Haut or Not (w/ digression)

Posted by @ 1:20 pm on March 13th, 2009


Drew Toal writes:

After he moved out of our apartment, Tao Lin didn’t take all of his books with him. So, it should be noted, that these are likely his least-essential books. But isn’t Tao Lin’s refuse still hauter than a normal person’s bookshelf pride?

It’s a strange message, but I can only assume that Drew would have no reason to mislead Htmlgiant, so let us gather that Tao a) lived with Drew at one point, and b) these are/were his books. In a perfect world, I probably should have contacted Tao to corroborate this, but this is an imperfect world.

These books are horrible. It’s nice to see Yeti and Hobart, and the What Gives? spine looks interesting. I just have a hard time believing these are Tao’s books. It’s hard to see, but the grey book under Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes is A Step by Step Book About Dwarf Hamsters, which is this most believable thing in the stack. Tony O’ Neill’s book is there, so maybe Toal’s story is true. Wondering who Drew Toal was, I googled him and came across his piece in Time Out New York on 60 WRITERS 60 PLACES, 1 of 60 being Blake Butler. So now the whole Tao Lin >> NYC >> Blake Butler >> Htmlgiant loop seemed not only more probable, but inevitable. I’m rambling, onwards to the books.

There’s also Memories of Peking, which I guess is ‘ethnologically’ not absurd, however absurd such a non-sarcastic conceit is (or would seem to my perception of Tao). I guess this Haut or Not post isn’t really about the books, but more about public notions of private people. The two mediums of ‘internet’ and ‘real life’ are often in conflict with each other. Twitter lets us know what a stranger is thinking every 5 minutes, but these ‘thoughts’ are self-edited and generally of rhetorical agency. Regarding the internet, I always think “Nobody knows anyone,” which seems a little harsh when I think of my own parents, who after 30 years of a tumultuous marriage, don’t really know each other either. Perhaps the internet is not to blame for all this incomplete knowing – maybe it’s just life.

Dana Carvey, replying to a question regarding being famous said [paraphrase], “If there was a cantaloupe on TV every night on every channel, then everybody would freak out if they actually saw the cantaloupe in real life.” I think what he meant was that something accrues meaning each time it enters somebody’s consciousness, the aggregate of which defines success. The internet speeds up this process exponentially. So here we are, all hyper-linking and freaking out on each other. People talk shit in an arena where you can’t smell it. It’s endearing actually: our obstinate march towards sharing things, and our most human indignations. Tao’s books don’t look like Tao’s, but then, I don’t know him.

Rating: Not.

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