Roundup (With Frequent Lyrical Interludes)

  • This year’s MacArthur fellowships include Stuart Dybek.
  • Oh, Norman Mailer, just go away.
  • The Internet is set to overtake television as the largest medium by 2010. Which makes me wonder why the NBCC doesn’t form a strategic alliance, Survivor-style, with the television medium to take out all these online upstarts who are apparently responsible for the crisis in book reviewing. A few strategically thrown grenades and Ciabattari and Freeman can take out Newton, Esposito, Asher, and that obnoxious Ed Champion guy in a few hours. Terrorism, you say? Not at all. This is the only way to resolve a crisis.
  • Now here’s a fragrance that will really make you want to go down on something. (via Smart Bitches)
  • Was Robert Altman’s Popeye unfairly maligned? (And for what it’s worth, I like Popeye. Not the least or the greatest film, but enjoyable on its own merits. If you want to talk nadir of Altman’s career, try Ready to Wear.)
  • John Rickards has a few choice words about Second Life author appearances. And I have to agree. Unless you’ve written Flying Dolphin Cock and Other Virtual Fiction, you have no business making an author appearance in Second Life.
  • The 1950s issues of Playboy will be released as a DVD archive on November 2. Persona Non Data talks with Bondi Digital Publishing about how this happened. Bondi is also responsible for the New Yorker DVD-ROMs. Hopefully, they have improved the clunky interface.
  • Edmund White on James, James & Proust. (via CAAF)
  • Guess what? Exercise ain’t gonna keep off the weight. Not entirely anyway. Perhaps John Barrymore and Peter O’Toole had the right idea.
  • Stage lights flashing / The feeling’s smashing / My heart and soul belong to you / And I’m here now, singing / All bells are ringing / My dream has finally come true
  • Alexander Cockburn on Naomi Klein. (via The Existence Machine)
  • I wasn’t able to make it to last night’s panel, for I had a far more important conversation to participate in. But Levi has a report on the seventieth discussion this month on the crisis in book reviewing. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe you’ll be finding a lot of serious criticism in the NYTBR so long as a humorless and condescending tool like Sam Tanenhaus is editor.
  • Yo, NPR, how about a little fucking headline clarity? Exit Ghost ain’t the last Roth novel, but the last Zuckerman novel. Unless this was a skillful ploy to get us to click over.
  • PFD and ivory. Work together in perfect disharmony.
  • Apparently, there isn’t much happening at book signings these days, but don’t let that stop you from writing an 800 word article about it.
  • Hadley Freeman’s a funny motherfucker, ain’t he?
  • You’re a dead ringer / Dream maker, drug taker / Don’t you mess around with me!
  • Terrence Rafferty on The 400 Blows (via James Tata)


  1. I have a theory that Norman Mailer really died after his first novel, but somehow BIzarro World Mailer swapped places with our world’s Mailer and that’s who we’re stuck with now.

    At least, that’s the only way I can live in the same world with someone like Mailer without wanting to flush my eyes out with astringent.

  2. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: those DVD menus had damned well better be specifically designed for one-handed navigation.

  3. I used to say that you could build a philosophy based on lines from only two sources: The Godfather trilogy and Seinfeld (mostly the middle four years). Recently, I added Popeye (the old cartoon show).

    I mean really:

    1. I will gladly pay you on Tuesday … for a hamburger today.

    And better:

    2. I stands all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more!

    Eh, what?

  4. I saw Altman’s POPEYE as a kid, and you can’t fool a kid into believing he’s not bored. It was boring.

    Only Robin Williams impressed, as a pitch-perfect Popeye. Arf, arf, arf!

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