Category Archives: punditry

Sonofavitch

Among the subplots Joshua Cohen cut from Witz:

a Spinoza section, set in seventeenth century Netherlands; a section written entirely in transliterated Yiddish; a section written entirely in Hebrew (untransliterated, which is to say with Hebrew characters); a section set in (the nonexistent Jewish) Heaven, which I severed to form my previous novel, A Heaven of Others; at least three other recipes, two scenes set at the White House, two in “Palestein,” and numerous recurring conversations between trees or people named for trees (this was never quite clear: Apfelbaum, Birnbaum, etc., straight through to Zitronenbaum), of whom only a Feigenbaum remains.

As for when I knew the book was finished: I’ll only know when my father finishes reading it.

Advertisements

Domo Corpusti

OCEAN: The black flag wavers for a fucking second, not safe for work, a grand glugging gets going and the waters of the world drain away.

BUSTY CACTUS: They drain? Don’t you think they’d evaporate first?

OCEAN: Naw. No. They drain. Through mine anus. Through mine geo-bio-tunnel. Which, I should add, can be quite sensitive. There is a monolithic crustacean scurrying back and forth there right now, and it’s driving me fairly batty with Enchrodinicius [flutters his eyelids]

B.C.: Aight

O: Yepp

B.C.: Wanna tangle

O: Nope

B.C.: Cooking school vacation?

O: Naw

BC: Comic book store

O: Naw. When I feel like this, all I can listen to is stuff from Apraxia records.

BC: These guys?

O: No. Where did yo find that.

BC: Tee hee the internet

O: You’re a terrible person [stabs the busty cactus in the face with a pen knife]

BC: [horrible screeming (sic), cactus blood everywhere. this is a nightmare. weeping, moaning, awful]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

O: [horrible screaming]

BC: [horrible screaming]

Continue reading

Dirtbikin’ Through the Times

two quotations from the nyt:

White excitedly showed sketches for his contribution to Meatpaper magazine’s party at Camino the following night: a pig’s head stuffed with a terrine of tongues. (“Blah Blah Beats the Nodes Out of the Snot-Rags,” p. A57)

In effect, anybody with money can circumvent the Legislature by putting something to a statewide plebiscite, something that has happened 71 times in the last decade, according to Mark Baldassare, the head of the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan research firm. (“Headline’s Mouthterpiece Theaterbones Makes Goodly One More Time,” headline page C16)

If you guessed why every article in the Sunday Times reminds me of my colleague “Plebiscite“, you;ve guessed correctly! what

I have a cold and cannot think straight. I just made a funky, “downtown” variation on this soup, it’s healing me I hope.

I cannot complain

************* [deeper inside the cavity]

Many more odes on this theme [of motorcycles] would follow, and they have been derided by some (the Language poet Ron Silliman has called Seidel a “rich boy formalist… principally known as a collector of expensive motorcycles”), but in his enthusiasm for these machines, Seidel is making good on Rimbaud’s dictum: “We must be absolutely modern.” Curiously, the more Seidel writes about Ducatis the more French he sounds. (Christian Lorentzen on F. Seidel in The National)

Rimbaud’s dictum made me think: Dumbo’s rectum? Dumbeaux’s rictum? Dalrymple’s dimpled cloud, reflected in a rictus? His poutered victim?—– What????

(via “the inimitable Justin Taylor” (quotation marks mine))

antimonkey-thumb-250x250-19870

Twilight of the Superheroes

Last night I was in the Powell St. BART station returning home after seeing Twilight because when I am hungover and unslept I turn into a fourteen-year-old girl. For a couple of years now this station has almost exclusively run single-product campaigns, e.g. with every single billboard and pole-poster–at  least several hundred throughout the station–devoted to a single product. My fellow hungover friend knew the official term for this strategy: station domination.

The brand currently dominating the Powell St. station is Pepsi, in one of those campaigns that never states the product’s name — just an oblique URL (“refresheverything.com“) and Pepsi’s redesigned logo, which takes their old red-white-and-blue-balled lozenge and torques it:

pepsi_logo

It looks more like a airline logo now — and, of course, like the symbol for the Obama campaign. As I type this, I feel there must be at least 114 Bay Area and New York City–area bloggers writing identical posts about this very issue. Pepsi begs for the comparison — not just the logo tweak, but the campaign’s text: Refresh Everything and the attendant catchlines (several contain the word “change”) could have easily gone on an Obama/Biden bumper sticker. It all makes me want to play that classic parlour game,  Imagine What the Advertising Agency’s Meeting About This Campaign Was Like!!

