Jake Adelstein

How about a rousing game of literary-cultural high-low?

[NOTE: Guess which are which.]

“The Bubble and The Globe” – Joshua Clover on John Ashbery’s Planisphere as a chronicle of the financial collapse at The Nation.

Ashbery is heroically free of the world-was-better-when-my-body-was-younger piffle that mars some of his well-known contemporaries. Instead we have the sense of the poet (and us with him) being always inside time, suspended within it as within some queer medium (an entirely proprietary substance, one part limestone and two parts prosecco). There is no lyrical leap to ecstasy, to someplace beyond the capacious Ashberian land. Time itself is the worldly country, and there is no other.

Part two of Melissa Broder’s two-part series on twitter as a strange attractor in the writer’s life is now live. In Part 1 she spoke to poets, including Ron Silliman, Amy King, Tao Lin, and Reb Livingston. In Part 1.5 she spoke at some length with Brandon Scott Gorell. Now, in Part 2, she speaks to prose-writers, Kevin Sampsell, Dara Horn, Fiona Maazel, our own Blake Butler and Matthew Simmons, and yours truly.

Fiona Maazel: Twitter? What the hell is that? I, Neanderthal.

“Carded” – William Deresiewicz amply disgusted with the packaging of Nabokov’s Original of Laura at The New Republic.

The cards are perforated and, as Dmitri says in a note, “can be removed and rearranged, as the author likely did when he was writing the novel.” I’ll get back to the second half of that statement, a claim both strategic and semi-dubious (not to mention ungrammatical). The first breaks new ground in editorial chutzpah, inviting us to play a kind of Nabokov: Rock Band–the novel as theme park. One can only imagine what dear old dad–the ultimate artistic control freak, not to mention one of the all-time snobs–would have thought of the idea of letting his readers re-arrange his scraps and chapters at will.

And Boing Boing introduces us to Jake Adelstein, the American Jew who relocated to Japan and became the toughest reporter on the yakuza beat. Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice, will be collaborating with Boing Boing over the next two months, to bring out a series of exclusive stories about the yakuza. Which we’ll have our eye on, no doubt, but in the meantime they kick things off with an interview.

Do you worry about your family?

I have a guarantee from someone up high in the Yamaguchi-gumi that they won’t touch my family. Their word is pretty solid. It’s a gentleman’s agreement that they’ll only kill me, which makes me feel better.

Random / 2 Comments
March 10th, 2010 / 2:20 pm