March 4th, 2013 / 11:03 pm

Hey wow, did my last post, “How To Be A Critic (pt. 6)” just get deleted? Sure looks like it did. Will be curious to hear the reasoning behind that.

This is the first time anything I’ve written for this site has been tampered with.


  1. HolidayInnExpress

      Hmmm. : popcorn

  2. HolidayInnExpress

      Let’s see…

      Roxane would never delete comments, so I’m eliminating her.

      Can we start a poll?

  3. Ryan Bradford

      Maybe cuz watching grown, smart people treat this site like 4chan is painful?

  4. HolidayInnExpress

      Did they delete Chris’s posts too?

  5. A D Jameson

      Don’t really get your comment. I was trying to make a critical point with the post.

  6. A D Jameson

      Adding, I’m genuinely serious about the critical point.

  7. deadgod

      Damn. It was just up, and I wanted to read Higgs’s blogicle first–not knowing that it was icky–then respond.

      What did you say/do?

      Are the book-burning joke and the ‘get off my dick’ video and so on a performance piece youz two are doing? INTERPRET THIS type thing?

  8. HolidayInnExpress

      My sources say it was Stephen Tully Dierks. Stay tuned for this breaking development.

  9. A D Jameson

      No! Not STD! He’s my brother!

  10. A D Jameson

      It was the following line: “Respond to artworks by making more artworks. Increase, intensify, proliferate, expand” (paraphrase from memory). Underneath it I put a series of offensive images that people have made of Obama. Which seemed to me a perfectly legitimate response to Chris’s arguments. Heck, it seemed to me that my post was a perfectly legitimate response to Chris’s arguments. Again, will be curious to hear who deleted it, and on what grounds.

  11. HolidayInnExpress

      Has anyone else ever fantasized about flipping off the HTMLGiant table at AWP?

  12. A D Jameson

      Hey now, man, be cool. Violence just begets violence.

      Plus then someone might come and whack me.

  13. deadgod

      Yes, I did see those two sentences, and the first picture of Obama with a funny hat (?)–not too offensive, but I didn’t ‘read more’.

      I don’t see how, by Higgs’s lights, a response can be illegitimate–abusive, off-topic, or in any way.

  14. HolidayInnExpress

      I’ve just always had a fantasy about throwing at hands at AWP. You know, flipping a few tables and booths as…performance art.

  15. HolidayInnExpress

      Says the Vice contributor.

  16. A D Jameson

      Secretly I was thinking, “Yeah, we wouldn’t want HG to become a place where people post random images, then flame one another in the comments. Nip that ship in the bud before it sails!”

  17. A D Jameson

      Though if HG did become more like 4chan, Boobs Friday would come back.

  18. HolidayInnExpress

      What’s funny is…people didn’t start acting truly childish until your post was deleted. When the censors come out of the woodwork, all bets are off. I understood the irony of your post; only the historically unaware would miss the point and take offense–oh wait…hmm.

  19. A D Jameson

      I don’t see how, by Higgs’s lights, a response can be illegitimate–abusive, off-topic, or in any way.

      Me, neither. That’s precisely my point. Though notice how he insulted me for putting up parts 3 and 4, implied I’d crossed some kind of line. I wish he’d reveal what the basis for that line is.

      I should make it clear that I have nothing against Chris personally. I’ve never met him, and we’ve always been chummy enough over email. He’s said things like, “I think it’s good that we’re debating.” I agree. I was enjoying this latest go-round, but I guess someone somewhere decided it was not to be. Too bad.

  20. HolidayInnExpress

      Wait a minute–do you have Chris Higgs on record acknowledging a “debate”?

  21. deadgod

      Is comparing the deleted blogicle (and its context) to 4chan less like 4chan than that deleted blogicle and its context are?

  22. A D Jameson

      Well, I’ve said elsewhere that I think people are somewhat unfair in their comments on Chris’s posts. I don’t see any reason to attack the guy personally (and I hope it’s obvious that none of my own critiques amount to that—like I said elsewhere, I think rather favorably of the guy. Anyone who likes more outlandish fiction is pretty much OK with me! Hell, anyone who likes fiction is all right with me). I’m more concerned with engaging the substance of his (somewhat peculiar) critical ideas, seeing whether they hold water. I invite others to do the same with my own writing. Criticism always welcome! If my ideas are any good, they should be able to withstand it.

      I get that this is the internet and HG and it sometimes gets mean, whatever. I learned a while back not to take any of that all that seriously. Overall, I’ve really loved writing for this site, and appreciate all the comments my posts have received. More than a few of them have helped me clarify some important ideas.

      it’s funny. I’ve been thinking recently that my posts here have been a bit too stuffy for my taste. I decided to try playing around more—hence these responses to Chris. Guess I got served!

