Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I Am So Fucking Lit:
You're a literary minded as the Bard himself!
You are a complete literary geek, from knowing the
classics (even the not-so-well-known classics
and tidbits about them) to knowing devices used
in writing, when someone has a question about
literature, they can bring it to you and rest
assured; you know the answers.

How much of a literary geek are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

[Via Chicha.]

Country Quiz:

You're the United States of America!

You were probably a big bully in school, and odds are that you're still a big bully.  You make promises that you break, you manipulate everyone around you, and you're awfully materialistic.  On the other hand, you're pretty inventive and have a really good sense of justice.  You just never get around to applying the idea of justice to yourself.  Incredible potential remains yours to take advantage of.

[It's funny because it's true.]

On the Book Quizzes: I was stuck on one question: Who Forbids Your Love? Was it society or my lover? Depending on which answer I gave, I got one of the two books below. In reality, no-one forbids my love. That's why I would make a completely unsympathetic literary character, since the type of people who buy and read literary books tend to suffer from amorangst.

Book Quiz II:

You're Love in the Time of Cholera!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Like Odysseus in a work of Homer, you demonstrate undying loyalty by sleeping with as many people as you possibly can. But in your heart you never give consent! This creates a strange quandary of what love really means to you. On the one hand, you've loved the same person your whole life, but on the other, your actions barely speak to this fact. Whatever you do, stick to bottled water. The other stuff could get you killed.

Book Quiz:

You're Lolita!

by Vladimir Nabokov

Considered by most to be depraved and immoral, you are obsessed with sex. What really tantalizes you is that which deviates from societal standards in every way, though you admit that this probably isn't the best and you're not sure what causes this desire. Nonetheless, you've done some pretty nefarious things in your life, and probably gotten caught for them. The names have been changed, but the problems are real. Please stay away from children.

[Via Maccers via Sarah via Old Hag.]

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Overheard at lunch at a Times Square dive.

"So, you heard about the President coming out against same sex marriage?"

"Yeah, and good on him. It's about time."

"Really? I'm surprised you're against same sex marriage."

"It's not something I talk about but I've been trying to get my wife to try different sex for years."

Monday, February 23, 2004

Yeah, I'm Sorry, Still No Original Content, Still Ripping Off My Betters: Elizabeth Spiers returns to the helm of the Kicker, and goes absolutely blogcrazy, posting four-times in three hours. It's like the old Gawker days.

There's even a modified, improved Gawker-stalker-esque item. Someone writes in about an encounter with Jayson Blair and asks what the Hell [1] you say to Blair. Elizabeth's got some terrific suggestions. Here are a few more:

* "Give me back my whiskey you fuck."

* "If you and Stephen Glass got in a fight, who would win?"

* "Are you sure? I'm pretty sure the answer is 'everyone else.'"

* "Dude, you're a hero. I didn't think anyone could do coke off the toilet seat in Siberia and live.

* "Oh, wait, that wasn't you? That was me? Nevermind. I'm the fucking hero. Why are you famous again?"

* "Who writes TMFTML when you're out of town?"

[1] Note the capitalization; Hell is a place. Like Hoboken. Only without Eurotrash. For now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

You Know, I Just Make This Shit Up When Things Get Slow Up On the 140th Street Wholesale Coke Market I Get Bored at Work:
Mr. Eggers, whose memoir, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," made him a literary celebrity, chose to post his review as "a reader from St. Louis, MO." But the review appeared under the name "David K Eggers" on Amazon's Canadian site on Monday, and Mr. Eggers confirmed by e-mail that he had written it.

"I've done that one or two times before, when I like a book and the reviews on Amazon seem bizarre," Mr. Eggers said. "In this case I just tried to bring back some balance."

Michael Jackman of the Alliance, which champions "underground writing" and has been critical of contemporary writers' focus on themselves rather than the wider world, called the presumption that his group had written the anonymous reviews "the height of arrogance."

"It's interesting that they find some negative reviews and assume that the reason for it must be partisan ax-grinding and not real taste," Mr. Jackman said. "I mean, there's no accounting for taste, is there?" Whether it is arrogance, paranoia or simply common sense, positive reviews come under suspicion, too.

The ULA is good enough to provide the text of the dodgy Eggers review (which turns out to be mostly an attack on the ULA:
"The Truth, August 27, 2003 Reviewer: A reader from St. Louis, MO --- "Readers beware: Heidi Julavits is one of the editors of The Believer, a new book review. In a recent issue, they ran an article about something called the Underground Literary Alliance, which is basically two guys who can't get their fiction published. Because they're so frustrated, they spend lots of time saying that anyone who does get published is "well-connected" or such rot. In their view, no one in the world who's been had a book out in the last couple decades deserved to. They have been known to disrupt readings, and to send threatening mail to writers. They're pretty much the crazed stalkers of the literary world. One of their tactics is to get on Amazon and make psychotic claims about every living author's unworthiness to have their books in print. Because Julavits published an unflattering article about the ULA, she's being singled out for special punishment by these sad little loonies. So please ignore the strange reviews on this page. This book lives up to all of its great reviews. It's one of the best books of the year."

