Haut or not

Haut or Not: Spencer Madsen

I don’t know what’s worse: the racism in Black Boy, the paradoxical ingrown logic of Catch-22, or the unnamed impenetrable authority in The Trial. For a bro into dystopia, you ain’t seen a fucked up situation until our poor couple in Revolutionary Road shows us the bloody way. Looking at my browser’s recent history feels like my “resent history,” all the facebook albums of parties I never went, people in tighter-looser clothes and sexier-grainier lighting. And if low res camera phones are our muse, may she render the contemporary “indie” authors implicated to the right of the shelf — each spine thinner and thinner as the thinning of subject, or thinning of Roth’s hair; or, the opposite of Sartre’s thickening lenses — with red plastic cups optimistically half-full of beer, the ghost of guacamole or coke on a nose, and tattoos adorning signs so counter-culturally ingratiating, they should be affixed with “like” buttons below them. They are all a bit happier and I am, which isn’t saying much, my 9th hour in this office chair. Existentialism in Humanism seems redundant; what, you want an existential armadillo? Armor dude’s too busy being fucked to know he’s fucked. The enterprise of human sympathy began with words. Before that, we just ate one another. Let us not ignore the timely placed rectangular lake of a million bears reflecting the Columns of Influence, back when dour men capitalized things, instead of capitalizing on things. Madsen may have asked for matte, but the printers, perhaps consumed by his oily complexion, thought gloss might do the trick — and do not gloss over this tomb or tome or airy epitaph. The cover yields stereoscopic red and cyan, as if 3D glasses where needed to stumble into Apt. 3D, somewhere in New York City in which this writer resides, to finally grasp, then touch, the irl glossy flesh that is him. That Madsen is a walking Purell commercial is less of a commentary, than mere impulse.

Rating: Not

Haut or not / 37 Comments
August 17th, 2011 / 9:23 pm

I Will Judge Your Book By Its Cover

Do you know what I’m tired of? Really bad cover art. I understand that when you run a small press you have limited funds and can’t pay some brilliant designer, but IDK, if you can’t create something new at least copy something good. I’m an aesthete and have no problem admitting that if a book has an awesome cover & i’ve never heard of it, I will be more likely to pick it up. Hell, if a book has an awesome cover and is some weird mathematical exploration of space I will pick it up and read it even though I formerly had no interest in mathematical explorations of space, etc. Here are 35 book/magazine/pamphlet covers that (I think) are better than most things in the world:


Haut or not / 32 Comments
June 23rd, 2011 / 10:20 am

James Joyce likes anal

Check out James Joyce’s raunchy love letters [thanks to LL].

e.g. “I am happy now, because my little whore tells me she wants me to roger her arseways and wants me to fuck her mouth and wants to unbutton me and pull out my mickey and suck it off like a teat. More and dirtier than this she wants to do, my little naked fucker, my naughty wriggling little frigger, my sweet dirty little farter.”

Haut or not / 30 Comments
May 10th, 2011 / 2:38 pm

Just Breaking a Few Eggs


Haut or not / 6 Comments
December 29th, 2010 / 4:16 am

An Open, Earnest Letter to People Who Like Gruesomeness in Books & Film

This is your brain on fear. As it turns out, Hippocampus isn't fat camp for Latin nerds.

Dear People,

I’m the pain in the ass who makes deciding on a movie en masse impossible. But is it violent? How violent is it, if it is? Do animals get murdered? Do children get murdered? Eventually we’ll decide on a bonehead comedy or a beautifully shot Icelandic film about rafts in the gloaming.


Blind Items & Film & Haut or not / 58 Comments
May 18th, 2010 / 11:54 am

Macy Halford at The New Yorker Book Bench blog rips off (oh, okay, perhaps we’re talking parallel development here, as they say in the movie business) HTMLGIANT’s Haut or Not feature in a new thing called The Subconscious Bookshelf.  In fairness, the Book Bench feature seems more oriented toward analysis, while HTMLGIANT was just plain old judging you.  Anyway, I think HTMLGIANT readers (and contributors) should submit to The Subconscious Bookshelf…could be very interesting.  What are you waiting for?

