Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"I'm a PC and I eat crayons."

You know, these counter-ads by Microsoft seemed misguided in the first place, but the latest one, where the dude intones in a stiff monotone that "I'm a PC and I eat pancakes" seems to be implying that PC users are literally mentally disabled. This doesn't really strike me as a winning strategy--but then, I don't have a multi-billion-dollar advertising department, so what do I know?

Being a graduate student is great.

It just is. When you're constantly reading challenging things and making connections and feeling, wow, it's really starting to come together, intellectually--it's just fucking exhilarating. What more can be said? I only wish for more time--because, reading for exams, you really can't afford to read more than you need to do in order to get a handle on the authors in question. There isn't a whole lot of depth. Which, I suppose is appropriate when we're talking about postmodernism. But what I'd love to do is just hit a big ol' pause button and devote however long it takes to reading the entire corpora of John Barth, Donald Barthelme, and William Gass. But not William Gaddis. I liked The Recognitions, and I want to read JR just because it's supposed to be hard and I like challenges, but he honestly strikes me as kind of a dick, and I hear that dickishness is accentuated in his later work. I also want to finish Delany's Nevèrÿon series. And some more Vollmann. And what the hell--I'm in an expansive enough mood that I'll even cram some more DeLillo down my gullet, even though it'll just irritate me. Am I a great guy, or what?

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Destroys my days" might be pushing it, BUT...

I was at the supermarket today, and, in a bizarre turn of events, the Manic Street Preachers song "The Everlasting" started playing over the loudspeaker. There is undoubtedly something disquieting about learning that a band about which you were at one point as fanatical as you ever were about anything is now considered sufficiently anodyne to be played as background muzak punctuated with announcements about exciting sales in our produce department and injunctions for a cashier to come to register three for a ring-up. I look forward to hearing them play "Of Walking Abortion" next time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Regarding tonight's episode of The Office...

..."it squeaks when you bang it" is the best "that's what she said" ever. That is all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saber, Divine Healer, and Hypnoso

by: GeoX
age: 10

Nothing I could possibly say would prepare you for the sheer, howling madness of this, my magnum opus.

An old man was sitting outside his hut, gazing at the sky. A guard walked up to the hut.

“Aragon?” You’re wanted by the Czar.”

Aragon turned; “Hua why?”

“You know perfectly well why!” the guard answered grimly. “You know you killed the czars son in a fire last night.”

Aragon leapt from his seat. “Murdered Raldro!!!!!!???? I never…”

“Come on,” the guard said.

At the Czar’s hut, a servant showed Aragon to where the Czar was sitting, wild with remorse (or at least what looked like remorse)!

“You have been accused of killing my son” the Czar stated. “As he lay dying all he said was to kill you.” Aragon made a strong protest, but the Czar intervened by saying: “Well if it wasn’t you then who was it?”

“I would not put it past you my Lord.”

“ME!?!?!?! Insolent fiend; throw him in the volcano!” And then as an afterthought, “At once!”

The Czar knew full well that Aragon know that he, the Czar, had murdered Kaldro.

That climb up the volcano was quite treacherous, as there was nothing except the bare rock face, and it was so steep that one of the guards fell and was killed instantly. At the top, Aragon screamed his final words. “I am innocent; the Czar hath mur”--- What he would have said next is unknown as, at that point, a guard pushed him into the volcano with a spear.

When Aragon’s son, Cabillabong (a sorcerer), heard of his father’s death, he raged around his hut, ransacking it. Suddenly he stopped, realizing that this anger would get him nowhere. “With my power,” he thought, “I could easily bring my father back.”

Most of the things required were quite readily found. The tongue of a single-fanged sabertooth caused some problems, but, for the most part, it was quite simple. For the most part! There was just one ingredient that troubled him. That was a sprig of ontra.

Ontra was an extinct type of tree. There is only one sprig of the stuff in existence, and that is in the crown of the Czar of Knowalastani, an isolated island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. A major flaw sopped most people from getting there: This island has in no specific spot; instead of just sitting there like most islands, it floated all over the Caribbean!!!!!!!!!!

Cabillabong decided to sail to Cuba to sea Akua, the famout Soothsayer who generally knew the location of things like Knowalastani. The trouble with that was that he had nothing to pay for a fair, and he did not want to serve as a deckhand. That was hard work, and Cabillabong detested work of any kind. In the end, he decided to hunt until he caught enough with which to pay his fair. He dug a pit in front of his hut. Then he put a huge pile of grass all along the path th where a herd of elephants were browsing. Then he rode a donkey named Carter to where the elephants were browsing, and stabbed a huge bull named Ford. Cabillabong jumped off Carter’s back, into the grass pile and the latter ran back toward Cabillabong’s hut like the wind, hotly pursued by Ford.