[And, yeah, I know I'm three days late to the party, and didn't actually add anything new with this post. Fuck off. I was busy.]

[New York Times--Amazon Glitch Unmasks War of Reviewers]

[Underground Literary Alliance--Celebrity Paranoia Exposed!]

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Eurotrash v. Overserved:
"The first time I met Jean Luc Godard I was so emotional I vomitted on him. This was an expression of my love."--Bernardo Bertolucci at last week's lunch for the Week.
This reminded me of the first time Overserved met Eurotrash. Only he vomitted on himself. In a cab. And he wasn't emotional. He was drunk. Nevertheless, it was the true expression of their love.

After he vomitted Overserved turned to me, his closest friend, and said, "I'm going to kick your ass in a minute. Right now I'm going into the john to wash this shit off me. Get me a Captain Morgan and coke."

Happy Valentine's Day.

More Like This:
Eurotrash and Overserved Announce Their Engagement [Eurotrash]
Elizabeth Spiers Tries to Learn About Love from Sixties Retreatds [The Kicker]
Paul Frankenstein Sits Near Me, Politely Declines to Mention That I Was Drunk, But Sneaks Away Before We Get A Chance to Speak [Paul Frankenstein]
Scarily Close to Actual Reporting on the Lunch [Amy Langfield]

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Manhattan Transfer on Manhattan Transfer: Unlike any of you, I enjoy the facility for perfectly expressing my situation in conversation. Especially when I have a few in me. That is why I was able to respond to my annual job-performance review like this today:

Joe, I know I'm repeating myself, but I am a war employee. Do you remember how you felt on September 12, 2001? Do you remember how we didn't go to work for like a week? How they didn't even allow cars or foreigners into my neighborhood? How you forgot what the subway smelled like? And those first questions that raced through your mind: how much longer will the liquor store be open? Can I get whomever the fuck this is out of here before my girlfriend makes her way to my apartment? How long does it take to walk here from the Conde Nast building anyway? How much security does the diamond district really have? That's how I still feel every day.

I wake up every afternoon and get briefed by NY 1's Pat Kernan about the terrorist threats that menace this country, Janet Jackson's iron-clad nipple appearing on Christina Aguilera's implants and that model falling down at the Oscar De La Renta show. Pat Kernan reads me the papers about terrorists in countries who murder people whose relatives then chant anti-American slogans. I think that all of these are very strange people who I never want to hear about again, except the clumsy model who I've heard will be at Bungalow tonight.

I have staked my future on two propositions; my success in life will be about whether those propositions are true. The first is that the war on terror means I have to escalate my personal decadence. We cannot wait to purchase a Cartier tank watch or that bottle of Screaming Eagle because we are a nation at war. We cannot wait for our creditors to see things our way because we are a nation at war.

I made a decision that I needed more decadence every day, and that every sin I would commit—and I would obviously commit a shitload—would be a sin of commission, not a sin of omission. I would not repeat the "I did not have sex with that woman" mistakes of the previous decade. This decade, Joe, is all about fucking that woman.

The second proposition is that after 9/11, other people don't really matter. All that coming together, united and strong stuff, made me queasy. I concluded that this time, it's not about us--it's about me. Some of my co-workers have trouble embracing my egotism and decadence, and always think that if we could simply get our act together—okay, if I would get my act together—a lot more would get done around here. But I know that the problem lies in their feeble imaginations and peasant-level credit limits.

I'm not good at explaining what goes on in other people's heads unless I am very coked-up. But I know that my co-workers resent me coming in to work as they are thinking about ordering a salad to eat for lunch, and wonder what's in that thermos I keep in my desk and why I never seem to take any food with my meals.

I said I have found my mission and my moment, and it has cost me. It has cost me my American Express Platinum Card, which is now five months overdue. The secret of my success was that I had a very high credit rating, and Donald Trump-level abilities to borrow. But this mission has pushed me beyond those limits. I see my friends paying the brunch bill at Schiller's and I try to quietly slip outside for a cigarette. I wonder whether we've had enough to drink today they'll forget how much money I owe them. I know it's hard for them to understand why they must continue to pay for my decadence. Ernest Hemmingway was wrong cultural divide between the rich and the poor—sometimes the poor have more money and simply have to foot the bill for us rich types who are a bit over-extended right now.

I look around and observe that many of my fellow New Yorkers don't seem to be living on September 12, the way I am. They keep going to work, taking the subway rather than cabs, staying sober all day long, avoiding serious drug habits and giving a fuck about the people they are sleeping with. They don't feel this new age of decadence in their hearts and noses, and I don't know what drugs I should use to persuade them.

