Reading Noah Cicero’s piece about Marie Calloway, it struck me that the Internet has invented a subgenre of literary essay. These essays could be easily be published in a volume called ‘How I Feel About Marie Calloway,’ collecting the torrents of writing about ‘Adrien Brody’ alongside the very small trickle of responses to ‘Jeremy Lin.’ Someone should publish this, if for no other reason than that we might see the collective bloviation of our Best Minds on a topic that eludes them completely. Tao Lin might have done, if ‘Jeremy Lin’ hadn’t so effectively outed him.
Before I get into any kind of Substantial Critique, I’d like to point out that we are discussing a young woman of twenty-two years. She’s not a symbol, she’s not a literary persona, she is an actual human being of twenty-two years. I remember when I was twenty-two years old. I could barely tie my shoes and had a problem with public drooling. Calloway is also, it must be said, a young looking twenty-two. Both by genetics and by design, she appears about sixteen years old.
The Marie Calloway Problem is pretty simply stated: we live in a society in which the mechanisms of commerce are designed to encourage us to believe that young women are randy hot sex machines, but we have a collective meltdown when one of them actually writes about sex that is anything other than vanilla. It breaks discourse. We’re that unevolved.
This was, in part, the pro-Calloway critique offered by many women writers in the days after ‘Adrien Brody’ went viral. The problem with such critiques is that almost all of them attempted to tie Calloway into a greater narrative. ‘Adrien Brody’ could not exist in a vacuum. It needed to be contextualized within its Greater Import.
This is nonsense. ‘Adrien Brody’ is a piece about a groady balding Brooklyn Intellectual who writes about Big Issues (Why is Capitalism Bad?) having sex with a twenty-one year old woman that likes his Twitter. The woman, recounting the tale, makes vague allusions to Marx, Marxism and Marxist thinkers. The Marxism is, of course, an affect.
But twenty-one year old people are nothing but affect. The one very good point in Cicero’s essay is his critique of how Calloway’s sense that she’ll never love again reads like complete stupidity to anyone above thirty. The way in which it is couched, hectoring from above, undercuts its import. But he’s absolutely right. The nastiest most fucked up sex of your life will not occur with random strangers, no matter how hard you try. It will occur with people that you love and trust, who expose the darkest weird shit of their souls.
The thing about sex is that it’s both the most subjectively meaningful and least objectively meaningful thing in the world. It’s a lot like how you wake up from a dream about Britney Spears that seems awesome and then you tell it to your friends and halfway through you feel like an asshole, because who cares about another person’s dream about Britney Spears?
This meaningful meaningless offers a blank canvas. Calloway’s real brilliance in ‘Adrien Brody’ and earlier pieces is to mimic the blankness of that canvas. A lot of people accused her of being a direct inheritor of Tao Lin, he of the Financial Independence, but I think Calloway is much better than Lin at blankness.
Why is her blankness brilliant? Because here we are, months later, still talking about ‘Adrien Brody.’ If you mimic the blankness of sex and write about it blankly, knowing that there is a certain power in your own youthful persona, then the world will rush to you. It won’t necessarily have anything to do with your work, but it will have everything to do with people’s desire to be heard. The literary world has always been full of shitheads who want to tell you why X is Y. It always will be.
The real key to understanding this is, as pointed out in an earlier HTMLGiant post, the complete and total silence that has greeted ‘Jeremy Lin.’ As far as I can tell, this piece was read by more people than ‘Adrien Brody’—being on the website of VICE, being on the frontpage of Tumblr, getting thousands of reposts, etc, etc.
By any literary measure, ‘Jeremy Lin’ is a much mores successful work than ‘Adrien Brody.’ But almost no one has said anything about it.
First of all, it makes Tao Lin look like a preening, primping asshole. People believe that Tao has Influence, that at any moment he might descend from his apartment in the East 20s and guide them towards quasi-literary success (just like with Marie Calloway!) These people, who also are the main audience for ‘Jeremy Lin’, will not mention the piece.
But I’ll say it flat out: Marie Calloway destroyed Tao Lin.
What’s worse than finding out that the progenitor of your entire way of being, who’s built an entire pseudobrand on his pretense towards the thousand year stare, actually really, really, really cares about how he’s perceived? That he’s not made numb by 21st Century life? And that he’s worried about Financial Independence? In ‘Jeremy Lin,’ Tao Lin sounds like someone hunting for the exact mathematic formula by which he can achieve Freedom through Fame. Basically, Calloway makes Tao Lin look like a sexually inhibited Kim Kardashian. Totally gross!
(By the way, since Cicero mentioned Hemingway, if you’re interested, you should contrast and compare ‘Jeremy Lin’ with Lillian Ross’s “How Do You Like It Now?” a profile of Ernest Hemingway written for the New Yorker in 1950.)
Secondly, ‘Jeremy Lin’ isn’t about sex. So there goes the blankness.
It’s a much trickier piece, as Calloway demonstrates an unattractiveness in herself, as well as in others, that doesn’t lend itself to easy proselytizing. The responses to ‘Adrien Brody’ were tiresome because the piece’s blankness allowed bloggers and writers to vent freely about their pre-existing hobby-horses. People saw what they wanted to see in the blankness, which, to mix metaphors, was primarily a reflection of themselves. So no one was really interested in writing about Marie Calloway. They were interested in writing about themselves and there was that blank canvas. And better yet, it involved sex.
‘Jeremy Lin’ doesn’t offer anything of the kind. The best you get is a lame Slate.com article about Girls, by a writer whose main topic is television who throws in a paragraph about Marie Calloway and how she somehow ties in. Or Hairpin or Jezebel articles on Feminism sandwiched between two non-consecutive pieces about Lady GaGa’s bitching beach bod.
That reminds me, and I guess this is as good a way to segue out of this piece as any. What the fuck happened to all of us? It’s hard to believe—especially if you’re under, say, 25—but there was a time when our women writers and artists were radicals. Why the hell does it all seem so retrogressive now, like we’ve elevated writers (and am I not including Calloway in this) who aren’t fit to latchet the shoes of the women who preceded them even 15 years ago? Do you think Kathy Acker or Lynne Tillman gave a shit that someone had sex? Do you think Leonora Carrington spent her nights tossing and turning, worrying that somewhere, somehow a twenty-one year old might have been fucked?
When the Marie Calloway story first broke, all I could think was: “Here is another person about to be destroyed. Here is another person who is about to be told by her surrounding society that what matters is nothing but the conflation of youth with talent.”
All the scum and hangers-on, all the agents who are trying to glom themselves on to the next big thing are just the same parasites who’ve preyed on the young for decades. No one cares about her ‘talent,’ just like no one cares about the ‘talent’ of any musical performer, and no one cared about the ‘talent’ of Jonathan Safran Foer or Leif Garrett. What people care about is youth. And I sincerely hope that Marie Calloway is strong enough to withstand the next five years of people telling her that she’s ‘talented’ when what they mean is ‘young.’
I’ve been heartened, actually, at Calloway’s ability to hang on thus far. When you’re ‘young,’ your consciousness and identity are permeable, and the same people who are whispering $weet nothing$ into your ear are the ones who will ultimately destroy you. They will worm their way into your mind, and make you confuse your ‘youth’ for your ‘talent.’ You will lose sight of one while the other slips away.
Try and remember. No one wants to watch a thirty-five year old dance. No one cares if you fuck when you’re forty.
