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Showing posts from December 9, 2001
Limited Inc, with our unholy talent for screwing up -- there must be an equation for this showing that Limited Inc's single life of screwing up is equal, in number of screwups, to the total of at least three other people put together (one named Larry, one named Mo, and one named Curly) -- made a mess of our income, survival chances for winter, and mental health yesterday. We've been writing on money laundering, we've been on the phone to fabulous Paris and London -- and by the way, the British phone service has gone the way of so many things in Post-Thatcher England, from convenience to nuisance -- we've talked to investigators and libertarian freaks and friends of the Somali peoples and what happens, what happens with this overload of carats? We come in with a piece that is too long and too late. We don't know yet if the newspaper that commissioned it on spec is going to throw it back at us, but we are afraid, very afraid. And the worst part is that we very much
Remora Definitely check out ALEX KUCZYNSKI's article, in the NYT, on how the elite go to prison. Ah, the rich are imprisoned different from you and me - they employ prison consultants, of course, to get the best penal deal. Post-conviction consultants, excuse me, is what they call themselves. Does Limited Inc find it ironic that the sharpest criticism of capitalism you are gonna find in the NYT comes in the Style section? What do you think, honey? Although let's be fair: the style section of almost any newspaper from a fair sized metropole is going to have news of more stunning import, re the class war, than a year's subscription of the Progressive. It is the nature of the beast to be beastly, and where else is it going to show itself in full stretch, all the odors, the fur, the claws, the stinking maw, and the rest of it on parade? Conspicuous consumption includes conspicuous odiousness -- there's an analogy between the status one accrues by wasting magnificently
Remora "But what Franzen and like-minded critics seem to have forgotten is that the novel's very form has resolutely middlebrow origins; the early novels of the eighteenth century were the Sopranos and ER of their day. Moreover, middlebrow culture�as opposed to truly lowbrow culture, like teen movies or trash TV�has always been the route by which the educated middle-class (and sometimes, this being America, the uneducated underclass) travels to high culture. I read Stephen King before I read Shakespeare..." Yes, and it shows, darling, it shows. Thus Scott Strossel in the Atlantic . The idea that Franzen has 'forgotten' that "the novel's very form has resolutely middlebrown origins" is unlikely -- every pornographer, screenwriter, and extra on Gilligan's Island has at one time or another told us that Dickens and Shakespeare were bestsellers. They always say it, too, with this appealing brightness, as if here's a plum of a fact that n
Remora Sierra should be a better magazine than it is. It goes for the faux John Muir touch when it should go for the jugular. Granta has better nature writing, Mother Jones, of course, better investigative writing. Take this article, by Dean Rebuffoni, about the Mississippi As far as it goes, it is unobjectionable. It tells us a bit about the Army Corps of Engineers dastardly, eighty year project to channelize the most unchannelizable of rivers. It goes on a bit, at first, about Mark Twain. It mentions the inevitable result of Mississippi River pollution (propulsed by the afore-mentioned Army Corps of E., who have the idea that the river is a big pipe that can shoot water into the Gulf of Mexico without consequences). Here's a nice graf about the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico: "By the time the Mississippi reaches Louisiana, it carries the collected municipal, industrial, and agricultural wastes of the nation's largest river basin--and keeps on going. Beyond the M
Remora Peter Beinert has always passed the litmus test for editing the New Republic, as far as Limited Inc was concerned. That is, he's oafish, smug, and prone to Democratic center thinking. The liberalism of the fundraiser, in short, with a foreign policy right of Bushypoo's. But his column about the Right's embrace of civil liberties is, we must admit, pretty on target. Here's a graf and a half: "... since September 11, George W. Bush and John Ashcroft (who quickly forgot his record in the Senate) have proposed stunning infringements of basic American liberties. An administration that vowed to oppose racial profiling is interrogating thousands of Arab-Americans solely because they are of a certain gender, age, country of origin, and came to this country at a certain time. Thousands of others have been detained indefinitely--their names kept secret--mostly for minor immigration offenses that have nothing to do with terrorism. The administration claims that i
A O Scott, we've been told, is a seriously endearing guy. But Limited Inc has really not been endeared. Reader, we have tried. We read the dissing of David Foster Wallace last year in the NYRB, and lame came to mind -- teenspeak always seems appropriate for the NYRB approach to American fiction, which is bloodless unto death, and twitters with the ghost of Gore Vidal, whose essays in the seventies about fiction for the magazine had the cranky brilliance usually associated with some man proving that Shakespeare was really the Earl of Oxford -- missing the point was never so strewn with epigrams. Scott, of course, doesn't bring Vidal's career with him to the essay, which is why he can't quite convince us that his dismissal of Infinite Jest is even ... important. Then we come upon bits like today's, in the NYT Magazine: Beauty is back. Although we know the titles of articles are chosen by editors hurrying to get to the bar before happy hour ends, there is something a