August 2012

Andrea Coates Demands Attention


Web Hype / 79 Comments
August 27th, 2012 / 4:34 pm

“That girl needs to be fucked”: language and responsibility

I thought, “That girl needs to be fucked.” I could feel the thought in my body. It fell like a heavy lack toward a corner of my back. My back–but it wasn’t mine anymore: the thought was using my spine to move me. “That girl needs to be fucked”–I was thinking it about myself as if I were somebody else. Who did I think I was?

I remembered a night–it was New Years Eve, about to be 2005. I remembered the hand that was on my back–I was lying face-down on a bed. The hand was on my back and there were two men on the bed with me. They were talking about somebody–I had made sure she wasn’t me–and one of them said, “That girl needs to be fucked.” I understood that he meant someone should have sex with her because she was a little too independent and because he liked to lose himself in sex (I had had sex with him); or just that she had done something that made him want to push her down a little, make her a little less noticeable to herself, a little less of a self. READ MORE >

Behind the Scenes / 12 Comments
August 27th, 2012 / 11:53 am

I Love Superhero Wikipedia Pages

Why? Because they’re awesome. Because they are crash courses in thrilling storytelling. Because they are almost incomprehensible enough to be published by a hip indie lit journal. Because they save me the time and money required to read actual superhero comics, which are mostly garbage anyway (with all due love and respect to their creators: I know you guys are mostly doing your best with a ludicrously difficult format and schedule). Because I have a lot of fondness for characters I enjoyed as a child. Because they are so bad and so beautiful. (I’m also in it for the pouches.)

Superhero Wikipedia pages are insane because hero comics are insane. Understanding the conditions and constraints under which any story is produced will of course help you better appreciate said story, but in the case of hero comics it’s really the only way to understand most of what happens. Here are the key facts: 1) Hero comics are published on a monthly schedule. 2) Hero comics serve two consumer bases: teenage boys, who remember nothing, and nostalgic adults, who remember everything. 3) Hero comics almost always take place on what seems to be a present-day Earth. 4) Though comic book movies have never been bigger business, actual comic book sales seem always to be on the verge of collapse.


I Like __ A Lot & Power Quote / 45 Comments
August 27th, 2012 / 9:00 am

The Ever Risable Dark Knight

In the set piece that opens The Dark Knight Rises, a CIA operative screams at three hooded captives, “The flight plan I just filed with the Agency lists me, my men, Dr. Pavel here, but only one—of you!” He then starts pretending to toss them out of his airplane, only to be interrupted by the masked terrorist Bane, who has seen through his deceit (“Perhaps he’s wondering why someone would shoot a man … before throwing him out of a plane!”). Menacing banter ensues, after which Bane gains control of the aircraft and prepares to crash it. Grabbing Dr. Pavel, he commands an underling to remain on board, because “they expect one of us in the wreckage, brother!”

This is the kind of exchange Christopher Nolan thinks clever, when really it makes no sense. The plane was riddled with bullets, its wings torn away, its tail end blown off by explosives. Obviously somebody attacked it—so who cares if the bodies in the wreckage match the flight plan? What’s more, the CIA man wasn’t telling the truth about throwing them out—Bane even commented on that—so why trust his line about the flight plan?

These might seem like nitpicking, geeky griping over plot holes. But this exchange illustrates so much of what’s so wrong with Nolan’s movies.

For one thing, his characters never shut up.


Craft Notes & Film / 67 Comments
August 27th, 2012 / 7:01 am

a band called Buzz Aldrin’s Relentless Tears

I like what Claire Evans said about Neil Armstrong’s passing.

In the Roman Triumph it was customary for the general, man of the hour, to have in his chariot a slave bearing a large gold wreath, whose job it was to whisper in the general’s ear that he would some day not be alive, like a buzzing mosquito, a little memo, so that his ego would not lift the chariot to the moon. Wikipedia says that popular belief says this is where we get our memento mori, which literally means “remember (that you have) to die.” Seems a lot like our comedy roasts, a quintessentially American tradition begun at the New York Friars’ club, informed by the attitudes of Jewish comedy, which is obviously where American comedy gets its attitude. Eight of the first ten roasted were Jewish, beginning in 1950, just a few years after the second World War wrapped the human condition in a cloud of dust.


