1 Helpful Tip from the Internet
“If you have a bat for home defense, put a long sock on the end of it. That way if an invader grabs it and tries to disarm you, they will only get sock when you pull back for another swing.”
2 Oscar Wilde leaves extremely amusing posthumous critique on YouTube video via as-yet-undetermined sorcery
“Men who close the fridge door with their hips will love this.”
3 The four levels of the Epstein narrative*:
4 This is what Leftish Hackademia is all het up about during this meme-cycle (could the busy-work of their self-generated preoccupations be any less relevant? Hackademia: a great way to drain potentially rebellious intellectual energy into twee little Leyden jars of obscurantist folly in the hamster wheel of the ‘tenure’ track):
5 You know why Instagram is doing this (link below), right? Because Duh Masses were re-purposing these platforms to suit themselves, creating cottage industries which fuck up The Algorithm; how can TFIC use their Total Surveillance Tool if millions of users are bottlenecked passively around a few superstar accounts and posting less of their own banal daily experience? Ditto why TUMBLR cracked down on Sexual Content: they’re not running a Hipster Curatorial Service, kids, they want grannies, toddlers, janitors and businessmen posting their hourly diary-entries and geolocational coordinates and incidental data confirming their webs of affiliation. SOC MED is not, primarily, about monetizing traffic-qua-traffic, they want clean, copious, uninterrupted and evenly-distributed INFO; how long before we each have personalized autonomous Bots doing the posting for us? TFIC can’t wait.
6 I love this list of 21 Bubble-headed Media Puppets, parroting the Um, You Know, Climate Stuff Talking Points they got from other Bubble Heads, and TV, and not one of these piety-signalling party-animals mentions their own extravagant energy consumption, their Consumerist support of resource-depleting products, their air miles, their car miles… or Monsanto, the mega-evil eco-killer. To quote the glorified pole dancer whose opinion on Geophysical niceties we credulously accept via the article: “Bondi beach I’ll miss ur lack of ozone layer and crystal clear water 💦”
7 Vintage Lit Crit Chit Chat
1 October 2011 1:23PM
re: ‘constructive criticism’
Now there’s a fallacy which needs addressing. Real Artists, in my opinion, don’t learn from people not liking their work; the Real Artist is hard on her/his self and learns by comparing the ongoing results of creative effort with an internalized ideal that has nothing to do with feedback. I think the Real Artist isn’t swayed by praise (whether or not she/he enjoys it) or chastened by rejection. The cold-eyed ability to judge one’s own creative effort with frank brutality is a gift, I think, that’s foundational to the greater gift of genuine Talent.
Too many “artists” are just charismatic types who know how to milk (or bash) praise out of an audience for which very little is at stake. This is the story of “Art” and “Literature” as we now know it. Well that’s what “we” get for placing a premium on Likability and Niceness: lots of smiles and hugs and mediocre ditties it’s considered bad manners to scowl at.
20 May 2011 11:46AM
“But, again as a writer, I’d be a touch worried if significant numbers of a certain gender felt excluded from my work, especially if it happened to be the gender that reads and buys far more novels than the other one…. But then again, if Roth is as indifferent or averse to women as his work makes him sound, maybe he doesn’t care whether they read his books or not.”
This comment isn’t a literary argument; it’s just a vaguely-framed question about marketing… mixed with a bit of iffy mind-reading that works as attempted character-assassination. Fair enough as a casual comment/opinion, of course, but it could be said, in essence, about any cultural artifact or consumer product that isn’t to absolutely everyone’s liking… not the kind of comment you can elevate to the level of cultural criticism. Every consumer is an expert on what she/he “likes” but so what?
What Roth’s “feminist” detractors haven’t managed to do is prove that it’s Roth’s (or any writer’s) duty to write (or appear to write) from any particular point of view (or not to). Commenters who post things like:
“Amongst all this, Roth not only doesn’t speak to me – he says, “Be quiet, little girl, this is talk for the big people”
…are (to invoke a sometimes-useful cliché) saying much more about their own psychological problems than Roth’s.