Tags: Adrien Brody, Jeremy Lin, Marie Calloway, Tao Lin
Marie Calloway is the most genuine and fascinating character to have spawned from this stale aggregation of poseurs and bores we call “alt lit”. Why then is she so much more harshly criticized than anyone else in this scene? I feel like she is one of the first authors to apply the alt lit tropes and characteristic minimalism to a subject actually worthy of documentation, rather than the insufferable and instantly forgettable tales of Gmail based disaffection that every other nonwriter is so eager to lazily permutate.
i think your comment is going to get a lot of ‘likes’ in the next 24 hours
i thought tao sounded like a chill bro in ‘Jeremy Lin’
Probably going to get a lot of disparaging remarks from people with the default “OpenID” avatars as well.
Really wish this writer had the balls to not be anonymous on this matter. One wonders if they aren’t in thrall to Tao Lin too. In any case, reading this made me feel glad to be old.
I like watching Fred Astaire and Gwen Verdon dance.
earlier i heard a car go by on the interstate whose laying on of the horn sounded like that part in “How Soon Is Now”
I have nothing constructive to add. For real bro? For real that someone believes they have to write this. Is Anonymous a woman and therefore feels the issue is more about a woman being targeted and feels that if Marie Calloway were a dude she wouldn’t have as much scrutiny? That is all I can imagine, though, otherwise, why so invested? I do not understand literature anymore. Has nothing to do w/ Marie. When I was alone w/ my books and didn’t use the internet things seemed so much more magical and unlike the social constructs I disliked so much. But now… good grief though. I think I’m gonna stick to illroots.com and xxlmag.com bro. Cus… for real? I mean, I just wanna type for real bro again and again and again. Maybe I should’ve done that. Lemme try it now.
For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro? For real bro?
I stopped reading this after seven paragraphs.
Why did she receive so much scrutiny?
I couldn’t believe it when I read this, that someone seems to be writing with genuine kindness??? Maybe I misinterpreted.
yr a good cat, vomithelm.
oh thanks haha
It’s Lynne Tillman, not Lynn, and I’d add Lore Segal, Dodie Bellamy, Marianne Hauser, Rosalyn Drexler, Ursule Molinaro, et al. and women writers of my generation (actually quite a big younger than me, but so is everyone) like — just one example — Cris Mazza — and other women writers not generally considered “alt” like the very underrated Meg Wolitzer, again to give just one example.
Of course, some people who are young and live in a pretend world where it’s always the present may not have heard of any of them.
Those last three sentences are stoooooopid.
What is “alt lit”? A group of writers who are fans of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden?
Feel this is a strong critique that articulates a lot of my own feelings about the work. Just a couple of additional points:
1. I disagree entirely that Jeremy Lin is some kind of takedown of Tao. I thought he came off great in that piece– entirely focused on helping Marie grow as a writer and deal with the related pressures. It never feels like he is exploiting her. Those who follow Tao’s output generally know he has always been clear about his financial goals as a writer and I don’t see why these goals are problematic. That part of this essay mars the rest of the analysis.
2. Given that so much of this essay is spot-on, it raises an interesting question as to why normally thoughtful, incisive, and even-handed writers like Cicero and Chen were so blinkered by Marie. She seems to have elicited some kind of primal, misogynistic backlash that clouded better judgment. I mean, look, the girl is a good writer doing fascinating work– she’s not crazy or putrid or pathetic. Reading their commentary, it felt so myopic (almost like what I would expect from rightwing media) and emanating from some kind of very personal, very unfortunate insecurities. Why would anyone say such things?
i thought everyone had seen this already
“The problem with such critiques is that almost all of them attempted to tie Calloway into a greater narrative.”
1. What’s wrong with doing that? Does anything exist in a vacuum?
2. Aren’t you forgetting that the intense response was largely generated
by the story’s relationship to real life? I appreciate your discussion
of its literary qualities, which have been under explored at this time,
but a lot of the sites that covered this “event” were doing so in a
cultural way, not a “literary” way. Don’t you think a few months is a
little soon to expect serious literary analysis or critique of a story
3. I don’t understand why everyone is so worried about “protecting” Marie Calloway.
4. I don’t understand why you’re dissing on other female artists who are young.
5. What you said about blankness was so compelling for me. I would love to read an entire article just on those thoughts (in relation to sex and writing).
6. “we have a collective meltdown when one of them actually writes about
sex that is anything other than vanilla.”
Are you serious? I don’t think the uproar over Adrien Brody was caused
by the writer’s “willingness to have casual sex!”
This was a more interesting read than both “Adrien Brody” and “Jeremy Lin.”
“The literary world has always been full of shitheads who want to tell you why X is Y. It always will be.”
i love pearl jam
i’m more of a smashing pumpkins fan, and nirvana
this rent-paying- and dishwashing-averse comedian bro i roomed with once did a hilarious, constipated-sounding rendition of “jeremy” at karaoke once, was great, so, glad that song exists
soundgarden seems really hilarious to me, particularly “spoonman” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0mYZswIU5M feels like aural equivalent of eating a cheese sandwich wrapped in cheese wrapped in another bigger piece of cheese
Jaimy Gordon is an incredible writer.
One time i went to nyc and i went on a date with a girl, a poet(we were friends via the internet, I found her and her poetry wonderful.) We ended up not having sex, and i wanted to, i felt really pathetic and stupid that night going to sleep. I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I just have a good time, why can’t I just be happy, being around friends?” And that is epiphany Marie Calloway should of had.
The epiphany of Jeremy Lin is,“I don’t think you understand him. You expect him to see you as a sex
object, but he sees you as a person, and as a writer. You should stop
thinking of sex as your best thing and realize, like Jeremy has, that
writing is your best thing.”
THE EPIPHANY OF HER OWN STORY IS THAT SHE IS A GREAT WRITER, THINK ABOUT IT, THINK ABOUT HOW CRAZY THAT IS, A WRITER WRITES A STORY TO HAVE AN EPIPHANY THAT THEY ARE A GREAT WRITER!!!! TELLING THE AUDIENCE, LOOK I AM A GREAT WRITER
I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE NEVER TAKEN INTRO TO LITERATURE OR WHAT, BUT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND
A WORK OF FICTION HAS A
AND AN EPIPHANY
AND WHAT IS WRONG WITH PATHETIC CHARACTERS? LITERATURE IS FULL OF PATHETIC CHARACTERS! JESUS CHRIST KAFKA DOSTOEVSKY BUKOWSKI WE HAVE HAD MUCHOS PATHETIC MALES WHY CAN’T WE HAVE PATHETIC FEMALES
THE DEFINITION OF PATHETIC:
Arousing pity, esp. through vulnerability or sadness.Miserably inadequate.
her characters are inadequate vulnerable PEOPLE. But at the end of her story her lead character doesn’t SHOW that she has a personal revelation of how vulnerable she is, she realizes, she is A GREAT WRITER.
“1. I disagree entirely that Jeremy Lin is some kind of takedown of
Tao. I thought he came off great in that piece– entirely focused on
helping Marie grow as a writer and deal with the related pressures. It
never feels like he is exploiting her. Those who follow Tao’s output
generally know he has always been clear about his financial goals as a
writer and I don’t see why these goals are problematic.”
“Jeremy Lin” was meant to be only a profile of two people and their interactions, hence the story being called “Jeremy Lin” and only using two names. It intentionally did not focus on other interactions that I had in NYC or thoughts about those things; it was very focused on just that relationship. I also disagree that the ending (which I disagree was an “epiphany”) was -is it the author or the character now going by your analysis?- calling themselves a “great writer.” It was just a line that someone said. If anything I think the “point” of that line was just that there are people around the character who do not see her as a sex object and the person who said that is encouraging her to see herself as something other than that, which is where a lot of the patheticness and vulnerability in the story comes from. I don’t see “best thing” as necessarily meaning “great writer.”
