Friday, March 28, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 3-28-2008

quote: "The invitation to leave your depression behind, whether through medication or therapy or effort of will, seems like an invitation to turn your back on all your dark insights into the corruption and infantilism and self-delusion of the brave new McWorld. And these insights are the sole legacy of the social novelist who desires to represent the world not simply in its detail but in its essence, to shine light on the morally blind eye of the virtual whirlwind, and who believes that human beings deserve better than the future of attractively priced electronic panderings that is even now being conspired for them. Instead of saying, I am depressed, you want to say I am right!" (Jonathan Franzen, "Why Bother?")

0) Lozo has given up sports for a life of lesbianism. Comments? (@wdwgdab)
1) Tinkerbell recommends "Do Stuffed Animals Have Souls?" (!!!!) (
2) Slogreenx Blogging on "Uh Huh ... Her?"! (@slogreenx)
3) Sadness as literary strategy: "Magic Feelism" (@n+1)
4) On Viagra's 10th birthday, Women still left wanting a drug of their own: Viagra for Women (@us news)
5) David Samuels interviews X17 paparazzi legends about recent celebrity photographs: The Celebrity Hunters (@the atlantic)
6) "First Nights are ghastly ordeals for actors. A recent study indicates that the stress endured is equivalent to being involved in a minor car crash ..." (@times online uk)
7) "Celebrity scandal and Anne Frank: the reading diary of British teenagers "(@guardian uk)
8) "Anti-Emo Riots Break Out Across Mexico" (
9) "Memoirs by high-class hookers may be cartoonish, but no less than accounts that cast prostitutes as victims of rapacious male sexuality. There are many types of prostitutes just as there are many reasons for men to visit them. A grown-up debate": Prada Prostitutes (@The Prospect)
10) @NYMag: "Sweet Valley High Updates Bury the Wakefield Twins in Cavalli," "Vogue Shape Issue is Anything But," "Penn Station to Remain Hideous Indefinitely."

most recent auto-win: Semicolon Vlog
auto-straddle: Season Finale L Word recap


B. said...

That Franzen quote is dead-on.

The Corrections = tomorrow.

Pleased to see an n+1 link. Go team.

And like Jessie, I must admit to deep emotional investment w/r/t the UHH contest. If we lose I'm buying a stuffed poodle and naming it "Genocide."

Anonymous said...

lozoooooo,it's cait, see i said who i was straight away this time.. your blog just made me seriously lol. i think as a new lesbian, you should know that tegan and sara actually have a song called Monday Monday Monday... SO when you call back on Monday, you should quote some lyrics... they are pasted below for you...

What's wrong with you
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Damn your mood swings

green said...

i really don't know what to say about the wired article... i have a lot of thoughts, but no words.

this is obviously my favorite quote:

"It's a great clusterfuck for the American mind's idea of Mexico," Arellano said. "This teaches the rest of the world that Mexico is not just a bunch of cactuses and sombreros."

really? see, because i thought mexico was comprised entirely of empty tequila bottles, old men sleeping in chairs outside, and handmade blankets. but now that i know a bunch of children are being beaten up over their makeup/clothing/music, i have a whole new respect for the country! my small, american mind is so totally clusterfucked! ???

Lozo said...

you're a big circumventer. but hey, us girls have to stick together, right?!?! woo hoo!

Adam said...

re: I am right

The depressed have both significantly more accurate self-assessments in terms of social status and significantly greater predictive ability about their immediate and long term futures than those with "normal" chemical balances. I'm just sayin' (though I haven't read the studies myself, so I don't know if they controlled against the correlation between intelligence and depression, maybe it's just that intelligent people self-assess and predict well).

re: n+1

Do they like anything? I mean...that's no stripe against them, maybe everything is crap...but srsly.

Christine said...

