So, yeah, maybe it’s nothing new (wrong), and maybe there’s too much coverage to warrant another post (wrong), but I’m not apologizing for shit. Jesus. Over at The Atlantic‘s blog, Hua Hsu gives a quick, precise, and I think very insightful response to Tao Lin’s recent Gawker article. Insightful to the extent that Hsu articulates and interrogates what I find most compelling about Tao’s work. Hsu writes:
Why is Lin so polarizing? The comments that follow the Gawker “piece” are generally annoyed or sarcastically dismissive, which is expected given how long and gossip/link-free it is. But is Lin’s writing, as the detractors say, truly narcissistic or selfish? What does it mean to be narcissistic enough to be branded a narcissist, when we are all in the business of cultivating online followers and friends, issuing steady streams of news releases about our wavering moods? There’s something refreshing to me about Lin’s writing, the way it manages to be wholly about him, but deny our craving for interiority or motive.
Those are poignant, thoughtful and surprisingly novel questions about a writer who, by objectifying himself, becomes a cultural object in turn–and I think that’s a move whose significance we have yet to suss out. The question is obviously whether it’s worth our time, but I guess that’s up to you or whoever’s reading.