When Carter reached the pit, he dodged to one side, but elephants are not as agile as donkeys, and Ford went charging into the trap. A few minutes later, Cabillabong walked up and saw the prostrated form of Ford lying in the pit. He yelled “YAY DEMOCRATS!!!!! Good work, Carter.” And he patted his faithful doneky on the head.

Cabillabong took Ford’s tusks (Ford, by the way, was now dead) to an ivory-smith, who forged them into two swords. Cabillabong then took them to his cave, on the slope of Mt. Kenya, where he performed all his sorcery, and immerced one of them in a strange, greenish-brown ooze, muttering incantations, and melting small [?] over a fire. This process went on for twelve nights and days; Cabillabong eating nothing all the while.

At the end of the twelfth night, as the clock struck midnight, Cabillabong screamed, “Moren ontra sota!” And he pulled the gleaming blade from the ooze. Then he fained from lack of food.

The next morning, Cabillabong ate about two and a half pounds of salted elephant which, though not so great-tasting, tasted to Cabillabong like something the Czar would only long for. As you know, he had not eaten for twelve days, so he could have eaten a moldy yam…and relished it.

When his hunger was satisfied, Cabillabong tested his new sword. It worked. It could cut through an old bronze spearhead like water, and I mean literally!!!!!!! Then he took the sword he had not “mutated” to the dock where the Cuba-bound ship, the Piranha, was. The Captain was talking to an old, mean-looking man.

“Yah know Orclave, piratin’ ain’t what it used to be. Most o’ these ships sailin’ nowadays are so heavily armed…plus, most of ‘em are carryin’ Quatellaguese warriors who want to fight in the Quatell-Chemno Li wars.”

“Patriotic young soulds though, ain’t they?” The other laughed. “Well Gualla, I’ve totally given up the piratin’ game. Honest folks have it better. I’ve seen that all over ‘ey’ve got such luxuries as ivory weapons. Oh how I long to wield an ivory sword.”

Orclave sighed. “But I’m afraid that day will never be. Well, I’ll still make out ferryin’ people across the sea, for values such as food and weapons. But oh how I wish I could someday wield a sword of ivory.

“You’re in luck,” breathed Cabillabong. “That day will be today.”

When the first man had left, Cabillabong came out of the bushes and said toe Orclave, “Look here sir. I overheard you saying you’d be chargin’ to ferry people across the sea. Well I’m not too rich, but I’ve got this here ivory sword and it’s yours if you’ll just take me over to Cuba and back.”

“Done!” Orclave said quickly. “Be back here at two o’clock sharp. We’ll have to leave if you’re late.”

At two o’clock, Cabillabong walked to the pier with the things he was taking: both his swords, Carter (for it was customary for Cuban gentlemen to ride donkeys at that time), a large flask of lemon juice, some money, a little salted elephant (just in case), and a hunting knife.

The first week at sea quite uneventful, with a fair wind and a calm sea, but then a great calm came, which greatly agitated Orclave. “This weather can only mean a storm,” he said, pacing the deck and looking at the sky.

A few days later, Orclave’s predictions proved true. Cabillabong was riding Carter along the deck, when all of a sudden a huge wave smashed across the deck, and knocked Cabillabong off Carter, and the pair of them were swept into the sea. Then came a nightmare. He fell unconscious and he saw End approaching him. He ran but did not leave where he was standing! End enveloped him. He screamed.

Cabillabong looked up. A woman was standing over him. She forced a foul-tasting “medicine” down his throat. In the half-conscious state he was in, he forgot that he had been immunized to the rotting death, which was what she was obviously trying to infect him with. Then she left the tent.

For seven days and seven nights Cabillabong lay near to death. At last, after the seventh night, he crawled around, looking for food. He readily found a stream and drank gratefully, but he was in need of more than just water. Cabillabong was showing signs of scurvy!!!!!

Cabillabong looked around and saw an orange tree. He shook it and ate of the fruit that fell from the branches. His next thought was escape. He had no way of knowing that he was already on Knowalastani.!!!!!!!