  23. A D Jameson
  24. HolidayInnExpress

      Do people really attack Chris personally? Calling his arguments stupid doesn’t qualify as a personal attack. No one has ever commented on his appearance, for instance, in a comment thread about one of his posts telling us all how to be critics of art while in the same breath telling us criticism doesn’t exist. People have called him insincere and passive-aggressive because of the obvious double-standard and hypocrisy implicit in his arguments, but those aren’t personal attacks either.

  25. A D Jameson

      I remember someone calling Chris deceitful, which I thought unfair. I then agreed though that he was behaving disingenuously (or something along those lines). Which I still think he is, because he doesn’t behave in accordance with the critical ideals he espouses. But that seems to me something substantially different from “deceitful.”

      My impression is that Chris either doesn’t fully endorse the arguments he makes, or doesn’t grasp the full consequences of them. Or perhaps some combination of both. Although I guess he considers inconsistency a virtue?

  26. HolidayInnExpress

      I hear you, but–intentional or not–he insults others’ intelligence, so the harsh reaction is understandable. It’s such an easy fix, too: write about a different method of interpreting without arguing that the different method is the only method, or by changing the definition of the other method (or blatantly misrepresenting it) to make your method appear stronger and more radical than it really is, or stop lying to yourself and everyone else about how your method isn’t similar to the method you decry, when it clearly is more similar than different.

      For instance, how radical is his method? Don’t all critics “experience a text erotically” and/or as an event? Don’t they read novels as novels, poems as poems, and plays as plays? Those are rhetorical questions, of course, but it’s safe to assume that criticism has always been about investigating the how and why of deriving pleasure from art, and that knowing how to derive pleasure from difficult art is required of any good critic. Who has said otherwise lately? That’s what I want to know. Please, Chris, convince me that you’re arguing with someone other than yourself.


  27. A D Jameson

      I basically agree with you. One of the problems is that Chris is never clear what critical argument he’s trying to enter. (This is one reason why it’s good to define terms.) I’m a student at UIC, where we often teach the text They Say I Say. And one criticism I’d make of Chris’s critical posts is that there’s no “They Say.” There’s just lots and lots of “I Say.”

      I think Chris is confusing a bunch of ideas. But I also think he just grabs what he wants, willy-nilly, and doesn’t care much about the consequences. As deadgod (and others) have frequently pointed out, he’s very slipshod in his terminology. And as you and I have noted, he doesn’t seem to have read all that carefully some of the texts he cites, e.g., Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation.”

      If he were just some guy on the internet, I really wouldn’t care all that much. There are people making these mistakes all over the place. But Chris is a PhD candidate, and I’m a PhD student, and we’re both bloggers at this site. So I think I have some “right” to engage with him, try pinning him down on some of these ideas. What’s more, I do formalist criticism predicated on authorial intent (as many folks do at UIC—I’ve studied there with Walter Benn Michaels, Jennifer Ashton, and Nicholas Brown, all “intentionalist” folk who contribute to Nonsite). I’m really invested in the debates over meaning and interpretation and intent. I’d like to engage Chris on those matters. But I’m increasingly getting the impression he’s not all that interested in engaging with anyone who criticizes his arguments.

  28. HolidayInnExpress

      …which begs the question: why is he in a PhD program if he’s unwilling to engage in critical discourse?

  29. A D Jameson

      I just criticized a student for misusing “begs the question” like that:)

      But you got me. I don’t get his responses (or lack of responses). Every time I try to engage him on this stuff, he says he’s “busy.” Hey, I’m busy, too! … studying this stuff at school, and writing stuff here, plus occasionally trying to make some fiction/poetry.

      Anyway, I like to think that Chris and I ultimately have more in common than otherwise. We’re both committed to a lot of similar things. I was genuinely interested to see him saying that critics should describe artworks, and what they do. That’s very similar to formalism. And I was also curious about his interest in the mirror exercise (an exercise I’ve done many, many times, back when I was more involved with dance/performance).

      Part of what’s funny/tragically baffling to me about all of this is that I know a lot of the artworks and theories Chris is looking at. I used to teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I have a background in performance art and conceptual art, and contemporary visual art. I know a lot of this stuff, love talking about it. When I was getting my Master’s degree, I was known (affectionately, I hope) as “the guy who would never stop talking about John Cage.” I’ve read Roland Barthes and lots of other pomo theory. I did my Master’s at ISU, where I worked for FC2. DFW was there. Curt White and I read Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory together. You think I’d be exactly the kind of guy Chris wants to talk and argue with. (One of the first things he and I ever discussed was how keen I am on some books his prof. Brian McHale wrote, Postmodernist Fiction and Constructing Postmodernism. They were two of my bibles in the late 90s/early 00s.)

