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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Send me review copies: This time they won't be trapped on this shitty little blog forever!

OK, the verdict is in... I WILL be writing a weekly books column for Taki's Magazine from now until whenever I quit or screw up. So, anyone who's publishing a book, make sure to send me review copies in a timely fashion! Send me the PDF at, or better yet, email me to ask for my snail address. (I prefer paper review copies, but one's personal address is one of those things one can't take back once one unleashes it...)

The main focus of the column is litrashoooor, but I also love graphic novels (I guess that's literature now, right? No sarko) and works of scholarly stuff and sociopolitical whatnots are welcome too, though there are writers at the magazine who are already covering nonfiction quite well. Also, do not hesitate to invite me to your play, assuming I can get there (so, mostly Chicago... or video recordings).


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why are you so pretentious, obscure fiction writer?

Why don't I just try to write normal genre fiction? I could be pretty good in the litfic genre; I'm good at just recording shit that happens and whining about it, that one's easy. If I want a challenge why don't I just write about outer space heroes?

People go over and over this debate; "hard-headed realists" (if you're so thrilled with reality why are you writing fiction?) smirk about the hard-nosed virtues of social networking and pandering; sometimes I almost agree with them, but is it worth your time to simultaneously insult the human race's intellect and beg for its attention? And if I REALLY needed the money, if I hadn't eventually gotten good enough at editing to escape bussing tables, wouldn't I dig down and write a best-seller?

But unfortunately I don't care.

Not that I'm anti-popularist or anti-reader in my approach (I wouldn't dignify it as a "philosophy") to writing. Experimentalism is generally a cheat. I want to make it readable. I want to make it fun. Writing experimentally is easy, but then I have to edit this shit myself, you know. Why in God's name would I want to edit and re-edit and proofread Naked Lunch?

But I will not make it tame. I will not make it nice. I will not make it "positive," unless the plot and characters demand a happy ending, in which case I refuse to tack on a pseudointellectual dark one. Because you know what? I don't want to lie for a living. You know what you call someone who lies for a living? You call her a cubicle rat who pretends she cares about her make-work job (even if her make-work is writing subpar bestsellers) and whether the hydra with no face makes an extra million peddling worthless junk today. You know what I actually care about? Typos. Because they fuck up the rhythm. I care about the sounds in a reader's head, and entertainment, and the fiction that speaks the truth, but I long ago came to the conclusion that most people will remain miserably malicious no matter what you tell them, so why should I pull my punches? If you get it, you get it. If you don't get it, I'm an obscure pretentious crank who just won't play the game, and you know what? There are seven billion people on this rock, and if you don't want to read my shit there's somebody who will, so you can think what you like. Your brain waves can't hurt me.

What's more, in fifty years you and I will both be rotting corpses, and John Grisham will be forgotten, and Dave Eggers will be forcefully forgotten if there's any reason to live whatsoever, and maybe a couple of academics will research Oprah's book club and decide our civilization's (and probably entire period's, except for a couple of European pessimists') work isn't worth looking into anyway.

What am I accomplishing by writing, then? I'm trolling the gods. Try it, it's fun. I am reclaiming a bit of the acid trip of learning to be an animal; I am having my cake and eating it too, I am relishing my existence by denying it.

Unfortunately for the gods, I am not the only one:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Stefan Molyneux on the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Who Forgot to Hire a Tech Guy?

I've long been hoping to come across an informed analysis of the Affordable Care Act (I don't call it Obamacare because if Molyneux' data are correct then AFFORDABLE Care Act is too deliciously ironic not to use as often as possible) that wasn't shrieking left- or right-wing hysteria, and lo and behold...

I found Stefan Molyneux while reading up on something else, I forget what, and it's taken me too long to get around to listening to the rest of his stuff.

Here's the Affordable Care Act bit:

To my great surprise, the bill is shit.

Newly added parts of it are also allegedly illegal.

For the antinatalists: it of course incentivizes popping 'em out, and forces everyone else to subsidize womb diarrhea.

But it turns out the Affordable Care Act is so brutal in its complexity (another reason not to call it Obamacare: one guy does not have enough hours in a lifetime to screw something up this exhaustively) there's something in there to piss everyone off. Except possibly the womb diarrhea-ists, who will try to find something to be angry about anyway.

Have a listen. Molyneux is great, if you can handle the shame of realizing how much you DON'T know about basically everything on the planet.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The air hurts me, let's watch Doug Stanhope

You ever get that itching, paranoid feeling that the universe is dreadfully but also deliberately wrong, and that Carl Sagan was a face of Satan, here to instill a sense of awe in us, because our bathos would be even funnier to whatever it is that created death if we were actually happy and excited to be swallowed in a limitless hell?

That would make Neil Degrasse Tyson a sort of Satanist Jesus, I guess. And since my usual response to the above feeling is to look for some new stand-up comedy (if I'm not hunting to see if there's a South Park episode I somehow haven't seen), I hereby promise eternal fandom to the first comic that comes up with a really good bit about the Neil and Carl show.

Also, does anyone know any dependable insomnia cures besides blackout drinking? I'm old.