Because the internet makes other people believe other-other people are supremely famous and erryone it seems wants to be famous and if they don’t want to be they want to ensure erryone else who is famous actually deserves fame and then people respond to response of an opinionated response and then this insular affected community connected by strands of digitals gets really into analyzing dumb shit. To reconstitute: gets into analyzing really dumb shit (both read how they need to sound). keyword(s) are/is “affected community”, because there is a specific subset of the literary world that this affects 1) Writers who are mostly internet based writers [said w/o the usual condescending tone] 2) Writers who make a career out of writing which also means either solely writing or teaching and writing — which loops (Hey Rian!) back to being famous meaning exposure meaning publication and for that subset a certain amount of career advancement and 3) Women who feel MC is being attacked because she is a chick writing this.
So… whatever man. Personally, I’ve never read any of her stuff. She’s never read mine neither. We don’t owe each other shit. She’s prolly pretty nice. I still consider this whole thing the (I fucking hate this term, alt lit, what the fuck?) lit community equiv. of Kim Kardash and Ray J. Straight up. There is minimal difference. Or there ain’t none.
dude you need to read more
Is anyone having a collective meltdown abt the way she wrote about sex? I’m kinda confused because I thought the actual sex in the story was very vanilla
I wish you didn’t delete that other comment, I liked it.
I’m going to take this seriously: I’m going to smoke a cigarette and write this: then I am going to put my shirt on and shoes and buy cigarettes and go to sleep. I don’t want to wake up without cigarettes.
A writer cannot dictate what their stories mean, the audience reads them, and analyzes the language to get their meaning.
The language at the end is very blurry, I was not the only one that assumed a blurry meaning.
by ending the story using someone else’s language, you lose control over the story, over the intended meaning. Even in Richard Yates, Tao ends Richard Yates with no gmail chats, he controls the ending.
I think maybe what you are doing is not literature, but like an art installation project. You set up a concept, and allow the freedom of the participants to make the project. I feel that the audience, or at least myself assumed you were going to write about going to new york before you even left. Which I think is different than, “Oh wow, that was interesting, maybe I’ll write about it.”
If the epiphany is: “there are people around the character who do not see her as a sex object
and the person who said that is encouraging her to see herself as
something other than that”
That is very nice. But not in anyway ‘serious’ or ‘alt-lit.’ That is more like the ending of a television sitcom where the daughter who just turned 16 learns about her sexuality.
I feel that you did it in a very creative way, a unique way, I think you’ve done some original things.
But maybe what you are doing is telling the true story of that 16 year old girl on the sitcom, because the sitcom story is not real.
But you’re not because 16 year old girls usually don’t have sex with semi-famous writers, but with boys down the street.
I think what you are doing is more journalism or even art installation, and by calling it fiction, it confuses people. I am seriously confused by a writer giving up control over their ending. But I guess in-the-field journalists never have control over their endings.
I am so glad to see you put Wolitzer in this group. She is criminally underrated, and I am just now coming to her work.
To be fair, nobody cared about the talent of Jonathan Safran Foer because it is absent from a single thing he’s done. This is not invective; it’s science, science fact!
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i like u~ <3
I walked across the street to the GS 25 and got a pack of cigarettes and an ice cream bar. I ate the ice cream bar before I got back in the Hansin plaza. It is really nice outside. I’m going to try to write about this, not as a shit talker or a protecter. There is no reason for me to care, because I am in South Korea and my career hasn’t amounted to shit anyway.
I think what is terrifying about Marie Calloway’s stories is that it seems that the author has no control over where their story might go. This is terrifying to a writer, a writer writes for control, a writer loves their power, over the language and where the plot might go. But Calloway gives up this power. To use Richard Yates again, Tao uses gmail chats, but he places the gmail chats where he wants, he picks the gmail chats out of a large collection of gmail chats. There were probably 500 gmail chats, he picks 40 of them.
Obvious selection and control going on.
Concerning Marie Calloway and sex, that bores me. I’ve read Acker and De Beauvoir, I know women have sex.
But what scares and confuses me, is that her stories take on this surveillance factor, (note the son in The Corrections that wants to do surveillance as a hobby.) The stories are like big brother, out there watching you. Calloway picks out a human, then focuses in on them, and then encounters them, then writes down every little thing that happened, and all of her thoughts and feelings about it. I think this is terrifying. The idea of any random person that I’ve ever had or not had sex with, writing a huge story about it and posting it on the internet. Now in Best Behavior I did do that, but it wasn’t the focus of the story, a small part with fiction mixed in. But what if someone just wrote every little detail, not leaving out one piece of dialogue. That scares me.
It is like she is a soviet spy or something, but educated in the reality television arts. She doesn’t care about who she hurts, but that is the point of surveillance. surveillance and spying, those things are meant to make you think twice about how you behave.
I think people living in America are slowly seeing their private lives eroded by the internet, excessive surveillance and government. Marie Calloway is a manifestation of this, The Era of Surveillance.
Has anyone read Diana Di Prima’s Memoirs of a Beatnik where she writes about Jack Kerouac’s penis size.
I actually really like your work. The Human War and The Insurgent are obviously badass and I have been digging the bits of your poetry that have been cropping up here and there. When you were making videos I was watching those intently (glad you like Astral Weeks I do too).
Also, I read a FB comment (message?) you sent to Steve Roggenbuck about the old days of indie writing, the emergence of the alt lit scene, and how the establishment tried to foist Foer on us but the internet allowed other avenues, etc. That was one of the coolest, most hopeful things I have read about the literature/internet world generally.
I also get that your use of the terms “putrid” and “pathetic” in your original essay were not necessarily direct comments about the author, but meant (esp in the context of the comparison to Notes From the Underground) as a reference to the appeal of the anti-hero in literature generally. I don’t disagree with this more subtle point, although it is hardly novel, but I think it led to my comparison to Holden Caulfield as means of demonstrating how a male anti-hero is received differently than a female anti-hero (which, in all fairness, was one of your points although you used the term “creeper”). My overall issue is not with your opinion so much as the invective that seemed to accompany it.
Jesus, who gives a fucking shit. Keep reading books and/or writing books everyone. All the rest of the rigmarole can go kick rocks.
the thing you call alt lit is not composed of marie calloway and walter mackey
i’m staying out of how it does/does not relate to marie calloway, but
that book looks amazing
thank you for the rec
I’m interested in “does not follow society’s standards on what poetry/prose should [be or] be like”.
Which of those “standards” are consciously not adhered to? in what ways? what are the comparative effects of these non-adherences? Which “standards” are consciously adhered to? What do self-consciously Alt Lit writers make of their own unconscious, reflexive adherence to (other) “standards” that they might not think of as “standards” worthy of ‘rebellion’?
A cheese sandwich with a bit of leavening in it sounds like an excellent snack. Don’t tell Taco Hell that it’s ‘Mexican’ food!
Can you just cut to the chase and tell us what we all want to know: how big was Kerouac’s dick?
I think “takedown” is far too excited a word to be accurate, but, definitely, I felt that there was a relationship power-struggle displayed in “Jeremy Lin” – that that struggle was the effect and even the point of the piece. I thought Jeremy Lin’s lack of evinced sexual interest (and concomitant frustration with) the protagonist was a matter not of general probity, but rather, of his disappointment (in her looks? her behavior? both?), and that the story made of his uninterest something as squalid as the protagonist’s own neediness.