      Which is all to say that I’m not James Wood, some guy who thinks that everyone should write realist third-person-limited fiction and submit it to some boring lit journal somewhere. (Although, mind you, I have nothing against realist third-person-limited fiction, at least in theory. I even wrote just such a story myself, last semester—one that I think is in fact “experimental.” I was trying to experiment with that form.)

  30. HolidayInnExpress

      Good post. Maybe we should just accept that he uses HTMLGiant as a mind dump diary.

  31. A D Jameson

      Could be, could be. Well, I’m not going to lose much sleep over it.

      I was thinking, too, and I realized I have no grounds to object to your using “begs the question” like that. I tend to be more descriptivist than prescriptivist when it comes to linguistics, and people commonly use the expression that way, so it can be used that way, QED. Although I do think I was right to criticize my student’s use of it, since she’d lose credibility for it in an academic paper, I think. (I drew a smiley face after the comment—which I wrote in blue ink—lest anyone think I was overly harsh on her.)

      OK, now I am off to watch this. Time to relax after a long day spent keeping the blogosphere safe for verbose defenses of hermeneutics. Nice chatting with you! A

  32. Gene Morgan

      Not it.

  33. Gene Morgan

      There’s beef both ways in the trash.

  34. Gene Morgan

      And by “beef,” I mean posts I can’t read without restoring.

  35. A D Jameson

      I just peeked in and saw Chris’s posts there (though I can’t read them). I hadn’t seen them until now. I put my post up, and then it was gone like ten minutes later.

      Guess I hit a nerve? (I mean in terms of his replies—one of which is titled addressing me by name.)

  36. A D Jameson

      I haven’t deleted anything by anyone.

  37. shaun gannon

      you have a problem

  38. JosephYoung

      at some point i have to ask, are you deliberately not ‘getting’ chris’ ideas? ok, maybe they aren’t entirely cogently argued, but as he says that is part of the point and even so, there is an argument at the heart of them, cogently staged or not, and i wonder how much of your confusion has to be put on. ok, so i won’t ascribe motives to you, i shouldn’t do that. i should say rather that i see the heart of what he’s saying, or at least i think i do. there is criticism and there is apprehension. there is meaning and there is meaningfulness. a long time ago working around these ideas a metaphor for the apprehension of meaningfulness of an artwork occurred to me as a flower blooming in the brain. that’s a metaphor and so it’s an ‘interpretation’ but the experience itself is, well, an experience. or, i guess, an event. it’s hard to argue this argueless experience and maybe i feel for chris in that. but i don’t know, i have the very much self chosen luxury of not being a phd candidate precisely because i don’t want to argue what seems to me argueless, i don’t want to have be consistent, define my terms, etc. i guess chris might not have that luxury. anyway, carry on.

  39. HolidayInnExpress

      No, you’re just not very bright. Stick to the CAPS LOCK poetry.

  40. A D Jameson

      No, I don’t get Chris’s ideas (or even ‘get’ them, not sure what the single quotes do there). I’ve read his posts and pointed out some contradictions in them, just like others have. Chris has not responded to any of those criticisms. As such, I continue not getting his ideas. When I do the math on my own, his claims all fall apart pretty quickly, I think. I’d be happy to talk more about any of this with you.

      No one has to be consistent or define their terms if they don’t want to. But if one doesn’t at least minimally invest in those things, then one probably isn’t interested in having a discussion with other people. Why not invent a private language and write poetry in one’s own head?

  41. A D Jameson

      Here’s one place we could start. Chris says he’s against “interpretation.” What does he mean by that word?

  42. JosephYoung

      how much consistency does poetry need? it doesn’t need yes:yes consistency does it? poetry can, and often does, cut across binaries, yes:yes, yes:no, no:maybe, etc. that seems to me to be the hallmark of good poetry, containing its own contradictions. like irl. and if poetry can cut across these binaries can’t our experience of it? i won’t go so far as to say our experience should cut across it, which is where i guess maybe chris is at, but perhaps we can give the poet that consideration. sometimes.

      and sure, those good poems with content inconsistencies might give us formal consistencies to help us make the necessary leaps of imagination, but nonetheless confusion, inconsistency, lack of ‘getting’ [single quotes] it are valuable states of mind, yeah? in addition to doing the math?

      thanks for responding, adam, though i don’t think i’ll respond if you respond back. i’m not very good at/keen for getting involved in these kinds of discussions, and i bog down after just a few go arounds.

  43. HolidayInnExpress

      Pretty sure Higgs is discussing criticism, not poetry, though he does like to pretend like the two categories don’t exist.

  44. HolidayInnExpress

      I wasn’t offended by your objection. I indeed used the phrase incorrectly. Nice chatting with you too. Never apologize for not kowtowing to these online lit blog denizens who whine and cry as soon as someone dares to challenge their ideas instead of kiss their ass.