He was unaware, that is, until he saw some men carrying a canoe, and one of them was wearing a crown of ontra on his head!!!!!!!! Cabillabong drew his ivory sword (which he had had around his waist all this time), killed all the men, and took the crown of ontra. Then, he dug three huge holes with the canoe paddles. The holes were so deep that they went right into the sea below Knowalastani (which is why you’ve never heard of the place). Cabillabong put the canoe on the holes, and when Knowalastani had sunk sufficiently, he rowed back home. The voyage took a long time but was quite uneventful.

When Cabillabong got to the dock he immediately ran to his hut and mixed a spring of ontra in the concoction to bring Aragon back from the dead. Then he drank it.

Suddenly Cabillabong heard his father’s voice. “Thou hast wasted thou good time making that stuff. I shall never return in this life.” Then there was silence.

Cabillabong screamed with frustration. “If I cannot bring your back to life then I shall kill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” He then mixed together the most deadly thing that there was. It’s quite simple: the liver of a rabid bad boiled in grapefruit juice. Now the death from the poison was spreading the countryside!!!!!

End, the Czar of Death, was getting worried. Too many people were dying for comfort. There were so many souls in his realm, that there was hardly room for himself (death), Rio-Liedeath (reincarnation), Liefariovieck (life), and several other minor gods and goddesses.

End looked for Rio-Liedeath and found him playing chess with Leafrome, a minor goddess of murder. End called up to him “RIO!”

Rio-Liedeath looked up. “Huh? What is it?”

“Well, here’s what I want you to do.”

Rio-Liedeath walked up to the death vine and addressed Aragon, who was just preparing to climb it. “You, hey you with the burn marks.” Aragon turned.

“What is it milord?”

“How would you like to be a god?” Rio-Liedeath queried.

“Me milord? Well, I never really thought about it, but I guess it would be fun.”

“Then you’re in luck. You’re going to be a god…a god of healing. First, you must kill a man who is poisoning the countryside. You will find him at…”

A few minutes later, Aragon was walking toward Cabillabong’s village. When he got there, it was pitch black. He ran toward Cabillabong’s house, eager to do the deed and be done with it. At Cabillabong’s house, Aragon saw the former sleeping by the kettle with the poison in it. He tipped it over Cabillabong’s head, killing him instantly.

Back at End’s realm, Onove, End greeted Aragon as Saber, “And your son, whom you have killed, is now Hypnoso, god of hypnosis.”


Random drive-by observation

I've never seen a James Bond movie. Am I a freak? Regardless, there's allegedly a new film called "Quantum of Solace" coming out. I say allegedly because I'm pretty sure that's actually the title of a Castlevania game. Won't moviegoers be surprised when they learn how they've been tricked!

Sometimes it is hard to be upbeat.

I think Obama's election, barring electoral fraud on a level never before seen in this country, is more or less a fait accompli, along with substantial Democratic gains in both houses. For whatever that's worth. Which is a fuck of a lot better than the alternative. I'm not even really thinking about that much anymore. But what I find incredibly depressing is the very real possibility that, in spite of this massive repudiation of the republicans, Proposition 8 may very well be passed in California. Of course, it's deeply fucked up that this is even on the ballot. SO MANY PEOPLE working their little hearts out to make sure that gays remains second-class's enough to make one feel quite ill.

Anti-gay propositions always are fucked, of course, but mostly they're in states that don't already have gay marriage. This is a bill designed to take away existing rights. I don't get how that's even legal. Does this mean we could also have a proposition to repeal women's suffrage? What the hell, people. But the point is, the fact that this regressive bullshit could pass in an allegedly liberal place like California indicates to me that, while people have woken up just enough to realize how fucked-up the Republicans are, that sure as hell doesn't indicate a great tide of leftism washing over the nation. Obviously the Democrats don't exactly represent that tide anyway, but one likes to imagine that at least the will is there. If it's not, then why bother? We'll just keep going around in circles. I've said it before and I'll say it again: warring city-states, people. It's the only sensical future for this country.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Students are funny

The scene: Class this evening

The text: An excerpt from The Communist Manifesto

Me, trying to get a reaction: So what do you think? Should all the parasitic, bourgeois factory owners be lined up against the wall and shot?

The Reaction: General indifference to the fate of the factory owners.

Me, summing up a passage where Marx and Engels note that the owners have no incentive to pay the workers anything more than enough to subsist and propagate: Basically, all they care about is giving them just enough to eat and fuck.

The Reaction: OMG! Did he just say that?!?

