web forage

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Once a trend like that becomes established, it’s hard to stop. Put yourself in the position of a bored browser in front of a supermarket wire-rack, contemplating novels by two authors you’ve never read. They both cost the same, and you have enough pocket money to buy one. The year is 1980; LibraryThing or other internet resources aren’t available. How do you make your mind up? Well, you remember what you’ve heard about the authors, and you look at the cover painting, and you read the back flap blurb. Assuming all of these are equal … you probably buy on weight, because you subconsciously anticipate a longer reading experience and, all things considered, good experiences that last longer are better than short ones. Remember that the actual cost of the paper and ink is only a small component of the retail price of a book — around 10-15%. Increasing a book block’s size from 150 pages to 180 pages is cheap. And so, from the 1960s to the 1990s, publishers unconsciously trained readers to expect longer novels.

  • Ask MetaFilter poses a q about add, and gets some incredibly insightful responses (via Rumpus), like:

You know how a tornado can pick up all sorts of things, like cows, houses, Dorothy, frying pans, buses, grass, paintings, fire extinguishers? Without meds I feel like i am in the tornado. All this stuff is swirling around me and I can’t stop it no matter how hard I try because i am a tornado and it’s very nature is to be that way.

Every one feels that way sometimes. I felt like that ALL the time. It was exhausting, everything was always moving.

The misery memoir has left bookselling awash with tales of abuse and despair. I was recently sent a novel to review that began with a rape. It was mostly about cooking. I couldn’t help but think that the event added little to my understanding of Italian cuisine.

Instead, we must rethink what professionalization means in the academic humanities. What is it for artists to become “professional” in their training? What kinds of cues and advice do fine-arts programs give their students about their future careers? I don’t know those answers, but I think that humanities professors need to talk more with their fine-arts colleagues about how they advise their students about what it means to become a working artist, or how to accept the risk of becoming an impoverished one.

The Jew even ducks away from camera, either facetiously, or more solemnly, with a visceral intuition which brings to mind the true horror of hate. Anybody with a flag on their wall is asking to get into a conversation (just like any male in college with an acoustic guitar in his room secretly wants a record deal or to get laid). The Nazi (or, skinhead) has a wonderful smile, which is very out of character, key word being “character,” as that is all we are, and can be, online. If “all the world’s a stage,” then the internet is where we rehearse our lines, sharpening our tongues for a chance at real life.

Well, there are also other components. Farts are made by two things. They are made by one, the amount of air you swallow–so people who drink a lot of soda, chew a lot of gum, suck on candies, they get a lot of air into their colon, and that air comes out in farts. The second component is gas production by the colon. The colon’s job is to break down the nutrients in food products, like proteins and fats and sugars, and in the process of breaking them down they produce either sulfur or methane, neither of which smell great. If, let’s say, the colon has stuff in it like grapes and beans, and if it’s just sitting there for a few days it’s just going to ferment more and more until it becomes very smelly, versus if what you eat goes through quickly–like if you had the same beans, but it came out eight hours later, you’ll tend not to have as much gas from those beans. So it has to do with what your intestinal transit is. For most people, it takes 32 hours from the time they eat something to the time they shit something. That’s the average, so that means there are people who move their bowels every three or four days, and they have more time for the beans to ferment in the colon, thereby producing larger amounts of gas and more frequent, smellier spasms of gas.

What I saw defies description. The photograph above gives some sense but not of the scale. At first there was no noise. Then came the shock wave that made a disagreeable click in my ears and finally the rolling thunder of the noise. The Joshua trees were aflame as if in some obscene pagan rite. The bomb had evaporated the tower. The fire ball rose and above it was a dark and very menacing radioactive column. It seemed to come towards us and I wondered if we should seek shelter. Above it was the mushroom cloud. We were all very silent when we returned to our bunkhouse for a little more sleep.

The Inheritance of Loss, for example: what a tiresomely predictable title for a Booker winner. Honestly – The Inheritance of Loss? Presumably the marketing department keyed in “self-important, depressing, award-winning, Literary-with-a-capital-L” and hit Return, and this is what the machine gave them. (They also added the fairly redundant subtitle, “A Novel”, just in case we might have mistaken it for a comical sports book.) Add to this list of shame such dreadful titles as: Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse. The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The Secret Scripture. The Accordionist’s Son. The Storyteller’s Tale. (Christ, that doesn’t even read grammatically.) The Clumsy. The Trite. The Cynical. The horror …

An info-literate student can find theright bit of information amid the sea of irrelevance and misinformation. But any college librarian will tell you that freshman research skills areabsolutely abysmal. Before they graduate from high school, students need to be able tounderstand thephenomenal number of information options at their fingertips, learn how to work with non-Google-style search queries, avoid plagiarism and judge whether the facts before them were culled by an expert in the field or tossed off by a crackpot in the basement.

With the hard hit of the twist, Natalie and Alex lock in as archetypes of women of two different generations. I found this discomfiting, as neither’s prospects for “something real” seems especially promising.  Alex’s remorselessness is chilling; in her subsequent phone conversation with Ryan, it is clear that in her own eyes she has done no wrong.  In fact, it is Ryan who should have known better, who read it wrong, who treaded outside his bounds.  “That’s my family.  That’s my real life,” she says.  “You are an escape…a parenthesis.”  She digs her heels in even further: “I’m a grown-up,” she states, by which she means, the way I’m operating is the way the adults do it. Grow up, and get on board.  On my second viewing, I looked for signs of regret or sorrow, for ambivalence in Alex’s response. I didn’t find any.  She is a mother lion, survival of the fittest, baby is something I could imagine her saying, and meaning.  In reflecting on her character, I couldn’t help but play out the hypothetical scene between her and Natalie, upon Natalie’s learning of the deception.  Ouch.  Ouch for Natalie, but also ouch for us; because we wouldn’t even be able to completely sympathize with Natalie, whose naivete about love and marriage seems almost as hopeless as Alex’s self-justifying fatalism.

Written by menachemkaiser

23 March at 14:54

Posted in rants

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