The sensation of contact with this dynamic is what I thought was successful about the story – what I ‘liked’ about it.
The quality of the stiffly journalistic prose? Everybody’s learned about Hemingway’s Flaubertian agony of revision and polishing, eh? Not a bad ticket for those who are not but want to seem naturally fluent.
Agree or disagree: It is a good idea to respond to “critics” on the internet. <3
I really like Marie Calloway. Don’t read comments, but figured she might read them, and it’s good to have positive things mixed-in with the negative things.
Also, Noah Cicero is a very nice person who I like. Feel like I like everyone.
oh but spenny i beg 2 differ
Wait; writers ‘always’ betray confidences and trust itself. That’s neither “surveillance” nor “spying” – that’s a risk inherent (?) to world-disclosure, especially in the case of truthful storytelling about what one has experienced concretely (and not ‘just’ imaginatively).
“I think people living in America…”
The narrowness of seeing this as an American phenomenon and not a Western (or even global) one comes from living in Korea for 30 seconds.
You don’t know why/can’t respond to why you wrote the essay like that:
“Noah’s latter defense that his post was not sexist states that he has written about other female writers and that his reading would be misunderstood if interpreted without having read these other posts. Let alone that this admits a faulty style that requires further reading to comprehend what should be a stand alone post, it fallaciously escapes into the notion that we simple did not ‘get’ what he meant because we have not read more of his work. Aside from how this is wrong on methodological grounds, it’s simply not true. The Ofelia Hunt piece on his blog is a reader response that has no relation to gender. (http://noah-cicero.blogspot.co… The Ellen Kennedy pieces are sentence poems along the lines of “I like Ellen Kennedy. I’ve met Ellen twice I think.” (http://noah-cicero.blogspot.co…, http://noah-cicero.blogspot.co…, http://noah-cicero.blogspot.co… The xtx post is just an interview. (http://htmlgiant.com/author-sp… With the Kendra Grant Malone interview at least, Noah brings up the angel/monster distinction of female identity, but under the guise of this being an “American or Christian mythos” and not global. (http://www.bookslut.com/featur… Again an interview, Noah first introduces the interview with a take on her work, only verging on gender issues when he makes the odd comment, “As a man with no kids, that’s not my problem.” (http://htmlgiant.com/author-sp… So these supposed references that allow a more indepth understanding of what Noah meant do not, in fact, have the same method. If anything, this is Noah’s first non-reader response take on an author.”
Of course a writer can’t dictate what their stories mean. I was merely offering the analysis that I see/other women and people who have talked to me have seen. indeed I believe I emphasized the fact that what I was offering was only one interpretation of my story, and an analysis that is in some points I would say can be supported with more evidence than your analysis.
If you really think think that the struggle to not conflate sexual attention with worth as a person, for (some) women, equals “that is more like the ending of a television sitcom where the daughter who just turned 16 learns about her sexuality” I really hope you will not attempt to write about feminine writing ever again.
I should not have replied to your comment (or any comment) in the first place but.
Agree with you Deadgod – I too read the ‘power struggle’ element between them. Not necessarily negative, when the struggle is for how the subject defines itself in relation to others. A necessary struggle. Like improving ones writing is a struggle – though the whole, this comma or not, as with Flaubert, is maybe a wee bit much for us starting out.
Disagree. Very amateurish. Then again, we are discussing a “writer” who didn’t even go through the channels most writers go through. Like, does anyone think she’d have a chance in hell of cracking the slush at a respectable journal? Cue the, “well-she’s-an-alt-lit-writer-fighting-The-Man” posts that want to make excuses for her artistic laziness. Noah Cicero, you should’ve simply focused on her writing from the start, rather than her gender, because you’ve given her–and her defenders–a reason to avoid the most important topic. Now, they can just call you sexist and not even have to defend the work on the page.
I agree it’s quite “amateurish” and I should not have responded. I generally am decent at that, but it’s really difficult to not defend yourself and a trap that even older, more mature writers than me have fallen into. Thanks for your comment, truly, it reminded me that I should control my impulses more.
You’re welcome. I’d also suggest that you not be in such a hurry, and work on your style. You are not ready for prime time. You should probably read a thousand books over the next few years and not even worry about publishing anything.
if you’re going to be that incredibly condescending could you at least attempt to make it humorous instead of gross
Well, remember it was never me who blogged about me incessantly. In fact I’ve turned down five interviews or so lately. :s I think places like Thought Catalog, Muuumuu House, and Vice are good places for young writers to get feedback and practice. I’ve never claimed to be anything but a very young and still developing writer.
Telling her the truth=condescending. People like you are certainly of no help to her. Do you not understand the dangers of overexposing yourself at such a young, developmental age? I am being brutally honest, but I’m saying these things for her own good. People like you are the “condescending” ones. I couldn’t care less about the mere content of her work, or the sex, or any of that, compared to the actual writing, which matters most.
Well, whoever told you that the work you’ve published was ready for the world, did you a grave disservice. Sorry.
I hardly think you are in a position to make any kind of judgement with a pretense of objectivity regarding the legitimacy of her work.
Which Wolitzer would you recommend?
Possibly ill-advised, but certainly not “amateurish.” Richard Ford. Norman Mailer. Alice Hoffman. Lots of “pros” have responded to critics over the years.
Frankly, Calloway’s responses have been a lot more measured than the above-mentioned writers.
Fair enough, but in the comments section of a blog? And just because those writers responded, doesn’t mean other writers should respond.
It appears you’re just being rude to be rude… Excuse me from HTMLGiant. I should never have commented.
I’m not being rude to be rude. You put your work out into the world, and you used an angle that was clearly sensational in order for it to be put out into the world, by Vice (and yes, I realize men have done similar sensational, borderline unethical things, and I couldn’t care less about your gender, nor do I seek to be some sort of Puritan about your sexuality). But the writing exists in the world, and it exists primarily because of its dogged sensationalism–the words on the page are secondary to the work’s sensationalism, which is problematic. So…I’m afraid you don’t get to play Innocent Victim here, or move the goalposts. This is my last comment on the matter, because everything you’ve needed to hear has been said and before long, the comments will disappear into the right margin.
I am Z.
“Personally, I’ve never read any of her stuff.” This is really amazing to me, that you would write “For real bro?” x ~50 and yet you won’t even read her stuff to see if any of the criticism is fair. You just want to dismiss arguments without fully understanding them. No you don’t owe her anything but you are being pretty vocal against …something! What do you hate? Feminists? No one is attacking you. This post isn’t even 100% about the fact she is a woman.
i don’t know marie calloway too well… I’ve had a few conversations with her via tumblr and facebook but that’s all. I know her as nice and helpful via these interactions and through her stories i perceive her as honest and they do have an almost blog-post quality to them. they seem informal and don’t suppose any overt messages of what is good or bad or any post situational analysis. They just recount events in her life and i think it’s very easy and accessible for people to draw there own meaning from her writing. this is the aspect that i appreciate in her writing. noah cicero, who i have facebook chatted exactly once and don’t know much about him, stated that this is a failure on marie’s part re: her uncontrolled writing style. i feel like i appreciate marie’s work as a young girl and a writer because she constructs narratives based on her experience that i find relatable/interesting. i feel like when i read one of her stories i feel like her character that she portrays as herself is naive and acknowledges that she is naive but also tries to balance that naivety with her desire to be considered an intellectual and to be desired by intellectual. i also feel like from her stories i got the sense that she also tries to balance her feminism and being an intellectual female with being a sexual female and wanting to be desired by older males. it’s hard as a young girl when you want to be validated by your own merits and achievements and feel like you don’t need a man but at the same time you want be desired and appealing to men and possibly even be seen as some sort of sex symbol of temptress (i feel like those aren’t the right words but it’s a hard thing to explain…). i mostly just wanted to comment on marie’s work as aptly showing the contradictions that exist within intellectual young females and i feel like i really enjoy reading marie’s stories because of this. so, good job marie.