I love you

riese said...

b. - Are you sure you shouldn't name it "cultural genocide"? It is important to me that you love franzen, cheers.

cait - excellent employ of tegan and sara lyrics.

green - see i thought mexico was just a bunch of criminals in wifebeaters and track pants trying to sneak into america to steal jobs from hardworking american men and women who believe in jesus. but there they go, having fights about ridiculous things and beating up homosexuals, just like we do here. i just wanna know: while the entire country (or, at least, a representative sample) is out on the streets like that, who's: 1. manning the border, 2. washing the dishes, 3. feeding tequila to the donkey.

lozo - what's a circumventer? can i use it to iron my hair?

adam - i think it's that if you look around and see the world and do not find it to be by and large soulless to the point of inducing depression, you can't possibly be that smart, right? which isn't to say depressives can't enjoy life, they just can't pretend like life/the world itself is inherently right, just, good, designed properly.

i believe n+1 loves: themselves. i feel it caters mostly to twenty or thirtysomething peoples who wish they'd been born in the 19th century, when "real literature" still existed. I don't know if you caught it before it vanished into thin webair, but they ran an essay by elif bautman once which argued that every single american short story written in recent memory is terrible and the entire form is dead. I'd like to think everything sucks a lot less than they think it does. And, that being said: I am a depressive, but also, you know, right.

christine: I don't know who you are, but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say i love you too.

eric mathew said...

umm so this has nothing to do with the articles although i am happy about sweet valley high..but i found tinkerbell's myspace today. well i loved it. i mean i'm really happy she is being honest about being jewish and smoking. a lot of dogs must discriminate. i really need to go get vodka tonics with her.

verde said...

It's a shame that we are on international news because of our intolerance problems. Guess I underestimated the mexican emo movement [actually thought of them like pseudo-emos, most of them just following a trend].
The emo hunting started in Querétaro [like almost a month ago], which is a very conservative/prude [or, as we say over here, they are so "mochos"] city. When my sister told me I thought she was kidding.
I admit I find those pseudo emos kinda annoying [thinking they were nothing but posers], but nobody deserves that treatment. It's pathetic and frustrating, the problem is the narrowed minded and prejudices from ALL "tribus urbanas" "urban tribes" it's crazy, emos vs reggaetoneros, reggaetoneros vs emos, pseudo punks vs both reggaetoneros, emos..blablabla. "machismo" and homophobia characterize our society, relating the ambiguity and androgyny of emos with homosexuality. Actually, I think that's why now the other subcultures seemed to unite against emos. I don't know what's going to happen, but while both the press and government takes advantage to distract us from the politic situation, hopefully we stop being so biased and learn something about tolerance, acceptance and respect.

ps. I couldn't go to the SXSW but your uhh video rocks. And that yasminaxxxx or whatever brit...hmmm...didn't even understand her accent :/ neither bothered to replay it. If "uh huh...her?" doesn't win, it's a fraud.

B. said...

Weirdo, I believe you've oversimplified Elif Batuman's argument. She doesn't say that "every single american short story written in recent memory is terrible," and even cites Joyce Carol Oates' "Cousins" (a favorite of mine) as an exceptional example of that genre. What she does is lucidly critique unsavory trends in American short fiction (e.g., hyperspecificity) and her assessments are worth contemplating. Arguing that she believes the short story's doomed because it's a "fundamentally unironic form" that's "outlived the conditions of its existence" and is "unnaturally perpetuated" is a very bold statement to make and I admire that. That's what I like about n+1--it's ambitious and provocative. I've read every issue and think n+1 haters either 1) don't fully grasp it and feel left out therefore resentful or 2) don't fully grasp it and feel left out therefore resentful. Or just bewildered. And that being said, I am a manic-depressive, but also you know, right on.

P.S. Weirdo, did we win this contest or what? Nearly 4 A.M. and still no word. My fingers remain crossed.

Adam said...

Just to clarify (though I'm not sure whether this plants my flag in camp 1 or camp 2, or even if I qualify as a 'hater')...

I kind of think of n+1 the same way I do punk rock. It's loud, and it's provocative for the sake of being provocative. Some people are gonna hear that and be like "fuck yeah", some people (like me) are going to be a little suspicious of the underlying project but recognize that when it's good it's really good, and some people are going to cover their ears because it sounds bad. Just because sounding bad is the point doesn't make it the case that people who don't like it because it sounds bad 'don't get it'. They just don't like it.

Also, thanks for the ont-ho re-open. What little I catch of it I always enjoy.

