Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Egging him on

Isn't it time you visited the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks? It's been a while, hasn't it?

My friend David has today's big scoop.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012


In the Times, Believer contributor Robert Ito has the dope on Room 237, a documentary about the mind-boggling array of theories concerning Stanley Kubrick's The Shining:

“Room 237,” the first full-length documentary by the director Rodney Ascher, examines several of the most intriguing of these theories. It’s really about the Holocaust, one interviewee says, and Mr. Kubrick’s inability to address the horrors of the Final Solution on film. No, it’s about a different genocide, that of American Indians, another says, pointing to all the tribal-theme items adorning the Overlook Hotel’s walls. A third claims it’s really Kubrick’s veiled confession that he helped NASA fake the Apollo Moon landings.

What are the other hotel room numbers of note, in film and literature? (Haven't I asked this question before, in this space? I'm sure I have. Annnnnyway...)

1. Room 208 in
Trout Fishing in America.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

At The Millions, Marjorie Hakala gives seven goof reasons why you should read Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. (Our friend Levi pops up in the comments, and notes that narrator Nick Jenkins's oeuvre appears in the Invisible Library.)

Powell’s portrayal of servants is quite funny, actually. At the time when these books were being written, P.G. Wodehouse was already making virtuosic use of the comic possibilities of the English serving class, most famously in the form of the hyper-competent Jeeves. Powell cut against the Wodehouse grain by making his servant characters only middling in competence and by having them intrude in the life of the household at the most inconvenient times, highlighting the strangeness of two entirely different categories of person living in a house together. The aforementioned butler works for an upper-class Communist, who doesn’t want a butler or really believe in having butlers, but can’t manage his enormous house without one, and there’s a sadly droll tone to their interactions.

(Image from the Telegraph.)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Genius, a Bore, or Both

Great piece on the Paris Review blog by Jenny Hendrix—who is she?—on "jack green" 's "fire the bastards!," his defense of William Gaddis's The Recognitions.

I've never read "ftb," but when I worked at the PTSNBN, I found the full-page ad from 1962 that Hendrix mentions, and made a nice clean photocopy. And I would take a picture of it and post it here...but I'm not sure where it is.

(Also discussed is the Pynchon/Wanda Tinasky affair, which I remember reading about in the pages of the New York Press...)


By sheer coincidence, Linden at Night RPM has a Gaddis-related post up today...

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flaming alphabets

Over at the Center for Fiction's Director's Blog (whew!), I put in my two cents for some novels I'm looking forward to reading in 2012—books by Ben Marcus, Antoine Wilson, Heidi Julavits, and Sergio de la Pava.

I wish I'd remembered to mention Dylan Hicks's Boarded Windows, which I read some of and really enjoyed, back when I got a review copy...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Flexing against resistance

Via a comment on Grognardia: Two Amazon reviews by the late Dr. John E. Holmes, who wrote the rules for the first basic set of Dungeons & Dragons.

One is for a collection of stories by the early-20th-century fantasy writer A. Merritt; the other is for the fourth edition to Aids to the Examination of the Peripheral Nervous System:

For every muscle there is a photo of a clinical evaluation showing position of the limb etc and the instructions ("The patient tries to flex against resistance"). For each muscle there is listed the spinal segments and periferal nerve. Included are standard sensory maps and plexus diagrams. Fits into your instrument bag or white coat pocket. Worth getting if you see only 5 neuro-muscular problems a year!


Still not sure what the relationship is between this blog and my Tumblr. Are they friends? Enemies?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Annals of coincidence

Today on the iPod, "How I Wrote Elastic Man" popped up...

When I got home there was a mysterious book/journal waiting for me, entitled Blast Counterblast.

It opened to an essay by Stuart Bailey called "Wyndham Lewis and Mark E. Smith."

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Believer...

...has a Tumblr!

First post has some Spotify goodness, to listen to while reading Greil Marcus's column. Plus 31 Love Songs to accompany Rick Moody's modest proposal re the Magnetic Fields' masterpiece.

(I will occasionally tumble 4 ya.)

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Al B. Sure!

In September, Ron Artest — the Lakers’ burly, quirky, unfailingly unpredictable forward — legally changed his name to Metta World Peace. The first name is a Buddhist term meaning “loving kindness.” The last name is self-explanatory.

The name also leads to unfortunate assertions, such as a recent story claiming that “World Peace certainly wasn’t winning over many fans” in the preseason.

So World Peace it is — on the back of his jersey, on his locker stall and every time he is introduced by Lawrence Tanter, the Lakers’ longtime public-address announcer. Tanter said he had practice, having been around when Philadelphia’s Lloyd B. Free legally changed his name to World B. Free, in 1981.

(Via Jane)

The Tree of Life: Further reading

Publicly bookmarking these for later reading—two pieces on The Tree of Life, my favorite movie of last year*:

1. A.O. Scott, "Fugue For History and Memory" (NYT)

2. David Haglund, "Adam and Eve in The Tree of Life" (Slate)

*though I saw Lee Chang-dong's Poetry via Netflix Streaming on New Year's Eve—amazing movie....Has The Poetry Foundation done a piece on it yet?

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Believer is out!

No, that's not some prototype for this month's cover—the whited-out parts are an extension of Jeannie Vanasco's essay, "Absent Things As If They Are Present," one of the last pieces that I edited. It's a lovely, learned piece, combining memoir with a smart take on the aesthetics of erasure—one of my pet interests, fittingly enough. (Discussed are Tom Phillips's A Humument and Jen Bervin's NETS, both of which I regularly taught to my Gallatin students, as well as Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes, the Jefferson Bible, Mary Ruefle's A Little White Shadow, and more.)

Also in this issue—a great Meghan Daum piece about her encounter with online venom, Daniel Handler/Greil Marcus/Nick Hornby/Jack Pendarvis columnic brilliance, Alec Michod talking to Fred Tomaselli, Amanda Stern chewing the fat with Laurie Anderson, Michael Schulman on Polari (postwar UK gay argot), Benjamin Weissman, Blake Butler, and (what a treat) Laird Hunt talking to the one and only Harry Mathews. And of course there's MORE...


There's always more—but for me, no more, on the Believer front.

In the notes and apologies area of this issue is an amazing, tear-jerking (but funny) piece about...well...me.

It's been a wonderful I-can't-believe-it's-been-nine years. I'm too choked up to get into it right now....I'll save it for my memoirs...........oh, some exclamation points for my amazing brilliant co-editors and constant inspirations: Heidi! Vendela! Andrew!...Dave of course!.....Ross! Karolina!..Andi!...Sheila!...Meehan!...Matthew Derby of yore—Jason Polan—Brandon Stosuy!...Max!...and all the terrific writers and artists (I'm not even going to begin to list them)...(maybe I'll do a post some day and try to list all of them, the ones I've worked with.....)

The farewell asks, "What will we do without Ed Park?" Simple! Continue being the best magazine around!

(I'm blown away by this illo from the pen of Tony Millionaire.)

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