  45. A D Jameson

      Poetry can have as much or as little consistency as one wants. But that’s not the issue. Chris is writing about criticism, and he’s engaging with other critics. … Perhaps he makes no distinction between poetry and criticism? Perhaps he makes no distinction between criticism and anything? Clarification would be useful here. Since he’s posting about this stuff, I think it’s reasonable to assume he’s trying to communicate something about it, but maybe I’ve been mistaken.

      Anyway, no problem if you don’t want to talk shop, but I hope I’ve clarified for you that I’m serious about these things, and not pretending to any ignorance. I really don’t get Chris’s argument.

  46. HolidayInnExpress

      I had several tame posts deleted a week ago. It’s been happening across the board. Wish the cowardly censor would show up and offer an explanation.

  47. HolidayInnExpress

      So, on Twitter, Higgs is claiming that AD’s post was racist. How can he reach that conclusion when he opposes interpretation, and wasn’t that the point of AD’s ironic post?

  48. A D Jameson

      Good question. Here’s another: why doesn’t Chris say something directly to me?

  49. HolidayInnExpress

      Because he can censor you instead. Further proof that some people who constantly need to remind you of how subversive and experimental they are are often fronting.

  50. A D Jameson

      Here’s his Twitter feed:

      He claims I hijacked his series (here I thought I was making companion texts in the spirit of his pronouncements). And that he was worried others would think he wrote my posts (not sure how that’s possible since my name was on them). Also, it seems I’ve lost my mind (I don’t think I have).

      Chris hasn’t emailed me, or contacted me in any way. Please feel free to, Chris! You know how to find me.

      Meanwhile, I’m still wondering who took my post down, and why.

  51. A D Jameson

      I’m not claiming that Chris took it down.

  52. HolidayInnExpress

      Look at that idiot Tweeting to HTMLGIANT that your post was racist. Unbelievable.

  53. A D Jameson

      I’m not entirely surprised if Chris doesn’t get satire. If you claim writing doesn’t mean anything, then rhetoric goes right out the window. Mind you, that hasn’t stopped him from using rhetoric in his own writing—see that graf in his last post where he attacks me for responding critically to him (daddy’s busy working etc.)—but does it preclude him from having to acknowledge when others employ it.

      Really win-win. Do whatever you want, then complain when others do anything. Brilliant!

  54. HolidayInnExpress

      Someone took it down on his behalf though, and based on his Tweets, it’s clear that he considers the censorship justified…this coming from the same guy who has a fascination with posting the corpses of murdered women .

  55. HolidayInnExpress

      Fair point and one I considered after writing that comment: if he genuinely opposes interpretation, he’s unlikely to notice satire or irony, even if he uses interpretation at other times without realizing it.

      Once again, I’m amazed this guy was admitted to a PhD program in critical theory.

  56. A D Jameson

      It’s amusing to me that Chris is offended by any of this. This is the same guy who less than 24 hours ago wrote (regarding what he considers ideal criticism): “Nonsense is a value. Provocation is a value. Surprise is a value. Play is a value. Silliness is a value. Excitement is a value. Purple is a value. Slime is a value.”

      Why am I not allowed to provoke or surprise or play or be silly or excite? Is it because I am neither purple, nor slimy? I can work on those values!

      Chris, if we can be friends again, I’ll buy you a fainting couch :)

      Meanwhile, here’s a lesson in having the courage of one’s fucking convictions.

  57. HolidayInnExpress

      He can’t possibly be this obtuse and in charge of leading a classroom. I refuse to believe it.

  58. emmab

      I find myself intrigued by/aligned with some of Chris’ ideas, although they’re not relayed very well, and they’re so bogged down with holes that I can’t think straight. I also don’t really care about the fact that he’s not living up to his own arguments about criticism– people grow, change, contradict themselves, whatever. What I find actually enraging is, first, his refusal to engage with other people, other commenters, etc. (made all the more potent by the fact that the thesis of his argument, in a word, could be “engage”), and also by his efforts to invalidate certain types of criticism, which is a complete and blatant paradox in light of what he’s been arguing for. Which is why I’m glad to see AD Jameson addressing these problems and addressing them aggressively (although a more mellow, line-by-line response might, I think, be a better approach on Jameson’s part right now– maybe Higgs feels too antagonized to respond?). In any case, it’s a shame that we can’t read this. Jameson, maybe you could post it elsewhere?

  59. HolidayInnExpress

      You should be enraged–good for you. It’s even more enraging how his defenders attempt to shame people who are justifiably enraged by his tactics. Even Chris himself participates in this sort of shaming, claiming that AD has “lost his mind.”