So it goes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Tragedy: Sentansensia

by: GeoX
age: 9

(The truth is, it's only a "tragedy" because I got bored with it and decided to cut it short by murdering the protagonist. The place names are all real: I had a Rand-McNally atlas and was not afraid to use it.)

A tragedy

Syen-fay sat restlessly beside the Kapuas River. This is worse than Thailand he thought. I always thought Borneo was filled with jungles and tropical rivers but this—Kazawa or whatever it’s called—is about as tropical as the Nmai. I wanna go back to Gawai.

Suddenly thunder sounded and Syen-fay’s mother called him. When he came she said “I’m taking a walk, you start the Odyssey. When she had left Syen threw the Odyssey into the fire. “May the same fate befall every epic” he said.

He went outside and jumped into the Kapuas for a swim.

Suddenly he was going down until he touched ground. In front of him there were three signs: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, and beside each one was a doorway.

Weird place he thought but went into verbs. Inside there were three signs: action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs. Syen chose helping. Inside it looked more like a corn field than anything else. Syen wished he had brought his book Parts of Speech (even though it was written espanol since he had brought it in Madrid).

Then he came to a windy woods, in the middle of which was a large river. Not wanting to sink again Syen threw a rock in and it floated very well. If it’ll hold a rock it’ll hold me Syen reasoned. But his reasoning was wrong. Why? The rock was microscopic!

His very last words were, “what the he—ugh bgue [last word illegible]!”


Intriguing view of history from student writing

All presidential elections are monumental and historical. This year's presidential election is by far going to be the most historical election yet.

One little "al" makes all the difference.

A Reader's Manifesto

The most serious charge that can be leveled against this book is that it tends to foster a poisonous kind of anti-intellectualism: sure, the authors on whom he focuses are guilty of very bad writing, but the enjoinment to trust your own senses and not believe what the ever-ominous They want you to believe about literary quality (this embodied perfectly in the Philip Larking quote at the beginning) is going to be equally effective in screening out legitimately challenging literature. Myers may be a big Joyce fan, but if everyone took him absolutely at his word, how many people would ever read Ulysses? Few to none, that's how many. In the book's conclusion, in which he responds to his critics, he becomes very upset that anyone would think to criticize this fact, noting that throughout he does in fact champion Joyce, as well as writers like Balzac, Beckett, Nabokov, Bellow, and Conrad. And this is true--but the fact remains: the idea that one should take a balanced view of literary complexity simply does not come through. Myers may think his writing is more nuanced than it actually is, but in this case I am going to have to take Larkin's advice and trust my eyes, ears, and understanding. Whether he intends it or not, Myers is giving people permission to avoid reading anything that would force them to do any real work. That's not a good thing.

Furthermore, there's a certain undefined quality to Myers' criticisms. "Pretentiousness" is pretty vague, and he tosses around "postmodern" without, I think, being particularly clear on what the term actually means (to be fair, a lot of people do this--but they aren't the ones writing books about it). If his thinking were a little less muddled, I think his book would be a lot more effective.

With these caveats, however, don't let me dissuade anyone from reading it. Myers has isolated a real problem in contemporary literature, and he addresses it with passion and wit. Furthermore, it's a fun, breezy read, and his somewhat catty judgments are an only partially guilty pleasure. At the very least, he encourages readers to think critically about what they read, which is valuable all by itself.

And it really is pretty difficult to argue with his conclusions. The weakest chapter is that on Paul Auster; the selections he from City of Glass that he chooses to highlight seem trivially clumsy at worst, and I persist in believing that the New York Trilogy is pretty fab. Some of the examples he provides from Auster's later work, which I haven't read, are more persuasive, however, and I'm willing to accept the possibility that the man's writing went downhill fast.

The chapters on Annie Proulx and David Guterson seem somewhat random--maybe I just move in the wrong circles but, although I know in some vague way that Proulx is well-regarded by a certain kind of person, she doesn't strike me as someone with all that much literary cachet. And as for Guterson, my immediate reaction was "who?" He may have won awards of some kind, but he's hardly a major literary force. These chapters are still fun to read--Proulx's prose in particular is revealed to be deeply horrid--but one wonders if Myers couldn't have aimed a little more carefully when choosing targets.

The chapter on DeLillo is well-chosen indeed, however, as DeLillo is our second-most-overrated living writer. Unfortunately, this is also where Myers suffers the most from his unfamiliarity with postmodern concepts. It's not that DeLillo engages with these concepts well (which is kind of the point), and I can't argue with any of Myers' judgments, but there are places where he doesn't seem to understand exactly what DeLillo is trying (and usually failing) to do, and his critique would be harder for critics to attack if he did.

