Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on Kickstarter!

Don’t you think?

By il conte della luna [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

‘Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time, it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy the cage.’

Hyde, Lewis. ‘Alcohol and Poetry: John Berryman and the Booze Talking’, American Poetry Review, reprinted in the Pushcart Prize anthology for 1987; quoted in David Foster Wallace, ‘E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction’, Review of Contemporary Fiction, 13:2 (1993 Summer); dedicated to ‘M.M. Karr’; reprinted in David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Little, Brown and Co., 1997.

Lay down all thoughts; surrender to the void.

‘[O]nly in the far east and in modern times have artists valued blank space’, says Daniel Mitsui in his 2002 essay on horror vacui. ‘Only Buddhists and Nihilists are interested in nothingness.’

Ten years later, I still don’t know enough either to endorse or reject those assertions. But seeing these iPad miniTM billboards around town, which push Apple’s minimalist aesthetic to an extreme I find both self-parodic and vaguely unsettling, brought Mitsui’s essay to mind.

See also: The last stanza of Philip Larkin’s ‘High Windows’.

Today in Porn: E-Commerce Edition

'Moloch!'

‘At lunch, the most common question, aside from “Which offensive d-ck-shaped product did you handle the most of today?” is “Why are you here?” like in prison.’

That line (in its original, unredacted form) comes from Mac McClelland’s ‘I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave’, an undercover report on what it’s like to work at a hellish hinterland packing facility for a certain, but unnamed, e-commerce entity. There’s a bit to unpack here (as it were), what with the dehumanized workforce rushing at breakneck speed to fulfill orders for products that objectify the human body.

‘I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave’ appeared in — sorry, Mr Webb — Mother Jones, whose website seems to be down at the moment. But Google caches of the article’s four pages are available here:

Page 1          Page 2          Page 3         Page 4

Also worth a look — or, if you’re pressed for time, even more worth a look — is Cory Doctorow’s featurette on ‘I Was a Warehoue Wage Slave’. Scroll down to find a comment thread that will be of interest to readers of Korrektiv. The first commenter, one Deidzoeb, begins the discussion:

How do they deal with sexual harassment in a place that produces “offensive d-ck-shaped products”, or say a person who wants to do the lighting on a porn shoot? Do we assume that employees become asexual if they agree to work on a sex-related job? For a while, part of my job included preparing journals like Playboy and Penthouse to be microfilmed. Playboy microfilm made enough money that we were supposed to check every page for missing pages, printing errors, things like that.

We had one of those sensitivity and sexual harassment workshops one day like you see on The Office, not quite as ridiculous. I asked the instructor how I can avoid creating a hostile work environment or an accusation of sexual harassment when my job could seriously involve asking my female supervisor what to do about a torn page or printing error on a centerfold.

The instructor seemed a little annoyed by the question. He said it should be clear from the context of the situation. […]

More here.

Today in Porn: Grandma Wants to Watch a Nice Movie from Netflix Edition

Mr Potter, take notes for your next poetry slam.

Blatant Cross-Promotion

I even referenced The Moviegoer.

Speaking of New Orleans

More…

Growing up with writers

I finally took the time to do the important work of Googling this phrase I remembered hearing on NPR a few years ago:

Mr. YGLESIAS: Right. I mean, it is true that if you come from a family of writers, you understand that there is always an assassin in the family.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. YGLESIAS: I don’t really know any other way of doing the writing. So I didn’t feel I had any choice. And there were times when I considered just not publishing the book or not showing it to anyone. But I also knew that I felt that so acutely, that it was so dangerous, was also a sign that I was writing it correctly.

GROSS: Had your parents, in their novels, written characters that you knew were based on you that you found troubling?

Mr. YGLESIAS: Actually, even when someone writes you in a novel flatteringly, the truth is it’s always troubling because it’s odd to be a minor character in someone else’s life since we’re always the major character in our own lives.

GROSS: Oh that’s so interesting, the way you put it.

Mr. YGLESIAS: It’s always disturbing.

GROSS: So was that upsetting to see that in your parents’ work you were a minor character?

Mr. YGLESIAS: It was very strange, always disturbing. And I believe, although people will say otherwise, that it’s always disturbing to people to appear in someone’s book. It’s just – it offends the natural narcissism of every individual.

From a 2009 episode of “Fresh Air,” in which Terry Gross interviews Rafael Yglesias about his novel based on his marriageA Happy Marriage: A Novel.

Exhibit A: Churchill?

People Using Pseudonyms Leave Better Blog Comments.

Posted without comment.

Men lose their MINDS, people. LOSE THEIR MINDS

Psychologists at Radboud University in The Netherlands carried out the study after one of them was so struck on impressing an attractive woman he had never met before, that he could not remember his address when she asked him where he lived.

Men lose their minds speaking to pretty women.

Being a Girl

My alma mater had many positive offerings, but what it did not offer was a wealth of traditions passed down through the ages that bound us together as one.

At least, this was the opinion of parts of the administration, who therefore decided to form a committee on Social Life and Traditions. The first stage was an exhaustive survey which we completed in residence hall meetings (not dorms – they’re not just for sleeping, we reside there). The survey asked us if we had suggestions for new traditions, fond memories of existing rituals at the school, new ideas. I filled mine out very thoroughly. Respondents would remain anonymous.

A couple of weeks later, I was interviewing to be a resident assistant – several  of us had made it to the “group interview” stage, in which we sat around a conference table and demonstrated our ability to exchange ideas from diverse perspectives in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration. We made polite conversation while the dean shuffled through her papers to prepare for the formal interview.

All of us happened to be female.

Halfway through the interview, the dean set the script aside and invited us to lean in for a frank discussion of the survey on Social Life and Traditions.

“I have to tell you, ladies, we are up against some obstacles here.”

She panned the room conspiratorially.  “Would you like to hear what some man wrote on his survey?” She opened a file folder and read:

It is unclear to me why it is necessary for the administration of this university to impose traditions upon the student body when the point of traditions is that they develop organically as a result of shared experiences. I can’t help but wonder how successful this effort will be given the extremely artificial nature of the entire enterprise…

I blushed. Tried to look merely curious, and stammered, “Are you sure that a man wrote it?”

“Oh, ho, ho! Yes, girls, I’m sure that a man wrote this.” I contemplated the years I’d spent developing a fluid, curlicue-based handwriting –  in hopes of beguiling suitors with carefully penned letters – and realized they had all been wasted.

“Well, but I mean, it could have been…oh, never mind, I guess it doesn’t matter.”

I wanted the job. And I knew the committee would be dead in the water by the end of the semester.

I realize that most of the characteristics I dislike about myself are also characteristics I associate with stereotypical femininity, and that’s…not really healthy, I’m sure.  And yet I decided to put “All you need to know is that I’m a lady” as my descriptor here, because – well, there is something to be said for being a lady – certainly versus a gal.

I don’t know, I just can’t seem to stay on the straight and narrow lately, I just keep going off-road with all these “what if I had (insert rejected opportunity)?” detours and coming back to “hmmrhph smrf hmph, MEN don’t have to make these decisions,” which: also not really true. And then there’s the Annual Christmas Freakout, which really is a thing, and consists of making EXTREMELY BOLD PRONOUNCEMENTS about THE STATE OF THINGS.

I just keep thinking, “WOMAN. Get ahold of yourself!”