  60. Frank Rodriguez

      hipster racism?

  61. Frank Rodriguez

      or i dunno. I didn’t know you were unconnected to the other posts. Maybe he wants lazy subscribers to be brought into the conversation via controversy.

  62. shaun gannon

      no i meant the unhealthy amount of rage you have for a website

  63. deadgod

      ‘Inconsistency’ is no virtue in poetry; Higgs collapses ‘contradiction’ and ‘inconsistency’ into one thing, which they are not.

      Of course complexity in poetry–to every point of unreconcilable tension and indissoluble paradox–is valuable, as are disclosures and instigations of messy human life.

      Paradox–and tension generally–are deserved, earned, in my view; they’re not doled equally in every direction in a universal smear, in which there’s no difference between control and yielding control, on the one hand, and laziness or flaccidity on the other.

      Fruitfully–or pregnantly barrenly, as it were–complicated poetry is not careless poetry.

      –and at least equally so with theory: Nietzsche is one (great) example of philosophizing that not only thematizes paradox–the incongruency of logic with reality–, but embraces paradox as a mode of disclosure.

      There are no facts, only interpretations.–said in the language of fact. Become who you are.–although if you already are, whence and whither ‘becoming’? and what then becomes? Live dangerously!–life, whose principle is to live, in the service of its own expendability. Self-overcoming.–so… what overcomes what?

      It might be Higgs’s ambition to make a text like Nietzsche’s, a Penelope weaving and unraveling itself as one reads it by one’s reading it, or like Deleuze’s, in which paradoxical ‘things’–rhizome, nomad–are released conceptually by way of their (unusually elaborate) elaboration.

      These ambitions are not unintelligible, but nor is their achievement–or its lack–impossible to evaluate in terms of, say, care.

  64. HolidayInnExpress
  65. Jimmy Chen

      i noticed ‘racist’ pics of obama (w/ watermelon; as a monkey, etc.) in htmlgiant’s media folder and wondered what they were for; it seems, now, they were included in the post that got removed (once a post is in ‘trash’ its files still remain in the common folder). unless one of the editors removed it informing AD, it feels entirely inappropriate (and smug, cowardly, and gross) for any peer/co-contributor to remove another contributor’s post, then remain reticent. this is far worse than any content that any post could ever have. everything is rhetoric, until you violate someone’s rights. these implications are far more bleak than any of this ‘how to be a critic’ blogger bro fiasco stuff. who deleted AD post?

  66. HolidayInnExpress

      I don’t know the censor’s identity. I’m curious too.

  67. A D Jameson

      Hi emmab,

      I’m intrigued by/aligned with some of Chris’s ideas, too. As I’ve said elsewhere, what’s so stupid about any conflict between him and me is that I think he and I share a lot of important commitments. I’ve told him this. This is why I try to take his writing seriously, engage with it, etc.

      although a more mellow, line-by-line response might, I think, be a better approach on Jameson’s part right now– maybe Higgs feels too antagonized to respond?

      I agree. I think I’ve made my point—which is that Chris isn’t really committed to many of the claims he’s been espousing. (Actually, I think Chris has made this point more effectively than I ever could have.) And in any case I’m more interested in conversation/debate than I am in fighting.

      As for restoring the post, I’m still waiting to hear who deleted it in the first place, and why it was taken down.


  68. A D Jameson

      Incidentally, my next post will definitely be called “beef in the trash.”

  69. A D Jameson

      That’s a charitable thought.

      Yeah, for clarity’s sake, I had nothing to do with Parts 1 and 2. I read them when they went up, posted some comments on Part 2 (some pretty obvious critiques that others were also making). Then, last Sunday morning, while I was reading Daniel Deronda at Café Mustache in Logan Square, I thought it might be fun to try satirically criticizing some of Chris’s arguments by demonstrating them in ways I imagined he’d find objectionable, but would lack the critical grounds to actually dismiss—in other words, to demonstrate some of the pitfalls in his arguments. So I made and posted Part 3 and Part 4. On Monday, I came home from school to find Chris had responded with Part 5. I read it, posted some comments, then responded with Part 6. That got taken down minutes later, so I posted the above post.

  70. HolidayInnExpress

      Great post. The notion that inconsistency and incoherency=complexity is ridiculous. It’s like saying Ulysses is “incoherent” because it’s original and difficult.

  71. A D Jameson

      Mike Kitchell tweeted that everyone commenting here is merely stroking my cock. Funny, you think he’d consider that a good thing. (Me, I don’t think group masturbation inherently bad.) Homophobia as intimidation, go Mike Kitchell!

      Personally, I say: Mike, Chris—keep piling on! Show your easily-offended white middle class conservative values! Keep demonstrating your lack of commitment to the radical claims you espouse! Shut your critics down by mocking them! Venerate Saint Breton by kicking everyone out of the Surrealists! Shut me up forever by reaming my bright solar anus!

  72. HolidayInnExpress

      Of course Mike Kitchell would say some dumb shit like that on Twitter because he can’t respond to any of the legitimate criticisms of Higgs’ ideas here.

  73. Meek

      Is this what grad school is like? Do tell, before it’s too late. I’m on my way.

  74. HolidayInnExpress

      No, in grad school you actually have to stand by your ideas and defend them in writing and/or conversation. For instance, in grad school, you can’t delete a person from class who challenges your ideas, nor can you avoid professors who demand rigor. In grad school, merely possessing a passion for literature isn’t enough to earn an A or a sticky star or a dusting of glitter. Hope that helps.

  75. BillyNerdass

      Completely unrelated to the overall discussion, but man do I love Bucket O’ Blood.

  76. A D Jameson

      Shit, me, too! Marc’s an awesome guy, and he has one of the nicest bookstores in all of Chicago—maybe even the finest speculative fiction bookstores I’ve ever seen. (Science fiction and fantasy and comics are my true literary loves.) The fact that the place is right next door to Café Mustache makes it even sweeter.

      Also, BOB has the distinction of being the store that has sold the most copies of my first book, Amazing Adult Fantasy! They have copies right now :)

  77. A D Jameson

      Also, in grad school, we lounge in loose garments eighteen hours/day by burbling fountains, being fanned by undergrads as we sip wine and nibble honey-roasted mouse heads.

  78. A D Jameson

      … unless, meek, you are going to the one graduate program in the land that isn’t like that.


  79. Grant Maierhofer

      i keep picturing you zany dudes crawling back across your bedroom floor to open your computer and enter one last thought. you’re going to get rug burns on your stomachs if you keep doing that and i feel like that’s PRETTY AWFUL, if you know what i mean. i can sit and imagine each of you making love and it’s beautiful. i want to watch you each take showers and pee all over the floor. i once had a deleted comment in the form of a cyst on my scalp that i tried to cut off with these weird golden scissors my sister gave me for christmas and i started bleeding everywhere. i went to a plastic surgeon the next week and he took care of the rest of it but i did most of the work. can you believe this stuff? how often is it we find ourselves smothered in dogshit. often, my friends, all too often. we try to cuddle but nothing really happens. nothing sticks. we should be better than this but all we can do is rub sandpapery lotions over our faces to exfoliate and while the feeling’s pretty out-of-this-world my pet cat sandino has no place thinking so. i dunno. you guys gotta talk. keep it alive you little barracudas. due to this offensive snowfall in the middle-west i can’t stay much longer, must shovel, tend my flock, poop and read the new paris review that i shouldn’t have received but they must have charged me for and now i’ll have to pay for that. it doesn’t look like a great issue, you guys.

  80. deadgod

      Ha ha ha — I’d rather not have learned whose screen has been fertilized during our discussion.

      –and Adam, I PROMISE: you can get your glans manipulated much more enjoyably than ->this<- .

  81. deadgod

      Frankly–and I’m going WAY out on a limb here–, I’m just fed up with all the partisan bickering.

  82. BillyNerdass

      There’s a handful of sci fi writers that seem to have direct access to my brain stem and that place is pretty great resource for finding more of them. I am beginning to think I may have been a satellite in orbit in a previous life. I dream of driving out to Barrington and just wandering around trying to find Gene Wolfe.

  83. deadgod

      Maybe I’m unusual in this, but I almost never picture other people on the internet. –there are so many variables, and, you know, I don’t care (mostly) about personal soap-operas.

      Of course the words on screen get there from bodies and lives–at least, that’s the assumption one is overwhelming compelled empirically to make.

      But how… reasonable is it, to think one knows almost anything about almost anyone on the internet?

      …except by reading the words they write (and images they post) there. That’s what one has, right? –words, some images… and, of course, the ‘self’ one imposes on them by way of discovering them. –dialectically: a ‘self’ that changes–a little–through interaction.

      Not sure what a “last thought” would be. If I had one, or It, and I wrote it, I’d probably write it with a Bic see-through ball-point on non-spiraled, three-holed, blue-lined/red-left-margined A4-sized notebook paper. With squared, yet-undogeared edges.

  84. Grant Maierhofer

      I am very disconcertingly irked by the death of Hugo Chavez and can’t help but wonder what it’ll mean for my insides. PS YOU’RE THE BEST DEADGOD I PICTURE YOU ELBOWS-DEEP IN A BRAND NEW BUCKET SEAT

  85. Grant Maierhofer

      jesus ‘disconcertingly irked’ fuck this i’m out

  86. shaun gannon

      oh good, i was worried you actually knew who i was for a second. well, rage recognize rage, son. get some help

  87. HolidayInnExpress

      Please continue your unsurprisingly chauvinistic attempts to shame me (e.g.,shut me up, put me in my place, etc.) for “raging.” Yes, I know: I’m a crazy lunatic who needs to keep his mouth shut and not care so much–I see your true colors, Mr. Experimental Writer. You and several of your friends are frauds, fucking posturing fakes who don’t stand for anything when push comes to shove. The point of a discussion forum is have provocative and challenging conversations, and it’s bush league for someone to write this kind of article and refuse to engage commenters. And it’s even worse when he encourages the Gestapo to delete the ideas of those commenters. Have fun at AWP, you spineless fuckwad.

  88. rawbbie

      shaun gannon is not an experimental writer, and you can say whatever you want, but you are being kind of an asshole.

  89. Mike Meginnis

      Since nobody will answer this question, would it be irresponsible to assume that it was Chris or someone acting on his behalf? Would it be more irresponsible than ignoring this question?

  90. A D Jameson

      I stopped at BOB on the way home and said hi to Marc.

      The first time I went there, I bought some Philip K. Dick.

      The second time I went there, I bought some Jack Vance.

      The third time I went there, I bought some Barry N. Malzberg. At which point Marc smiled enigmatically and said, “Malzberg.” I think I gained a lot of respect in his eyes at that moment.

  91. A D Jameson

      I agree.

  92. deadgod

      Ha ha — it was the “very” that was the bum note — DON’T USE SILLY GIMMICKS TO EMPHASIZE SHIT

  93. mimi

      i think htmlg should have one of those office-y baby-photo contest where everyone anonymously posted their baby picture and then everyone else has to guess who it is and there is a funny prize

  94. HolidayInnExpress

      At this point, it’s safe to assume that Chris Higgs deleted the post. The self-appointed spokesperson for experimental literature has been exposed as a censor. Look at his Twitter timeline and it’s clear he saw the post within an hour of its posting. Later, he writes:

      Christopher Higgs ‏@higgschrishiggs

      @german_sierra No problem! I appreciate your kindness. Just got worried that you (or others) might mistakenly think I wrote those parts!

      Uh huh. So you either deleted the Tweet yourself or had someone delete it for you–doesn’t matter at this point; you deleted the Tweet or had it deleted because you were were scared “others might mistakenly think [you] wrote those parts.”

      Interesting, when 24-hours earlier you encouraged the kind of playful response AD wrote; also interesting that you clearly misinterpret the post, which is still an act of interpretation, and openly worry that others will misinterpret it too and conclude that you’re a racist. Your own Tweets implicate you in the act of interpretation, an act you decry in your numerous contributor posts. The blog post you deleted was also attributed to AD, not “Chris Higgs,” so your worry that readers might misinterpret it and charge you with racism actually makes the possibility that you are a racist an even stronger possibility–the idea that those thoughts were already floating around in your head when no one could possibly read that post and think, “Chris Higgs, racist!” You just made people more suspicious of you, especially now that we know you advocate censorship.

      Look, this is sad sack pathetic. I call mercy rule. Turn yourself in, admit that you deleted his post, and show us that you posses at least a shred of integrity.

  95. Daniel Bailey

      i second this

  96. bartleby_taco

      interested in seeing a ‘hugo chavez on writing’ post soon

  97. bartleby_taco

      really am enjoying this ‘feud’ between ad jameson and chris higgs, keep it up guys. we’re all excited the ‘giant is back with its arms flailing in the air, like some unfed child

  98. bartleby_taco

      somehow am reminded of that chapter in the savage detectives where arturo belano and one of his critics, after several nasty back and forths, finally throw down the gauntlet and decide to have a sword fight on the beach. i think that’s what happens, i haven’t read the book in a bit.

  99. bartleby_taco

      feel like ad jameson is gryffindor, chris higgs is slytherin, and i seriously cant wait to see how the house points add up for this year you guys

  100. bartleby_taco

      jk you’re both ravenclaw nerds lol

  101. BillyNerdass

      Shit, I’ve never even heard of Malzberg (cred ruined…) but after a little googling I need to get some of his stuff. Any particular recommendations?

      Love Vance. I find myself going back to him a lot and using him as sort of a reset button.

      As a long time lurker, I really recommend Plus by Joseph McElroy. It’s (to be reductive) sci fi by way of Beckett, about a brain that’s been hardwired into a satellite slowly coming to terms with it’s own consciousness. Really strange from the sentence level on up and still one of the saddest books I’ve ever read.

      Sadly, I did not get my copy of AAF from Bucket O’ Blood. Amazon gift cards are powerful things.

  102. deadgod

      Wait–that’s a lot of assumption.