On the other hand, the chapter on Cormac McCarthy--our MOST overrated living writer--is truly a thing of beauty. McCarthy's insistence on elevating everything, even a hangover, to Biblical levels of import--his ridiculous use of simplistic and...and...and... constructions to create fake unaffected profundity--his absurd fetishising of horses (favorite line: "no one ever sees a cow's soul")--all of these things are neatly taken apart. It's very difficult for me to see how anyone can persist in taking McCarthy seriously after reading Myers. As far as I'm concerned, this section alone is worth the price.

It bears repeating: if you use this book as a rationale to avoid serious literature altogether, then, as the LOLcats say, UR DOIN IT WRONG. If I catch any of you people not reading Gravity's Rainbow because of Myers, I will be forced to give you a very stern talking-to. Purely as a clarion call for good writing, however, A Reader's Manifesto is hard to beat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We are all Joe the Plumber

Holy SHIT McCain is coming unglued. I think this is gonna go down as the moment where any hope of winning slipped away from him.

Limerick Time #2

An Inuit known as Sam Rice,
Although he had tried to be nice,
Could not help but rave
When the iglootect, Dave,
Said "fuck Kraft Peanut Brittle--use ice."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This had BETTER be true...

...because I am having, oh, I don't know, FORTY-SEVEN SIMULTANEOUS ORGASMS here, and I'd hate for them to be in vain. Maybe the dude can become super-duper prolific in his old age, just to fuck with our heads. That would rock the hizz-ouse.

If it's a detective story in the sixties, it could feature Lew Basnight as an old coot. And if it does, I want to be on record as the first one to predict as much, probably.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Conservative apostasy

Just now, on Colbert, Kathleen Parker as much as admitted that she's voting for Obama. There are gonna be some chilly moments at the National Review offices tomorrow. Maybe former wingnut John Cole can give her some moral support.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nooooo! Connecticut's fallen to teh gays!

White Noise

I just realized that the reason this didn't go through immediately was almost certainly "Elvishitler." Sheesh.

Consumerism is all around us. See? Here are some random brand names. It shapes and warps our personal lives. Late capitalism! Deeper meaning is lost! Booyah! The past is reduced to dehistoricized simulacra! Don't believe me? Check this out: Hitler. Elvis. Elvishitler! See? Are you taking notes?

Yes, Don, I see--how could I not?--but I'm afraid I'm not taking notes, because this is all Postmodern Theory 101. Everything in here is very basic, and DeLillo just plonks it down in front of us in a big, undigested mass. You might as well just read Fredric Jameson and be done with it. Other writers' works are informed by postmodern concepts; DeLillo's just tells you, right up-front, "look--here are some postmodern concepts," and then apparently expects you to look impressed, even though he doesn't do anything interesting or different with them. How many scenes do we need in shopping centers before we get the picture? A LOT, is apparently how many. Seriously: many times you will think, well, that's probably enough scenes in grocery stores, and then there'll be ANOTHER one. The book ENDS in one. DeLillo is absolutely OBSESSED with these scenes, and what is the sum total of their purpose? I'll tell you: there is consumerism; it has become a sacrament; we use it to hide/cover up death. Honest to god, that is ALL. Nothing deeper than that. And yet he seems to think it's the most profound thing in the world.

Take also the whole "Hitler Studies" conceit. Okay, so this is emblematic of how historicity works, or fails to work, in a postmodern environment. It's also how the main character tries to escape his fear of death. Fine. I'm tentatively interested. So tell us more: what exactly goes on in these classes? What leads students to major in this field? What further implications does it have for a postmodern world? Don't bother asking these questions, because you won't get an answer. DeLillo seems to believe that the basic germ of an idea is enough. But it's not. Barring any further development, it's just unbearably trite.

I suspect all of this would be a lot less bothersome if it weren't all so...unadorned. You needn't be a super-deep, probing, original thinker to write a successful novel in the postmodern idiom. It helps, of course, but even if your ideas themselves aren't all that clever, you can make them engaging by placing them in an interesting context or putting an unusual spin on them. DeLillo sad to say, is simply not interested in doing anything of the kind. I honestly started to feel a kind of rage every time another random product name was inserted into the narrative: you think that's good enough? You think that's all you have to do? You actually, no joke, think you're being CLEVER? JAYSUS, but you are one smug, self-satisfied little git.