Random / 3 Comments
August 27th, 2012 / 12:00 am

On Sacrilege

Provincial painter Elías García Martínez painted, sometime in the 19th century, Jesus Christ as mirrored in our minds; or rather, in the accepted manner by which our minds have been irrevocably influenced — the tilt in the head, sullen look, blanketed yet speculative eyes perhaps wondering if He, just before his “Ecco homo” crucifixion, should have simply conceded to the Romans that he (left column of H now broken off) was just a man. Christianity’s solipsist ethos is based off an antagonistic bluff: that this Man was much more than that. A hundred or so years later, one 80-year-old woman Cecilia Giménez, in the Santuario de la Misericordia, a Roman Catholic church in Borja, Spain, voluntarily “restored” the brittle fresco to such a comical simian degree, that the irony of the church’s denial of man’s evolution from ape is felt upon me.


Random / 10 Comments
August 24th, 2012 / 5:48 pm

Teju Cole Tweets America

Because his wife came home late once or twice, Tim, of Indiana, suspected her of what any husband would: working too hard.


In Florida, a quiet man, Edward Reece, purchased a new pair of cargo shorts, and said very little.


Random / 2 Comments
August 24th, 2012 / 3:47 pm


The Map Of The System Of Human Knowledge

The Map of the System of Human Knowledge
by James Tadd Alcox
Tiny Hardcore Press, 2012
pages / $12  Buy from Tiny Hardcore Press







While The Map of The System of Human Knowledgeis in a lot of small pieces the work can be read as one unified work. Each part is situated on the eponymous map. Formally, each small part of text is tasked with defining a specific category of human knowledge. They do this with disarming simplicity while never addressing or naming the area of the map they represent. Instead, the system of human knowledge is outlined in an oblique or affective way. Each section of the book is a discreet and important section of the map as a whole to the extent that it is revealed in the book. Each piece works as a thing itself, but the effect of the work as a whole is different, as on a map, which allows for some feeling of context and scale. A single piece presented alone does little to evoke the feeling of accumulation that occurs when progressing through the work, but each piece is touching and worth considering on its own.

In  “History / Natural / Uniformity of Nature / History of Land and Sea” is in second person. The collection moves easily through points of view. Here the narrator addresses you as you hide in the bathroom from the older woman you picked up at an off season beach bar and you think:

“Maybe there will come a light down from the heavens and lift you bodily from this toilet seat and shake you back to sobriety and shine itself in your face and ask if you’d like a shave. Yes, you’ll say. And you’ll sit in God’s own chair and he will take the blade and warm it under some hot water and ask how you’re getting on and you’ll say: Oh, you know.”

Here salvation or transcendence shows up in a situation of kind of horrifying banality and shows itself as explicitly normal.  The “how’re you getting on” is a kindly old-fashioned salutation that you can’t help but answer with a passive platitude of your vague dissatisfaction indicating nothing. It’s a weird fantasy and a weird way to take in stride communicating with this supernatural barber made of light that it works to make the situation satisfying, sad, devastating, even because it is defused. Even in the face of transcendence we’re still “Oh, you know.”

August 24th, 2012 / 12:00 pm

Popper in bed

This kid has a project going called the Popper Project, where he plays one Popper etude per week for forty weeks. He plays it wherever he and his cello and laptop are. It’s pretty cool.

And then there’s this.

Random / 18 Comments
August 23rd, 2012 / 3:06 pm

Did I call it or did I call it? Pitchfork’s People’s List

The People Hath Spokeneth:

I predicted:

5. Dismemberment Plan: Emergency & I
4. Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Under the Sea
3. Radiohead: OK Computer
2. Arcade Fire: Funeral
1. Radiohead: Kid A

Turns out I was way off regarding Emergency & I, which ranked only 103rd. But otherwise—not too bad, eh? (Shoulda just gone with more Radiohead!)

Joan of Arc, unsurprisingly, did not crack the Top 200. Also unsurprising, Kanye West is the only black musician in the Top 20! (Outkast adds yet more “diversity” to the list at #35.) And wouldn’t you just love to see a breakdown by color/sex? (Someone get on that!)

In total, 27,981 people voted. Why, that’s almost the number of hipsters who live in Logan Square, Chicago!



Music / 50 Comments
August 22nd, 2012 / 10:13 pm