“Do you think Kathy Acker or Lynne Tillman gave a shit that someone had sex?” Um, this totally misses the point and overly simplifies the conversation. Also, Kathy Acker wasn’t simply some pure radical writer Diety, she was the same person who profiled the Spice Girls for Vogue. (Google it.) So, yeah, she may have been interested in a figure like MC. Every time I wander over to this site, it’s like watching the wolves circle in the “bro den” pretending it’s that cave in Dead Poet’s society (but it is actually just the “bro den”). Is everyone writing about MC because of sex? Maybe. Is this a valid thing to critically consider, of course. I just don’t see this piece offering much of anything (beyond the false ideal of a previous generation of radical writers). Please, write about something brilliant that deserves attention and stop moaning about MC.
I don’t think my work is “sensationalistic.” Furthermore, I had no control over how Vice nor anyone else framed my work.
Honored, you just sound butt-hurt that you have to go through “the writing channels” — or whatever bullshit you were mentioning above. I’m sure you work very hard to be a Writer (capital “w”), but you don’t have to bitch about other people’s success. You mention the writing often, but rarely get to the technical aspect of why it’s “bad.” And, you know, at this point, you’ve gone on for so goddamn long, I hope you never do.
i really like marie and noah and everyone too
I hear you, Rebecca Black.
I want you to know that it’s okay to cry. We don’t look down on it, not when “crazy dames” do it in stories, or when you do it in the comments section here at HTMLG.
I’m here for you :)
Then you’re kicked out of academia.
You really have the whole identity politics thing down pat, huh? I mean, Jesus Christ. Sometimes, you’re right, but lately, you’ve really been reaching, and this is coming from a progressive, working class-background, feminist. But let me guess–my posts are examples of “patriarchal privileged masculinist rhetoric,” because you say so, and any and all criticism of a woman writer is assumed to be gendered, as if…people haven’t done this exact sort of thing here to Tao Lin and other male writers of this cohort.
Have you guys been watching the sportses lately? Lots of sportses. The draft, NBA playoffs, hockey playoffs, think there was a soccer game, too…
How about Amare breaking his hand like a doofus? Rose’s ACL? Silly Rondo! Watching the East is like just waiting for the Heat to get to the finals, and, no, I don’t think Lebron chokes this year. Which is why I’ve been finding myself watching more hockey, I think. Less commercials, and, my God, the sounds, the sounds of hockey Sliiiiide bump CLACK click clack BOOSH. The first thing that comes to mind is the light saber, the noise of the light saber, I’d buy a CD that’s just an hour’s worth of light saber sounds.
Why are the Patriots so good at everything, man. How do the Skins cut Jaffney and draft that other QB. I am tired of Shanahan, but I mean we can just as easily talk about the Jets, right? Oy.
I just finished a book on Arnold Rothstein. The writing was kind of lame. Rothstein, for a criminal? Kiiinda lame, too. All he did was drink milk and make money doing things too complicated for me to follow when explained on a piece of paper. I think I’m gonna start picking up a bunch of books on criminals in general, though. Always had an interest in serial killers but never actively researched them aside from, like, Wikipedia.
I’ve also been spending the last two weeks listening to all the heavily neglected albums on my iPod in alphabetical order. Only halfway through B. I don’t get Tom Waits. I imagine in ten years all of us going to see Tom Waits the same way our parents go out and see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. And what happened to Mediafire? I went to look for David Bowie’s Outside last night with like no luck. Anyone have that record and wanna hook me up? Also:
This weekend I went home with a lady I wasn’t very attracted to sort of out of kindness. She was really nice and kept laughing at everything I said and I hadn’t gotten any in a while anyway so I was like ok why not but then when I’m really drunk I can’t come so she ended up watching me masturbate for like 45 minutes after already having had unenthusiastic sex for like 30 minutes prior. I kissed her goodbye in the morning and told her I’d call but I’m not gonna and overall I don’t think the entire transaction was worth it.
Guys, “I’m ‘Murrican” sounds like “I’m a merkin.”
Does anyone else feel like the comments section of HTMLGIANT might get more readers than an online lit journal, so why not post all your work here?
Ever have a wet dream where instead of semen you pee?
Does every person you meet undergo in your head the hypothetical “What would their facial expression be if I tried to murder them”?
Do you think every writer should at least once think of all the tracks they’d need to cover in order to execute a successful murder?
Wanna hang out sometime?
Ever get anxiety while dogsitting because the dog keeps looking at you and you have no idea what it wants?
Anyone wanna do the turntable.fm room tonight? My internet was on the fritz before I left for work this morning, but I’m hoping it’ll be ok when I get home, because right now I’m in a public library, and then I’m going to a gym, and I won’t be home till much later.
Also a good chance I might not be able to talk about this stuff until tomorrow if you respond, but, y’know, let’s chat!
Re: this blogicle I like the acknowledgement of Adrien Brody as blank. I love writing that tells us more about the reader than the writer, and it definitely stands out there. Good talk!
You are bitter and unbecoming and you need to accept modern times.
I’m already outside of academia. I mean I write as a fucking sloth on a Blogspot/Tumblr combo deal. Give me $3.99 and you’ll get a 24 ounce soda.
another example of zambreno doing every
to reinforce stereotypes about the female hysteric while claiming that
she’s busting down doors. does anyone hurt their own cause
more? her interest in calloway is the forward motion of her general trend of doing mormon
proxy baptism on a faux history of “unsocialized” women, a lineage with the inevitable conclusion of zambreno herself. because nothing says wild feminity
like a person living off her husband, writing books in which women are incapable of pleasure or joy, and complaining about her lack
Dude—pardon me while I lapse into dominant, hegemonic, masculine rhetoric here by discussing the game of football, which reinforces male-dominance over women and encourages heteronormative, socio-ritualistic, patriarchal behaviors–but it’s “Gaffney,” and he sucks. He only gets, on average, about 2 yards after the catch; he’s also old and the Skins save some cap room by cutting him. They signed Garcon and Morgan in FA, and Hankerson is returning from injury. Relax. I also don’t think it’s a big deal that the Skins drafted Cousins in the 4th round. I’d rather have too many QBs than Grossman/Beck, and RG3 is a once-and-a-lifetime talent. Nothing to worry about. Skins are back.
Rose’s ACL break was heartbreaking and I’m not even a Bull’s fan.
I think you are right, but I also think that this is what good art has come to. BECAUSE we are so infiltrated with all of these stories and details of everyday lives, there has to be some way to make it interesting and revealing in a way that critically comments on that entire concept of over sharing, and in a way that has allowed the viewer/reader to commodify the author. people aren’t judging marie calloway’s work, they are judging her entire life, and are allowed to because of the access they have to marie calloway herself through the internet. people are upset because she has skipped a million steps to becoming “successful” in the literary world, but those people need to realize that THAT is what the internet does. she’s gotten everyone’s attention, she didn’t know how controversial her art would be, and now we are all waiting for what she will do. that’s a fucked up position to be in, and no one seems to consider that. and in that process, yes, people are going to be abused. duh. it’s not like people aren’t sabotaging themselves on their own fucking Facebook pages. it’s just a lot more interesting this way. as for the sex part, i haven’t read Ackler or de Beauvoir, but what I can say about that is that it was a completely different time period, therefor i think they were unlikely to portray female sexuality in a way that marie successfully has.