B. said...


Yours is a measured and reasonable position re: n+1, though I wouldn't agree that they're being provocative just to provoke or that sounding bad is the point. And of course many readers get n+1 and merely dislike it. I just find that it's trendy now to bash n+1 solely out of preconceived notions about its contributors/readership rather than critiquing the content itself. For instance, all the online activity over "The Blog Reflex." That was fun to watch. Rather than defend the merits of their work, most lit blogs resorted to personal attacks on the magazine.

Anyway, Corrections ... overrated or brilliant ... we shall see.

Good morning, Marie.

P.S. Lozo's blog was a masterpiece.

riese said...

eric - now you must friend her!

verde - Hi, you! That would be really something yeah? if any country could turn this kind of misdirected hate around into tolerance, acceptance and respect.

And yeah ... they still haven't announced a winner. Perhaps they're still asleep.

b. - ha, i knew this comment was coming. you're right in that i mischaracterized the essay -- but I think "1" and "2" are um ... limiting -- can't someone be an n+1 hater for any reason beyond resentment? The only reason to dislike it is not being intellectual/esoteric enough to understand it? Like -- I think we shouldn't eat our own ... and that literary discussions should at least attempt to be positive when the state of the art and the industry itself are in such decline. But of course, I know realistically that one shouldn't halt criticism simply because no one's reading books anymore -- we shouldn't cease to question it in order to preserve its existence, because then we end up with unquestioning crap -- so I understand that n+1 and harsh critique has its place. But I personally just don't dig the excessive critique, and that doesn't mean, at all, that I don't "get it." (see: adam's comment) Also I realize I oversimplified the essay in my above description of it, which doesn't help my case, but in my defense, I do that to everything and if they weren't such bastards and kept their archives online, I could've seen what I was trying to talk about.

adam - i agree with everything you said.

riese said...

re: the late add comment

b. - I think it's unfair to assume that bashing n+1 is joining up with a bash-n+1 trend.

Readers who dislike n+1 aren't even credited with the ability to dislike something independently of immature emotions like resentment or groupthink? Hm, sounds like something n+1 might say.

Adam said...

re: re: et c.

for the record--I'm as suspicious of The Believer clique and being positive for the sake of being positive as I am of n+1 (and, to be honest, my opinion of both is largely uneducated, and formed more on the basis of their adherents than the things themselves...B is likely right that n+1 isn't provocative for the sake of, but instead that it attracts a lot of provocateurs, and I'm unfairly judging).

At any rate...I've managed to, over the course of two paragraphs, sound both neo-Kantian ("everything must be done for its own sake!") and paranoid ("I am suspicious of everything!"), so I'll just stop embarrassing myself on both fronts.

B. said...

"Can't someone be an n+1 hater for any reason beyond resentment?"

Yes, I think so. I just said "n+1 haters either 1) don't fully grasp it and feel left out therefore resentful," etc. to meta-represent the n+1 provocateurs' faux-intellectual/snob sentiment ("something n+1 might say"); that's not actually my opinion. [I pulled a Sam Anderson on you; har har.]

It's true: one can justifiably dislike n+1 for its content, but where are these discussions? The web is littered with whiny, hypersensitive and unfounded complaints like, "you guys are just pretentious assholes," complaints that rarely contend with the material.

And ... you're right about the n+1 website. I'm amused by how terrible it is; like, it further promotes the idea they're a bunch of out-of-touch Luddites.

Adam, I'm also suspicious of The Believer and find McSweeney's house style tiresome, like a fiction factory.

Lastly, weirdo ... I don't think n+1 critique is all that negative or excessive. They're not trying to bring anyone down, as far as I can see, though it's often claimed that they're merely out to disparage our current intellectual situation (i.e., crisis). This isn't true; their essays do offer a way out, and suggest how to improve upon it. For instance, Elif Batuman's essay ends on a very positive note:

Dear American writers, break out of the jail! Sell the haunted house, convert it to tourist villas. Puncture "the airtight vessel known as Brooklyn New York." Write long novels, pointless novels. Do not be ashamed to grieve about personal things. Dear young writers, write with dignity, not guilt. How you write is how you will be read.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so it had become my mission to obtain every Sweet Valley title ever. And now I'm faced with a horrifying conundrum: do I repeat 150+ titles?

My whole world is now without an anchor (and the anchor is no longer a size six!)