A browser window of playful digital innovation has closed. Like a light wind that dies after sunset. We see the cursor move, a soft click, the tab vanishes.
Something like a literature of the web was born and then almost immediately died, along with the most ambitious social lives traversing our generation – the last generation to experience the world before pervasive digital media. Blogs (Gawker, Hipster Runoff, HTMLGIANT(?)) were like… this thing that happened and then became either institutional, irrelevant, or crushed by political detractors. Comments sections became essential and then as quickly: perverse, violent. At some point, Pitchfork became Pitchfork. Reification. READ MORE >
I know there was a Tao Lin post x hours ago, but I don’t care. I have books to give away. Want to win free books? Want to grumble? Comment on this post to get one of these:
FIRST PRIZE goes to the commenter with the best* comment
SECOND PRIZE goes to the commenter with the worst* comment
THIRD PRIZE goes to the commenter who makes the MOST* comments (bonus for over 100)
each prize will be selected randomly from the (pictured) prize pool of:
*as calculated by me
(for the curious, the reason I have these books is that I pre-ordered two out of the three, then received ARCs. i bought two copies of Ken’s because I knew it would be badass)
1. A link to Frank Hinton’s review from a few weeks ago.
3. “I started to wonder, and felt relieved that there might be truth to the idea of intellectuals all being frauds. I knew that I certainly was.”
5. I don’t know if Marie Calloway’s writing is unique, but I know I haven’t read anything like it. Have you?
6. “I wondered if maybe men are incapable of understanding something like this as anything other than something that’s meant to get them off.”
7. I’ve been thinking about how subjective the idea of “degradation” is, unless we’re talking about soil erosion or something.
9. I’d be curious to read a story that was “completely incomprehensible to men,” especially if Marie Calloway wrote it.
10. It’s funny how such clear, direct prose has resulted in so many people missing the point entirely. READ MORE >
May 26th, 2013 / 9:59 pm
1. The film The Hurt Locker opens with the quote “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”
2. Marie Calloway’s novel what purpose did i serve in your life opens with the quote “We teach children not to go into stranger’s houses, so why do it as an adult?”
3. The film The Hurt Locker is divided into a number of distinct scenes showcasing Sergeant First Class William James’ deactivating various bombs in intense, maverick ways. The viewer is left with the post-suspense of the diffusal, the slowing of blood-pressure lets one reflect on war as the hazmat is removed.
4. Marie Calloway’s what purpose did i serve in your life is divided into a number of distinct reflections each culminating in some kind of sex which she somehow coordinates in an often intense, maverick-y way. When being degraded, she posits that she deserves it. She states she feels relief and confusion in making herself an object.
5. The movie The Hurt Locker portrays James’ fearlessness in the face of danger and ends with his inability to escape the very thing that is destroying him.
6. Marie Calloway’s novel portrays a young woman moving through life after vaguely mentioned past traumas. She is a rape victim and this shapes her sexual actions and reactions. Though often being grossed-out or averse to a range of sexual suggestions (from being eaten-out to force-fed her own vomit) Calloway’s actions are that of a compliant, non-confrontational lover.
7. In 2011, Gawker called Marie ‘just a girl, with a Tumblr’.
8. In the Jeremy Lin chapter of the book, Lin points out:
“If someone says your writing has flaws or is good, that implies they know a concrete goal that your writing has, which can be measured in numbers, and that the number would be higher or lower if you changed your writing in a certain way, I feel, by that seems incredibly hard to measure, even if two different people had agreed upon a purpose for your writing that could be measured, like ‘increases heart rate in reader’ or something. But it can be depressing to never think in terms of ‘good’/’bad’ without defining contexts/goals in each instance.”
