encouraging our daughters to pumice their heels, paint their toenails etc? Our Christian nations need foot fetishes: for lower teen pregnancy, fewer broken homes, the end of substance abuse, lower crime; in greater involvement with feet we have finally found a panacea for this ailing, degraded, communo-satanic generation.

But. In Gordon Lish we have a twofer: we get him and also Carver. So, yes, it begins that without Lish we don’t have Carver, and without Carver we likewise would never have had Al Bundy. Without Bundy we don’t get Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, and without Tim, we wouldn’t have his son: Simba. Without Simba’s loss of Mufasa, how could we ever be prepared for the knowledge that any single thing we might ever hold dear will ultimately be lost, and without awareness of that how could we expect to be abject enough to want to do anything, to create or be part of anything, of a community, to spend even one moment of our time commenting on website articles, let alone reading them. And so, OK, of course…

Crispin Best

– – –

WINNER: Gordon Lish

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