8 EDITORIAL: SEX in a THEOCRACY
Before I was lucky enough to meet, fall in love with and knock-up Beloved, I was seeing a woman from Brighton for a few months. We met in Berlin and continued to correspond after she returned to the UK and the correspondence heated up. I was approaching my mid-forties and she was a year or two younger and the subtext was something along the lines of neither of us wanting to die alone. She was an avid reader, tall and fit, on the pretty side of ordinary in the face department and had nice thick red hair which she kept in a mod-ish cut that put me in mind of the early 1970s. I wasn’t mad about her (the way I am about Beloved; I am lucky enough to be nuts about my Wife) but I wasn’t getting any younger and couldn’t imagine that my looks would be holding out much longer than another ten years. The clock was ticking and she was willing.
I took an Easy Jet over to her place by the sea and we spent a long weekend together. When the time came to fuck I was hesitant; not because she wasn’t my absolute dreamwoman (she wasn’t but my belief in the possibility of such a type was fading) but because I knew that there’s a big difference between the pre-penetration dynamic and the post-penetration dynamic. After a man has come in/on a woman, the man is in debt. Such a thought certainly never occurred to me while I was using my shiny new cock to fuck a sidelong swathe across the late-1970s and the 1980s, but that’s because I didn’t realize that I was living in a Theocracy. I didn’t notice that fact, probably, because small territories of the Theocracy were in remission when I was coming into my own as a Sexualite; the small territory I inhabited as a High School student and then a college student and then an independent, young adult was a mobile Bohemian enclave of young people who could make sexually explicit Jesus jokes without fear of being struck by thunderbolts (or developing cancer, later, or giving birth to retarded kids). All that Jesus shit seemed like crap of the past.
When I was a young man, a woman would pursue me or let herself be pursued and we’d end up reading Shakespeare to each other aloud in bed by candle (actually did this once) between bouts of ecstatically strenuous genitality. At the end of every orgasm (my technique wasn’t so hot when I started out, so I always encouraged my partners to masturbate, too, as a hedge against lopsided O-tallies) the ledger was always balanced… the participants had gotten what each had wanted from the encounter… nobody owed anybody anything.
By the time my 30′s were wrapping up, it occurred to me that this was no longer true. Perhaps it had never been true. Not only is it the world’s general presumption that men are obsessed with fucking and women tolerate this because they’re obsessed with men, but there’s an overlay of Cosmologic Superstition that turns the act of intercourse, and the genitals themselves, into spiritually significant things. And not just spiritual in a neutral sense, no: tending toward evil. A man who puts his penis in, or visibly near, a woman, has committed a spiritual crime against the woman and the greater community, unless the two are married, whether the woman was all for it or not. The crime can often by mediated, after the fact, by ritual gestures involving flowers and offers of marriage. If the woman is under a specific (though fluctuating, according to region) age, imagined by the State, the ritual mediation involves the police, lawyers, prison etc.
I hesitated before fucking the woman from Brighton despite the fact that she was a fit 40-ish and “sane” because I knew that after I fucked her I would owe her something that I could never pay back, for the rest of her life. That’s the point: for a man to owe a woman a fuck is for a man to owe her forever (under a Theocracy), because to repay her in kind would only mean to owe her more. And no other payment settles the debt either.
The woman can collect on the debt at any time… and repeatedly. I only fucked the woman from Brighton once, that weekend; she saw me to the airport having already secured a plan to stay with me over the upcoming Christmas holiday. Having been just cool enough before that one fuck (emails every few days and phone calls rarely), after it she became not cool at all and phoned me every day, often twice a day, in the month-and-a-half before she was due to arrive in Berlin. After roughly seventy-five hours of long-distance phone talk, I knew all that I’d ever need to know about her and began to view her upcoming visit with dread. If I hadn’t fucked her once already, it would have been easy to cancel the visit. Absurd, no? I owed her for a fuck I didn’t particularly enjoy and we both knew it. I once owed a fellow music-biz professional twelve thousand Euros and it was a much better feeling.