      Not that Higgs couldn’t have had the blogicle taken down out of pique, but any moderator or combination of mods easily could’ve decided that images of Obama-monkey were less interestingly provocative than they would’ve been attractive to white-supremacist shitheads (and mockery-proof identity fanatics).

      And Higgs’s tweets demonstrate nothing like some conceal-my-racism strategery; he’s just (plainly) saying he feels ‘his’ series has been “hijacked”.

      And, of course, it could all be a meany-mean prank. That’d be cool.

      A credible explanation of the deletion (or flim-flam reveal): fine. Or not. But a premise in excess of its demonstration merits only libertarian-level confidence.

  103. Blake Butler

      adam, i deleted your post because i thought it was funny and somehow appropriate to delete a post titled ‘how to be a critic (part 6),’ & i was drunk on tequila.

  104. RedCarpetInn

      I stand by my case!

  105. RedCarpetInn

      Isn’t deleting his post a form of moderation though?

  106. Roxane

      I don’t know who deleted the post but for the love of all that is holy, you can just go into the Trash and restore the deleted post.

  107. A D Jameson

      I don’t quite get the humor, but I totally get the tequila.

  108. A D Jameson

      Yes, I know that. Have been waiting to hear why it was taken down, though, before I put it back up. For all I know I had accidentally revealed someone’s SSN.

  109. A D Jameson

      Ten points for Gryffindor! Ten points from Slytherin!

  110. RedCarpetInn

      Surely it’s bullshit. Higgs deleted the post or had someone delete it for him. I thought Blake was supposed to be straight edge.

  111. eggrollpizza

      Someone better get fucking stabbed or none of this is worth it

  112. A D Jameson

      I stabbed myself.

  113. A D Jameson

      Blake and I talked and I’m all cool with it.

  114. RedCarpetInn

      Okay, cool.

      You should just start over and write a new criticism series for readers who take criticism seriously–i.e., those of us interested in honest, complex discussions about literature rather than striking a cool or hip pose.

  115. A D Jameson

      Malzberg, I only learned of him myself last year. Galaxies is amazing. I’m also partial to The Men Inside, which I keep meaning to write about. But everything I’ve read by him has dazzled.

      Vance, I don’t know how he did what he did in The Dying Earth, but I wish I could do it myself. I hope that collection survives the apocalypse.

      I was actually going to mention Plus, based on your earlier comment about once having been a satellite! And that’s sweet of you to have picked up a copy of AAF. Much obliged!

      Adding: I read my Bonnie Raitt story once in NYC, and Joseph McElroy was there (he was also reading). He told me he liked it. That was a huge boost. (#humblebrags?)

      Cheers, A

  116. A D Jameson

      I recommend my current series, “The difference between a concept and a constraint”! Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is coming soon enough (early next week, I imagine). Then there will be a Part 3, probably in 2043.

      And I’ve no doubt I’ll circle back around to some of the points I was trying to make re: Chris’s series. Interpretation and how it relates to formal analysis lies at the core of what I do, critically. I find rehearsing those arguments here very helpful. This engagement with deadgod here, for instance, just helped me crystallize one or two things. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of writing something about Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” an essay I’ve been rereading a lot recently.

      Cheers, A

  117. RedCarpetInn

      I’ll check those out–thanks. “AI” would be especially interesting to reread given the recent resurgence of formalism.

  118. A D Jameson

      The way I see it now, I responded to Chris by adding posts to his series, and then Blake responded to me by deleting one of those posts. And Chris has established that the destruction of artworks/criticism is OK (indeed, that it’s even preferable to interpreting them), and I think it’s only fair that the series’ participants should play by Chris’s rules. So I’m happy leaving Part 6 in the trash.

  119. Tom Beshear

      I suggest Beyond Apollo by Malzberg as well as Galaxies. Apollo created a controversy back in the day by winning the first John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel. Campbell was the editor of Astounding SF (later renamed Analog) in the golden age of Asimov, Heinlein, etc. He would have despised Beyond Apollo, which paints space as such an alien place that it inevitably drives astronauts mad. Giants walked the earth in those days.

  120. rawbbie

      that does happen and god, I would love to see these two swing swords at each other.

  121. rawbbie

      I can see all of it in my google reader feed.

  122. A D Jameson

      Maybe we could play Street Fighter II, instead.

      Which suggests a new series: “We are playing Street Fighter II and debating the role of hermeneutics in art.”

  123. mimi

      you throw a good party ADJ

  124. RedCarpetInn

      Someone should FW this thread to his class so they can “destroy” their term papers the night before deadline.

  125. rawbbie

      but maybe you could swing swords at each other.

  126. A D Jameson

      You seem determined to get me killed.

  127. davidmmmorton

      This is all a literary device.