[…] is a post over at HTMLGIANT about Marie Calloway. Read the post it’s a good one. Per usual some of the comments there are […]
“Maybe Marie Calloway has been sent to earth to test men. And men are afraid, “would I pass the test? Would I not cheat on my girlfriend, would I not fuck a younger girl just because she let me?” This is terrifying for women too, would their men pass the Marie Calloway test?”
Is this meant to be sarcastic? I can’t tell. Because you do realize this is the epitome of the age-old notion of women being on earth only to serve men, and then pitting women against other women, right? Excuse me If I’m just stating the obvious. I guess I’m just wondering if you truly thought about that while writing it, or if this concept is really just that engraved into our thinking.
Start with The Wife.
This comment is so far out of line. A lot of this ongoing, rather baffling discourse surrounds the notion that critiquing a woman writer involves critiquing her life. How does one live off their husband? Marriage is a partnership. More importantly, though, what the hell does that have to do with Zambreno’s ideas. Disagree with her ideas. Attack her ideas but attacking her personal life is fucking ridiculous.
thanks, that is funny.
putrid and pathetic was meant as a compliment. I really like anti-heroes. I really like ugly characters.
thanks for linking me. I think there is an interview with Ana Carrete that I forgot. I really like Ana Carrete.
I haven’t read it in years, but i think it was normal. She had a threesome with gingsberg and kerouac. I think, haven’t read in years.
i wrote the “sent to earth” thing a a joke. But I do think, that a lot of people worry that they or their lover will cheat on them with a younger person. And the story does a good job of making the audience ask that question.
I don’t think that in anyway implies “women were sent to earth to serve men.” I think that implies that there are some younger women who want to have sex with older men, and women and men above their 20s know that. I have no idea where you get the “serve men” thing. I don’t realize that at all. And I say “marie calloway”, how is marie calloway a representation of all women?
Like if I say, “marie calloway likes ham sandwiches.”
am I stating, “All women like ham sandwiches.”
Are all logical deductions about women are going to be made from Marie Calloway.
Marie Calloway likes ham sandwiches
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a woman
Therefore Debbie Wasserman Schultz likes ham sandwiches
honored guest, I love you. Marie Calloway just said to you, “I don’t think my work is “sensationalistic.””
You know what, after that comment. I don’t regret any of this. Let it ride.
your comment is majorly bogus when chatting about writers whose work is primarily about their lives. would you really say that discussion of tucker max is possible without talking about his life???? how is marie calloway different than tucker max??
the same with zambreno. most of us have not read her books. most of us know her from her blog. her blog is, as she has made clear, part of her body of work. her blog deals with the circumstances of her life. the only reason i know about her marital status and her irritable bowel syndrome and her apparent lack of a career is because she posts about these matters. why does she get a pass on questions of how one part of her work interacts with another?????
Um, last I checked, journals that take unsolicited submissions are the norm in these “modern times.” You, the writer, write a story that stands on its own. They, the editors, read the story and decide whether or not to accept it or reject it, based on the story’s merits and how it fits the journal’s needs and tastes. I’m unaware of this proliferation of journals that encourage sting operations in their Writer’s Guidelines, but maybe I’m wrong and you can point me in the right direction.
I get it, but it seems like you are walking back your criticism a little. So far it has been that she didn’t have the proper epiphany, or her piece wasn’t really fiction (art installation?), or that she lost control of her own ending, or that she promotes surveillance culture, etc. Seems like you are having trouble pinpointing your own discomfit.
I hope I’m not being insulting, but it really is interesting. Because you are obv a very insightful guy and you wrote an essay called “Why Do We Like Marie Calloway?” in which you purport to compliment her for being pathetic, but which you have primarily defended via wide-ranging additional criticisms of her writing, disquisition on the nature of sexism (including evidence of past, non-sexist behavior), and personal explanation re: your upbringing and its effect on how you perceive women. I hope you can see that, as a reader, it feels like there is some dissembling involved.
I don’t have anything against Mike James but I don’t see how he can have an opinion without reading her stuff. That would be like me commenting on his comment without reading this anonymous’ post.
In case you are unaware, Marie Calloway said Tao Lin was supportive and liked her story.
I don’t have anything against Mike James but I don’t see how he can have an opinion without reading her stuff. That would be like me commenting on his comment without reading this anonymous’ post.
In case you are unaware, Marie Calloway said Tao Lin was supportive and liked her story.
I don’t think you really want to ‘talk’ about your writing. Your comments to Honored Guest who was being really nice, and just trying to do the workshop thing, makes me think you are just going to fight with me. I said some really nice things about your work in a latter comment, you didn’t even write, “thanks, or I’ve been thinking about that, or I can see that you just want to talk about my work from different angles, because you think it is interesting.” It seems like all the critical comments, get responded to, and all the nice ones, don’t even matter. I mean, I would really like to know, do you consider it journalism or installation art or fiction?
I do not in anyway think, “If you really think think that the struggle to not conflate sexual attention with worth as a person, for (some) women.”
I know a lot of women confuse their worth with sex. I have confused my worth with sex also. Not getting the attention you want, from the person you want, can be very heartbreaking at times.
But Jeremy Lin uses a slightly famous person’s identity as a character, then has a bunch of Tao Lin blurbs mixed in the story, I hope you understand that it can be very easy for a person to get distracted by other issues when you do things like that.
If we were in a writing workshop, that is what I would say, “people get distracted and don’t see the point of your story, because of the methods applied.”
I disagree. This is not about giving a pass. You introduced Zambreno’s personal life into a conversation that had nothing to do with her personal life. She wrote about the violence of these discourses. What is the relevance of her marital status or her IBS or her career laments in discussing the post linked to in this thread? Your comment was sexist, among other things.
How is Marie Calloway different from Tucker Max? How is that even a question?
With regard to the career laments, many people in this thread and beyond, express very similar career-related laments. Please don’t act like Zambreno is unique in expressing a dissatisfaction with the struggle for literary success. Zambreno and Calloway and others write about their lives, yes, but the attacks on Calloway, as one example, have gone so far beyond critiquing the writing. I cannot even believe I have to say this! The idea that because someone writes from personal experience, the discourse surrounding their writing should be a free for all, that all manner of discussion is fair game, is ridiculous.
This discussion is so out of control and I’m not crazy for thinking that. It is out of control. It is fucked up. I don’t understand Calloway’s writing or particularly care for it but there’s plenty of writing I like that others don’t. This is all subjective. I still question the ethics of Calloway’s stories which aren’t that fictional BUT I also think it’s wrong to dissect her in the gross way she has been dissected here and elsewhere. Did she invite this discourse? Perhaps. Did she know what she was doing with Adrian Brody and Jeremy Lin and her entire mode of self-presentation? I am cynical enough to think she knows exactly what she’s doing. If this is her hustle, fine. If she’s a naif who simply didn’t realize what she was doing, fine. Do her motives, flagrant personal exposure, etc. make the weird, sexist, and yes, violent attacks okay? Not even a little.
Amongst people I know, ‘chill bro’ is a pejorative.
I am done talking about Marie Calloway. Please do not direct anymore comments toward me.
I’m going to think about something else now.
Where do you see me talking to you here?
Please stop being “violent.”
What a damn joke. Violence? You’ve got to be fucking joking. I know violence, and it’s nothing on this damn thread.