When I came to Berlin I was thirty and within a month or two was seeing a 19-year-old model (the pinnacle of her career was a Marie Claire cover). The affair lasted about six months (the friendship lasted for about fifteen years, or until the day Beloved gave birth to Offsprung) and the first month or so of the relationship, I wouldn’t fuck her.
This baffled her. But I was already beginning to understand that Sex in a Theocracy is fraught (as non-Theocratic as Berlin then felt). This gave rise to a comical situation: a tall, young Schiffer-look-alike begging me to fuck her. “Is tonight the night?” she’d joke. When I finally gave in and followed her all the way home and upstairs into her flat (we’d been spending time in the room I was renting from a little Gay, bald voice coach right out of Cabaret), I thought: at least she’s so beautiful that owing her something will be fun. I was astonished at the size and elegance of the flat and thought that she couldn’t be earning enough, even as a model, to afford it. Her roommates must be stewardesses.
I went down on her and she made the loudest noises I’d ever heard a 19-year-old girl (who wasn’t a cheer leader) make. It was about 3am when we’d come back to her place from a club and I was afraid as she howled and keened that we’d wake up the downstairs, upstairs and both next-door neighbors. In fact, it was difficult to maintain an erection due to the ruckus she was making, which I put down to over-eager inexperience (her ruckus, I mean… not my softening dick). It was about five hours later, when I wandered out to the kitchen in search of orange juice, that I found her parents (and her little brother) around the kitchen table.
They were quite pleasant and invited me to have a seat at the table. Fucking A, I thought. Her parents were both psychiatrists and they had no problem with her love life, which had started, with their blessing, at the age of thirteen. Fucking A, I thought. That’s almost Biblical and so un-conservative that it’s nearly super-conservative; so un-Christian that it’s almost Orthodox. And a little insane? They were/are very modern German Liberals, her parents. Is the overreaction to (over-correction of?) Theocratic Oppression as bad as Theocratic Oppression, sometimes? Are Libertines unmindful of “god” or obsessed with “Him”?
The model became a psychiatrist, eventually and is in her late 40′s now, still beautiful (I assume) and with a child. I bumped into her on a long walk, ten years ago, very pleasantly surprised: I kissed her baby’s forehead. This woman and I had been friends for almost 20 years but she had broken it off, as I said, after I met Beloved and fell in love and we produced our own magnificent Offsprung. The model couldn’t have been jealous; we hadn’t been romantic since the early 1990s. Why did it piss her off that I had finally fallen in love? Why did we stop going to lunch once a month; why did she stop sending me postcards and emails after 20 years, just because I had found someone? It’s something to do with the fact that I fucked her once, I think.
Sex in a Theocracy is weird.
*I think it’s going to become obvious, to anyone paying attention, that Epstein wasn’t a billionaire. The question will be: whose jet, and island, props was he using?
“When we met in 1986, Epstein’s double identity intrigued me — he said he didn’t just manage money for clients with mega-fortunes, he was also a high-level bounty hunter. Sometimes, he told me, he worked for governments to recover money looted by African dictators. Other times those dictators hired him to help them hide their stolen money.
“Epstein was pleased that I was interested in writing about him. Not a profile. A book. That prospect convinced him that I should see a sample of his craft, so we met in the lobby of an office building on Park Avenue South and took an elevator to a law firm, where he intended to serve a subpoena. He didn’t get past the receptionist.
I thought this episode . . . odd. A major financial figure trying to serve a subpoena? Don’t you hire someone to do that? My interest lapsed.”-Jesse Kornbluth
** The fact that they are now showing us who Epstein’s cell-mate was (and therefore helping the audience envision “the murder”) is making me doubt that Epstein died; it’s looking a bit like a carefully-orchestrated plot to make Epstein’s “death” believable, no? And this bit: “Jeffrey Epstein’s Cellmate Reportedly Transferred Out Prior to Suicide” is just there for the Conspircy Thuriss who will think, “Yeah, right, he was transferred before the ‘suicide’… or before they reported it? Dude was clearly whacked!” And highly-influential (to the 15-35s) Media personalities are making sure that reading sticks: