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Showing posts from May 19, 2013

a little note on rhyme

I listen to Adam’s burbles, his hiccups, gasps, moans, and something that is a sort of pure vibration of his vocal chords, and I think of these things as being creatures on the threshold of that great thing, language, peering into it, pondering the leap, although in the end all of this phonological hamming up will still be intact, in the interstices of sense, so to speak. These are elements in the Shakespearian sense – half atom, half fairy. Nobody is taught them. Who among us teaches his child to say um, to use my friend Michael Erard’s favorite example? Hein being, I suppose, the French equivalent. Nobody, that is who. However, I’ve been thinking about phonemes and sense lately in terms of rhyme. In terms of the cognitive devise that rhyme is. A few days ago, I was taking a picture and I said to my friends, who were composing themselves to be the foci of my field of vision – I said, throw your hands in the air like you just d Since then, I’ve been thinking about Chubby Che

Objectification and Sachs fifth avenue - from an old essay

If I get the sugar would you get me If we were to resurrect Acteon, that Greek hunter torn to bits by his own dog for gazing upon Diana bathing nude in a stream, he would find the equivalent of his divine thrill not in strip joint America, but rather in women’s clothing boutique America. While I would be the last person to deny the thrill that comes from watching a woman undressing, whether in a bedroom or to the booming of Gimme Gimme over the sound system, it is no longer the unguarded moment – it is no longer the secret of the goddess, it is no longer worth being torn apart by your dogs in the heart of the forest, the hunter hunted, the vig on the male gaze. No, the secret of the goddess has migrated to women dressing up, not taking off. Acteon would better look for his kicks in Sachs Fifth Avenue, in By George, in any number of upscale boutiques in the midsized to supersized urban playlands of America. I was first taught this lesson by my friend M., back in New Haven. New

Likeable monsters

I changed my hairstyle so many times now I don’t know what Ilook like The New Yorker asked some novelists – Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, etc. – to comment on Claire Messud’s comments to an interviewer who asked her about the likeability of her protagonist in her new novel. Messud claimed the right to create unlikeable characters, citing the royal precedents of those novelists who did it before her – or, rather, more cleverly, simply referencing the characters. It was a nice spate of indignation, and made for a nice interview. The novelists, asked their opinion, all spoke up for characters who aren’t likeable. But I was a little disappointed that they all spoke up, so to speak, within the novel and its tradition itself. From the point of view of technique, the question is whether the character works, not whether the character is likeable. Humbert Humbert was cited by Messud, and is used as a sort of totem of unlikeability by these novelists. However, I think this mi