Reluctant Habits

Edwards Delivers Stump Speech At Auction; Blows Campaign Funds on Ming Vase

Posted by in Photo Headlines


Quick Juice

Posted by in Roundup

Dennis Quaid thanks Crowe for humiliating him. (via Amy) The scoop behind Churchill’s Nobel Lit Prize win (via Moorish). And Lizzie has convinced me to wear a thong. Maybe just after pre-op, I’ll take the camisole too.


Ad Hom to Ad Hom

Posted by in Author Publicity, Peck, Dale

Dale Peck isn’t just a bitch, but he’s an hubric mofo who compares his Moody blues to both Edmund Wilson and Virginia Woolf. (And, of course, the standard Coleridge line.) Judy Blume is on the defensive. Her book, Deenie, deals in part with masturbation. But Hernando County elementary schools are pulling the book from their shelves. Chica has a nice roundup of author photos. Me? I’m still squirming over Max Barry’s photo on Jennifer Government (see right). The book, which was so bad that I gave up on it (and…read more


NYT vs. Blogs

Posted by in Blogging, New York Times

Wired: “So Withers decided to start the Wilgoren Watch, dedicated to deconstructing The New York Times’ coverage of Howard Dean’s campaign. Within weeks, the site had a prominent visitor: Wilgoren herself. The reporter has mixed feelings about the site. ” Slate: “For his labors, Radosh earned an ugly set of threats from Landesman. And though apologies were eventually extended to Radosh by Landesman and the Times Magazine for Landesman’s behavior, the writer still reserves the right to punish the blogger in court for what he wrote.” “David Brooks, who…read more


7% of My Thoughts on January 30, 2004

Posted by in Personal

1. I had a terrifying dream in which I lost all of my teeth. It should be stated for the record that this was not a nightmare. Nightmares have the consolation of being terrifying in a way that allows one to distinguish between consciousness and unconsciousness. Dreams, by contrast, involve a consummate mindfuck. They masquerade under the illusion that all is well, when in fact they give credence to paranoia and anxiety. Case in point: In this dream, my mouth was a congealed morass of blood, and I was unable…read more


To Hell with the Democrats, Here’s a Real Race to Get Behind

Posted by in New York Times


Maslin: Pop Lit Ghetto ‘Ho

Posted by in New York Times, Roundup

Janet Maslin is a good critic, but any doubts that she’s been ghettoized by the Times as the “pop lit gal” should be removed. In fact, considered with this unfortunate headline, part of me suspects an anti-Maslin conspiracy. Students now spend an average of $828 per year on academic books. A new study reports that the average textbook costs over $100, and that the cost has risen from $650 in 1996-1997. In related news, sales of Top Ramen have risen along the same exponential curve. And you thought the David…read more


Unilateral Typography, Motherfucker

Posted by in Typography

The U.S. State Department has banned the courier font from all diplomatic correspondence. “That’ll show ‘em,” said a State Department official, who hoped that Times New Roman would be next. “Who the hell do they think we are? Screenwriters? Typists? We’re diplomats first and foremost. And we’ll fuck your shit up without using Courier.” (via Six Different)


Okay, So I’m About Four Months Behind on This, But…

Posted by in Gender Relations

Naomi Wolf: “But the effect [of porn] is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as ‘porn-worthy.’ Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.”


Tracking Sensations Is A Tough Racket

Posted by in Needless Intellectualizing

“If you reject absolutely any single sensation without stopping to distinguish between opinion about things awaiting confirmation and that which is already confirmed to be present, whether in sensation or in feelings or in any application of intellect to the presentations, you will confuse the rest of your sensations by your groundless opinion and so you will reject every standard of truth. If in your ideas based upon opinion you hastily affirm as true all that awaits confirmation as well as that which does not, you will not avoid error,…read more


Kucinich for 2004

Posted by in 2004 Election, Dean, Howard, Kucinich, Dennis

November really boils down to one choice: Anybody But Bush. But since we’re in the primary stage, why not have a little bit of fun? Kucinich doesn’t stand a chance in hell, but he’s got my vote in the primary. Despite what scaredy-cats decry as a wacko platform, Kucinich hasn’t managed his campaign with incompetence. Kucinich has never wavered from his stance. Kucinich has never had to clarify a comment or sleep with the Gore 2000 boys to save his bacon. Because Kucinich has a bigger pair of balls than…read more