Oh don’t even. You’ve been in grad school long enough to know what symbolic violence is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_violence
I’ve also been in grad school long enough to know that interpretation has its limits and contexts.
“I hate football but let me follow up that statement by discussing football”
Yeah. I mean, the Bulls have done alright without him, so I’m keeping optimistic.
Well I just think that if he approved the whole thing he wasn’t manipulated.
I’m sorry, that was kind of mean.
But seriously: don’t apologize for liking something?
Yes to #6 so much! There is nothing better than having a group of people in a room disagreeing about a story and its intent, because dialogue between readers is, like, the best thing to get out of fiction, I think.
Yes to #6 so much! There is nothing better than having a group of people in a room disagreeing about a story and its intent, because dialogue between readers is, like, the best thing to get out of fiction, I think.
for real thx for spelling “come” c-o-m-e.
Cool, when you’re done I would like to read your Owen Wilson short story.
The Patsies aren’t so “good” at beating the fucking Giants in big games. Hightower was a great pick, though. (The 49ers had a pretty good O draft – Harbaugh is a smart guy – , but I don’t think Smitty is ever going to ‘win’ a Brad Johnson / Trent Dilfer / Jeff Hostetler ring.)
Tom Waits is a real musician, a sound-maker who could marshal a vibe with a kleenex box. Let the racket show you… (Not sure, but he’s already older than the Flecktones? He’s as old in show-biz years as KISS, no?)
Planning a credible ‘perfect murder’ would be a superb entrance test for any artist.
Dogs want affection and food, with maybe a 5% interest in unpunishable excretion.
I think you’re right about James. Curses.
No, Wise and Mighty — Bomb is mocking the normatively counter-normative discourse of others.
His (or her) ‘skins analysis – I do hate the racial character of their name… – is sharp, as far as it goes, but omits the Hanging Coach card. “Genius” Shanahan has curdled into a l-o-s-e-r, in my view — and remembering how “Genius” and “Cretin” Elway buried their 15-tool Swiss Army knives in Reeves’s back, that can’t have happened to a nicer guy.
What do you think of Zambreno’s (and others’) idea of feminized voices taking up the disciplinary category of “hysteria” as a means or mode of (even imaginary) emancipation?
whoa the money’s in my pocket just don’t shoot me
This whole comments section reeks of the fear that is the result of threatened male privilege (the male gaze, the “mature” “successful” male writer, the privacy of the sexual male). It’s actually astonishing.
Football’s so insane in that sense. Pats dominate regular season, then stumble against the Ravens, fall to the Giants, Brady suddenly looks a little human. I really feel like the Giants/Niners last year was the unofficial Super Bowl, if that makes you feel better!
Yeah, I don’t discount Waits as a musician. He is certainly doing *things*, I just don’t like those things too much. That staccato, odd-sounding cymbal, twisted klezmer/carnivale stuff feels like the stuff in Nightmare before Christmas, a kid going to Burning Man with his dusty top hat and nipple piercings, things I just don’t like much, at all. I do admit, though, that his ballads are pretty. He should just do pretty sad love songs all the time, I’d like him more that way. And yeah, he probably is older than Fleck, but he gives me the same vibe — a marketing vibe, a vibe suggesting he’s been designed to get the money of our future doctors who like to try and keep up with music and culture. Another example’d be the Soggy Bottom Boys.
A couplea weeks ago I was in Brooklyn staying at my pal’s place. Whenever he left for work I was left with his little pug, and because I was hungover, I had no interest in going out until much later in the day, so it was me and the pug in this apartment together with no clear interest in anything between the two of us.
And the pug’d just *stare*. He just kept walking over to me and looking at me. And combined with the hangover, the lingering anxiety I might have done something bad to someone the night before, he convinced me that I was forgetting to do something for him that would keep him from dying. It was terrible. I remember there was a point where I just said a bunch of words at an even pace to see if any would make him react!
No, not necessarily negative, and brave (I guess), or just nervy, to put need in such needy terms.
Never too early to pare, to internalize the pressure of ‘does this work? like I really want it to?’. (I think Kerouac, for example, is a poor writer with the occasional glib passage.) If Papa is a bit too, eh, cape-buffalo, maybe – and I don’t know her ‘process’ – Hempel’s care would be a useful point of comparison.
Yeah, and I feel bad about not picking up on it. The way Honored was posting all around here I guess sort of put me on a knee-jerk defensive. Even raptors err, I guess!
Sweet pocket money. The best kind. I’d never hurt you deadgod. You’re fantastic on here.
Why you wrote the essay the way you did and what you meant by pathetic should have been obvious from a reading of the essay. Either it wasn’t, and you failed, or it was, and the answer is “Some inexplicable misogyny” or it was and there is some other reason that the reader missed, but you can hardly blame the reader for asking if he did miss it.
deadgod is right. I was clearly mocking the cowardly, insincere, incessant insertion of identity politic-talking points to shut down any and all criticism of a woman or female writer. It should also be noted, of course, that Zambreno assumes that arguing and shit-talking on the Internet is “male/masculine.” How simplistic and reductive, especially when she employs many of the same rhetorical tactics herself, yet makes sure to cry SEXISM! before leaving the room. We are walking a slippery slope here, one where we now have commenters assuming the genders of other commenters and diagnosing every comment they make for misogynistic undertones. What does it say about your understanding of “feminism” when you run around slapping labels like “masculine” and “feminine” on various discourses? Applying these gender-labels too easily is akin to the naive student saying in class that a female writer “writes like a man” because her discourse isn’t flowery, polite, and has some cursing in it. There is so much bullshit posturing going on here.
To be clear, charges of sexism against comments and posts on this site have been warranted in the past, like making tasteless jokes about someone’s menstrual cycle–totally uncool–and Cicero’s initial essay was problematic in the way it represented Calloway sexually–but most of the criticism over the last SEVERAL months about Calloway has been about the writing, whether you people want to admit it or not, and whether those people specifically reference the writing; it’s the result of fellow writers expressing their frustration over the fact that they–male and female–bust their asses to be “heard” through their work, haven’t been heard on a very large scale, and yet have to sit back and watch some talentless eighteen-year-old gimmick, hack and exploit her way to major Internet media coverage. People have expressed similar outrage toward Tao Lin–I guess they’re “sexist” too! I have friends who have won major awards who can’t even get Rumpus coverage–women, by the damn way, who have a hell of a lot more to say than Calloway about gender and feminism.
So there is no need to overthink or overintellectualize why other writers would “rant and rave” about yet another manifestation of the kind of celeb and fame-grubbing this culture rewards. And as the anon essay writer astutely acknowledges, the attention on Calloway from people in positions of authority doesn’t give a flip about her work, or art–it only cares about how she fits the narrowly-cased role they and society have already commodified for her.
Apparently, those would be the editors who published her stuff. Well, who should she believe? The editors who published her stuff, or some nameless Internet person who says that her stuff isn’t ready to be published?
Should I correct myself yo? Ok. I’ve never fully read any of her stuff. I read Adrien Brody for maybe three paragraphs sparsed out and lost interest. Is it more or less rude that her work disinterested me? I dunno. But does this disqualify me from having an opinion? Does reading all the responses to her work allow me an opinion in your eyes, seeing as how I have then read it via proxy? How much peripheral reading does it take to either not fully understand something or come close to fully understanding it, for you? Can I read the biography and/or multiple dissections of the work/life of Allen Ginsberg, and then not be able to have a full understanding (in your eyes)? What does and does not qualify someone to have an opinion about the responses to a particular piece of material if they have not fully immersed themselves in a source material they find uninteresting?
