Table-Talk of Parkus Grammaticus for June 24, 2008
I. Douglas on the Portland Ukefest:
There is a cultural chasm between people who pronounce “ukulele” yoo-koo-lay-lee and people who pronounce it oo-koo-leh-leh, roughly corresponding to the divide between people who prefer “fun” and people who prefer “authenticity.”
II. Mazel tov to Dizzies Team Member Izzy and "the Citizen"—
I love this picture!
—Photo by Dzyd Jen!
III. A small but nice notice for PD in The New Yorker...what's the pull quote? "Comic and creepy"?!
This comic and creepy début novel takes place in a Manhattan office depopulated by “the Firings,” where one can “wander vast tracts of lunar workscape before seeing a window.” The downsized staff huddle like the crew of a doomed spaceship, picked off one by one by an invisible predator. Crippled by computer crashes (one worker suggests that the machines are “trying to tell us about the limits of the human”), the survivors eddy in a spiritual inertia; when one of them is banished to “Siberia”—a lone desk on another floor—no one can muster the energy even to reply to her increasingly anguished e-mails, until, one day, she is simply no longer there. Park transforms the banal into the eerie, rendering ominous the familiar request “Does anyone want anything from the outside world?”
IV. Today on his Finer Things Club radio show, Dizzies Team Member Hua is joined by one of the more interesting fellows we know—"Vocoder" Dave Tompkins! Here's what Hua has to say:
Join us from 1030am-noon as the great Dave Tompkins hectors the airwaves with a sure-to-be unforgettable mix of inscrutable vocoder jams, suicidal soul ballads, "random rap," John Carpenter, 80s grooves, and a Russian electro single from 1982 credited to "Udytu and his Male Harem."
Tune in here.
V. Pauses that refresh:
"The semicolon allows woozy clauses to lean on each other like drunks for support." —Dzyd Paul, Slate
"Keeler's overuse of the comma stopped even me—a comma-lover of the first rank—dead in my tracks." —Levi on Harry Stephen Keeler's The Box From Japan
VI. "Books like [Roberto Bolaño's] 2666 take on the biggest themes their authors can imagine, and these themes are so large that it takes serious novelistic real estate to even establish them on paper." —Conversational Reading
VII. I apparently can't shut up these days—all this week I am talking to Jason Boog about Personal Days.
VIII. And finally—what would a TTOPG (Table-Talk of Parkus Grammaticus) be without...and Ouroboros?
This comes from the frontispiece of William Gaddis's The Recognitions, accompanying this interview at Splice Today (?!) with Gaddis sage Steven Moore, who put together the indispensable A Reader's Guide to William Gaddis's "The Recognitions", now available online, how do you like these comma splices, I could keep doing this forever you know...? (Via Other Ed.)
Toward the end, it was like completing a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, trying to fill in the gaps that were still missing. Only then did I write to Gaddis and tell him I'd annotated about 90 percent of it, and wondered if he still had a list of sources that I could use to finish up. He said he didn't. I learned later he was very pleased with the book, and wrote me a six-page letter filling in some of those gaps. Looking back, it was the greatest intellectual adventure of my life.
IX. I know that The Recognitions was an important book for the young EP (or do I mean the young PG?), but now realize that ARGTWGTR was maybe equally important—in the writing of Dementia Americana especially, which was written on two levels it seems, as if begging for annotation! E.g.,
—a reference to H.P. Lovecraft's brief departure from bachelordom! Which of course I annotated, ten years later...! I'm just going to annotate all my unpublished books now!
And was that his son, listlessly pitching pennies with other dead-end kids in Howard & Sonia, a sitcom about a horror writer's doomed marriage in 1920s Brooklyn?