I look at the management at work and see that they have a low regard for my lifestyle. I've heard my supervisor accuse me of slacking off work. She seems to think that my job exists to please her or service our clients.

But she should understand that no assignment matters to me deeply unless it touches my faith in God. And, I'm sorry, but I am an atheist. I know my resume looked promising but mostly it was made up. I do feel called upon to go and welcome the new Hungarian receptionist in the fishnets to explain the glories of the free world.

I could lose this job. I don't know whether you were at that party with me last night. But I know stuff about you, the time you OD'd in the hot tub at the annual management retreat and that woman you were fucking while your wife was with the kids in Nantucket. I have no doubt you are going to do the right thing.

[The New York Times: David Brooks, Bush on Bush, Take 2.]

Monday, February 09, 2004

Poisoned by Celebrity Decadence Bloggers: This whole More Decadence thing has gotten out of hand. Yesterday I set out to join my friends for brunch. Instead, I was abducted by Maccers and Eurotrash (aka the "pleasure-seeking bots"), who made me eat bugs and transubstantiated all my the blood in my body into red wine. Today I cannot see straight, my clothes are misbehaving and my ethical sense is impaired. Does club soda get red wine out of your soul?

Friday, February 06, 2004

Playwright Goddess: Last night I was supposed to be out having drinks with Maccers, ET, Elizabeth, some guy whose face is always cloaked in shadow beneath a wide-brimmed fedora, and other assorted blog celebrities. Instead, I told them all I was working late and went out to dinner with The Most Important Woman Playwright since Lillian Hellman.

Only kidding. There are no important women playwrights, as one of Steve Sailer's correspondents has pointed out. Except maybe Wendy Wasserstein. "In 55 years of Tonys, women have won 2-1/2 [for writing]," Steve's correspondent writes.

So my question for the lit bloggers--and you know who you are--is: what up with that, yo?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

China Is A Land of Many Things And One of Those Things Is Hookers.

"Maybe we go back to your place" I said and then whispered in her ear "1,000 yuan."

"Okay, you give me 1000."

"No, you give me 1000," I said.

[Overserved negotiates with practioners of a venerable profession.]

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Defend New York. I'm afraid we're going to have to kill this guy before anyone else learns our secret.

Monday, February 02, 2004

The Eggers-Keller Conspiracy Theory: Just off the phone with an Underground Literary Alliance fellow-traveler, trying to get a handle on what King Wenclas's subjects are doing (ULA writers do where other writers merely, uh, write) about the announcement by the editor of the New York Times that fiction is over.

"What's up, MT? You been writing?"

I just posted the New York Post horoscope on my blog.

"You're a pathetic waste of space. They should revoke your URL."

I think they might. Then I would have to start really writing again. Might not be so bad now that the Times isn't going to do fiction anymore.

"That's disgusting. It doesn't change a thing. Everything's just like it was, only more so."

I thought you might like the idea. Isn't the New York Times abandoning fiction a bit like Dorothy falling on the Wicked Witch? Ding, Dong?

"A lot of good that did. Look. I can see David Eggers on his heartbreaking broomstick and his flying fucking San Fran monkeys swooping now."

Come again?

"The Times hasn't been overthrown. It's abdicating new fiction to the earnest, anti-snark McSweeniacs. The Believer is the new New York Times Book Review. It's worse. More exclusive, more esoteric, more expensive. Instead of a best seller list you get the list of what that guy who wrote that movie with John Cusack is reading."

So what are you going to do?

"Same thing we were doing anyway. Books are over. Who can afford to buy a new book? Literary zines are the future of literature. Produced on the cheap. Kinkos scams. Write well, publish now. Literature you can put in your back pocket and read on the bus."

Isn't the Believer a kind of literary zine?

"It's the anti-zine. The zines are about getting bold literature with a head and a heart into the homes of reader-citizens. The Believer costs like one-hundred bucks a year, and is dryer than a flour sandwich. Duller than a rubber spatula. They're trying to lull us into sleeping in a flowery field. Objectively speaking, Keller and Eggers are either working together."

Eggers wife, Vendela Vida, thinks I'm stalking her because I ran into her every day for a week this summer. Should I be worried?

"He's definitely going to get you. And your little blog too."

[The Kicker--Defenders of Literary Fiction: 1, Keller: -5,231]

NY Post to Manhattan Transfer--Make Peace With Your Gods, You're Getting Fucking Old.

For such an energetic, take-on-the-world, social creature, you sometimes feel that time alone is like some kind of cosmic penalty. You are aware of the limits of circumstances around you, and may be looking at the dark side of those limits. There is magic in the creative potential in times such as this. Look inside yourself to get back in touch with deep,
spiritual beliefs.

It would be easy to allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security and think that the good times will last forever, but nothing lasts forever - change is the only constant. By all means, enjoy the good things in life. By all means, live for the present. But keep an eye on the future - it will be here soon enough.

[NY Post Horoscope]

[Poor excuse for blogging but we're desperate and crushed for time.]