If Dr. Seuss Books Were Titled According to Their Subtexts
- Every expressive act is embedded in a network of material practices.
- Every act of unmasking, critique and opposition uses the tools it condemns and risks falling prey to the practice it exposes.
- Literary and non-literary “texts” circulate inseparably.
- No discourse, imaginative or archival, gives access to unchanging truths, nor expresses inalterable human nature.
- That a critical method and a language adequate to describe culture under capitalism participate in the economy they describe.
- H. Aram Veeser, The New Historicism (1989)
“Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.”
― Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities
|—||A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole|
Obviously, [old media] will need to slim down in order to thrive, but a careful study of history shows how impossible it is to determine whether it can return to both power and glory, or whether its demise is imminent.
The phonograph killed the player piano; radio, newspapers, and TV happily co-existed for generations. When did you last think fondly on the DuMont television network, or smile in recall of Friendster? This moment of anxiety and fear will pass; future generations (there’s now one every three or four years) will have no idea what they missed, and yet they will go on, marry, divorce, and own pets.
Hal Incandenza, Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
Hal is the only extant Incandenza who looks in any way ethnic. His late father had been as a young man darkly tall, high flat Pima-tribe cheekbones and very black hair Brylcreemed back so tight there’d been a kind of enforced widow’s peak. Himself had looked ethnic, but he isn’t extant. Hal is sleek, sort of radiantly dark, almost otterish, only slightly tall, eyes blue but darkly so, and unburnable even w/o sunscreen, his untanned feet the color of weak tea, his nose ever unpeeling but slightly shiny. His sleekness isn’t oily so much as moist, milky; Hal worries secretly that he looks half-feminine.
“It’s a period piece with British accents and drama that hinges on each character’s place within an aristocratic peerage system, so needless to say, viewing one show from beginning to end is basically the same as reading a book.”
via Sarah B.
The Eschaton chapter from Infinite Jest recreated as the new video for the Decemberists’ “Calamity Song.”
This is so nerdy on so many levels. I love it.
One of the stranger things about Infinite Jest is the wild shift in tone between describing the personal and the political. Wallace’s descriptions of his characters’ personal lives are heart-wrenchingly sad, beautiful and genuine; his take on the political world that these people inhabit is highly satirical and absurd.
The logo for the NAFTA-esque Organization of North American Nations (O.N.A.N.) is described as “a snarling full-front eagle with a broom and a can of disinfectant in one claw and a Maple Leaf in the other and wearing a sombrero”.
The maple leaf and sombrero refer to Canada and Mexico of course; the broom and disinfectant a reference to germaphobe President Johnny Gentle and his Clean U.S. Party (C.U.S.P.), and their pro-hygiene and cleanliness platform.
The acronym O.N.A.N. is likely a reference to the biblical Onan, whose name has become synonymous with masturbation (onanism). Perhaps Wallace is trying to say that the United States is trying to remake Canada and Mexico in its image - a country that is wasteful and only concerned with self-pleasuring.