9. A staff member of the Paris Review once told William S. Burroughs that sex seems frequently equated with death in his writing. Burroughs responded:
“That is an extension of the idea of sex as a biologic weapon. I feel that sex, like practically every other human manifestation, has been degraded for control purposes, or really for antihuman purposes. This whole Puritanism. How are we ever going to find out anything about sex scientifically, when a priori the subject cannot even be investigated? It can’t even be thought about or written about. That was one of the interesting things about Reich. He was one of the few people who ever tried to investigate sex—sexual phenomena, from a scientific point of view. There’s this prurience and this fear of sex. We know nothing about sex. What is it? Why is it pleasurable? What is pleasure? Relief from tension? Well, possibly.”
10 a. “If you like me, you have to like shyness.”
b. “I’m smart at some things but not with people or at growing up.” READ MORE >
May 9th, 2013 / 12:26 pm
1. Solip isn’t a novel.
2. If you’re looking for plot, look elsewhere.
3. This might be the single most difficult book to write jacket copy for.
4. This isn’t experimental literature for the sake of experimenting.
5. The book is physically tiny and the front cover is minimalist.
6. There is nothing on the back cover. A wall of black staring at you. No pull quotes or blurbs, and by the second page you realize why: because the book speaks for itself.
7. I read this tiny book in one sitting in a coffee shop amazed by its power and had to go indoors to drown out the outside world to reread it and devour it properly.
8. Baumann’s writing demands your attention. It’s as if he’s bottled up the intensity present in much of online fiction and spread it out over a longer narrative, not losing a beat in the process.
9. The sentences are divine. The language will cast shadows. They will hum to you. Listen closely.
10. The book has a pulse to it, a pulse that beats louder and more pervasively as the text unfolds. READ MORE >
May 7th, 2013 / 3:01 pm
New York Tyrant/Tyrant Books has recently brought two more important texts into the world.
If you’re familiar with the work of these authors, you don’t need me to tell you it is awesome (as in inspiring awe) and wonderful (as in screaming waffle-irons). If you’ve never held an object from Tyrant Books in your hands, I suggest you find a remedy. First lines are below.
White cone descended in sound blister
Better get this now; they always sell out fast and this will be no exception. One of the few magazines I still read cover to cover, maybe the only one. This issue is special-edited by Luke Goebel.
PAULA BOMER, HOB BROUN, CARRIE COOPERIDER, PUEHLE DIEBSONOVICH, CATHERINE FOULKROD, SUSAN FRODERBERG, RACHEL B. GLASER, BRANDON HOBSON, NOY HOLLAND, MARK LEIDNER, TAO LIN, GORDON LISH, ROBERT LOPEZ, GARY LUTZ, DAVID McLENDON, PADGETT POWELL, COOPER RENNER, PAMELA RYDER, AMBER SPARKS, JOSIAH SUMMERVILLE, J.A. TYLER, SAM VIRZI, ZACK WENTZ, COREY ZELLER.
“Guess what we got here… new book.”
A year’s passed since the last issue of the Tyrant came out. That’s fucked up. This is unacceptable for a magazine that is supposed to be a bi-, or even tri-, quarterly, and my sole excuse is that I don’t have an excuse. I want to blame it all on Luke (co-editor, friend, part-time lover) in full, for moving to Texas, but I won’t, because I really can’t. Whatever took it so long (and come on, who noticed or really cares that much?), to try to make up for the time you’ve had to wait, I thought I would expose/humiliate/shame myself for you all to have a good cringe or laugh at. Hopefully maybe both. My idea for the cover was to have me in drag on it because I thought it would be really like, self-absorbed-seeming. I wanted to try to get ultra-vanity press on it, even though that doesn’t even mean that.
I’ve always thought drag queens were exceptionally brave people, but personally, I’ve never been “into” wearing women’s clothes or looking like a woman. However, I have done it twice in the past year so who knows what’s up with that. Drag is such an odd experience. For me, it was strangely intoxicating. While I was dressed up, and even for a couple of hours after, I felt like I’d been drugged, but in a good way. Probably best we don’t get into all that here though. READ MORE >