Saturday, February 27, 2010

crab-bucket syndrome?

Maria Bustillos compares the hatin' on Dave Eggers to that directed at Wyndam Lewis.

Part of the reason it took so long for the Vorticists to come into their own is that Wyndham Lewis was a very questionable specimen. Lot of things to dislike about this guy. He was wildly anti-Semitic; he even managed to write a whole book in favor of Hitler in 1931 (Hitler, it is called.) The man just shot his mouth off like crazy. As you can imagine, Lewis felt pretty bad when he found out what was actually going down in Nazi Germany when he went to Berlin in 1937! So he took it all back, which is at least something. (His idea of contrition was to write a book called The Jews: Are they Human?, in 1939.) Wilde’s friend Robbie Ross called Lewis “a buffalo in wolf’s clothing.”

All this brings me to Dave Eggers, you may be surprised to hear. Dave Eggers, though evidently not an openly combative or buffalo-like person, is like Lewis in being both talented and roundly disliked; an outsider in his own circle.

Dave Eggers is a thorn in many a side in today’s America, my own included. His bizarre combination of fame, enthusiasm and sentimentalizing drives a lot of people up a tree. It’s safe to say that Eggers is currently the most detested man in American haute-literary circles. To support this contention, I’ve made a table of Google searches using the phrase “I hate _________,” and put in a lot of divisive-seeming haute-literary names...

Read more.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

sunday short stack

“What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human … is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and na├»ve and goo-prone and generally pathetic.” - David Foster Wallace (via Slaughterhouse 90210)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

sometimes the good life wears thin

Here's the trailer for Strange Powers: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields, ten years in the making.

And here are my two favorite Magnetic Fields songs.

Friday, February 05, 2010

do I advise the housekeeper on where to buy fish?

David Mitchell's forthcoming novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet won't be out until June, but you can read an excerpt here.