Hot or Naut: Dick Cheney


(via Gawker) A photo of Dick Cheney’s bookshelf was leaked from a then-public Picassa album for some party that the Cheneys hosted at their home. We feel a Haut or Not is called for.

Had Cheney known The Great War was about World War I and not Iraq, we would’ve saved his amazon credit for a new pacemaker. That phallic shaped thing adorning the silhouetted figure on Liberty! is, of course, a gun. Glad to see him exhibiting tolerance for the french Photo du Jour. Prior to such internationalism, the only thing “of the day” concerning him was Lipitor™. One wonders if Dick can read Arabic, as seen on one of the spines. As for Kuwait, he c-couldn’t k-wait to get started.

Of course, eyes are really on those Matryoshka dolls, which has metaphorical meaning to Russians as “similar object-within-similar object,” so we can assume that the irony, while intentional, was lost in translation. “Matryoshka” comes from the latin “mother,” and the whole incumbency thing symbolizes fertility — though when looking at the dolls, the only mother that comes to mind is motherfucker.

Rating: Not

Haut or not / 6 Comments
August 27th, 2009 / 2:09 pm

Haut or Not: Ryan Call’s office

[Contributor Ryan Call teaches first year composition at University of Houston. He also teaches an introduction to fiction (the reading of/writing about, not the writing of) course as well.]

Photo 28

Great, Ezra Pound has something to say about reading. Lay off the Latin Ezra and we’ll be just fine. And check out the 800-ish page “compact edition” of The Literary Experience. What exactly is a literary experience? Putting suntan lotion on pale Sylvia Plath? Removing lice from Tolstoy’s beard? Or just getting rejected by Paris Review? I need answers. Then there’s Ze “bro”ski, senior faculty at U. of Houston, who wants us to “think through theory,” which is like a kid going downhill on a bike with no brakes frantically writing out “3.1415926535…” And what the hell is Rhetorical Grammar? Would, its; — look some-thing like these? [hyperlink ryancall_asszit.jpeg] I bet Professor Call enjoys teaching Teaching One-to-one one-to-one to all those Sophomore girls one semester past that “not so fresh[man]” feeling.  It must be a good pedagogical life.

Rating: Not


Haut or not / 10 Comments
July 17th, 2009 / 12:14 pm

Haut or Not: Your Tattoo

BookieTattooOne light hug from this “arm of wrath” and suddenly your vision of the future looks rather grim. Imagine this guy on a date: “Hey babe, let me get some more pasta for you, and yah, people are phony and socialist or something, and like the world is gonna end.” The Fountainhead and 1984 were both written as arguments against Socialism, though their meanings have been diluted to vague political restlessness in contemporary culture. I just typed “contemporary culture,” someone shoot me. My prob with books like this (‘cept Catcher – and what the hell is Perks?) is that their didactic agenda overshadows their artistic one. As for Choke and its author Chuck, dunno, that hyped up Red Bull-ish man/boy fascination with violent transgression just doesn’t do it for me.

Rating: Not


Haut or not / 114 Comments
July 15th, 2009 / 3:33 pm

Haut or Not: Baby Butler


Blake Butler’s penchant for fascism, literary or otherwise, may have begun earlier than we thought. Is that a two volume set of Adolf Hitler, or does his mom (whose bookshelf this is) just need an extra copy to bear through Yom Kippur? Throw in Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham’s Angels in the mix, and the phrase ‘white power’ comes to mind — of course, I am joking; everyone knows that Blake is the blackest person here (his wicked tongue cadence actually comes from the best rap). What concerns me isn’t the Christian or Nazi fascism — it’s Your Erogenous Zones, probably stained, because, let’s remember, that is his mom’s book. God, I just had a flash of Mrs. Butler discovering Chapter 3 with a bedpost. For those who aren’t catching the allusion, it’s Freudian: we deny our birth by entering the less ‘viable’ orifice. Some people are anal and vacuum all the time. Blake is anus, so let’s not think about what’s inside that diaper.

Haut or not / 25 Comments
May 7th, 2009 / 6:32 pm