January 12th, 2012 / 7:27 pm

On nihilism

Williams College is a liberal arts college in Williamstown Massachusetts, from which Charles Webb, who wrote the novel from which Nichols’ The Graduate (1967) was adapted, graduated. He is oddly, or expectedly, not associated with the film’s success. He is married to Fred, who calls herself that name in solidarity with Fred, a support group for women with low self-esteem. His homeschooled children, now adults, sold their wedding presents back to their guests, each got divorced in protest against marriage, and now, rumor has it, work at kmart and live in a shack. “The Sounds of Silence,” (1965) enmeshed with the iconic pool scene, forty-six years after it was was released, would be performed by a visibly distraught Paul Simon at the 9/11 Anniversary Memorial Ceremony, wearing a suit of out respect but looking like he’s going in for a job interview. Benny is seduced by an older woman but falls in love with her daughter, played by one doe-eyed Katharine Ross, who seventeen years later would end up marrying Sam Elliott, the omniscient narrator of The Big Lebowski (1998), whose appearance as The Stranger at the film’s ending can be seen as a pedestrian second coming of sorts, which is an odd way for Marco Polo, or you, to wade across the chlorine to one Uli Kunkel (screen name “Karl Hungus,” who appeared in a porn film with Bunny) seen passed out next to empty Jack. I like it how, in bars or parties, a group of exclusively males standing in a circle will shoot straight whiskey or tequila — suddenly throwing their heads back as synchronized swimmers — followed each by a coy yet uncontainable grin, as if the word cool could not contain what had just happened. “Uli doesn’t care about anything. He’s a Nihilist,” soon-to-be 9-toe’d Bunny Lebowski says. “Ah, that must be exhausting,” goes The Dude, whose $0.69 personal check to Ralph’s for some milk in the opening scene was dated September 11, 1991, exactly 10 years before the event exactly 10 years before Simon’s sad song was sang again through the bravery of a non-facelifted face. As for that day, they said we were nihilists, so we said they were back. People talking without speaking.


  1. alex crowley

      that wasn’t her toe, Dude

  2. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I thought we’d be seeing a whole bunch of Big L quotes here.


  3. GuestGuest

      Jimmy, know that this an extremely concise and excitingly intelligent piece of prose. I’d pay to read this. Please keep on, it’s always a gift.

  4. Elsleepinggringo
  5. Brian M

      amazing The Dude’s check was dated that date, which concurred in the movie with the first Iraq War. “Calmer than you, Dude… Calmer than you Dude.” Now I have Walter quotes in my head.

  6. Brian M

      Oh yeah, brilliant piece!

  7. Kent Johnson

      In other weirdness that seems quite “Tran” deep down and also with a Brazilian flair, though you’ll have to see the book:

      My friend Micah Robbins, editor of Sous les Paves newsletter, is soon publishing a new edition of the po-biz-satirical *Works and Days of the feneon collective*, edited by Anonyme, and originally published by Effing Press in 2010 in a 600+ edition that mysteriously vanished almost immediately upon release. The mildly interesting breaking news is this: It turns out (confirming some rumors) that Tao Lin, the aspiring Andy Warhol of the literary world, was one of the central figures involved in the original feneon collective group, back when the fc was putting its faits divers up on the internet (the fc blog no longer exists). This new edition with Robbins’s imprint Say It with Stones carries an Afterword by Tao Lin, who claims to have reconfigured the feneon collective [Unified Body] (the name of its final incarnation after a series of factional splits, it seems) into a new group called the Faineant Collective [Orphic Body].

      I’ve seen the three-page Afterword and it’s quite amazing. It begins with this odd sentence, and the piece gets odder:

      “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. People who live in $20 million glass houses in a recession should have the glazier on speed dial. I am the glazier.”

  8. Kent Johnson

      Sorry, meant the first sentence to read “In other weirdness that seems quite Tao Lin deep down”…

  9. Erik Stinson

      ceremony song new order youtube 1980

  10. Apocalypto
  11. herocious
  12. Kent Johnson

      Yes, I’ve been associated with the Yasusada writings as caretaker for quite a number of years now. As chance would have it, there is this book of essays on the controversy, which is appearing any day now:

      But the Yasusada is one thing and the feneon strangeness quite another, I’m afraid. Tao Lin, for example, has absolutely nothing to do with Yasusada, I assure you.

  13. Shamalamadinginton

      Everybody loves pobiz satires! Can’t wait!

  14. Shamalamadinginton

      Wow, wait a minute. The actress in the graduate married an actor, and he’s in the big lebowski? Yer blowing my FUCKING mind. 

  15. mimi

      do ya have to use so many cuss words?