January 2010

Fascinating profile of artist Tino Sehgal at the NYT.

It is Friday: Go Right Ahead

It was also good for starting a campfire.

Suddenly life has become quite full of monoethic ninnies and nannies who address life solely as a problem to be solved.

Hangovers have all the charm of a rattlesnake cracking its jaws as it swallows a toad.

I simply loved the flavor and a tear formed when I poured it out in the sink after gazing at it for several hours.

It’s hard to determine pathology in a society where everything is pathological.

Naturally, there are special occasions.

The reason to moderate is to avoid having to quit, thus losing a pleasure that’s been with us forever.

By dawn eager flies had gathered.


Random / Comments Off on It is Friday: Go Right Ahead
January 29th, 2010 / 6:29 pm

This is pretty funny: UNHAPPY HIPSTERS.

Massumi and Malbec: Intro and Chapter One

This is the first part of the discussion group for Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, and Sensation. I am very late doing this. I am sorry. I was having whiplash and making phone calls because I got in a car wreck on the freeway. Nobody was seriously hurt, and more importantly, it was not my fault. But it happened and I am too easily derailed. There is a very wonderful Chapter Two post waiting for us; it is by Corey Wakeling. So I just want to do this so we can get to that. I am liking Massumi. I drank Rioja instead of Malbec because I had some.

Are you reading Massumi? What is the affect–equated by him with effect and intensity–of reading Massumi? Not the emotion. What is the sensation? For reasons I shouldn’t like to understand, reading really good academic prose turns me on as I read it, literally, but I haven’t read much of anything like this since college, so getting into Parables for the Virtual lent a tender, nostalgic, aroused sensation. Like the children in Ch. 1 I equate arousal with pleasure.

Here are some things I would love to talk more about if you would like to talk more about them:

Intro pp. 12-13. False modesty, wrongthinkingness of critics who think it is not their job to create. At times Massumi is writing about how to write, which was a nice surprise.

Ch. 1 pp. 24-25. The way Massumi writes “form/content” blows my mind. I know we can’t totally divide form and content, but to conflate/equate them thus is, for me, hard to do. Please help.

28. “[Emotion] is intensity owned and recognized.” Crucial distinction/delineation.

[I’m relieved that Massumi compared his own prose to a black hole]

39. Kinds of aphasia and their inverses. How they could help us hear.

Author Spotlight / 7 Comments
January 29th, 2010 / 5:45 pm


Behind the Scenes / 40 Comments
January 29th, 2010 / 5:12 pm

i do this sort of shit BECAUSE I CAN

Quote of the day (see above; also left) belongs to Amanda F. Palmer, alumna of The Dresden Dolls, fiance of Neil Gaiman, and friend of The Rumpus (who have almost certainly already linked this, so even though I found it on my own let’s assume a HAT TIP to them; if nothing else they had AFP play one of their fundraisers and she was great). Anyway, AFP went to the Golden Globes because NG’s film Coraline was nominated for something. Her debrief on this experience is about a thousand pages long and worth every minute of your time–pissed off security guys! playing dead on the red carpet! Mike Tyson! armpit hair!

Jason Diamond interviews Gary Shteyngart for Jewcy.com.

The Nation has Rebecca Solnit on how the media exacerbates the problems faced by survivors of disasters by the way in which it covers them–particularly in referring to scroungers food and supplies as “looters.” “Covering Haiti: When the Media is the Disaster.

Felicia Sullivan blogs an elegy for Salinger that I think speaks for itself.

Matt Taibbi is still a badass. David Brooks thinks economic populism is like racism against rich people. Michael Steele wishes! Everyone else just thinks DB is a giant flaming dick. Anyway, here’s Taibbi-

And the really funny thing about Brooks’s take on populists… I mean, I’m a member of the same Yuppie upper class that Brooks belongs to. I can’t speak for the other “populists” that Brooks might be referring to, but in my case for sure, my attitude toward the likes of Lloyd Blankfein and Hank Paulson has nothing to do with class anger.

I don’t hate these guys because they’re rich and went to fancy private schools. Hell, I’m rich and went to a fancy private school. I look at these people as my cultural peers and what angers me about them is that, with many coming from backgrounds similar to mine, these guys chose to go into a life of crime and did so in a way that is going to fuck things up for everyone, rich and poor, for a generation.

Their decision to rig the markets for their own benefit is going to cause other countries to completely lose confidence in the American economy, it will impact the dollar, and ultimately will make all of us involuntary debtors to whichever state we end up having to borrow from to bail these crimes out.

Web Hype / 6 Comments
January 29th, 2010 / 3:35 pm

Michael Kimball Guest Lecture Series (1): Openings

[We’re very excited to have today and in coming weeks a series of guest posts from the one and only Michael Kimball, author of three novels included the much lauded Dear Everybody. Enjoy! — BB.]

I’m doing a talk-thing at a free writing conference and the talk is going to be called something like “The One-Hour Crash Course in Fiction Writing.” I’m going to try to cover ways to think about beginnings, language, syntax, details, voice, character, plot, story, revising, endings, etc. I had the idea because it has always been little bits of advice, something that I could hold in my head — whether from a teacher, from something I read, or from another writer — that were the most useful thing to me as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do as a writer. So this will be the first in a series of guest posts about some of the elements of fiction. The posts will include the ways that I think about different elements of fiction, the ways other writers and teachers do, and, hopefully, it will lead to a larger discussion – how you think about it, other ideas from other writers and teachers, etc. OK, here we go:

Openings, there are lots of ways to think about them. Chris Offut said, “The secret is to start a story near the ending.” Elmore Leonard said, “Never open a book with weather.” One of my old teachers used to talk about the importance of the first sentence, the need to overcome of the inertia of nothingness, to immediately capture the reader’s attention. She amended that to say that the first sentence needed to be declarative in some sense, to have a particular syntax and diction, to have resonant acoustical properties. Those first sentences that immediately come to mind, many of those are first sentences that do that. And there are lots of examples, below, from people who are thinking about first sentences.


Craft Notes / 75 Comments
January 29th, 2010 / 3:04 pm

Finnegan’s Wank

Finnegan’s Wank — despite qualms over the possessive apostrophe — has been published by Annalemma. So good to see such vivid evocations of Finnegans Wake in jesusangelgarcia and William Walsh’s contributions, while P. William Grimm throws us back to a more restrained a la Dubliners version. Good job everyone! (Artwork taken from Eric Fischl’s  “Sleep walker,” 1979.)

Web Hype / 3 Comments
January 29th, 2010 / 1:39 pm


David Lynch is excited about cardboard!  He’s also “kind of interested in stories.”  And he recently had an exhibition of his new paintings, which look pretty awesome.  Check out the video (from the David Lynch Foundation) and see Hollywood folks like Laura Dern and Thomas Jane admiring them too, set the Flaming Lips music.

Random / 4 Comments
January 29th, 2010 / 12:43 pm

Heather Christle said something interesting last night in the Q & A session after her great reading. I don’t have the exact quote, and she was joking, but when Jeremiah asked how an online reading differed from F & B (Flesh and Blood), Heather said something about this HTMLGiant live stream marking the end of flesh and blood readings. I felt simultaneously a little apocalyptic and a little excited that I could wear my pajamas to any reading ever. Will face-to -ace readings change? Will they stream? Will they go hybrid?