Based on the steady onslaught (or is that recent onset?) of dumb feature articles within the Atlantic‘s pages these days, it would seem to me that the magazine lacks even the gooiest scrap of albumin these days. Fortunately, this video clip, featuring Atlantic editor and National Review film critic Ross Douthat attempting to explain his “working sociological theory” on the superhero archetype to the whip-smart Dana Stevens, may offer some context and unintentional hilarity. Because the discussion is executed in split-screen (although, oddly enough, nobody mentions Brian De Palma), one observes Stevens’s face drooping in near disbelief as Douthat offers the most generalized response imaginable to her question. Stevens then proceeds to demolish Douthat in a few sentences. It probably isn’t a fair fight, even with Stevens being kind and subduing her intellect. But if you enjoy this kind of thing (I’m afraid I do and I would pay good money to see a hack like Edward Douglas chewed up by Stevens), you can witness the complete thirty minute smackdown.
Even at the rate of one show per day, there remain a good deal of Segundo shows that I need to finish summarizing. But for those who need more and who want to jump ahead of the curve, you can find more on the main Segundo site, including a recent conversation with Andre Dubus III that features a strange interruption by a hotel catering manager and a particularly egregious poem about the Olive Garden.
I think Junot Diaz may be the first Pulitzer Prize fiction winner to confess that he is addicted to a video game. And he’s done all this in a very thoughtful essay. Not even putative Pulitzer geek Michael Chabon, who has bitched quite a lot about snobbery, has had the effrontery to confess anything like this. So for this, I salute Diaz, who comes off as a class act, while Chabon remains a hopeless bellyacher. And this also has me contemplating why America remains so behind the curve on video games. If Martin Amis could get away with writing a book about Space Invaders, then why can’t Richard Russo or Jhumpa Lahiri come out of the closet and confess that they’re big Donkey Kong fans or that they laughed at a Judd Apatow movie? (via Sarah and Shane, the latter of whom has scared the living fucking bejesus out of me with this oversized Camus photo. Tonight’s nightmare will begin, “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday,” and I will wake up in sweat and tears in the morning, craving cold biscuits.)
Even authors of crazed picaresque fiction need cheatsheets, although this chart is missing the much-needed “Wacky Sidekick.”