  • Our logo is a lot like Obama’s. We need to turn this potentially diluting liability into a “positive” by co-opting the logo and the slogan. Change becomes refreshment, in every sense of that word: mouth-refreshment, cultural refreshment, political refreshment, spiritual refreshment. It’ll be a poppy, punny, sunny campaign: several billboards (and the TV spots) have the word POP (with the logo as the O) repeated with no context, so the meanings multiply: pop as in Midwestern for soda;  pop as in the Apples in Stereo track that accompanies the spots. Populism? Popularity? This country is behind Obama, and we’ll run the campaign where his support was strongest. The new Pepsi will be what fuels and refreshes this nation’s new Change-thirsty citizens.

The campaign is so obvious that it feels dumb to criticize it. It’s hard to imagine anyone missing the connection. Is this worth fighting against? Should we boycott Pepsi? Is there an editor who’d want an angry letter? Should I throw away my old Fun Trick Noisemaker CD?

The forgotten corners of our world

ARFIN: are you a little shitwizard? [Impatient, and with furious affection] Yes you are!

CELEBRIANNE: no, I’m just sensitive

A: What did you do last night during the historic election?

C: Thought about sadness

A: Are you really that self-important?

C: No. I mean, yes. I acknowledge that the historic election will mean that the U.S. will not be regarded as a pile of wet, soiled down comforters anymore. And other good things that happen with a Democratic administration. But when I look in the mirror…

A: What to you see, Celebrianne?

C: My face.

A: OK… What else?

C: Whatever’s behind me. Whatever I’m standing in front of. My stereo. Some posters. A hamper.

A: What time of day is it?

C: [Hugs herself a little, like she’s a big ole mug of tea, and her arms are fingers, and she’s warming herself on a mug of steaming self.] It’s definitely night. I have school the next day. We’re in New City, New York.

A: Are you a lesbian?

C: Yes. No. I have a boyfriend.

A: What is his name?

C: Playa. Maya. Something like that. He’s an Indian. He’s blind. He’s got Michael Phelps’s body. He’s alone. He can’t hear me. [Not shouting] Michael…

A: Have you eaten?

C: I ate some of those Paul Newman Oreos. And a few cups of decaffeinated tea. Herbal. Before that, nothing since the afternoon, a Nutter Butter. A latté.

A: How did you get here?

C: I drove my white Camaro. I’m menstruating. I’m a convincingly rendered female character. I’m alone.

A: Do you like comedy?

C: I like the arty shit. My Dinner with Paper Rad (1997). Just kidding. I watch Alf.

A: Do you like art?

C: I like sex. I masturbate. I kid. I go to museums. I’ve believed since I was young that going to a museum is a psychic battery charging experience. The charge from a long visit to a good museum of modern or contemporary art can last up to two months, sometimes longer. I like Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, everyone I’ve ever kissed–

A: You’re cute.

C: Thank you.

A: Do any of your friends have good lives?

C: They all do. They’re all fantastic lovers, and their lovers are the luckiest humans around. We live like gods. I’d like you to feed me a grape.

[C Produces a film-processing envelope from Walgreen’s. Removes the photos. A and C go through the pictures together: Scenes from the early morning of Nov. 4, 2008, in New York City and San Francisco. Young people dancing in impromptu street parties. C stops at one picture of a young man standing off to the side of the impromptu Obama celebration, watching. He leans against a car, hands in pockets, an only partially artificial smile on his face.]

A: Who’s that?

dscf0173

C: That’s our narrator. He’s glad Obama won. He’s thrilled. He’s got the two beers and one glass of champagne he drank last night to prove it. He’s also got the little assentive murmurs he made during Obama’s acceptance speech to prove it. His loudest assentive grunt came after Obama said

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

I wonder if it resonated so much because he himself was huddled in a lush, boozy approximation of the scenario Obama was describing. In retrospect it also sort of reminds him of his dad telling a story of being a young hippie traveling in Europe in —  ’67? And hearing the Doors’ “Light My Fire” for the first time, in a room of other traveling hippies huddled around the radio. Eastern Europe. They were thrilled by the song; it was revolutionary. Not actually revolutionary, of course: it was a pop song. And of course Obama is referring to suffering, impoverished folk, not  traveling American 1960s counterculturalists or coked-up and genuinely pleased twentysomethings. People were passing around a bottle of Maker’s, and a bong, during Obama’s speech. We were moved. I teared up. I thought a guy I didn’t meet or speak to, who took a practiced bonghit during C-Span’s commentaryless footage of the Grant Park throng waiting for Obama, mocked me by satirically echoing my assentive grunt.

A: I’m sure he was just dealing with some esophagul difficulties.

C: I took it personally. [Spots a piece of melted chocolate icecream on the bicep of her peacoat, and laps at it like a fucking kitty]