Dean’s Dead in the Water

Posted by in 2004 Election, Dean, Howard

New York Times: “Tricia Enright, the campaign’s communications director, said Dr. Dean was forming ‘a new creative team’ to overhaul its television advertisements. She said the campaign was not firing its media firm, in which Mr. Trippi is a partner. Many Dean supporters have been critical of the ad campaign, particularly in Iowa. Some questioned the arrangements by which Mr. Trippi forfeited a salary as a campaign manager but collected commissions � said to be as high as 15 percent in some cases � based on advertising buys. Forget the…read more


Clarifying the Conspiracy

Posted by in Anonymity, Blogging

There’s something which needs to be stated for the record. I am TMFTML. Neal Pollack is too. (And here you all are wondering why Pollack’s been quiet. Well, I assure you, the crazy bastard’s been a workhorse.) And sometimes the Hag and Moby (curiously absent too — with purpose, I assure you) get their say in. I’ve tried to throw you folks off, what with riffs against the first person plural. However, in the case of TMFTML, the entity that speaks is not unlike the one depicted in Theodore Sturgeon’s…read more


Dean Consults Alt-Weekly Advice Column to Recharge Campaign

Posted by in Dean, Howard, Photo Headlines


Can Houghton Mifflin Handle the Truth?

Posted by in Electroshock, Lawsuits, Psychiatry

Some distressing news from Publisher’s Lunch. The ironically named Committee for Truth in Psychiatry has sued Houghton Mifflin and writer Daniel Smith for $20 million in punitive damages. The suit comes about because Smith’s investigative piece on electroshock treatment appeared in The Best Science and Nature Writing, 2002. Even if this suit is settled or dismissed, there’s still the larger issue of whether hard-hitting exposes will appear in Houghton Mifflin’s compilations. Will Houghton Mifflin backpedal on future selected essays? Even if the author were to prove all of the facts…read more


Whoops! Sorry About Spilling the Coor’s On the White Suit, Dude

Posted by in Wolfe, Tom

Tom Wolfe’s new novel, about “contemporary college life as seen through the eyes of students,” is due out this fall. Wolfe’s been kicking around frat houses to do his research. (via TEV)


Tainted by Influence?

Posted by in Education, Honesty, Wolfe, Gene, Workshops, Writing

Iowablog: “I think everything I learned at Iowa is wrong.” These are good, honest words to hear from a young whipper-snapper who wants to write. If there’s a positive spin to this, it’s the fact that Concho is willing to question the lessons she’s learned. I’ve never been in a nuts-and-bolts creative writing class (screenwriting, nonfiction and journalism classes don’t count) and I have only a second-hand idea of what goes down in Iowa, but I do know the merciless world of rejection notices weighed against the ocassional acceptance and/or…read more


Noir City #6

Posted by in Film, Mitchum, Robert, Noir

The Locket (1944): Normally, I frown upon the flashback structure. Unless you have a solid justification for it (like Memento), it comes across as gimmicky. There’s no reason to move backwards, particularly when the flashback does nothing to resolve the problems set up in a film’s early moments. But The Locket is a different kettle altogether. Not only does it have a flashback-within-a-flashback, but it has a flashback-within-a-flashback-wthin-a-flashback. Indeed, there were so many flashbacks in this movie that I feared writer Sheridan Gibney and director John Brahm would lead me…read more


Okay, Howard Dean is Almost Finished

Posted by in 2004 Election, Dean, Howard

To call Dean’s second place finish in New Hampshire “close” is to approach a cliff face, jump off, and attempt to land on the ground without so much as a bruise. But apparently it’s worse than that. Howard Dean is now down to $5 million. Barring a Missouri win next Tuesday, it looks like we may stuck with Kerry. Unless Dean musters up Robert Kennedy-like support in California and many of the big states, and reenergizes his campaign. Kennedy, however, was more of an idealist than Dean is. And it…read more


Models Attacked by Desargues’ Involutions While on Catwalk

Posted by in Image, Photo Headlines


NYTBR Smackdown

Posted by in Book Reviewing, New York Times

The Observer leaks the shortlist for Chip McGrath’s replacement. SARAH CRICHTON: Former publisher of Little, Brown, fired, with charges of commercialism and fights with Warner publisher Maureen Egan. Accused by Joe McGinniss of not promoting books. [Working glimpse of Little, Brown.] Before that, editor at Newsweek. Recently worked with Liebermans and collaborated on A Mighty Heart, Marianne Pearl’s book on her husband Daniel. The Upshot: She was a champion of popularizing literary fiction at Little, Brown. And her journalism background and brief stint as an insider is a plus. Strong…read more


