Sentence of the day…

Slate film critic James Parker on the Fantastic Mr. Fox movie:

That Wes Anderson, with his glockenspiels and drolleries and minutely faceted interiors, has travestied the raucous spirit of Dahl?


Why I hate Don Delillo…

And he isn’t the only male American novelist I hate. Not to be a feminazi or anything. There are just too many goddamn self-important-I-think-I’m-so-brilliant American writers… and nine times out of ten they’re men. The list goes on and on: Roth, Updike, Delillo, Bellows, Pynchon etc., etc.

James Woods (not the actor) wrote a pretty incredible article in 2001 about the need for American novels to “abandon social and theoretical glitter”.

The Great American Social Novel, which strives to capture the times, to document American history, has been revivified by Don DeLillo’s Underworld, a novel of epic social power. Lately, any young American writer of any ambition has been imitating DeLillo – imitating his tentacular ambition, the effort to pin down an entire writhing culture, to be a great analyst of systems, crowds, paranoia, politics; to work on the biggest level possible.

The DeLilloan idea of the novelist as a kind of Frankfurt School entertainer – a cultural theorist, fighting the culture with dialectical devilry – has been woefully influential, and will take some time to die. Nowadays anyone in possession of a laptop is thought to be a brilliance on the move, filling his or her novel with essaylets and great displays of knowledge. Indeed, “knowing about things” has become one of the qualifications of the contemporary novelist. Time and again novelists are praised for their wealth of obscure and far-flung social knowledge.

Richard Powers is the best example, but Tom Wolfe also gets an easy ride simply for “knowing things”.) The reviewer, mistaking bright lights for evidence of habitation, praises the novelist who knows about, say, the sonics of volcanoes. Who also knows how to make a fish curry in Fiji! Who also knows about terrorist cults in Kilburn! And about the New Physics! And so on. The result – in America at least – is novels of immense self-consciousness with no selves in them at all, curiously arrested and very “brilliant” books that know a thousand things but do not know a single human being.

Great Canadian Song Quest


Say what you will about the new Radio 2, love it or hate it, today was amazing. They commissioned 13 artists to write songs about each province and territory and all of them were good, several of them were downright fucking phenomenal. I loved every second of it. I heard of several new artists I’ve never heard of, and some of them just knocked my socks off, especially the women representing Nunavut and the Yukon, Lucie Idlout and Kim Barlow. Where the fuck have they been all my life? And Saskatchewan? Deep Dark Woods? Amazing.

Check out the songs, maybe even buy a few if you’re feeling saucy. This just seems to me to be a win win situation. It’s the best possible way to spend taxpayer’s money – supporting independent artist, creating beautiful beautiful music and memorializing some lesser known Canadian places like Singing Sands in P.E.I. and Good Time Charlie’s bar in Saskatoon. Good job CBC!


Summing up my shameful Twilight love…

The Washington Post has a good article about smart literate folks who can’t help loving Twilight. I confess.

The people who have not read “Twilight” think they are astoundingly brilliant when they point out the misogynist strains of the series, like how Bella bypasses college in favor of love, like how Edward’s “romantic” tendencies include creepily sneaking into Bella’s house to watch her sleep, like how Bella’s only “flaw” is that she is clumsy, thereby necessitating frequent rescues by the men in her life, who swoop in with dazzling chisleyness and throw her over their shoulders.

In response: We know. We know.

The women who have succumbed to “Twilight” have heard all of these arguments before. They wrote those arguments. This self-awareness is what makes the experience of loving “Twilight” a conflicting one, as if they had all been taught proper skin-care routines but chose instead to rub their faces with a big pizza every night.

Pretty much. Props for inventing the word “chisleyness”.

The man is a genius…

Ta-nehisi says stuff I hate to acknowledge, and says it just oh-so elegantly. Fuck I’m jealous:

One more thing–I think if you’re really concerned about equality, be that gender, ethnic, religious whatever, you have to come terms with the fact that this means equality even for individuals you don’t much like. It means equality for people who you feel consciously exploit inequality for their own individual gain.

You don’t get to infer that Juan Williams is a porch monkey because you disagree with him. You don’t get to objectify Sarah Palin because you think she’s an awful person. Not if you expect people to take your concerns seriously. I said this already, but it bears repeating–a principle applied only to people you like, mocks that principal. We don’t raise these questions about gender for Sarah Palin’s benefit–we do it for our own.