December 5th, 2011 / 11:43 am

ToBS R1: no-taste design aesthetic online magazine vs. facebook updates of what you ate / listened to

[Matchup #13 in Tournament of Bookshit]

In the Really Fucking Ugly corner, weighing in at less than a tenth of a tenth of a tenth of a pound, is the entire coded structure of Happy Dog Mom Lit Journal is a newcomer on the scene, but has recently secured training with the Google AdSense and AdWords programs, showing off a stiff upper right corner text ad box that flits out ads for Moleskine journals and Tin House magazine subscriptions. Its ability to fly almost completely under the radar––to not have a single pair of eyes look at it, at all, for years, save the eyes of its own mother and master and pen-name bedecked story feeder, among the occasional algorithmic complimentary link bait––is truly amazing. It’s a stunning example of incompetence, laziness, a journey retarded before it’s even begun, and a complete lack of aesthetic sense beyond the named, repuked text-based emotional “landscapes” that can cohere, almost accidentally, under forty thousand clicks or more, here called curation.

And in the Really Fucking Boring corner, weighing in at twenty-six to twenty-eight vertical scrolling screen inches daily––if compiled carefully, stacked one atop another, Facebook culled and Twitter culled and fuckelse culled––is the defending, perennial, perpetual, office-homicide-inciting small talk pleasantry mewl champion: WHAT I ATE TODAY AND WHAT MUSIC I LISTENED TO WHILE WRITING TODAY! (and the crowd goes wild, Jimmy! each open mouth most likely a flailer themselves!) The undisputed, undefeated champion of this local arena, WHAT I ATE TODAY etc. is the morose daily reminder of the advent of mechanical production processes, and their infestation and subsequent death-reminder presence in the non-ritualized––rituals have to be sacred, Jimmy––but still totally enforced daily habit that is WRITE EVERY DAY, WRITE EVERY DAY, as if some real ethical work is getting done in and through a further removed and more intellectually sparkly masturbation.

I don’t know, Jimmy. It’s a tough bout. One side makes me want to live completely via negativa and both burn myself and all I’ve touched and burn the work of others. And the other side makes me want to sew my mouth shut, rend my fingers, nap on Beckett’s grave in hopes of a ground-up lightning storm, and take to bathing in aromatic ash and talking to crabs every day.

After ten grueling rounds, a victor has emerged. Hailing from the king impulsed mother dick of all ethical and aesthetic cognitive dissonance, a startling monument to our collective, willful terror at the edge of dark, and a musically deadened, stillborn tone repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating…

Ken Baumann

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