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Prisoner Work Release

Percy and Passover

Over at, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Greenberg cites The Moviegoer: Binx’s search as exodus.


Life slips by.


Somewhere between that Grape Nehi and that glass of Jack Daniels, Walker Percy managed to write five novels, several volumes of nonfiction, and a mess of other stuff. You all should be able to manage a paper proposal in the next week. Rally, Korrektiv, rally!

Plus ca change


Well, it’s nice to know that people threatening violence against critics of their favorite band in the YouTube comment sections is not without its precedents. This is from The Voice, a collection of pieces about Frank Sinatra that originally appeared in The New Yorker during the mid forties:

Sinatra has undoubtedly made his fans tolerance-conscious and persuaded them to champion the rights of minority groups, but on the whole they have not learned to be tolerant of critics of Sinatra. When Ben Gross, the radio editor of the Daily News, remarked that he did not consider Sinatra the greatest singer in the world, one Sinatra fan wrote him that she :would love to take you to Africa, tie you to the ground, pour honey on you, and let he ants come and bite you to pieces,” and another that “you should burn in oil, pegs should be driven into your body, and you should be hung by your thumbs.”

So that’s what happened to Rufus.


[Image found on Terry Richardson’s frequently NSFW tumblr. Research!]

The Institute of Living

From the New York Times comes this story about Marsha M. Linehan, a psychologist at the University of Washington here in Seattle. It reads like a real-life inversion of Chekov’s terrifying story, Ward No. 6. It also has implications that readers of a certain novel published by Korrektiv Press might find interesting.

It was 1967, several years after she left the institute as a desperate 20-year-old whom doctors gave little chance of surviving outside the hospital. Survive she did, barely: there was at least one suicide attempt in Tulsa, when she first arrived home; and another episode after she moved to a Y.M.C.A. in Chicago to start over.

She was hospitalized again and emerged confused, lonely and more committed than ever to her Catholic faith. She moved into another Y, found a job as a clerk in an insurance company, started taking night classes at Loyola University — and prayed, often, at a chapel in the Cenacle Retreat Center.

Moved into the Y, found her faith: no Will Barrett she. Read the whole thing.

A Little Something for Korrektiv’s “Lives of Famous Catholics” Series

This week, the New Yorker gets around to gushing over the Wachowski siblings’ cinema adaptation of Cloud Atlas.  Would you believe it features Hugo “Agent Smith/Elrond” Weaving as a genderbending Nasty Nurse?  Not that you’ll read that here. What you will read here is some account of Lana (nee Larry) Wachowski’s transgenderism.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Lana’s gender consciousness started to emerge at around the same time. In third grade, Larry transferred to a Catholic school, where boys and girls wore different uniforms and stood in separate lines before class. “I have a formative memory of walking through the girls’ line and hesitating, knowing that my clothes didn’t match,” Lana told me. “But as I continued on I felt I did not belong in the other line, so I just stopped in between them. I stood for a long moment with everyone staring at me, including the nun. She told me to get in line. I was stuck—I couldn’t move. I think some unconscious part of me figured I was exactly where I belonged: betwixt.” Larry was often bullied for his betwixtness. “As a result, I hid and found tremendous solace in books, vastly preferring imagined worlds to this world,” Lana said.

The betwixtness apparently came to a head during the filming of the Matrix sequels.

Sensing that something was wrong, Lynne Wachowski flew to Australia the following day. The morning after her arrival, Larry told her, “I’m transgender. I’m a girl.” Lynne didn’t know what he meant. “I was there when you were born,” she said. “There’s a part of me that is a girl,” Larry insisted. “I’m still working at that.” Lynne had been distraught on the plane, worried that she might lose her son. “Instead, I’ve just found out there is more of you,” she said. Ron, who soon flew in, too, offered his unconditional support, as did Larry’s sisters and Andy, who had suspected for a while.

Eventually, the press retreated. Lana completed her divorce and met and fell in love with the woman who became her second wife, in 2009. “I chose to change my exteriority to bring it closer into alignment with my interiority,” she told me. “My biggest fears were all about losing my family. Once they accepted me, everything else has been a piece of cake. I know that many people are dying to know if I have a surgically constructed vagina or not, but I prefer to keep this information between my wife and me.”

Okay then!  But there are a couple of things that nag at me about this very friendly profile.  They don’t mention the whole S&M thing, and they don’t mention the hot mess that was Speed Racer.  If you’re going to do a piece that explores the subject’s sexuality and also discusses past work, you can’t just leave whole sections out.  It’s not like there are dozens of Wachowski movies, and it’s not like S&M isn’t a key part of Lana’s romantic history.

(I link to the HuffPo piece because the original Rolling Stone article is subscriber-only.  Love the author’s indignance: “You could also read this article and wonder at the point of it. Why are we interested in Larry Wachowski’s sexual proclivities anyway?” Well, maybe because he/she is throwing them up on the screen, and making questions of perceived vs. actual reality central to his/her films?)

Poets and Fame and the Lack Thereof

John Berryman, in an interview with The Paris Review from 1970:

Something else is in my head; a remark of Father Hopkins to Bridges. Two completely unknown poets in their thirties—fully mature—Hopkins, one of the great poets of the century, and Bridges, awfully good. Hopkins with no audience and Bridges with thirty readers. He says, “Fame in itself is nothing. The only thing that matters is virtue. Jesus Christ is the only true literary critic. But,” he said, “from any lesser level or standard than that, we must recognize that fame is the true and appointed setting of men of genius.” That seems to me appropriate. This business about geniuses in neglected garrets is for the birds. The idea that a man is somehow no good just because he becomes very popular, like Frost, is nonsense, also. There are exceptions—Chatterton, Hopkins, of course, Rimbaud, you can think of various cases—but on the whole, men of genius were judged by their contemporaries very much as posterity judges them. So if I were talking to a young writer, I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.

Take heart, Kollektiv.

image source


That Southern Expat reminded me of the splendid Eve Tushnet.

That the splendid Eve Tushnet reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s new short story in The New Yorker.

That F. Scott Fitzgerald’s new short story in The New Yorker treats of grace in the manner in which it does.

Speaking of Gioia(s)