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ….ok, I guess that’s fair enough. I still think this is a nice post though.
In all of this there’s absolutely no discussion of MDMA. It goes against any experience of any reading I’ve ever witnessed to think reading under the influence might be a good idea. It’s bad enough to stand in front of a room of strangers who expect you to fail. Why make it that much worse? No one will really buy into the mystique of writers acting like rock stars. Those days are long gone. You have to have the chops and the work has to stand.
Dear Dog, what a cauldron of dudeness and supbroness (apologies to Roxane & other exceptions, masculin/feminin). I am suppressing my primeval (or is it medieval) urge to smack someone about the head and shoulders (I don’t want to ruin my silk dress). Y’all, starting with Anonymous and down to Noah Cicero: go read a book, dig in the earth or something, get some perspective, and let this young writer live and write. Noah to Marie: “I think maybe what you are doing is not literature, but like an art installation project.” Really, Noah? Thanks so much for explaining to us damzels what LITERATURE is (not). Marie Calloway, I want you to know there are women writers out here who support your right to write exactly what you wish. At least these days you don’t get the stake, but a bunch of lame comments. Focus on your work. That’s all that matters. There’s a saying in Croatia: a good horse raises much dust. All this hum you’re hearing of a thousand mini tantrums? It’s the noise that’s policed women since forever — and that it comes out of some women’s throats and thumbs too makes me ill. I’ve worked hard to eradicate the thought police in my head. DO THE WORK, BROS — IT’S WORTH IT.
This is so much better/more interesting/more honest-seeming than that blog post about her, can you still delete that and put this up instead?
But I think you’re confusing Calloway the author with Calloway the character when you say she gives up control. Marie Calloway still picks which e-mails with Tao Lin to include, she still picked out that one line someone wrote to her as the ending of the story. Marie the character is at the mercy of other people’s perceptions of her, she’s being bombarded by incredibly positive and incredibly negative messages about herself, she’s young and insecure to begin with, and naturally she can’t handle it. That’s the whole point of the story, that’s the conflict. So giving someone else the last word, letting someone anonymous tell Marie about the strengths and flaws that she still can’t see/accept in herself, is a perfect ending.
She should get an MFA, too. I hate to have to look at writing that hasn’t been vetted for me by white men over forty.
as an add-on to your comment, not just 40+ white men but people of a variety of ages and ethnicities are dedicated to reinforcing received notions of seriousness, craft, quality, and proper subject matter
Being a man isn’t that important. Being a woman isn’t that important. Being a tiger is important. Being a wolf is important. Being a buffalo is important.
Yeah, because women and people of color don’t work in MFA programs–only “white men over the age of 40.” I bet you’re one of these types who reads, “Stuff White People Like”..someone who, in the midst of thinking he’s progressive and ironically critiquing racism, assumes through his comedy routine that only white people do such “white things” like teach at universities. Nice mind trap you’ve created for yourself there, buddy.
four bucks for a small jug of pop that’s skybox $ “never hurt” the hell you say
skybox schmybox the real fer’real feral free-all fun is in the black hole
Idunno if your mock session was as clear as you believed it to be, seeing as most of your comments on this site read as a giant textual eye-roll at everyone. When someone quickly develops the reputation of being a jerk, it’s tough to shake that reputation, don’t you think?
Also not sure where my comment evinced a tone that would require you to tell me to “relax” based on my assessment of the Skins. I’m a Jets fan, I was genuinely looking for more insight about something I know little. All I really know is I don’t like the way Shanahan treated McNabb, and Gaffney was on my fantasy team last season. (He wasn’t as bad of a grab off the waivers as one might think, especially in the second half of the season.)
I guess you can respond to this criticism with “Chill out, it’s just a
comment on a thread, lol” but you’ve been overreacting to far less, so, you
know, don’t leave that comment, because I already responded to it in
This might come off as testy. Actually, it is testy, so you can’t use that against me, and I’ll even PROVIDE the reason I’m testy. I’m testy cos you called me an idiot. I don’t know if you remember that. If you don’t: you called me an idiot (in passive-aggressive fashion, to boot!). I don’t like being called an idiot. I don’t entertain friendly chit-chat with people who call me an idiot.
Here’s what you do: instead of trying to jump into a conversation with me about football while pretending you never called me an idiot, please apologize for calling me an idiot, and we will be on talking terms about things. However, if you choose not to apologize: uh, Go Fuck Yourself.
I’m not really interested in the rest of the stuff you talk about. I said everything I had to say about Marie in the last blogicle about her, so I declared this overkill, hence a comment trying to focus on anything but Marie Calloway.
compared to how she writes about other dicks, like
her description of Kerouac’s dick is a little less exultatory:
but he does seem to be hitting her cervix, so there’s that.
I couldn’t care less about Tao Lin or sex with some person editor or anything that people seem to be upset about. I find the prose to be too stylized and flat for my taste, but I’ve never gchatted, so what the fuck do I know
I apologize for the tone I took with you yesterday on this thread. While I stand by my criticism of your work and my other related comments on this thread, I could’ve made my points–esp. when interacting with you—more constructively, and non-condescendingly. Until reading your “Jeremy Lin” piece more closely, I never realized the amount of flack you had received, some of which was quite extreme. Finally, I hope this doesn’t come off as condescending, but you’re much younger than me, and I shouldn’t have piled on like I did. Best of luck with your writing career, and nothing we say matters anyway–all that matters is that you put your head down every day and work.
What if you knew Tao Lin was kind of an idiot stepchild failure from almost the get go and when you read shit about him that painted him as such you were surprised at first and had a very significant sinking view for awhile but then your new perspective molded with the old and you realized that you didnt really give a fuck that you didnt need him to be a monk guru to enjoy his writing and now you’re surprised when other people don’t reciprocate that feeling and could even conceive of calling him a ‘fraud’ because that thing they’re calling ‘fraud’ is the idea that Tao Lin created an interesting personality out of nothing which is true but he lives in now just in a different, more boring and needy way than you expected? What then?
[…] not sure how I first stumbled upon Marie Calloway, but I think it may have been here. After reading it, I followed comment links here and here. Last night, it was near 1AM when I […]
i mean he sounded the same as he does in everything else written by / about him
Why do you assume she is living off of her husband? Last I heard she was teaching five classes in two states. Also, her husband is a librarian. Living off a librarian isn’t easy. Librarians often don’t do so well supporting themselves. Her project seems totally lost on you in the thin/parody summation you give here. The very idea of the “female hysteric” isn’t some objective thing, but rather a socially constructed phrase for disciplining women. I think her work shows how women are pushed by society to either behave or act out, and her narratives refuse to fall back on the easy tale of empowerment. Also, has she ever used the term “unsocialized”? Or are these Tao Lin quotes?
i like to watch 80-year-old vietnam vets who are also in wheelchairs dance.
I like Noah Cicero. I have read the Insurgent, The Human War, and Best Behavior.
I like Marie Calloway. I have read Adrian Brody and Jeremy Lin.
I really enjoyed reading
their exchange above. I took screenshots then scooped some of my Chipotle
burrito bowl in my mouth with a fork.
I thought Marie Calloway and Noah took a similar tone above, and feel, overall, the same about about their work. They both, it seems to me, write sensationally about something un-sensational: everyday existence in human X [X=feminist/existentialist/female/male].
It seems clear to me that any accord they are unable to reach with each other is because they are the same person, or, rather, they are unable to find harmony with some portion of themselves, and this is project on the other. It’s really beautiful and human, to me.
Most people had better parents.