The Link, The Whole Link and Nothing But the Link

Posted by in Blogging, Conspiracy Theories, Cox, Ana Marie, Hate

Rittenhouse: “If you link to ‘Wonkette’ through your blogroll you cannot and will not enjoy, for what that might be worth, a link from The Rittenhouse Review.” He claims he’s not serious. But given the focus on ad hominen and his failure to offer a single reasonable argument, I suspect he’s saving face. Allow me to clarify the linkage process. Wonkette (and The Antic Muse) is linked on the left because the site meets the goods. I link ‘em because I like ‘em. There is no quid pro quo. That’s…read more


Inside A Young Genius

Posted by in Eggers, Dave

While walking along Valencia St. a few nights ago, I came across a crumpled piece of paper on the sidewalk. I didn’t have any reading material on me, and, seeing that the paper was heavy bond stock, I somehow knew that this wasn’t your standard stray bit of trash. I unfolded the paper and began reading a story entitled “The Unforbidden is Compulsory, Forgotten and Altogether Tied Up in Importance Or, I Am Christ in the Literary Community.” Several paragraphs into the story, I detected a style that was familiar,…read more


Naked Dentists Dog Markson & Marquez’s Potential Movies?

Posted by in Biskind, Peter, Markson, David, Marquez, Gabriel Garcia, Roundup, Speculative Fiction

Nudity in Science Fiction Books (via Quiddity) Only in John Updike’s universe could a person be prim about dental procedure: ?Let?s have lunch,? he begged. ?Or is your mouth too full of Novocain?? ?He didn?t use Novocain today,? she primly told him. ?It was just the fitting of a crown, with temporary cement.? Mark reviews The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. And he also points out that David Markson has a new book coming out. Perry Anderson tackles Living to Tell the Tale, comparing Garcia Marquez’s life…read more


Noir City #5

Posted by in Film, Noir, Stanwyck, Barbara

Noir attrition has kicked in. And it’s not just me. I had to assure a fellow film buff that Sydney Greenstreet did indeed appear in Casablanca. And neither of us could remember Leon Ames’ name a mere 24 hours after viewing his fantastic performance in The Velvet Touch. We only knew that he was also in Postman. Even Eddie Muller was susceptible on Monday night, going crazy about The Velvet Touch right before Crime of Passion. The hard lesson is that the more films you watch, the more you realize…read more


Why I Am Avoiding DBC Pierre

Posted by in Language, Literary Motifs, Pierre, DBC

Not one motherfucker in the States says “fucken.” What was the point in spelling it this way? If we are to look at this from a phonetical standpoint, it comes across as “PHUCK-EN” (not to be confused with “PHUCK-IN,” aka “PHUCK-EEN,” often used in tandem with the first letter of the alphabet in expressing surprise and very good in a sentence like “I was fuckin’ Joaquin Phoenix”). If DBC Pierre had substituted “fuck me,” “fuck you” or “motherfucker” instead of “fucken,” then there’d be no problem. There would instead be…read more


Pope John Paul II Refuses to Play Chess with Dick Cheney

Posted by in Photo Headlines, Pope, Religion


Anne Tyler: Unwavering Instigator of Irritation

Posted by in Book Reviewing, Byatt, A.S., Journalism, Kakutani, Michiko, Literary Magazines, Math, Roundup, Speculative Fiction, Tyler, Anne

Michiko on Joe Ezterhas: “As for the rest of this ridiculously padded, absurdly self-indulgent book, the reader can only cry: T.M.I.! Too Much Information! And: Get an editor A.S.A.P.!” What the F.U.C.K. is up with the A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S.? A new book will explain the seven most important unsolved math problems. One of them involves working out the probability ratio for the Democrats in November. How the hell did the Washington Times snag a review copy of the $3,000 Ali book? Did the reviewer have to fill out a loan application and…read more


And the Nominees Are…

Posted by in Academy Awards, Awards, Film

The nominees have been announced. 1. Spellbound was ignored in the Best Documentary category. 2. Granted, he was fun. But Johnny Depp for Pirates of the Caribbean? 3. The Triplets of Belleville doesn’t stand a chance against Finding Nemo. 4. City of God was a surprise. It’s up for cinematography, directing, film editing and writing. It’s also a Miramax film. So it was probably pushed like gangbusters. 5. A surprise Pollock win a few years ago and now a Mystic River nomination. The Academy really loves Marcia Gay Harden, don’t…read more


NYTBR & Keller Update

Posted by in Book Reviewing, New York Times

I’m stunned by the sudden influx of email I’ve had concerning my call to action re: Keller and the New York Times Book Review (thanks in no small part to the Mighty Book Blog Cabal kind enough to link it). Apparently, a lot of people care about literary fiction. (If I don’t get back to you all immediately, please bear with me. I’ll do my best.) Since I see the makings of a multilateral coalition, I’ve started outlining a plan. More details later.