Does he make up for this by populating the novel with interesting people? No. DeLillo's characters never have conversations; they just endlessly circle around each other. Okay okay, they live in a world in which communication has broken down. Point taken. I do not see, however, how this justifies the fact that they all--from small children to highly educated professors--talk in exactly the same elliptical pseudo-profundities. Other writers are able to present this same sense of disconnection without making all the characters into sockpuppets for their oh-so-clever (but they AREN'T particularly clever!) ideas. One really gets the impression that DeLillo is using this idea of disconnection as an excuse to hide the fact that he's just lousy at writing character.

Does he make up for this with interesting plotting? Again, I hate to sound negative, but no. The book gets marginally less irritating after the first hundred pages, when things actually start HAPPENING, but the first section, which almost literally consists of nothing more than a LOT of "look at all this postmodernism! See? Isn't it postmodern? Here's some more! Postmodernism!" is pretty rough going. And even when it gets less bad, still I don't know that I'd quite call it "good." The narrative remains pretty enervating throughout. The climactic act of violence at the end is certainly the most vivid part of the book; the only time it breaks out of its self-satisfied inertness and feels at all human. Honestly, though, given the tone set by the rest of the novel, it seems more jarring and out-of-place than anything.

People allege that DeLillo is funny. I beg to differ. He has a few amusing lines here and there ("he regarded me with the grimly superior air of a combat veteran. Obviously he didn't think much of people whose complacent and overprotected lives did not allow for encounters with brain-dead rats"), but the large bulk of the "humor" in this book is pretty impoverished. The gruesomely precious, oh-so-clever-clever family conversations in particular are just about more than a man can bear.

And this lack of humor is really what it boils down to. I enjoy postmodern fiction because, even at its most reactionary (see Williams Gass and Gaddis), there's a sense of exhilaration to it: we've lost our historical narratives, meaning has been flattened, and we're all disconnected, but hey, we're also liberated! We can do whatever we want! Let's party in the ruins! DeLillo is the big exception to this. There is nothing exhilarating about White Noise. It's just a series of numbingly banal ideas, repeated over and over, with no engaging story or characters to support them.

One might argue: White Noise was written in 1985. "The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism" had just been published the previous year. Perhaps all of the novel's ideas didn't seem as self-evident then as they are now. I think it's the best argument you could make, but the fact remains, there are any number of writers more or less of DeLillo's generation--Pynchon, Barth, Coover, Doctorow, Reed, Bartheleme, and on and on and on--who, at this time and well before, were writing books that are smarter, more thought-provoking, and just plain more enjoyable than White Noise. In light of that, there's just no excuse for this kind of plodding mediocrity.

I'm sorry if this review seems insufferable, but I think an alternate viewpoint on DeLillo is sorely needed. I'm a postmodernist. I love the attendant literature. I have no instinctive revulsion here; quite the opposite, in fact: I WANT to like DeLillo, and I know some very smart people who do. But while I'd be all ears If someone could give me a cogent reason why I should join them, I haven't heard it yet. In the meantime, if you have to read him, I would recommend the opening section of Underworld (you can safely skip the rest of the novel unless you're a serious glutton for punishment). It's surprisingly good, and suggests that the man isn't as talent-deficient as he seems, even if that talent doesn't translate very well into novels. Otherwise, I recommend the Psychedelic Furs song "Soap Commercial." It pretty much does what White Noise does, only much more succinctly. And it's a rockin' tune.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

White supremacism in student writing

Christ almighty:

I mean why? What gave this man the idea to run for president? If he was smart he would know he is risking his life and that he will never succeed. I believe that USA should only be run by a true American. A true American is a white person with a family tree that started in America and has no connection with other races.

To be fair, he also doesn't like McCain, because he might die in office, and then:

No offense but I don't think anyone would want to see a woman as president and I know I am not alone.

What a delightful young man. His last name is Italian. I somehow doubt he sees the irony.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Let slip the walruses of war

This term needs to appear in google searches, so allow me to repeat myself: let slip the walruses of war.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Things that are not funny.

A number of sternly-worded comments inform me that this is NOT FUNNY, due to being sexist degrading &c, so I would like to emphasize that it did not cause me to collapse in a fit of immature giggling. Especially the part about the Russians. This is a Very Serious Matter.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This is something that should not happen.

I kind of agree with Kelly this week. The cartoon seems weirdly out-of-character--although I find his kicked-puppy expression kind of priceless--but seriously--"nowhere?"