Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Sleepiness of the Text

I found this passage from The Pleasure of the Text gratifying:

And yet, it is the very rhythm of what is read and what is not read that creates the pleasure of the great narratives: has anyone ever read Proust, Balzac, War and Peace, word for word? (Proust’s good fortune: from one reading to the next, we never skip the same passages.)

This passage, from David Owen’s NYer profile of the inventor Saul Griffith, was less cheering:

The Internet’s energy and carbon footprints now probably exceed those of air travel… perhaps by as much as a factor of two, and they are growing faster than those of almost all other human activities.

Griffith helped implement the electronic ink technology that the Kindle uses, inspired by the reams of paper he saw glutting Australia’s landfills. Now he’s working on wind power, sponsored by Google, to offset the Internet’s damage to the planet.

The iPad uses way more power than the Kindle. I guess that makes the Kindle, or other e-readers that use e-ink, the greenest (and least-pleasurable?) way to read. I guess people have been thinking about this already. I’m sleepy.

(Did anyone else find the photocollage illustration of Griffith—crazy hair, large/athletic/eccentric genius—along with a few superficial details of his life — child sports prodigy, professor-parents, MacArthur grant…—to be reminiscent of David Foster Wallace? I haven’t finished the piece yet (I hate reading reading diaries that obsess over or even mention how much of a work the writer has or hasn’t read, how sleepy the writer was while reading what he’s writing about, or how sleepy he is while writing, or where he was when he read the thing he’s writing about, or at what hour,what he was eating. In other words…) (Griffith lives in the Mission.)

And he also shares with Wallace the ability to extend his considerable what I think of as “formal” intelligence beyond its normal boundaries—to places of deeper feeling and compassion. In Wallace’s case, this meant applying (or maybe combining) a linguistic and philosophical and deductive/(mathematical?/rigor and) intelligence toward (or with) a sensitivity to suffering, sadness, pain, (art); Owen’s thesis in his profile (not that I’ve finished it) is that Griffith is the rare inventor who considers the social, political, cultural, and environmental obstacles to a problem’s solution, rather than focusing exclusively on technology.

Childhood Chores

THE DEVIL [Looks like a male stripper]: As it happens, you left a few chores from childhood unfinished

JONATHAN [Looks like a graphic novelist from Brooklyn]: I’m thirty-six years old

DEVIL: I know how old you are. You didn’t take out the trash, and the kitchen wasn’t mopped three times

J: That house was sold to a Welsh family in 1999. They completely remodeled it

D: You either go back and finish your chores or suffer in an erotic hell for three quarters of eternity. Choose wisely!

[opening credits]

hypothetical diet

  • No meat unless I’m a guest in someone’s home or under some sort of culinary travel-duress
  • No alcohol unless I am in love
  • [Coffee restrictions will require their own post; it’s too complex to get into now]
  • No marijuana except as an aphrodisiac or if a critic I respect writes convincingly that a film or book or band can only or best be appreciated after smoking a small (or large) amt of good marijuana
  • no tobacco unless it’s a part of an ethnographic immersion of some kind
  • no hard drugs unless I need to do them just this once in order to get a really awesome job (movie deal, Zeus’s amanuensis, etc)
  • no processed foods unless I am hungover or driving for more than ninety minutes

Famous &&Tori Amos + Andy Spelling(/Griffith-Bee (movies]

Caught a light depression. Now that depression is a disease, it’s easier to just come down with a little malaise, same as you would a seasonal cold. A sneeze’s worth of sadness. I’m glad Animal Collective is such a popular band. They deserve it. Maybe not personally, who knows, maybe those guys have hurt so many people’s feelings. But I think the music deserves to be liked. What if music doesn’t want to be liked? Some music doesn’t. I’m not talking about the composer’s intentions. The music’s aspect: friendly or not? If you send me proof that our era is “benighted,” along with an SASE and a few pages of popular science writing about plants, I’ll mail you a secret gift. A prize. If it were as cheap to fly to Nepal as it is to buy a Muni Fast Pass? Or a basket of avocados? We’d both have been to Nepal this year. I’d like for the guys from Animal Collective to send me this text message: — Andrew — we all just bought $13.49 tickets to Nepal — the flight is like an hour and a half now that our benighted (beknighted?) era has taken its magic-realist potential seriously. We’re taking the Indian Sky Train to Pokhara. Service charges come out to ~sixty bucks. If you’re not coming, tell Jennifer, we’ll bring her instead of you. You don’t have to smoke pot. Who is Jennifer’s husband.  No one will die on this trip. When we land, we’ll eat, take a nap. Then we buy bikes (bikes cost $5 in Nepal).

Here’s the recipe:

  • lemon
  • pouch
  • vegan carcass
  • salad stuff

peel the lemon like an orange, chop lemon. line bowl with iceberg lettuce. drizzle caperberries and s-cones into bowl with gusto pianissimo. shaken mint; no beef.

see you at the show; Enjoy!